When you’re looking for things to do in Texas during those warm summer months you don’t have to limit yourself just to tourist sights with air conditioning. Not surprisingly, some of the best places to keep cool also involve spending quality time on the water. And while Texas might have some noteworthy beaches to consider, the Gulf Coast isn’t the only place to take a refreshing dip.
One of the best ways to get in some serious, long-term time on the water is, of course, on a houseboat. There are two big houseboating lakes worth noting (and numerous smaller lakes good for boating, fishing, swimming and the like). Lake Travis is a stone’s throw from Austin and Lake Amistad is spread out along the Lone Star State’s southwestern border. Lake Amistad is by far the larger of the two, but you can count on good fishing, swimming and other sorts of recreational activity whichever lake you choose.
And while Texas might not boast any real white water rafting rivers, don’t dismiss this state’s waterways out of hand entirely. In fact, within easy reach of both San Antonio and Austin is the meandering Guadalupe River, a choice place to do some tubing during the spring and summer. Particularly popular is the run between Canyon Lake Dam and Gruene, Texas, with the occasional ripple and rapid to keep things interesting. Before merging with the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels, Texas, the short, spring-fed Comal River also makes for an enjoyable ride; but with warm water year round it’s also a great swimming spot. For more natural “swimming holes”, check out some of the state’s other hot picks, like Hamilton Pool (in Hamilton Creek), Krause Springs, and the Frio River in Garner State Park.
If you’re more interested in canoeing or kayaking (with some shaded water trail in mind), check in with Texas Parks and Wildlife. Through the Texas Paddling Trails program they’ve pulled together an expansive list of good places to paddle, complete with trail GPS coordinates, maps and other pertinent information. Based on region, it’s relatively easy to find the perfect place to put-in, even if you’re not from the area.
So when temperatures soar and it comes time to consider things to do in Texas, don’t just fixate on the beach. Head for a Hill Country lake or shady swimming hole and count yourself part of the cool crowd.