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Planning a fun afternoon for your campers? Don’t do the same old same old. It may be easier than you think to organize a whole day for your whole excitable group. You travel to one of the following destinations that will have your campers talking for months. And the best part? These are all a quick charter bus ride away — you don’t have to go too far to find great fun across Texas.


Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari

1200 CR 4405
Jacksonville, TX 75766
(903) 683-3322

There’s so much to see at Cherokee Trace Wild Animal Park, a 300-acre nature preserve full of local and exotic animals. The piney woods of east Texas are a great place to support many forms of wildlife from across the world, including emus, zebras, watusi, antelope, running ducks and more. Bring a picnic lunch and you can dine alongside the animals at one of the designated rest areas with picnic tables.



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Canoeing on Lake Conroe

13988 Calvary Road,
Conroe, TX 77318
(936) 203-2697

One of the larger manmade lakes in Texas, Lake Conroe is a freshwater reserve of more than 22,000 acres of surface area. The North Lake Conroe Paddling Company rents kayaks for visitors to this large lake north of Houston, and the business is run by local paddlers who love talking about their craft. They’re happy to help kayaking newcomers have a great first experience and are familiar with renting to groups. You can access the lake straight from their storefront, too, so there’s no need to shuttle the kayaks back and forth.


Schlitterbahn Waterpark

400 North Liberty Ave.
New Braunfels, TX 78130
(830) 625.2351

The largest waterpark in the world is right in your backyard! Take the trip out to New Braunfels, between Houston and Austin, to enjoy one of the first parks of its kind along the Comal River. Relax along one of their many lazy rivers, catch a wave in one of the wave pools, or take a break from the kids in one of the heated pools. There are more water slides than you could ride in just an afternoon, and that doesn’t include the water coasters, which are tube rides where you go up and down just like a rollercoaster. You may need to take more than one day-trip out to make sure you can ride everything — but you won’t hear any complaints about a return trip.


Blue Bell Creameries

1101 South Blue Bell Road
Brenham, TX, 77833
(800) 327-8135

A local staple for many Texans, Blue Bell Ice Cream was founded more than a century ago in Brenham, TX. The original creamery is still there and producing delicious summer treats. Head over to their country store and get a fresh scoop from the factory — any fresher and you’d just be drinking milk straight from the cow. The Blue Bell employees are incredibly knowledgeable about their favorite treat as well. You may even get an entire information session on ice cream while you eat your cone!


Brazos Bend State Park

21901 FM 762
Needville, TX 77461
(979) 553-5101

Get a breath of fresh air at this state park full of nature trails, hiking and fishing areas. Your campers can enjoy the animals that inhabit Cherokee Trace by riding horses or seeing alligators along the riverbanks, just to name two examples. If you want to stay late, the George Observatory, run by the Houston Museum of Natural Science, is located here and runs stargazing programs on Saturdays starting at 3 p.m.


This article was written by Gillian Kruse of Examiner.com for CBS Local.