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Texas for a family holiday? With kids who will be nearly 5 & nearly 3...

Texas for a family holiday? With kids who will be nearly 5 & nearly 3...

Old Jun 11, 17, 2:52 pm
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Texas for a family holiday? With kids who will be nearly 5 & nearly 3...

My wife and I love holidaying in the US, and have done for more than a decade.

With kids now in tow, last year we took a house for a week in Moab, UT (our favourite place in the world to explore the National Parks) and then had a second week in a mountain cabin near Durango in CO. Even with the kids then nearly 3 and nearly 1, we had the most amazing time.

This year we are routed in the UK for our holidays, but already planning what we'll do in Summer 2018 (August) - we need to book BA reward flights, so planning 12 months ahead is a must.

We don't know Texas too well, aside from a trip to NASA @ Houston and Big Bend NP - both of which were amazing in 2012. With BA flying to Dallas, Houston & Austin, it should make getting reward flights to work a little easier as we have some variety to get into one, and out of another if needs be...

BUT, the big question is - would it work for a family holiday next year with kids of nearly 5 and nearly 3? Again, we'd like to be in two different places for a week each - and to hire a house on VRBO for each. Happy to have one near-ish to a city, and one week somewhere more in the countryside and beautiful, but they need to be withing one long days drive of each other (we can cover a lot of ground in one day if we have to).

Any ideas of places we should start researching would be really really helpful.

Is Dallas good for kids? Is Galveston on the beach fun for families? Any ideas or advice from experience would really help us.

We don't like to holiday where it's packed full of Brits (hence Florida is a big no-no for us). My wife doesn't fancy going back to Big Bend as she thinks the kids will be eaten by a Mountain Lion....
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Old Jun 13, 17, 8:53 am
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Fort Worth is always worth a trip, as it is filled with a little nostalgia from the Wild Wild West. They do a live real cattle drive twice a day with the Longhorns through the Stockyards, which would be right up the alley of your kids. Dallas itself is a tad boring, but the Perot museum, Dallas Zoo, Fort Worth Zoo and others are worth a stop. As you mentioned with the BA flights out of Austin also, I would fly into DFW, visit Fort Worth, and then take US Highway 281 down to Austin and make a couple side trips.

Fort Worth
Glen Rose, TX
Enchanted Rock

Nice little driving loop, beautiful countryside, enough education for the kids and fun for the parents.
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Old Jun 15, 17, 1:31 am
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I'd find it tough staying in 1 place for a whole week, twice!

San Antonio is worth ~2-3 days, Austin is worth 1-2, Dallas and Fort Worth is worth ~3, and you can round out with Houston. I'd pick your city to fly in/out of and build the plan from there. The big 4 Texas cities are all an easy drive, the longest is Dallas-Houston at 4 hours. As far as Galveston goes, I hear it's fun but I've lived in Houston for 5 years and never been even though it's 1 hr from my house. The beaches in Texas get better the closer you go to Mexico, and Galveston is right by the ship channel, so its really more the beach of convenience than anything else. It has lots of attractions for parents and kids, but that's about it. If I want a decent beach, I'll drive down near Corpus Christi and go to Port Aransas. South Padre is IMO the best beach in Texas, but it's nearly on the Mexico border, so it's too far for a weekend.
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Old Jun 15, 17, 4:24 pm
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I agree with krazykanuck on this.

I've only lived in Texas for 1-1/2 year, and am by no means an expert. I had visited quite a few times before that...but it really is such a big state! Even the areas east of the I-35.

I'd try to fly in/out of DFW and IAH, then piece together a trip between them (reverse if you do the opposite):

* Fly into DFW, spend 3-4 days exploring that area
* Rent/hire a car and drive down to Austin, for 2-3 days.
* Drive down to San Antonio, for another 2-3 days
* If you want the beach, go to Corpus Christi, 2-3 days
* Finish up in Houston with your remaining time, fly out of IAH

I've only been to Corpus Christi once, and it was a while ago, but I really enjoyed it (we're going in October, so perhaps I'll remember to check back then).
I remember driving down the length of Padre Island to the National Park, and that was probably the best part.
There are beaches further down, South Padre near Harlington, but they tend to get more college kids...or they did when I was in college at least.

If you're looking for some non-city options, I recommend watching this video:
The Texas PBS stations collectively put it together, and it should give some great ideas.

Additionally, I'd also check out some episodes of The Texas Daytripper, which also comes on our PBS stations. For example if you do more time in Austin, you can take some daytrips out to Marble Falls, Fredricksburg, etc. You could even stay out in some of those smaller towns/cities.

In addition to Texas, you could consider visiting some nearby areas, such as New Orleans or even Oklahoma City. They would give quite a different perspective on the area (and I could probably guarantee you wouldn't see any other Brits in OK City).

We went to Dallas last fall, and did many of the tourist sites:
* Perot Museum (would be great for kids)
* Reunion Tower
* 6th Floor Museum, plus walking around Dealy Plaza
* Arboretium
* Plus ate at many great restaurants

We got the City Pass, which included many of those. I'd still like to see Southfork Ranch, and maybe the Bush Library, and spend some time exploring Deep Elllum.
(by the way, if you stop in Austin, definitely visit the LBJ Library).

Last edited by aztimm; Jun 15, 17 at 4:31 pm
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Old Jun 17, 17, 5:13 pm
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August in Galveston is utterly miserable. The humidity chart here describes "humidity comfort levels" as either "oppressive" or "miserable" (see?) between 88% and 96% of the time. Should you decide to relieve the heat with a dip in the Gulf of Mexico, you'll find that the water is nearly as warm as the air and only slightly wetter.

This is humidity on an epic scale. If you leave the house with a pack of matches in your pocket, you will have little chance of getting more than one of them to light half an hour later -- the pack will be a soggy mess.

Average highs are 89 to 90 F (32 C) for the whole month, with lows of 79 to 80 F (26-27 C).

The beach consists of superfine sand which gets into everything. And did I mention the humidity?

I spent a summer in Galveston years ago. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
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Old Jun 17, 17, 5:27 pm
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Texas in August?? Yikes.
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Old Jun 22, 17, 1:34 am
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Really useful information - thanks everyone for the detailed replies.

My fear is that Texas won't work for us this time around - with such young kids, we don't want to be packing up to move on every 3 nights, as have two main bases on our last US holiday worked really well and the kids got into a good routine being in the same house for a week at a time.

As for Texas in August, the temperatures don't really put us off - we did Houston and Big Bend NP in August before (and it was all the better, as Big Bend we virtually had all to ourselves it was so quiet). BUT, the humidity level in Galveston does sound truly horrendous, so we'll be sure to give that a miss.

We really want to do more of Texas - and I so want to make it to South Fork - but I think we'll probably hold fire for a few years until we can move around more easily with slightly older kids.

Thanks everyone.
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