It's time to plan a summer getaway or two and there are lots of great destinations in West Texas that are less than a 5 hour drive that you might want to consider!

courtesy Ft Davis Chamber of Commerce

The Davis Mountains near Fort Davis should definitely be on your vacation list this summer! The temperature is lots cooler than here, and the scenery is awesome!

Whether you're a stargazer or not, a visit to the University of Texas' McDonald Observatory is a don't miss destination. This is one of the premiere observatories in the world with plenty to see, do, and learn!

Love to ride your bike? Then you'll love the Davis Mountains for a challenging ride! This rider is headed to McDonald Observatory!

Indian Lodge is a unique, classic motel that was built during the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It's a wonderful place to enjoy your vacation!

Stop by and see Fort Davis, an outpost for the soldiers who battled Indians and bandits in the late 1800s. It's been restored and a great history lesson for young and old!

If you're in the Fort Davis area around July 4th, you'll enjoy a parade, Old West Shootout and "bank robbery", live music, fireworks, 5K run, and more.

Fort Davis has lots to offer for your vacation and you can learn more by going to fortdavis.com!

panaramio

Just North of Fort Davis is springs and pool at the Balmorhea State Park in Balmorhea! The park and pool were built in the 1930's and you can enjoy swimming, scuba diving, bird watching and more. There are picnic sites, 34 campsites, motel rooms, and a group hall for family or business gatherings. Cool off at the Balmorhea State Park and you can go to  http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/balmorhea for more information.

The Big Bend National Park and Terlingua area offer lots of fantastic scenery and a relaxed lifestyle that will make the drive worthwhile! There are a wide variety of motels and campsites, the National Park, the Big Bend State Park, Rio Grande River, and if you go to Terlingua in November, you can be a part of the CASI Terlingua International Chili Championship. It's always held on the first Saturday of November, and this will be the 50th Anniversary this year.

courtesy Monahans Chamber of Commerce

If you want a little sand between your toes, the Monahans Sandhills State Park can take care of you!

There's lots of fun activities that include camping, hiking, bird watching, sand surfing, and horseback riding.

You can bring your horse to the sandhills for a ride in the 800 acre equestrian area. There are no marked trails and water is available in the area.

Want to know more about the park? Go to http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/balmorhea for more information!

I've been to all these places many times over the years, and I guarantee you won't be disappointed when you visit any of these fantastic vacation destinations.