Summer vacation is something kids look forward to all year long. For them, summer never seems to be quite long enough. Parents, on the other hand, are usually more than ready for school to begin again.
If you are planning a vacation in Texas with your family this summer, you’ll likely want to plan it while the kids are out of school.
Summer break varies by state, and even districts within the state. However, most schools follow a similar schedule, which makes planning a bit easier.
How long is summer break in Texas?
Most schools in Texas have a break of 2 1/2 to 3 months. Summer vacation will begin near the end of May and end in mid-August. Exactly how long summer break is, and the dates will vary a bit based on the school district.
When is Summer Break in Texas?
First, we’ll discuss the general range for summer break in Texas. Schools in Texas typically begin summer break around May 24th to May 29th. Summer vacation ends in August, typically Aug. 14-17.
Texas public schools must meet some requirements for the beginning and end of the year. School can’t begin before the fourth Monday in August, and the last day can’t be before May 15th.
Summer break is determined by the school district, which is why there’s some variation between schools in different areas.
Let’s check out the dates for summer break in a few districts in Texas.
Abbot Independent School District
Abbot schools begin summer vacation on May 26th and return to school on August 17th. This gives them about 2 3/4 months of summer vacation. Specifically, students are out of school for 11 weeks and 82 days.
Abernathy schools begin their summer break on May 25 and return to school on August 16th. They are on summer vacation for 2 3/4 months. These students have 11 weeks of vacation, or 82 days.
Amarillo schools get out of school on May 26, and return to school on August 15th. Students will have nearly 2 3/4 months of summer break. They are out of school for about 11 weeks, and a total of 81 days.
Schools in the Madisonville Consolidated district begin summer break on May 24, and return to school on August 17th. Students will have about 2 3/4 months off school. They are out for about 11 weeks, for a total of 84 days.
Midland Independent School District
Midland Independent School District begins summer break on May 29, and return to school on August 9. They have a shorter break than most districts, with summer vacation being about 2 1/2 months long. Students will have a little more than 9 weeks of summer break, or 71 days.
Austin Independent School District
Austin Independent School District begins summer break on May 25, and school resumes on August 15th. Students will have 2 3/4 months of summer vacation. They have a total of 11 weeks off, or a total of 82 days.
Dallas schools begin summer vacation on May 27, and school resumes on August 18th. Students are out of school for about 2 3/4 months. They have 11 weeks off, or a total of 83 days.
Nontraditional School Schedules
In Texas, there are two types of nontraditional school schedules. These schools will have a different break schedule than the ones we’ve looked at.
These are year-round schedules and shortened school week schedules.
Shortened School Weeks
Shortened school weeks are becoming a trend in Texas, although they are controversial. The main reason for this is to increase teacher retention. Teachers have a day to plan and continue their own education.
However, its benefits or detriments for students are still being debated.
These schools are usually closed on Mondays or Fridays. Some schools have a hybrid schedule, which means they take 1 out of every 3 Mondays or Fridays off.
For example, the Crosby School District has Fridays off. Summer break begins on May 30, and students return on August 7. They have 163 school days, which is shorter than the standard schedule.
Year Round Schools
Year-round schools in Texas have shorter summer breaks and more frequent breaks throughout the year. Most schools follow a 45-15 schedule, which means students attend school for 45 days and have 15 days of break during the year.
Some schools have 60-20 schedules instead. Texas schools are able to determine their own schedule, so they aren’t required to use either of these schedules.
Anthony Independent School District begins school on July 31, and the school year ends on May 31st.
Edgewood Independent School District begins the year on August 8, and the year ends on June 7.
El Paso Independent School District begins its school year on August 7th and ends on June 7.
Days or Hours of Instruction Required
Texas law used to require 180 days of instruction. This is the case for schools in many states, although the requirement varies from state to state. Today, Texas schools must provide 75,600 minutes of instruction each school year.
This number is obtained by multiplying 7 hours, which is a standard school day, by 180 days.
The advantage of using minutes, however, is that a little extra time can be added to each day of school, which gives students more days off throughout the year.
What to Do During Summer Break
Whether you live in Texas and are planning to have a staycation or plan to visit Texas during your summer vacation, there are many activities you can enjoy with your kids.
Let’s look at ways to beat the heat and have some fun during summer break.
Keep them busy, but not too busy
Some parents allow their kids to have complete freedom during summer break, while other parents want to schedule every minute with great activities. What’s best for your kids and you is somewhere in between.
Kids need some type of schedule or structure to feel stable. You may want to establish a summertime routine or have a few chores or activities to do each day.
You should definitely plan some activities to keep the kids busy throughout the summer. Otherwise, you’ll hear “I’m bored” about 1,000 times a day.
At the same time, you don’t want to overschedule them. Kids, like adults, need downtime. They need some time to relax and do their own thing.
Of course, how many activities you plan and how strict of a schedule you implement during the summer will vary greatly based on your child’s age. Your child’s personality and your own preferences will also play a role in your choices.
Make a Splash
You can’t have summer, especially in a hot climate like Texas, without getting wet. Texas has a wide array of public pools, lakes, and the ocean, so you have plenty of options when deciding where to swim.
You can also soak up the rays on the beach, take a canoe on the water, or even go water skiing. Younger children love splash pads, which are also common in Texas.
Texas has plenty of options for outdoor recreation as well. Visit a state park, go on a hike, or even a scavenger hunt for native animals or plants. Bike rides are another fun way to enjoy the outdoors.
Learning doesn’t have to stop when schools close. In fact, it’s important to stimulate your child’s brain to reduce summer slide. However, learning doesn’t need to be boring.
Visiting an aquarium, zoo, or museum is a great way to have fun while providing some education.
Visit a Theme Park
Texas has several theme parks. Your family can enjoy some safe thrills and make some memories. These adrenaline-pumping destinations provide tons of excitement and fun for the entire family.
The Best Places to Visit During Summer Break in Texas
Texas is a great place to go on summer vacation. It’s family-friendly and offers something for everyone. You’ll find everything from urban cities to natural parks and everything in between.
San Antonio is a great place to find family-friendly activities. It should be considered a crime to visit Texas without a stop at the Alamo, which is located in San Antonio.
The Alamo is the site of a battle for Texan independence from Mexico. Today, it serves as a museum and memorial.
The River Walk claims to be the #1 attraction in Texas. It’s a 15-mile walkway that borders the river. In addition to allowing you to navigate much of the city on foot, you can catch a ride on a quaint river barge.
The River Walk is near the Alamo, King William Historic District, and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. You’ll find lots of dining and shopping options as you stroll along the river as well.
Looking for a place for your kids to have fun and learn? Consider the San Antonio Zoo. It’s consistently voted the #1 zoo in Texas. You can hop with kangaroos, hang out with hippos, and get chills in the reptile house.
Kiddie Park is located at the zoo, and it’s a great place to bring younger children. This is an amusement park designed just for kids. In fact, it’s the oldest kid’s amusement park in the country.
Natural Bridge Caverns, San Antonio
Natural Bridge Caverns is always a hit. You can explore the cave on guided tours. In fact, you can choose from the Discovery Tour, which is well lit, or the Hidden Wonders Tour, where each member is given a lantern to navigate the darkness.
In addition to viewing the natural cave formations, you’ll find shops, including an old-fashioned general store and souvenir shops. You can also mine or pan for precious gems and fossils, which provides a unique experience.
You can’t miss the Twisted Trails ropes course. The huge course has four levels and a total of seven zip lines. Little ones can go on their own ropes course, which offers adventure in a kid-friendly size.
Children’s Museum of Houston
Texas offers a variety of museums, but the Children’s Museum of Houston is arguably the best. This is more than an educational experience. It can spark a lifelong love of learning.
Exhibits include Tot Spot for toddlers. EcoStation provides outdoor learning, including a native garden, pond and woodland areas, and a solar-powered research station. The inventor’s workshop allows kids to create while learning about inventions and mechanical forces.
How Does it Work allows kids to explore everyday objects and mechanisms and discover how things work hands-on.
SECRET allows your kids to become secret spies. They will complete six regular missions, and then unlock three bonus missions. These missions develop skills, including math, logic, and critical thinking, while being lots of fun.
Younger children 3-6 years old can enjoy a virtual SECRET experience.
Lake Travis is one of the most visited destinations in the Lone Star state. It features blue-green waters, which is not what you expect in a Texas lake. When it comes to boats, there are plenty to choose from. You can rent a yacht, or a small boat, or take a boat tour around the lake.
There are plenty of beaches, campsites, and fishing areas on the lake as well.
Waterloo Adventures is one of the most unique attractions on the lake. It’s a water park on the water. It’s made up of inflatables.
Tackle obstacle courses, zoom down waterslides, relax on the beach, and enjoy some tasty treats while visiting Waterloo.
Another can’t-miss activity while visiting the lake are ziplines. Ziplines allow you to see the lake from a birds-eye view and provide breathtaking scenery and excitement.
There are several options to choose from, with some being safe for younger kiddos.
Great Trinity Forest, Trinity, Dallas
Great Trinity Forest is the largest urban forest in America. It’s located just south of Dallas city center and within the city limits. The forest offers a variety of trails for hiking and horseback riding.
If you are new to horseback riding, don’t worry. Texas Horse Park features over 300 acres of forestland. Young children can ride ponies. Kids 9 and up and adults can ride well-trained horses on the trails, or take riding lessons.
The Park is run by two non-profits. Equest focuses on equine therapy, while River Ranch focuses on education and teaching proper horsemanship while providing memorable experiences.
Other features of the park include a variety of plants and wildlife, old-growth hardwood trees, and wetlands.
East Texas Elephant Experience, Cut and Shoot
If you are looking for something different than the standard zoo experience, an elephant sanctuary is certainly worth visiting. The East Texas Elephant Experience offers tours on Saturday and Sunday.
You can learn about elephants and spend some time hanging out with their supersized trio of pachyderms.
The sanctuary also has camel rides, a goat petting zoo, and a zebra or two.
It’s important to know that this is not animal exploitation. The owners of Elephant Experience provide education at events and festivals and works to help further research into elephants. They also donate to non-profits devoted to elephant conservation.
Beaumont offers some experiences that are hard or impossible to find anywhere else. One of the top attractions is Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum.
It’s not your typical museum. It’s actually a recreation of the town in the early 1900s. Browse the post office, saloon, and general store. There’s also a working print shop. Frequent reenactments are also held for even more fun.
Another spectacular attraction is the Gator Country Adventure Park. You and your kids can have a hands-on adventure with animals, including baby gators, snakes, or lizards. Educational shows are also part of the experience.
You can also check out some adult alligators and feed them from a safe distance. There’s also a petting zoo and tortoises that you can feed.
Lastly, consider taking a swamp tour. Gator Country provides small tours and educates visitors on the ecology of the area. You can see a variety of animals, including blue herons, great horned owls, and of course, gators.
Dallas provides enough activities that it could be your sole vacation destination on your trip to Texas.
Experience thrills at Six Flags over Dallas, with plenty of rides for children of all ages, and adults. The city features several museums, including the Frontiers of Flight Museum and the Heard Natural History Museum.
If you want to avoid the blazing Texas heat, visit the Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark. The park features slides ranging from kid-friendly to jaw-dropping.
You can also learn to boogie board or surf. Enjoy a relaxing pool at The Swimming Hole, or have an adventure in the Wave Pool.
Nature lovers can enjoy the Dallas Zoo and The Dallas World Aquarium. The aquarium features a rainforest exhibit with toucans and three-toed sloths. Aquatic creatures include river otters and manatees.