The Best Free and Low-Cost Road Trips in Texas

A state the size of Texas has a lot to explore. If you are thinking about going on a road trip, there is no need to leave the state because, chances are, there is plenty for you to see and do close to home. You can find free and low-cost activities throughout the state that you can include on your next road trip. Whether you stay in East Texas and explore everything in your own backyard or venture out a little further into the state, you can have an epic road trip in Texas without spending a fortune.

Get in touch with nature at Tyler State Park

If you live in East Texas, you do not have to travel far to experience some of the best that Texas has to offer. Tyler State Park has over 900 acres that you can explore. It has a 64-acre lake on which you can enjoy a variety of water activities. There are hiking trails and camping grounds available to visitors as well.

The entry cost to Tyler State Park is $6 per person thirteen years old and up. Kids twelve and under get in free. If you have a Texas State Parks annual pass, you can get into Tyler State Park without paying the $6 daily fee.

The city of Tyler and the smaller towns that surround Tyler State Park also have a lot to offer anyone who wants to explore the area. Tyler is famous for its roses and you can explore the Tyler Rose Garden free of charge. In the spring, you can drive through the Azalea Trail and look at the historic homes and beautiful Azaleas. Nearby towns like Lindale and Mineola have unique stores, restaurants, and events that you can check out during your trip to the area as well.

Hike to the top of Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock is a unique place in Texas that is worth a visit. This ‘rock’ is a granite dome that appears to slope gradually upward. Don’t let it fool you though, there are parts of the climb that can be a challenge! The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is one of the many beautiful areas of Texas managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife. Getting into Enchanted Rock will cost you $8 per person over the age of twelve. Kids twelve and under get in for free. If you own a Texas State Parks annual pass, you can get into the Enchanted Rock Area without paying an entry fee.

You can hike on the eleven miles of trails that surround the rock or take the path straight up the rock. Other activities include rock climbing, stargazing, and camping. If you are planning a road trip to Enchanted Rock, be sure and call or get online to make reservations ahead of time. Current restrictions require that the number of people in the park be monitored carefully. Securing your spot ahead of time is the safest way to make sure you get to experience Enchanted Rock.

The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is located in Fredericksburg, TX. Fredericksburg is located in central Texas which is also known as ‘hill country’. There is a lot to see in the town of Fredericksburg. It has a rich history that you can see displayed in the architecture, food options, and culture of the town. Be sure to leave a day during your trip to leisurely explore the town of Fredericksburg and enjoy everything it has to offer.

Visit your alma mater

How long has it been since you last visited your alma mater? Taking a road trip to your old stomping ground can be an inexpensive way to have a lot of fun. If it has been years since you last visited the area where you went to high school or college, there will be plenty of changes to see. If your favorite local restaurant is still open, grab lunch there and take a walk down memory lane. Do you have friends who still live in the area? Look them up and let them show you what has changed and what has stayed the same. College campuses often change quickly and it can be surprising to return to campus after a few years and look at all the growth that has occurred. You may even find that you can get deals on stays, events, and food because of your status as a local graduate. For example, former students can typically go to events on campus like football games at a discounted rate.

Float the river

If you have lived in Texas for long, you probably know someone who has gone to ‘float the river’. Floating the river is a pastime that allows you to enjoy time outside in the scorching heat of Texas summers. There are a few different rivers that you can float and include the Comal River and Guadalupe River which are both in New Braunfels, TX. You can also check out the Frio River in Concan or the Medina River in Bandera.

Floating the river involves getting a tube for each person in your group and relaxing in those tubes as the flow of the river pushes you along. You can purchase your own tubes or rent them for a small fee at one of the many rental places in the area. If this is an adults-only trip you can take drinks (no glass bottles allowed) and focus on relaxing as you float. This can also be a fun trip for a family. There are floats designed for the smaller size of kids if you need them.

The towns around the rivers where you can float have a lot to offer in terms of charm and history. In New Braunfels for example, you can explore areas that have an old-world charm and experience the best in Texas country music. Be sure and consider what the surrounding area has to offer when you choose which river you want to float on your trip. A carefully planned road trip can provide you with a ton of fun without costing a ton of money. In Texas, there is no shortage of open roads and interesting sights to explore. Take a look at the things that are available to do for free in your immediate area – you may be surprised to find out how much your hometown has to offer! Once you have explored the sights close by, you can expand your options by venturing out to one of the many fun spots dotted around the state of Texas.

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