If you’re visiting the Lone Star State, remember that it is vast and diverse, enlivening the saying that everything’s bigger in Texas. Brimming with natural attractions, historical landmarks, stunning museums, magnificent cities, and fascinating national parks to many more breathtaking sites, it undoubtedly is never short of awe-inspiring places to offer to every type of traveler. To help you get started on your trip, check out this rundown of the must-visit sites in Texas. No matter which you choose, rest assured that you’re in for a memorable Texan vacation!
Boasting a blend of fantastic culture, character, cuisine, and scenery, Austin is one of the first places you should see in Texas. In its center lies Lady Bird Lake, where you can bike, jog, kayak, or swim. Don’t miss out on Barton Springs Pool to complete the outdoor adventure. If you’re a foodie, some culinary options include food trucks offering tasty barbecues and farm-to-table restaurants. Cap up your day by visiting Sixth Street and enjoy hip bars and dining options. Music performances are conducted every night across the city, plus two major festivals are held each year. No surprise why Austin got the moniker as the “Live Music Capital of the World.”
Big Bend National Park
While it is not among the most visited parks in the United States, you should not miss the chance to see Big Bend National Park. A must-see gem, hiking is the best way to closely witness the park’s striking landscapes and rock formations. For adventure seekers, don’t fret as it also offers hundreds of miles of dirt roads ideal for scenic. Lastly, whichever section of the park may be in, look out for birds as Big Bend serves as a home to over 450 avian species, from grosbeaks, woodpeckers, hawks to nightjars.
Just less than an hour’s drive southeast of Houston, you will reach Galveston, a perfect vacation spot for travelers looking for a coastal retreat. It features a stunning sandy coastline offering lots of amenities, restaurants, shopping areas, and bars. Away from the shore, make sure to see Moody Mansion, Bishop’s Palace, Lone Star Flight Museum, and Strand National Historic Landmark District for a trip back in time.
Aside from being regarded as one of the top barbecue destinations in the United States, Houston also serves as a leading science, cultural, and arts hub. Some famous attractions include the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Johnson Space Center, Art Car Museum, and Museum District, and the Theater District. Nature and wildlife lovers won’t also be disappointed as the lush Buffalo Bayou Park, and Houston Zoo are sure to delight their eyes.
San Antonio’s biggest draws are the famous River Walk and the world-renowned Alamo. The first runs along the San Antonio River, perfect for a relaxing stroll by foot or bike. Meanwhile, the latter is a historic Spanish fortress and mission built in the 18th century, where the pivotal Battle of the Alamo took place during the Texas Revolution. That doesn’t end there as Houston also offers various unique attractions, such as city parks, gardens, golf camps, golf courses, zoo, and animal sanctuaries, making it a top destination for families.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Blessed with riparian springs, lush mountaintop forests, woodland canyons, and cactus-filled valleys, the Guadalupe Mountains National Park is another Texas site to please nature enthusiasts, photographers and hikers. If you love hiking, check out two of its renowned trails, the Guadalupe Peak Trail and Devil’s Hail Trail that both provide you access to breathtaking sceneries and diverse wildlife. If you’re simply looking for an awe-inspiring view, visit during the autumn, where tree leaves turn to vivid orange, red, or yellow – a truly amazing vista.
With its German heritage, Fredericksburg provides a different feel to all the visitors who take the time to visit this locale in the Texas Hill Country. It serves as a respite from the city jam and beaches, perfect for those wanting to tone things down. Well-renowned for its wineries, taste their delicious wines early as you’ll have more than 50 options to choose from. Afterward, know more about the town’s German roots by visiting the German Museum and the magnificent replica of a German church at the town square. You can then enjoy a shopping spree at the superb shops on Main Street and finish the day by dining in any of the magnificent bakeries and restaurants.
South Padre Island
Located on Texas’ southern coast, the South Padre Island is the longest barrier island on the planet, offering some of the world’s most beautiful shorelines. Enjoy spectacular beaches nearly on every part of the island and relish the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters. Plus, you can do different activities, from swimming, sunbathing, to surfing. Otherwise, you can unplug from daily stress by relaxing at the spas, having retail therapy at the shops, or splurging at different restaurants. A famous party spot during the spring break, then a family vacation hotspot across the year – the fun doesn’t end on South Padre Island.
Waco may be smaller compared to other Texan cities, but its appeal to travelers is as huge as to other famous locations. Nestled in between Dallas and Austin, Waco’s main attraction is the Magnolia Market at the Silos, which has been a setting for the home design and renovation HGTV show “Fixer Upper.” Other notable sites to visit include the Dr Pepper Museum, Cameron Park Zoo, Spice Village, Armstrong Browning Library, and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.
Situated on Texas’ westernmost edge and right across Mexico’s border, El Paso offers many beautiful attractions, such as the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Gardens, El Paso Museum of Art, and the Fort Bliss and Old Ironsides Museums. For outdoor lovers, Franklin Mountain State Park is the ideal venue, providing options for hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Dubbed as the Sun City, El Paso also boasts an impressive view of the sun, which sets over the Franklin Mountains. Lastly, never miss the El Paso Mission Trail, which will let you know more about the city’s rich history.
The largest coastal Texan city, Corpus Christi, entices travelers with its beautiful beaches with calm waters, such as the North Beach and McGee Beach, making it a perfect family getaway. Other visited sites include the USS Lexington, Texas State Aquarium, and the Schlitterbahn Riverpark. After the water-themed sites, enjoy different museums, each boasting a unique offering and character, like the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, The Art Museum of South Texas, Texas Surf Museum, and the Selena Museum for a well-rounded trip.
Established in 1845 by German settlers, the little Hill Country town of New Braunfels has a rich heritage as seen in its quaint and attractive communities, wineries and breweries, and traditional festivals. Take a trip to Gruene Historic District and see old German Buildings built during the 1800s. One of these is the Gruene Halls erected in 1878, which hosted performances of some celebrities, such as Willie Nelson and Hal Ketchum. Meanwhile, adventure seekers should head to Comal and Guadalupe rivers for fishing, kayaking, swimming, and other water sports activities. For those who want to keep dry, New Braunfels still has lots to offer, especially for families, such as Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo, Historic Outdoor Art Museum, and the McKenna Children’s Museum. To learn more about this location, check out our article titled The Beautiful Hill Country Town of New Braunfels.
That’s the rundown of some of the must-visit places in Texas. There are lots of other locations to visit in the Lone Star State. Don your cowboy hat, and start traveling and discovering all Texas has to offer!