If you’re looking for a fun for all ages, music-filled, and a lip-smacking trip to the South; then the state capital of Texas is the place for your big family’s next vacay. Austin is filled with fantastic museums, great music, over 300 days of sunshine to enjoy outdoor activities, and fantastic food choices.
Planning the perfect Austin trip for all ages can be a challenge. How to keep everyone entertained, fed, and happy? With this 3 day itinerary, your family will never want to leave Austin.
Austin Day One Family Friendly Activities
Start your trip off right by enjoying some of Austin’s warm weather and beautiful outdoor areas.
Austin Duck Adventures
Get introduced to the city the right way, by land and water! Austin Duck Adventures promises fun for all ages, touring around Austin including historic Sixth Street, the State Capitol, and the Governor’s Mansion. The amphibious bus then plunges straight into Lake Austin, for a tour by water! Tour guides are fun and knowledgeable about the city, and they provide ‘quack callers’ to all visitors!
Inner Space Cavern
Up next, we have a geographical marvel that is sure to leave your family in wonder! The Inner Space Cavern was hidden for over 10,000 years before being discovered by a construction crew for the Texas Highway Department. Take a tour through gorgeous formations, stalactites, and stalagmites (and learn the difference between them!), pan for gemstones, and try out their brand new Saber Tooth Zip ride! The cave is also open year-round. See another side of Austin, the underside!
Once your crew starts getting hungry, look no further than The Picnic, a famous Austin food truck park! With 80 paved parking spots, you’re sure to have your pick of tons of different local foods, and leave everyone in your family satisfied! Be sure to look for tacos and bbq, as that’s what Austin’s food world is best known for. Bon appetit!
Are your kids totally obsessed with dinosaurs? Or maybe you’re just looking for a Jurassic Park-esque holiday card photo. Either way, Dinosaur Park in Austin is the perfect place to enjoy the sun while still having more fun than ‘just a stroll in the park’. Marvel at the life-sized, realistically painted replicas of Jurassic era dinosaurs, and learn more about their species! This is also a great area to have some free playtime and blow off some steam outside. It can be tiring being on a minute-to-minute itinerary, so be sure to schedule some time for kids to just be kids!
Austin Day Two Family Friendly Activities
Day two is our edu-fun-tainment day, exploring the museums and educational centers that Austin has to offer.
Austin Nature and Science Center
With hands-on exhibits and recreational activities, ANSC is a kid’s wonderland. Learn about what makes up the Austin ecosystem, from thousands of years ago up to today. With indoor and outdoor areas, you can spend some time in the AC while not missing out on the sunshine altogether. Live animal shows will introduce you to local Texan wildlife, dig for fossils in the dino pit, and explore the naturalist workshop. Temporary exhibits rotate through, so be sure to check their website while planning your visit. Best of all, admission is FREE!
The premier children’s museum of Austin, the Thinkery has plenty to do for as long as you’d like to visit. Exhibits include Train Town, Spark Shop, Innovator’s Workshop, mini Farmer’s Market, Light Lab, and more! The Thinkery has tons of programs and specials for families such as exclusive museum access times for families with children ages 0-3, and FREE admission on Sundays from 3 pm – 5 pm. A great stop that kids are sure to love!
County Line BBQ
Getting hungry? County Line BBQ is a must-stop for your Austin visit if you don’t end up visiting more than once during your trip! Residing inside a previous lake lodge, the County Line on the Lake is right on Bull Creek just off Lake Austin and has been well known for years as THE place in Austin to take out-of-town guests. Have a meal, enjoy the ambiance, and feed the ducks off the dock at the end of dinner.
Austin Day Three Family Friendly Activities
Start your day with some fresh air and spend some time on the water. Families with teens and tweens can partner up to rent two-person kayaks. Rentals are available by the hour or by day. Explore Lady Bird Lake and take a picture of your crew on the water.
Looking to learn more about local art and Mexican heritage in Austin? This museum is perfect! Explore the art and culture of Mexican-American Austin artists, both from the past and modern-day. Keep an eye on their website for event opportunities including food and artist meet and greets. On Sundays, families can also tour the museum for free from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm!
Finish off your Austin trip with a natural marvel that is sure to impress. Mexican Free-Tailed Bats are known to populate the city, sleeping during the day under overpasses and bridges. A 1980 renovation transformed the Congress Avenue Bridge into an ideal bat cave, soon attracting migrating Mexican free-tailed bats. Decades later, Austin’s bat numbers have swelled and locals have adopted the beloved creatures as neighbors who happily handle the city’s bug mitigation and provide an amazing nightly show.
From late spring until early fall, get ready for the sunset show by heading towards the grassy hill vantage point of the Statesman Bat Observation Center, adjacent to the bridge. Visitors and residents alike line up nightly on the Congress Avenue Bridge to witness the bats fly out from beneath the bridge, forming a surreal dark cloud as they ascend into the night sky. Arrive early for a front-row spot (the sidewalk gets crowded) and be sure to face the east, as the bats will fly out in that direction.
We’ve packed a lot into this 3-day itinerary. You could easily spread out the above activities into a four-day trip.
Successful trips start with great accommodations, check out our big family friendly hotel listings in Austin.
Plan on staying longer or need more room, see these Austin Vacation Rentals.