While children and teachers count down the days until Spring Break, many parents don’t share their same eagerness about this fun-filled time off. Children typically have their breaks mapped out, but since most of their plans can be completed in one short day, this leaves them uttering the long drawn-out whine of “I’m so bored!” Instead of zoning out with electronics, try one of these 5 inexpensive day trips in East Texas to help breakup the boredom before it has a chance to ruin everyone’s Spring Break.
Known as the oldest town in Texas, Nacogdoches founded in 1779, has something for every member of the family to enjoy.
1) Railroad Depot - The train enthusiasts in your family will delight in the railroad depot that was originally built in 1911. The depot features several exhibits, including one that goes over the history of the Houston East and West Texas rail line.
- Tuesday – Thursday 11:00 am – 3:00pm.
- Friday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Tours are free, but donations are welcome. Closed Sundays, Mondays and major holidays.
2) Azaleas Trail - The 16th annual Azaleas Trail will leave your flower enthusiasts marveling at the array of vibrant colors of over 7,000 azaleas. Twenty-five miles of self-guided driving trails are broken up into three separate routes. Each route begins downtown at the Charles Bright Visitors Center, while the heart of the Azaleas Trail is the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, which was created as a group effort between Stephen F. Austin State University and members of the community.
Guided tours are offered for free every Saturday during the month of March. The annual Azaleas Trail runs from March 1 through March 31.
While touring some of the many other historical landmarks, including ghost trails for the brave at heart, pop into one of the family-owned restaurants and grab a bite to eat. Just don’t be surprised if a shopper in your group disappears – it’s not the ghosts at play, but rather one too many tempting antique shops!
3) Fire Museum of Texas - Have a future firefighter on your hands? Have them explore what it would be like to be a firefighter as they dress up in fire gear and slide behind the wheel of a fire truck simulator. If that isn’t exciting enough, see the world’s largest working fire hydrant courtesy of Disney Land. Families will also have an opportunity to practice different fire safety procedures in a miniature two-story house.
Have a family member that is part of a fire department? Bring their badges or patches to add to the museum’s extensive collection.
Admission is free.
4) Tyler State Park - Spread out over 64 acres of lush pine-filled land, spend your day fishing, biking, and bird watching.
The whole family can hunt for treasure using a smartphone or GPS and participate in geocaching. Geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt that people, or geocachers, hide different “caches” all over for geocachers to find. You will need to go to geocaching.com and sign up. You can check out a quick guide here, or find a local class at one of the many state parks. Pick a cache that suits everyone in your party. Don’t pick a cache that has challenging terrain if not everyone in your party is up to it; you want everyone to be able to participate! The neat part of geocaching is being able to keep track of your logs. This will be an easy way to reflect back on many family memories.
For the younger family members pick up a Junior Ranger Explorer Pack for free. Each pack is full of essentials that will help hone the junior ranger’s exploring skills. Make sure to check with the park for availability so there are no disappointed junior rangers.
Adults: $5 daily. Children 12 years and under : free.
5) Discovery Science Place - Let children explore and create in three different exhibits. Children of all ages are encouraged to explore and discover new things. While the exhibits do change, currently the three that are featured are Discovery Landing, Hometown, USA, and Discovery Zone.
- Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm
- Sunday 1pm – 5pm
Entrance fees range from $5-$8
Before buying tickets check out http://www.astc.org/members/passlist.htm to see which museums take part in the Reciprocal Free Admissions Program. Since Discovery is an affiliate, your other museum passes might get you in for free.
Hopefully, you can enjoy one of these inexpensive day trips throughout East Texas during your Spring Break.