Texas is the second largest state in the US, offering a wealth of things to do for the whole family. It’s made up of several regions, each with its own unique charms and experiences, from the dry deserts to enchanting woodland. This is by no means the extensive bucket-list, but if you’re planning a vacation, here are just 3 of the must see places to visit in the lone star state.

Roam the Panhandle Plains

First stop is Texas’ panhandle, given its name because it looks like a pan. Here you’ll find grassy plains with gently rolling hills and spectacular canyons. Start your trip in the iconic city of Amarillo and spend the day spray painting cars at the Cadillac Ranch, dining at the Big Texan Steak Ranch and taking pictures in front of a route 66 sign. Once you’ve filled your boots with ranch sauce, head south to one of the most impressive natural wonders of the state, the Palo Duro Canyon, or “Grand Canyon of Texas”. It lies 120 miles long, 20 miles wide and 800 feet deep, so spend some time outside and take in the stunning views. Hike, mountain bike, or horseback ride your way through Palo Duro Canyon State Park. If little legs won’t make it, there is also the option of a wagon ride, operated by the state park, so no-one has to miss out.

Witness the Enchantment of the Prairies and Lakes

East of the panhandle plains, the barren grassland comes alive and transforms in to lush green country. From the Red River to the Guadalupe, the region is made up of big cities, small towns and everything in between. Whether it’s riding thrilling water slides at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, savoring a fresh scoop of Blue Bell ice cream in Brenham, or tasting locally made wine in Historic Downtown Grapevine, there’s something fun for the whole family. A must-do is Dallas! Stop and gaze at the downtown Dallas skyline from the observation room at Reunion Tower before a night of rest and relaxation at the Marriott Courtyard in nearby Irving.

Explore the Gulf Coast

End the vacation on a high with an action packed trip to Texas’ Gulf Coast. Hold an alligator at Gator Country Wildlife Adventure Park in Beaumont and visit Space Centre Houston for interactive displays that’ll have the kids talking for days. Don’t forget to also spend a few days on the beach for a bit of R&R before heading home. Rockport Beach is the first Texas certified Blue Wave Beach and the perfect place for a safe family swim. If you’re up for more of an adventure, head to South Padre Island, where you can get some thrills at Schlitterbahn Beach Water Park and see cute baby turtles embark on their first expeditions down to the surf.

Have you been on a family vacation recently, or are you planning one right now? Let us know what else is on your Texas bucket-list!