If you are looking to travel to the great state of Texas, or even if you live there, you may be wondering where you could possibly take your partner on a romantic day trip.
Texas is such a large state with varying landscapes and so many diverse cities and small towns that it may be overwhelming to decide where to take your date for the day.
What are the best places for a day trip in Texas?
The best romantic day trips in Texas, depending on where you are and how far you can travel, are Hamilton Pool, Padres Island, Turner Falls, The Houston Museum of Natural Science, and Blue Hole Nature Park. Romantic day trips to the small towns of Tyler and Jefferson, Texas are also highly recommended.
Depending on where you are living or where you are staying in Texas, you may find that the variety of activities available for the perfect trip seems to be endless.
Where you are also may offer different geographical features that can provide the setting for specific activities that can only be found in that area.
For example, the Colorado River that flows through the heart of Austin, Texas may offer many spectacular day hike opportunities all within driving distance of the city.
Leave early in the morning, enjoy an incredible hike with breath-taking views, and then cap off the trek with a romantic picnic atop a limestone cliff.
There are many excellent romantic day trip ideas like this for all the different regions of Texas.
Texas is an incredibly large state with so many diverse landscapes and immense potential for both urban and rural possibilities that can provide fun and excitement, that we needed to go straight to the source.
What better source than Texans themselves to help fill you in on everything that Texas has to offer in terms of adventure, excitement, and relaxation.
Read on to hear “direct from the horse’s mouth” about what exactly Texas is all about and what Texas can do for you to ensure your romantic getaway is one to remember.
Romantic Day Trips in Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas is one of the most popular travel destinations in Texas.
Known for its music scene as the “Live Music Capital of the World”, Austin attracts people from all over the United States and the rest of the world each year for its South by Southwest Festival.
Austin also has a bustling nightlife, an incredible food scene, and a somewhat more liberal-leaning population than the rest of the state.
However, it is important to note that Austin is more than just a big city.
There are plenty of outdoor adventures to be had as well.
Austin is situated on the Colorado River which provides endless limestone cliffs, hidden caverns, and a magnitude of recreational water activities.
If you are living or traveling in the Austin area and you require some suggestions for romantic day trips that you could take your special someone on, you can have ease of mind knowing that we have provided you with our top five most romantic day trip ideas for the Austin area.
1. Hamilton Pool
Hamilton Pool is one of the most popular romantic destinations that Austin has to offer.
The pool was formed when the dome of an underground river collapsed creating a large crater-like pool that both Austinites and tourists have enjoyed for decades.
Swimming at Hamilton Pool is never guaranteed, however, there are still plenty of hiking trails and spectacular views to enjoy as well as romantic spots to lay down a blanket for a picnic.
Make sure to call ahead to make a reservation if you would like to enjoy this unique and special place.
2. Mount Bonnell
Mount Bonnell is one of the highest points in Austin that offers some of the best views of the city and the surrounding area.
The vantage point of Mount Bonnell offers an overview of downtown Austin as well as the entire Colorado River Valley.
To get to the view deck and pavilion at the top, you will need to make a quick 200-foot ascent up 102 stairs or take the gravel trail that runs nearby.
Not to worry, the climb is a moderate one and will still keep you and your date in high spirits for picture taking, sunset watching, and maybe a picnic.
3. Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake is an excellent place to spend a romantic day trip.
The lake offers splendid views of the Austin downtown skyline as well as calm waters for kayaking.
Additionally, there are several trails that encircle the lake that can provide a relaxing place to walk and to talk with your date.
4. Dripping Springs Wine Trail
The Dripping Springs Wine Trail is a perfect date idea for a romantic day trip if you and your loved one are wine enthusiasts.
Essentially, there are three different wineries that are all connected along the Dripping Springs Wine Trail.
On this trail you can partake in wine tastings, purchase wines, and browse the gift shops.
From the months of March through October, there is a shuttle that loops the trail continuously throughout the day where you can hop on and hop off as you please.
5. Longhorn Caverns
The Longhorn Caverns is one of the most surreal places you can take a romantic day trip in the Austin area.
This limestone cave was formed by an underground river over millions of years and its long and interesting history adds to the mysteriousness of the location.
Romantic Day Trips in Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi offers access to some of the best beaches in the United States with miles of shoreline along the magnificent Gulf of Mexico
Did you know that you can drive your vehicle on virtually any beach in the state of Texas? Texas considers beach areas public highways.
Loading up the car with some chairs, umbrellas, a grill, and some good food can provide a romantic beach day for you and your loved one to remember forever.
Although the beaches in and near Corpus Christi are famous and offer some ideal locations for recreational activities and/or relaxation, Corpus Christi has much more to offer.
Here are some of the best beach areas as well as other romantic destinations that you may want to consider for a romantic day trip.
1. Padres Island
Padres Island is the world’s longest barrier island that stretches 113 miles along the Southeast Coast of Texas.
The Island is divided into three parts that include the North and South Padres Islands as well as Padres Island.
Padres Island is home to the Padres Island National Seashore where many Texans enjoy camping, swimming, and various other recreational water activities.
Padres Island provides the perfect place to load up the car with a cooler filled with some delicious grillable snacks and cold beverages.
Once you reach the island you can set up camp for the day and enjoy the lovely views of the Gulf of Mexico.
2. Redfish Bay
Redfish Bay is located within a few short miles of the center of Corpus Christi.
The bay is ideal for a day of kayaking and wildlife spotting.
You could spend the morning kayaking and then grab lunch nearby, or if you prefer, during certain times of the year you can rent a kayak at night.
Nighttime kayaking can be a romantic way for you and your partner to be on the calm water beneath a moonlit and star-filled evening.
3. Corpus Christi Watergarden
The Corpus Christ Watergarden is an extremely romantic place that is credited with many successful marriage proposals as well as being a picturesque venue for weddings.
The water garden contains a circle of 150 fountains that send water cascading down a stone staircase into a pool below.
Also located nearby are the Harbor Bridge, the Art Museum of South Texas, and the Science & History Museum.
A nice afternoon at the water garden filled with a visit to the Art Museum of South Texas makes for an excellent date idea.
4. South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center
What is more romantic than a peaceful afternoon among orchids, hummingbirds, and butterflies?
The South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center can provide the backdrop for a lovely afternoon stroll before hitting up one of the many excellent restaurants nearby.
The park is located only 15-miles from downtown Corpus Christi and it is extremely easy to get to.
For hours and the price of admission, feel free to visit the South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center website.
5. Harrison Landing
Harrison Landing is the perfect place to spend an entire day.
You can choose from going sailing, shopping, or hitting the beach, and once you begin to work up that appetite, there are places to dine where you can feast upon fresh shrimp and wash them down with a frosty beverage.
One of the biggest highlights of Harrison Landing is the ability to book a sailing cruise or to take a one-hour boat ride around the marina and the Corpus Christi Bay.
Romantic Day Trips in Dallas – Fort Worth
The Dallas – Fort Worth area is surrounded by fascinating historical sites, unique small towns, and many outdoor recreational parks and lakes.
All of these different potential day trips are located within driving distance and they can be explored and enjoyed while at the same time having you home or at your hotel before dinner.
Although most of the outdoor recreational parks and lakes may be located outside of the Dallas – Fort Worth metropolitan area, there are still many places within city limits that can provide hours of entertainment that can be followed up by dinner at some of the most fantastic restaurants in the country.
The Dallas – Fort Worth culinary scene is maybe not as famous as Austin, however, it is still home to many respected dining establishments.
Whether you stay in the city or venture out, you are sure to find something that you and your loved one will enjoy.
Here are the five most noteworthy places to visit if you are planning a romantic day trip.
1. Lake Texoma
Lake Texoma is a massive reservoir that contains an almost unlimited amount of recreational activities, wildlife spotting opportunities, and dining options.
The reservoir is home to two different state parks as well as 54 other parks surrounding the lake.
Some activities include hiking, horseback riding, fishing charters, spa resorts, romantic restaurants, and two wildlife refuges where you can see deer, wild hogs, eagles, and other birds of prey.
2. Kimbell Art Museum
The Kimbell Art Museum is located in Fort Worth, Texas.
This museum provides a delightful place to spend a lazy afternoon where you can take in some of the most famous works of art created by many of the most well-known European masters.
The museum offers group tours, or you can schedule a private tour.
After you are done viewing the art, you can check out the in-house buffet restaurant or go for a walk outside to find one of the many fine-dining restaurants located nearby.
3. Jefferson (Big Cypress Bayou)
Located about two and a half hours outside of Dallas is the small town of Jefferson, Texas. Jefferson is a unique town located in the Piney Woods region of Texas.
The town contains many historic buildings, homes, landmarks, and museums.
Many of the historic homes offer tours, and if you are not looking forward to the drive back to Dallas, some of the homes can also provide lodging.
One of the highlights of Jefferson, Texas is the Big Cypress Bayou which you can tour by riverboat.
4. Turner Falls
Although Turner Falls State Park is technically located in Oklahoma, it is still only about a two-hour and ten-minute drive from downtown Dallas.
The main attraction of the Turner Falls State Park is of course the 77-foot tall waterfall.
This waterfall is surrounded by incredibly beautiful trees that change bright orange and red in the autumn months.
Aside from the waterfall, there are several natural swimming areas, public picnic areas, mysterious caverns, winding streams, hiking trails, and even some concession stands if you forget to pack a lunch.
5. Caddo Lake State Park
If you like to canoe, you can either bring your own or rent one at Caddo Lake State Park and explore the 50-plus miles of paddling trails that the park has to offer.
Paddle among all the various bayous and ponds of the lake while being mesmerized by the cypress trees covered with Spanish Moss.
If you or your loved one is into fishing, the park is known for its 70 different varieties of fish.
Romantic Day Trips in Houston
As of 2020, Houston is the United States’ fourth largest city with just over 2.3-million people, not counting the greater Houston metropolitan area.
The sheer size of Houston allows for the development of many museums, parks, and other notable attractions.
That being said, sometimes it is nice to escape the humidity and traffic of this large metropolis.
Another interesting thing to note about Houston is that because of its geographic location, it is in a unique position to allow someone to reach many of the other metropolitan areas of Texas as well as some in Louisiana.
In addition to reaching these different metropolitan areas, if you are driving from Houston, you can reach many of the day trip locations that someone may want to explore when staying in one of the other major metropolitan areas of Texas or Louisiana.
For example, from Houston, you can easily reach Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Baton Rouge, and even New Orleans.
Although they may make for longer days, unless you opt to spend the night, you could still realistically, for example, go from Houston and spend the day in Austin or San Antonio, and still make it back to Houston for dinner.
But let us focus specifically on Houston and take a closer look at some of the most ideal places to visit both inside and outside of the city.
1. Cockrell Butterfly Center
Located in the heart of downtown Houston, The Cockrell Butterfly Center houses a glass-enclosed butterfly habitat that includes a simulated rainforest and thousands of brightly colored butterflies from a variety of diverse species.
Additionally, there is a 50-foot waterfall surrounded by exotic plants.
After you and your date visit the butterfly center, you are within mear walking distance of other attractions that help to complete the day before capping off your evening at one of Houston’s many fine-dining restaurants.
Some of the other attractions you may want to consider visiting after the butterfly center include the Burke Baker Planetarium, the Japanese Garden, the Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool, and the Houston Zoo.
2. Space Center Houston
You do not need to be a “space nerd” or a rocket scientist to be marveled at the Space Center Houston.
The Space Center Houston is actually the official museum of NASA as well as the most visited attraction in Houston by international visitors.
The Space Center highlights the history of America’s human spaceflight program while being home to more than 400 space artifacts including spacesuits, moon rocks, model rockets, and lander modules.
There is also the Mission Mars exhibit where you can experience a virtual Martian sunset and see what kind of hardware and technology it will require to reach the red planet.
3. Tyler, Texas
Located about a three-and-a-half-hour drive north of Houston is the small town of Tyler, Texas.
Tyler is its own microcosm of entertainment that should be able to provide everything a couple may be looking for in a romantic day trip. The downtown area is filled with brick streets, antique shops, and small boutiques.
Tyler is also home to many famous Texas wineries and breweries where you can catch an afternoon wine tasting or a freshly poured pint before catching some live music or a comedy show at Liberty Hall.
4. The Houston Museum of Natural Science
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is one of the most popular natural science museums in the United States ranking just below the NYC American Museum of Natural History and the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science hosts over 2-million visitors a year coming from all over the world.
The popularity of the museum comes from its large number of special exhibits, the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, and its internationally acclaimed 230,000 square foot paleontology hall filled with more than 60 large dinosaur skeletons mounts.
Spend the afternoon browsing the four floors of the museum before catching a quick bite to eat or afternoon matinee in the heart of downtown Houston.
5. Minute Maid Park
OK, when it comes to romance, not everyone thinks of baseball.
However, sometimes a good ballgame can be a great way to enjoy some time and simply relax with a beer, a hotdog, some great views of the city, and someone you care about.
Minute Maid Park is home to the 2017 World Series Champions Houston Astros.
Catch an afternoon game and go out for a dinner after or catch the night game to get spectacular views of the city lights.
Romantic Day Trips in San Antonio
San Antonio is one of the most historically famous places in all of Texas.
However, San Antonio is much more than the Alamo, although it is a lovely place to visit if you have the opportunity
Aside from the historical significance of the city of San Antonio, the city is also well-known for its modern attractions, amazing food scene, as well as its numerous parks, gardens, and outdoor recreational spaces.
If you are staying in San Antonio and are a bit blown away by the sheer number of things to do, then take some time to review our top picks for places to bring a date on a romantic day trip.
1. Comanche Lookout Park
Comanche Lookout Park offers spectacular views of San Antonio and the surrounding region as it was originally used by the Comanche Nation as a lookout point to watch for approaching enemies as well as to spot wild game when hunting.
Now, this 96-acre park is used as a recreational area by the residents of San Antonio where they come to enjoy the views, walk, run, cycle, picnic, barbeque, and hike the four and a half miles of trails the park has to offer.
2. Helotes Zip Line Experience
There are fewer more telling ways to get to know someone you care about than taking on some type of adventure activity like zip-lining.
The pure adrenaline, the confrontation of fear, and the way an individual reacts can reveal a lot about a person.
That being said, this is not the inquisition.
Helotes Zip Line Experience is a wonderful way to see the Texas Hill Country as you experience nine different ziplines that can range anywhere from 100 to 1,000 feet long.
Do not worry. The zip-lines are completely safe, however, they are equally thrilling.
You do not need to have any zip-ling experience to participate in the fun at Helotes Zip Line Experience.
3. San Antonio Missions National Historic Park
Before the city of San Antonio came into existence, there were four established Catholic Missions along the San Antonio River.
These missions are not only tourist attractions but masses are still held regularly.
Each of the missions rests along the Mission Reach Hike and Bike Trail.
You are your loved one may want to consider renting a bike and spending an afternoon biking along the bike trail and visiting each of the four missions. Maybe even catch a mass if you are so inclined or a practicing Catholic.
All come, all welcome.
4. Blue Hole Nature Park
Blue Nature Park is located just a short one-hour drive from downtown San Antonio.
Spending a day in this regional park is a great way to enjoy the immense beauty of Texas Hill Country as well as to get to know your special someone.
Located along the south fork of the San Gabriel River, Blue Hole Nature Park has a lagoon and a natural swimming hole where you can take a refreshing dip to cool off from the hot San Antonio sun.
There is also a beach with shallower waters where you can wade with a floatation device and some refreshing beverages.
Additionally, the park has numerous picnic areas with provided grills if you would like to prepare a lovely late afternoon lunch before returning to San Antonio.
5. New Braunfels
New Braunfels is a quaint little town that was originally settled by German immigrants in the late 19th century.
The small town may offer the perfect backdrop for a calm stroll that can transplant you with its old-world charm and European character.
There are shops, museums, restaurants, and most importantly, plenty of breweries.
Specifically, the Hill Country Craft Beer Trails can offer plenty of places to catch a cold brew
For wine lovers, New Braunfels is also home to numerous vineyards and wineries that offer tastings year-round.