While this summer has felt endless for many families, kids will be back in school soon enough (if they're not already). As summer’s heat wave now runs full throttle, a wet-and-wild family getaway may be in order. Texas is home to many resorts with cool pools, twisty waterslides, and lazy rivers to float the day away. Being mindful of COVID-19 concerns, resorts now feature updated safety protocols and limited capacities, so planning ahead is essential for a fun and relaxing time once you arrive. Whether you're looking ahead to a Labor Day escape or need a few days away now, here are five splashy Texas resorts to check out, all within a day's drive from Austin.
Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe
Jimmy Buffett fans aren't the only ones who will enjoy sun and sips at the brand new Margaritaville Lake Resort, located on 186 waterfront acres of Lake Conroe about an hour north of Houston. Little Parrotheads are welcome to the family-friendly destination, which offers the three-acre Jolly Mon Water Park featuring an all-ages pool with colorful waterslides, splash pad, and palm tree-lined lazy river. Other family activities include mini golf, boat and watercraft rentals, and the laid-back Landshark Bar & Grill, where guests can stick their toes in the sand. Each suite in the 20-story hotel has separate bedroom and living spaces with private balconies or patios. Need more room? Book one of 32 island-themed lakefront cottages. Rates start at $218 for weeknight stays. Masks required for guests 10 and older, except while in water features.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa, San Antonio
Leisurely lounging via innertube is the theme here. The Hill Country escape features multiple pools connected by a country-style lazy river, which is shaded by towering oak trees and bordered by lush foliage and rock walls. Little ones will keep busy at the shaded sandy beach (bring your own sandcastle buckets and shovels) and tweens will find excitement in the two-story waterslide and FlowRider boogie board wave machine. Everyone can partake in s’mores by the campfire nightly and movies on the lawn Thursday through Saturday at dusk. Stay active with hiking, bike rentals, and sand volleyball. The Hyatt Regency Hill Country requires guests 2 and older to wear masks while on-site, except in pools or waterpark amenities. Rates start at $165 for a weeknight stay.
JW Marriot San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, San Antonio
A waterpark oasis awaits guests of this sprawling San Antonio resort, which boasts the famed nine-acre River Bluff Water Experience. Heart-pumping activities include tubing down a 35-foot waterslide, plummeting the 60-foot Canyon Oak Twister body slide, and riding the waves on the 650-foot Pedernales River ride. There’s also a 1,100-foot lazy river, kids' pool with beach entry and splash zones, a sandy beach, and multiple pools and hot tubs. The resort reopened in mid-June with reduced capacities and new safety protocols. For parents needing to get a little work done while the kids play, special rates are available with the resort’s Work, Learn, and Play package through December 30 with rate code P91. Summer rates start at $349 per night. Masks required for guests 10 and older, except while in water features.
Gaylord Texan, Grapevine
Exclusively for the guests of the Gaylord Texan is Paradise Springs, the Grapevine hotel’s 10-acre waterpark. The Western-themed complex includes a splashy, multi-level water play structure, toddler pool, three winding waterslides, a 600-foot lazy river, and a 6,000 square-foot family lagoon with walk-in beach. Note that on Saturdays and peak days, reservations to Paradise Springs are required to support social distancing. Guests may reserve time blocks, 9 am-2 pm or 3-8 pm. Private cabanas are also available for rent. During the resort's annual SummerFest, taking place through September 7, guests can partake in activities like canvas painting, trivia, bingo, family movie time, exotic animal encounters, scavenger hunts, and sunrise yoga. Rates start at $172 for a weeknight stay. Masks are required for guests 10 and older, except while in water features.
Hilton Anatole, Dallas
Normally closed after Labor Day, the expansive Dallas waterpark will remain open to hotel guests Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through September. Featuring two 180-foot water slides, a lazy river, swim-up bar, and kids' splash zone, JadeWaters is open daily, 9 am-7 pm, operating at less than 50 percent capacity for social distancing. Other family-friendly activities include giant chess, Connect 4, croquet, corn hole, ladder ball, and complimentary chalk for sidewalk art. The JadeWaters Fun package starts at $194 a night and includes a $50 daily resort credit. Masks are required for guests 2 and older, except while in water features.