Summer has arrived here in Texas along with one of our favorite summer rituals – The 3 Day Weekend!
We take long weekends seriously here at Packit Gourmet, and we think you should too!
To help inspire, we’ve compiled some of our favorite dream long weekend destinations near Packit Gourmet HQ, here in Central Texas.
All images by our friend and photographer, Grant Pittman.
See more of his beautiful Texas landscapes here!
1. Big Bend National Park
First up on our list is Big Bend National Park, a massive, rugged and awe-inspiring desert landscape that will ignite your sense of exploration. With its towering canyons, winding rivers, and vast open spaces, this national park offers endless opportunities for hiking, stargazing, and immersing yourself in the wonders of nature.
Camping in the Chisos Basin is a sure-fire win, but for those who are looking for more night sky than you ever thought possible, be sure to check out the primitive, drive-up campsites. Another great long weekend option is an overnighter on the South Rim trail loop, which offers huge vistas and backcountry solitude. Many areas of Big Bend are quite remote, so plan accordingly when packing water and filling up the gas tank!
Must Do & See:
- See Santa Elena Canyon
- Soak in Hot Springs right on the Rio Grande
- Hike The Balanced Rock Trail
- Summit Emory Peak
If traveling Westbound, you’ll likely pass through Marathon, TX…if you’re lucky. Be sure to stop by The French Co Grocer and stock up on water, camp supplies, & desert essentials!
Read more on how to best explore the BigBend region here.
2. South Padre Island National Seashore
Located just South of Corpus Christi is a lesser-known, protected National Seashore and perfect 3 day weekend beach getaway. Experience ever-changing dunes that give way to pristine beaches and coastal waters. Whether you’re a sun seeker looking to relax or a water enthusiast eager to paddle board or kayak, this coastal gem has it all. Get ready to soak up the sun and let the gentle ocean breeze wash away your worries.
Must Do & See:
- Explore 66 miles of undeveloped beaches and preserved natural habitat
- Witness a sea turtle hatchling release
- Paddle and fish the Laguna Madre
If tent camping, be sure to plan ahead for high winds and consider bringing stakes designed specifically for using in sand.
Learn more and plan your visit here!
3. Pedernales State Park
When we are searching for a closer-to-home option, Pedernales State Park is one of our favorites! This state park is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Texas Hill Country showcasing five thousand acres of trails and river access. Lace up your hiking boots and set off on the park’s scenic trails, winding through rolling hills and picturesque landscapes. Don’t forget to cool off with a dip in the refreshing Pedernales River.
Must See & Do:
- Explore the cascading limestone falls and pools of pristine water
- Hike or Bike through over 40 miles of trails from half mile vista trails to 10 mile loops.
- Leave the park for the afternoon and visit Pedernales Cellars along the infamous TX Wine Trail.
Learn more about experiencing Pedernales State Park here.
4. Palo Duro Canyon State park
As the fourth destination on our list, Palo Duro Canyon will transport you to another world. The second largest canyon in North America (known as the “Grand Canyon of Texas”) and a stunning geological marvel boasting vibrant colors, towering rock formations, and breathtaking vistas. Explore the canyon on foot, bike, or even horseback for a truly unforgettable experience.
Must See & Do:
- Hike The Lighthouse Trail for sunrise
- Get tickets to the Texas Outdoor Musical Summer Series
- Mountain Bike through miles and miles of desert single-track trails
Start your hikes early, especially if visiting during the Summer months. The canyon floor can become dangerously hot during the day. Plus, sunrise at the Lighthouse Trail is something you won’t forget!
5. Caddo Lake State Park
Last but certainly not least, we invite you to lose yourself in the enchanting beauty of Caddo Lake State Park. Located in the mysterious swamplands of East Texas, this unique destination offers a mesmerizing blend of cypress trees, Spanish moss, and marsh wildlife. Caddo Lake is one of a handful of natural lakes in Texas and boasts a pristine ecosystem of freshwater fish and wetland waterbirds. Take a peaceful canoe ride through the maze-like waterways or embark on a bird-watching expedition—you never know what wonders you’ll encounter.
Must See & Do:
- Rent a canoe and paddle through the Big Cypress Bayou and Sawmill Pond
- Stay in a restored CCC cabins, originally constructed in the 1930s
Bring binoculars and get an up-close view of marsh wildlife.
Learn more about Caddo Lake here.
Big weekends also mean big menus and to help, we’ve curated two meal bundles specifically for weekend warriors.