It’s almost here, y’all! Summertime!
These are the days when livin’ is easy, the catfish are jumpin’, and the water is finer than fine.
You know what that means. Time to check off all 25 items on our Ultimate Texas Summer Bucket List!
The Thrill of Summer
Oh, goodness. I so remember the thrill of summer’s arrival back in the day, don’t you?
No one really had a “bucket list”, best I recall. Basically, all we wanted to do was sleep in, spend our afternoons at the pool and have pizza with our friends every night.
Summer Over 50
Those were definitely some pretty wonderful, carefree days. But, hey – we’re over 50 now, my friends. And we have all.kinds.of.plans.
No more sleeping late. (Probably couldn’t if I wanted to.)
Fruit Loops for breakfast? (Not enough fiber.)
Afternoons at the pool? (Only if it’s private. Or if shorts will pass as a swimsuit.)
And fun with friends EVERY night of the week? (How about just getting together on Saturday night? We can text until then.)
You know, I don’t really love the term “bucket list.”
Mostly, that’s because I don’t want God to think I’m frantically trying to do everything fun and wonderful before I “kick the bucket,” as if I’m unaware of what awaits. I mean, as many times as I’ve thanked God for the beauty of a sunrise at Galveston Beach, I know in my heart that he’s saying: If you think that’s really something to see, just wait until you experience what I’ve prepared for you up here in h-e-a-v-e-n, my child.
So, for now, on this side of glory, I’ll just use the term loosely, to symbolize a visual “bucket” in which to carry my “list.”
Even so, Jesus died so that we could have abundant life. So, I know he doesn’t want us to sit around waiting to walk the streets of gold when we can trek all over the beauty of Texas right now.
How’s that for some adventurous Biblical interpretation?
The Ultimate Texas Summer Bucket List
I had such a good time compiling my Ultimate Texas Summer Bucket List, you guys.
Here are a few notes about the list.
- I didn’t include any adventures in far West Texas, because it’s really pretty hot over there any time past June 1. Better to save those experiences for that gorgeous season that follows a Texas summer. However, the following ultimate list does cover a good deal of Texas ground, from the near-top to the almost-bottom of the state.
- It would have been easy for this Ultimate Texas Summer Bucket List to include 100 items, but I kept it at 25. That way, all you list-lovers out there can feasibly check off every single adventure in the span of one wonderful Texas summer.
- There are no notes included about physical limitations. Basically, if you aren’t on crutches, you can likely enjoy everything on the list.
- Lastly, if you like to adventure around Texas with your kids and grandkids, all 25 ideas would be appropriate to do together (with the exception of the wineries).
Now … which one should we do first?
25 Bucket List Things to Do in Texas This Summer
- Experience the GeoDeck at Reunion Tower. Summer is the perfect time to step out into the best view of Dallas at Reunion Tower. Click here to schedule the Tower’s special “Love is in the Air” date night package.
- Be a kid again at Six Flags Over Texas. In the realm of possibilities for Over Fifty fun, there are so many adventurous options! Some of those include experiencing what we loved as kids or with kids, but this time from a different view. So, do you want to feel the thrill again of being strapped in and slung around on a speedy, whirly coaster? Get wet on the world’s first log ride? Go for it! There’s no place better to be a kid again than at Six Flags Over Texas.
- Pick blueberries in Nacogdoches. During the second week of June, this deep east Texas community nearly doubles in size to host the state’s biggest blueberry festival. Stop in at a few berry farms on the way, and then enjoy the festivities once you arrive. Make it a day trip or a unique overnight stay in the Piney Woods.
- Follow a Texas wine trail. With over 400 to choose from, there’s almost assuredly a Texas winery near you. One way to check several off your list is to follow a predetermined trail, like the Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail in July. This trail features eight wineries north of Houston. Other winery groups publish maps you can use to create your own trail, as well, like this one at North Texas Wine. And if you’re planning to explore Fredericksburg, you might want to extend your stay. This group of over 60 Hill Country Wineries could keep you busy for days. And there are still more. Texas wine is a multi-billion dollar industry!
- Ride the water taxi in San Antonio. There’s so much to see in San Antonio; however, most tourists and locals know you simply can’t visit this great city and not go down to the Riverwalk. Most of us who are Texans over 50 probably grew up having ridden a water taxi through it while on vacation with our families. But having this experience as an adult is altogether different. I can’t think of a more relaxing event to include on our Ultimate Texas Summer Bucket List. Check out one of the highest rated Riverwalk cruise companies here. And, if you decide to make a weekend of it, be sure to treat yourself with a night at Hotel Emma.
- Dip in at Austin’s Barton Springs. Taking a dip into Barton Springs Pool is something many Austinites have done, even in the dead of winter, but there’s a much better time to do it. Summer! The water is truly cold, like really cold. So you might want to put this experience near the end of your summer bucket list when the sun is at its hottest in the sky. Also consider taking the grandkids along for this memory-making Texas experience.
- Play a round of golf in Lubbock. Lubbock can be hot in the summer, but not too hot for an early tee time at the highly rated Rawls Course. This place is pretty incredible, and I’m as game to play a round of golf there as you are.
- See Texas, an outdoor musical production. While there are many outdoor music venues to choose from, none could have a more scenic backdrop than the towering rock formations around the stage of the play Texas. Tourists come in groups and families vacation in the nearby campground. Take a light sweater, as the evening breeze can be a little cool after the sun goes down. Tickets can be purchased here.
- Tour the Johnson Space Center. The Ultimate Texas Summer Bucket List for every Over 50’er should include a visit to The Johnson Space Center. Lots of us may have enjoyed this experience as kids, but its impact offers even more to us as adults. Maybe that’s because we now have the advantage of hindsight, or just that we understand better what it took for our space program to become what it is today. There’s a lot to see at The Johnson Space Center, but there’s a tram to ride and plenty of places to take a breather during your visit.
- Visit The Blue Hole. Both The Blue Hole and Jacob’s Well are the kind of must-do attractions that you’ll find on every Texas blogger’s bucket list. However, most of them are Under 50, and, lest we forget, you and I have already hit the big 5-0. That said, you can still jump off the cliff into the black abyss of Jacob’s Well if you want to – but your kids will not be at all happy about it. So, just go, observe, take pictures, then head over to The Blue Hole, where you can swim and have a picnic. If you decide to try the tree swing, I won’t tell your kids.
- Hike the Violet Crown Trail in Austin. When you hike the Violet Crown, you might wonder if you’re still in Texas. It’s truly a gorgeous trail. Take a big water bottle and enjoy Texas beauty of a very special kind, right in the heart of Central Texas.
- Spend a weekend on the rim of Palo Duro Canyon. Just south of Amarillo lies a deep canyon, the size of which is second only to the Grand Canyon, in Arizona. At one time, the only lodging choice was the CCC cabins built for the State Park. If you can’t get a reservation in one of those, there’s another beautiful option here. Summer days in this part of Texas are hot and dry, but the mornings and evenings couldn’t be more pleasant. That’s what makes the summer months the perfect time to spend a weekend on the rip of the canyon. If you plan to hike during your visit, make sure you have more than plenty of water when you go.
- Experience the Texas-size renovation at The Fort Worth Stockyards. When you think of Fort Worth, you probably think of The Stockyards. But, if you haven’t been there lately, your mental images may no longer be accurate. The massive renovation at this historic Texas place is enough to knock your boots off. All the traditions are still alive, like the cattle drive down Exchange Avenue, but now, the new blends in with the old. You might want to make this a unique adventure that lasts all weekend long, my Texas friends.
- Go striper fishing on Lake Texoma. Whether novice or experienced fisherman or woman, a guided fishing experience at Lake Texoma is sure to be fun. And easy! Just get on, enjoy the scenery, catch some fish. The guides even filet and bag your catch for easy transport back to your freezer at home. Be sure you add fried pickles to the plate!
- Eat a steak at Perini Ranch. Have you been to Buffalo Gap, Texas? No, you say?? Well, put it on your list, because from wherever you are, no matter how far, this place is worth the drive. Especially if you plan to eat a steak at Perini Ranch. Here’s a link to the story behind the steakhouse and the dinner menu is here. But there’s a lot to see on the rest of the website, including info on guest quarters and bragging rights.
- Get a spa treatment. There are so many luxurious choices for spa experiences in Texas. You can go all out at Lake Austin Spa Resort or just swing by for a quick 30 minute foot massage at Cloud 9 in Houston. If neither of those strikes your fancy, how about a Diamond Facial at the Ritz-Carlton in Dallas? Ooh, la la. Ask me how I know how wonderful that is.
- Chow down on Texas barbecue at Truth in Brenham. One thing about bloggin’ about Texas is the joy of tasting all the barbecue! How can I recommend if I’ve never tried it for myself, right? So, when it came down to which of all the many places to include on the Ultimate Texas Summer Bucket List, I chose Truth Barbecue in Brenham. Here’s the reason. Well, actually, two reasons. You will find barbecue all across the Lone Star State that is as good as Truth in Brenham. But, you absolutely won’t find better. Now, that’s my opinion, so let me know what you think after you go. The second thing is that Brenham is such a great place to visit!
- Float the Frio. Just because you did it in college, or took the kids for a float trip when you were 35, doesn’t mean you can’t recreate this ultimate Texas experience again Over 50. If you can sit in a tube, you can probably still take a trip down the Frio River, my friends. Ahhh, remember the fun of floating in the cold waters of a Texas river on the hottest of August days? Oh, goodness. Me, too. Here’s an article from Houstonia Magazine with some good info for planning this adventure, once you’ve decided to jump in on the idea.
- Cheer for the Rangers. Summer nights are made for ballpark lights, and the Texas Rangers, of course. Find the game schedule here, get tickets and enjoy at least one of your summer nights with the Rangers. And if you want to tour Globe Life Field before the game, click here for the details.
- Eat all the peaches and all the other peach things in Fredericksburg. Well, okay. You probably can’t eat all the peach things, because there are so many. But you can sure ’nuff eat some gorgeous, juicy, ripe peaches in Fredericksburg, Texas. In fact, it just wouldn’t be summer around here without enjoying quite a few.
- Ride the Vonlane. You guys. Seriously, I LOVE riding the Vonlane bus. For now, routes are only available from Dallas/Fort Worth/San Antonio/Austin/Houston/Oklahoma City, but I predict there will be many more. In the meantime, riding the Vonlane is the best way to avoid the traffic on major highways between Texas’ largest cities. Does anyone remember riding the bus to Grandma’s house? Well, if it had been the Vonlane, we would have been beggin’ for our moms to send us.
- Visit the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin. If you haven’t toured this exquisite museum, pick a hot day in July or August and head down to see it in Austin. You’ll learn a whole lot about Texas history in a well-designed setting, with plenty of interactive activities.
- Eat the number one bestseller at Amy’s Ice Creams. Amy’s got its start in Austin in 1984, but has now expanded to Houston and San Antonio. You will probably wish there was a location in your hometown after you try the number one bestseller on Amy’s chalkboard menu. It’s called Mexican Vanilla, and that amazingly unique flavor comes from crossbreeding a traditional Madagascar vanilla bean with a Mexican orchid. Yep. No wonder that stuff is so yummy.
- See the sunset at Galveston. Summer in Texas calls for a trip to the beach, of which we have a’plenty; however, Galveston remains my top pick for the enjoyment of sunrise and sunset while walking on a sandy shore. Leave a comment if you favor another Texas beach. I’d love to hear. Here’s where we always stay when in Galveston.
- Take a Go-Devil tour at Caddo Lake. With an engine concept brought back from Vietnam, Warren Coco began manufacturing a small boat that glides across just about anything in swampy waters like, you’ll find at Caddo Lake. Of all the unique boating adventures there are to do in Texas, this one rates highest. If you’ve never experienced East Texas from the seat of a Go-Devil, you’ll be amazed. Here’s a link to a great tour provider.
There’s Always More
Looks like we better keep a bag packed and gas in the car, my friends.
Our Ultimate Texas Summer Bucket List is sure to keep us busy for a while, but this IS Texas, ya’ know.
There’s always more!
Encouraging a lifetime filled with everyday intentional adventure,
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