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.
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!
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.
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.