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Best Under-The-Radar Spring Break Destinations in Texas

21 Mar 2023
by Bownds Ranches

If you’re familiar with Texas at all, you’ve probably heard the reputation of South Padre Island as a premier Spring Break destination. And why not? It’s arguably the best beach in Texas, the Gulf of Mexico is usually pretty warm in mid-March, and the costs are nominal compared to some other Spring Break destinations across the country.

However, what if you’re not really the “sweaty 20-somethings taking tequila shots from a fire extinguisher” type of person? Are there other options available if you like life a little less loud, or you’re looking for a more family-friendly environment?

Simply put, yes! You’re in luck. Texas offers a plethora of under-the-radar and underrated options to look into during the middle of March, and they’ll be mostly free of college-aged partygoers. 

In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the unheralded options across the state that are worth checking out. We’ll break them down by region in the state, starting with the coast.

Gulf Coast / South Texas Spring Break Options

Who says South Padre Island is the only destination worth exploring during Spring Break week? Texas may not have as many beaches as our Gulf of Mexico opposite bookend in Florida, but what there still plenty of options out there that don’t include the SPI hype.

1. Boca Chica State Park

Sure, South Padre gets all the fame and attention, but Boca Chica State Park near Brownsville offers an astounding beach with a serene vibe. Unlike most of the other beaches in Texas, you won't find any development at Boca Chica Beach. However, since it is the southernmost beach in Texas, you will usually find clean, clear green water lapping against the sand. Take advantage of lower amounts of Spring Break traffic, plus tons of available activities like swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and more. An added perk, if you’re into it, is the Launch Facility is also nearby, so you may get to observe a launch if you get lucky.

2. Rockport

A little further north than South Padre or Boca Chica, Rockport is hailed as one of the most clear water beaches in Texas because of its pristine waves and reflective waters that makes it a perfect spot for sunset watching. This beautiful spot has been made famous for its beautiful sand, its family-friendly environment, and its clean well-kept amenities. As a matter of fact, The shore is so pristine and recognized as the first “Blue Wave Beach” in Texas by the Clean Beaches Coalition. All these facts make Rockport an excellent spot for taking in some beach vibes, without worrying about cleanliness or pollution.

3. Port Aransas

Tired of the fast-paced living in the city? Do getaways with the family sound like a great idea? If yes, then pack your bags and take a trip to Port Aransas. Fresh air and a serene vibe are what this beach exudes, the Port Aransas Beach is also less crowded as compared to the other spots. The public beach is wide and sandy, the perfect place to spend the day lounging in the sun, bird watching, shallow water fishing, or just playing in the Gulf of Mexico waters. You can also opt to camp here on the beach, if you’re up for it, for a maximum of three consecutive nights during a 21-day period. This is also where the annual Texas Sand Fest takes place each year. It’s not during Spring Break, but it’s still worth visiting if you can make it!

Hill Country Spring Break Options

Want to steer clear of the beaches altogether? Take in some spring wildflowers and scenery in the Texas Hill Country!

1. Fredericksburg

Spring in Texas usually means two things - warmer weather is on the horizon and so are our native wildflowers, like bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes and prairie coneflowers (Mexican hats). These natural beauties don’t last forever, so taking a trip through the Hill Country while they’re in bloom is always a good idea. Take a wine tour, book a quaint little bed & breakfast cottage, and do some unique shopping in the historic downtown area. Fredericksburg offers a bit of everything during the spring time.

2. Dripping Springs

If you’re not from the Hill Country area, you can be excused for not being super familiar with Dripping Springs. Located a short drive southwest of Austin, this rural little town has quickly boomed into a hotbed of wineries, breweries, and natural Hill Country beauty. On top of that, Dripping Springs is one of the few cities in the world to have earned the title of Dark Sky Communities from the International Dark Sky Association. This means that you can see stars here that are virtually impossible to spot in any other city, making Dripping Springs the perfect place for stargazing. There’s also beautiful and regionally famous Hamilton Pool, plus there’s always the chance of bumping into actors Kyle Chandler or Jensen Ackles, both of whom have residences in the area.

3. Austin

If Dripping Springs offers rural, natural beauty and some mellow, hoppy days, Austin is sort of the polar opposite during Spring Break. Spring Break in Austin is marked by the South By Southwest (SXSW) art, film and music festival. The city that is already known for its weird uniqueness gets even more so during this week, but offers an experience that can’t be replicated by any other event in the country. If you’re into the art, music and film scene, or just enjoy high energy parties and delicious foods, Austin is a great Spring Break destination to consider.

4. San Marcos, New Braunfels, and Tubing

Okay, stick with us a moment here. Yes, San Marcos is normally teeming with Texas State students floating in tubes down the river. However, during Spring Break, most of the students go elsewhere to vacation, which oddly leaves the floating scene a lot slower than it would be most other times when the weather is good.

New Braunfels offers some of the best tubing in the state, but the presence of Schlitterbahn can lead to larger crowds and higher prices on lodging during Spring Break. If you’re looking for tubing but don’t want to fight crowds or pay inflated prices, there are tons of places to jump into a tube along the Comal, Guadalupe and Frio Rivers.

Central & North Texas Spring Break Options

Who says you’ve got to go south for Spring Break? The Central and North Texas regions offer plenty of options to pursue and activities to take in - including a quickly emerging destination that has been overlooked for years.

1. Lake Texoma

In case you didn’t know, Lake Texoma is one of the largest reservoirs in the entire United States. Located on the border between Texas and Oklahoma (thus the name), Lake Texoma is highly developed and offers exceptional fishing, recreation and camping opportunities. Due to the high salt content of the Red River that feeds into the lake, it’s also the only place in Texas to find striped bass, a saltwater fish species. If going to a lake for Spring Break sounds like a good idea, you could do a lot worse than Lake Texoma.

2. Glen Rose

We’re going to nerd out a little bit here - but Glen Rose offers a unique experience, especially for those traveling with small children. First off, Dinosaur Valley State Park is just plain cool. Take in the fossilized tracks of several species of dinosaurs in the riverbed within the park and let your imagination run wild while you ponder your place in the history of the world. Glen Rose is more than just dino tracks, though. You can also visit the highly rated Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, or take in some North Texas nature at Big Rocks Park.

3. Waco

This one might be a little controversial, but you should consider visiting Waco during your Spring Break. Once thought to be just a pitstop on the trip between Austin and Dallas, Waco has seen a bit of a revitalization in recent years, as well as a bit of a rediscovery of the things that have been there for a long time but have been overlooked. Obviously, there’s the much hyped Magnolia Silos, with their Joanna Gaines-fuelled decor and home accessories, food trucks, and shopping. There’s also the up-and-coming downtown area with the massive Spice Village market, the Dr Pepper Museum, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, a chance to see 24 fossilized mammoths and more. Explore the natural beauty of Cameron Park near downtown, head out of the city limits to do some inland surfing, or rent a stand up paddle-board and explore downtown and Baylor from the Brazos River. Waco has a lot more to offer than you might have thought, even if some of the locals are conflicted about its new status as a tourist stop.

West Texas, Panhandle, and East Texas

Consider these sort of the “honorable mentions” of Spring Break destinations. Not to say there aren’t really cool, fun attractions in these parts of the state, but they’re not usually on the radar for Spring Break festivities. That being said, you should definitely consider visiting some of these, especially if your week’s schedule won’t allow you to make it to some of the other destinations on the list.

  1. Monahans Sandhills State Park
  2. Marfa
  3. Big Bend National Park
  4. Palo Duro Canyon State Park
  5. Big Thicket National Preserve
  6. Follow an Azalea Trail
  7. Tyler’s Rose Blooms


A day in the life of a rancher is non-stop, there's always plenty to do while tending the land. But there's no lifestyle more fulfilling. If the idea of owning a property that can be passed down from generation to generation appeals to you, Brandon Bownds is only a phone call away. As a 5th generation Texas rancher and a 3rd generation ranch broker, he knows what it takes. Brandon's passion is his pride, and it would be his honor and privilege to help you find, upgrade or sell your family ranch.