Summer has arrived. While the beach may be calling your name, more and more North Texans are finding it harder to plan that summer vacation. Whether it’s due to work, sporting commitments or you just can’t leave Fido behind, here are some great options for your Wichita Falls “staycation.” Ready, set, stay!

1. Take an Art Class

Pablo Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pocket Picassos and How Great Thou Art are two great options for the adult or child Picasso in the family. Both studios offer age specific options and you can even enjoy a glass of your favorite adult beverage during certain sessions. Pocket Picassos starts at $5 for toddler classes and varies from $10 to $35 depending on canvas and wood size. How Great Thou Art ranges from $25 to $40 depending on session. This price includes all art supplies needed so just come with your imagination. Some classes fill fast so be sure to prepay from their website to ensure your spot and your artwork. Each studio offers different artworks but upcoming sessions can be viewed from their website.

Brush and bright oil-paint palette for backgroun.

2. Geocaching

In case you slept through last summer, geocaching is a fun and rewarding way to explore Wichita Falls and surrounding areas. Imagine a city-wide scavenger hunt. You can visit to start your adventure or you can download the mobile app. Mystery items are places all around town for others to find. Each item appears on the mobile app or website to help you in your adventure. From there, you can choose the distance you’re willing to travel, difficulty level and read a description clue leading to your prize. Be sure to update your findings for the next geocacher. It’s a free and fun way for the family to enjoy some local exploration.

Getty Images
Getty Images

3. Stand Up Paddle Boarding on Lake Wichita

This is a great way to have fun in the sun with the whole family! New this year to Lake Wichita Park, stand up paddle board rentals are available 9am to dusk. Stand up paddle boarding is a fun, easy, and unique way to get out on the water without having much experience. Solo paddle boarding is recommended for ages 14 and up, however, many families rent a board and let their smaller kids sit on it while they paddle. Rates are $20 for one our, $30 for 2 hours, $40 for 3 hours, $50 for 1/2 day, and $75 for a full day.


4. Bowling

A timeless sporting event so fascinating the iconic movie Grease made a musical about it. Village Bowl in Wichita Falls offers 16-lanes of family-friendly competition. There are refreshments, bar and shoes available for all feet sizes. Thursday night’s get lit with their night bowl. The lights come off while bowlers can enjoy their glow-in-the-dark experience. Yes, in case you were wondering bumpers are available upon request. An hour of striking fun falls just under $10.

Friends bowling together

5. River Bend Nature Center

Bugs, critters and reptiles, oh my! Two trails on 17 acres of land are home to owls, foxes, opossums and more. River Bend Nature Center's tree-lined paths offer some detour routes for the more adventurous ones. Visitors can enjoy the sizable butterfly enclosure and in the midst of fluttering wings, they’ve even been known to land on still tourists. There are always seasonal exhibits within the Exhibit Hall. Now, they are featuring some native taxidermy animals donated by a teacher as well as some enclosed spiders, snakes, reptiles and even a black widow. The Nature Conservatory holds free-flying quail and a few partially enclosed animals. Be careful not be run over by the active roadrunner. A range of summer camps are offered here also but for the package of summer fun, it won’t hurt your pocket at only $5 per person.

6. Take a Historical Tour

Historical Tours of Wichita Falls hosts two tours. Riverside Tours and Downtown Darkside Tours. Local author, Julie Williams Coley has studied the lives, historical murders, suicides and accidents. Riverside Tours brings you up close and personal to the grave sites of some notable people. Julie will read from her book as you learn the amazing stories behind these headstones. Downtown Darkside Tours, for those that are more daring, will take you to the actual downtown locations events took place. The ghost stories are told along with pictures and actual EVP’s picked up during the tours. A $10 reservation will give you the tour of your choosing.

Julie Coley
Julie Coley

7. Go to the Movie Theater

If you’re looking for something air-conditioned with comfortable seating, you’re in luck. Now, you know the experience of watching a good movie is only intensified from a theater and the line-up of movies hitting the box office doesn’t disappoint. Here are just 10 watch-worthy movies according to Rotten Tomatoes.

  1. Wonder Woman – Showing Now
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2- Showing Now
  3. Pirates of the Caribbean; Dean Men Tell No Tales- Showing Now
  4. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – Showing Now
  5. Baywatch – Showing Now
  6. The Mummy – June 9
  7. Cars 3 – June 16
  8. Transformers: The Last Knight - June 21
  9. Spider-Man Homecoming – July 7
  10. War for the Planet of the Apes – July 14

BONUS: If outdoor movies are your thing, be sure to hit up the Graham Drive-In Theater and the Free outdoor movie nights for kids at United Methodist Church on Taft and in Burkburnet all summer long.

Father and two children, boys, watching cartoon movie in the cinema on 3D

8. Castaway Cove Waterpark

Some days you just need to cool down and Texas summers can be merciless. If you don’t enjoy a lazy river, wave pool or water slides, Castaway Cove Waterpark isn’t the place for you. Cool down and let the kids play without the long lines and messy DFW traffic. This is, after all, your “staycation” and you deserve it.

BONUS: July 7, 2017 is 92.9 NIN day at Castaway Cove - admission is only $9.29 all day!

These are just 8 ways to enjoy your trip not away from home. Being close doesn’t mean it has to be expensive or dull. Pick a destination, turn off your phone and find that relaxation without the traffic. Whether it is adventure you’re seeking or the newest box office action movie, your journey awaits.

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