Your Guide to the Perfect Summer in Texas — From New Restaurants to Storied State Parks

·3 min read

It's no mystery that summers in Texas — regardless of what end of the state you visit — are intense, with heat indexes well into the 100-degrees range. However, now that places have reopened in the Lone Star State, there are plenty of fresh spaces to stay cool as you dine and engage in much-needed R&R. The silver lining of enduring the state's sweltering summer heat — which can last well into the later parts of the season — is just one luxe hotel, posh restaurant, or idyllic landscape away.

Here, a native Texan shares all the locales you should hit this summer and beyond.

View of bed at The Harper Hotel in Ft. Worth, Texas
View of bed at The Harper Hotel in Ft. Worth, Texas

Courtesy of The Harper Hotel

Where to Stay:

Hotel Saint Cecilia — Austin

The music-inspired Hotel Saint Cecilia recently revealed six new Garden Suites during their reopening. The new rooms are a fresh and elevated take on the original poolside bungalows. Nestled away on the west part of the hotel, the suites provide an opulent private retreat.

Pool at Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin
Pool at Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin

Nick Simonite/Courtesy of Hotel Saint Cecilia

The Harper Hotel— Fort Worth

This downtown Fort Worth gem takes over a stunning historical landmark building built in 1921. Located near the legendary Sundance Square neighborhood, the hotel offers 226 guest rooms and suites with a hint of distinctive touches, such as local art and handcrafted furniture with an ode to Fort Worth's history. Be sure to hit Refinery 714, which pairs traditional cocktails, a strong whiskey program, and fare with an extensive view of the city.

Exhibit view of graffiti art at West Chelsea Contemporary in Austin, Tx
Exhibit view of graffiti art at West Chelsea Contemporary in Austin, Tx

Courtesy of West Chelsea Contemporary

Things to Do:

West Chelsea Contemporary — Austin

Technically, this art gallery has been around since 2002 (opened as Russell Collection Fine Art), but it reopened as West Chelsea Contemporary last October with a complete revamp and rebrand under the same ownership of Lisa Russell, along with Gary Seals. Now WCC solely focus on contemporary art. Works from blue-chip and street artists include Banksy, KAWS, Roy Lichtenstein, Yayoi Kusama, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and more.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park — Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon State Park is home to the second largest canyon in the U.S., and now offers plush Palo Duro Glamping in the valley. Each glamping site is fully furnished with all the niceties that make life in a Texas summer more tolerable: air conditioning, rustic furnishings, refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, games, bicycles, gas grills and gas fire pits, covered porches with rockers, and porch swings, among other deluxe offerings.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park Overlook
Palo Duro Canyon State Park Overlook

Getty Images

Balmorhea State Park — Toyahvale

After a two-year closure, the world's largest spring-fed pool (because everything is bigger in Texas) reopened in June. The pool averages between 72 to 76 degrees year-round, so it helps you beat the blistering West Texas heat while giving you the opportunity to scuba dive with endangered fish.

Where to Eat & Imbibe:

Lutie's Garden Restaurant — Austin

The European-inspired Commodore Perry Estate is the home of Lutie's Garden Restaurant. Coined after the estate matriarch, Nannie Lewette "Lutie" Perry, guests will enjoy the ambiance and seasonally prepped cuisine while taking in the estate's beautiful, lavish surroundings. The menu is crafted by husband-and-wife chef duo Bradley Nicholson and Susana Querejazu's experience cooking in renowned restaurants internationally.

Space Cowboy — Houston

Located at the Heights House Hotel, Space Cowboy will easily be your summer go-to for food and cocktails. With dishes such as huli huli chicken, coconut shrimp bao, and ahi poke, there's something to suit everyone's palate. We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the fact that you can enjoy a delicious and distinct cocktail, such as the Cream Fortress, while lounging poolside.

Anju — Dallas

This Uptown restaurant is inspired by the soju bars of South Korea. The menu hosts a wide variety of options, ranging from a crispy karaage chicken sandwich to a riff on classic lo mein featuring lobster. If you have a sweet tooth, try the yuzu pana cotta or green tea cheesecake. Anju's weekend brunch offering plays on the classic breakfast staples — but with a twist you need to try ASAP.