Five family-friendly destinations for summer heat relief

The mild temperatures and cloud cover we enjoyed the first half of the summer have come to an end in North Texas, as the mercury is back to threatening triple digits each afternoon.

The arrival of the swelter has us scrambling to seek sweet relief in places near and far.

A quick trip to Vail, Vancouver or other points north may not be in the cards for most of us. But whether you’re planning a road trip, local staycation or afternoon off work (we won’t tell!), here are five of our favorite, driveable destinations for a family cool-down.

(Note: Distances are from downtown Fort Worth.)

7 miles: Burger’s Lake

Want a local watering hole? Look no further than Burger’s Lake. Fort Worth’s own 1-acre, spring-fed oasis has allowed generations of North Texans to keep cool and have fun on a hot summer day.

When they’re not swimming or floating, patrons can lounge on one of the two sandy beaches that surround the lake, grill out, or eat lunch at one of the 300-plus picnic tables. And for the thrill-seeking type, Burger’s Lake also features six diving boards of varying heights, a 20-foot slide and a 25-foot trapeze.

Burger’s Lake allows patrons to bring in their own food or drink but does not permit alcohol.

It is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Admission is $15 per person and $5 for children 6 and under.

Info: 1200 Meandering Road, Fort Worth. 817-737-3414;

25 miles: Great Wolf Lodge

This indoor water park and resort is a great option for families who want to take an overnight trip without having to drive far too to cool off.

Located just off Texas 121 in Grapevine, Great Wolf’s 1.4-acre indoor water park includes play pools, wave pools, a lazy river and a variety of different slides that are suitable for small children and young teenagers alike. There is also a smaller outdoor water park open during the summer months.

Great Wolf Lodge’s indoor and outdoor parks are reserved exclusively for guests who stay overnight. It can be a bit of a splurge. Rates for a family of four who want access to the water park for two days and a one-night stay in a suite start at $250.

Info: 100 Great Wolf Drive, Grapevine. 817-488-6510;

43 miles: Hillbilly Haven

Interested in tubing, canoeing or kayaking a river? The Brazos offers all three, and is a close, affordable destination for the crowd looking to unwind for a day or for the weekend.

The best way to reach the Brazos River is by heading west on Interstate 20 to Millsap. The approximately hourlong drive will take you to Hillbilly Haven Park, a camping and RV area that also rents tubes for $17 a pop and canoes for $35.

Hillbilly Haven Park provides free parking and a shuttle that will take tubers and canoers back to where they originally parked. General admission is $5 adults and $3 under 18. It is open seven days a week starting at 10 a.m. daily

Info: 10801 Interstate 20, Millsap. 817-341-4009;

192 miles: Barton Springs Pool

What’s as consistent as Austin’s vibrant music scene and delicious eateries? The temperature of Barton Springs Pool. This 3-acre, man-made pool — fed by the Edwards Aquifer — stays between 68 and 70 degrees year-round.

Pack your SPF! Grassy banks perfect for relaxing on a beach towel line the pool, which gets as deep as 18 feet in parts.

Barton Springs Pool, in the western part of Texas’ capital, is open every day of the week except Thursdays — when it’s closed for cleaning — from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Seniors and children ages 11 and younger get in for $2. Ages 12-17 are $3, adults are $4.

Info: 2201 Barton Springs Road, Austin. 512-476-9044;

226 miles: Blue Hole Regional Park

Blue Hole Regional Park is the perfect place for road-trippers wanting to take a dip in a natural creek with an old-timey feel.

Located in Wimberley — roughly 14 miles west of San Marcos — Blue Hole Park features a spring-fed creek that is lined with shade-bearing Cypress trees. Rope swings, which are tied to the Cypress limbs, have long been Blue Hole Park visitor favorites.

The park is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Children up to age 3 get in free, while those 4-12 must pay $5. Adults are $9.

Info: 100 Blue Hole Road, Wimberley. 512-660-9111;

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