The Ultimate Guide to the Best Places to Travel in Texas: From Oasis in Austin to Tranquility in Terlingua

2023-08-19 00:21:50 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of Vytravels.com, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

Texas has long been known for its vast landscapes, rich history, and diverse culture. With so many incredible places to visit, it can be difficult to decide where to go. From the bustling city of Austin to the tranquil beauty of Big Bend National Park, this article highlights some of the best destinations in Texas. Whether you're a nature lover, history buff, or foodie, there is something for everyone in this Lone Star State. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the best places to travel in Texas.

 

 

Fort Worth

 

Fort Worth

 

Situated as the second half of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Fort Worth deserves your undivided attention. With a rich history in cattle ranching, it has played a crucial role in this trade for centuries.

 


While Dallas focuses on business and art, Fort Worth embodies the spirit of cowboys and fun. To truly experience the city, visit the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, where locals proudly celebrate the city's renowned heritage. Don't miss the memorable daily cattle drive, the exciting rodeo events, and the chance to learn the Texas Two Step at the world's largest honky tonk, Billy Bob's Texas.

 


Venture beyond the Stockyards, and you'll discover a well-rounded Fort Worth. Make sure to include the Cultural District, the Kimbell Art Museum, and Sundance Square in your itinerary.

 

 

Austin

 

Known for its vibrant live music scene, breathtaking natural beauty, and plethora of festivals, Austin is more than just the capital city of Texas. It is a beloved destination and one of the best places to visit in the Lone Star State!

 

Texas State Capitol in Austin Texas

 

A weekend getaway in Austin may not suffice to fully explore all the hidden gems the city holds, but it will undoubtedly give you a taste of the best Austin has to offer. You will soon understand why this Texas city has become a national and international hotspot for tourism in the past decade.

 

While in Austin, take the time to stroll through the unique shops and boutiques lining the renowned South Congress Avenue. Take a refreshing dip in Barton Springs Pool (a popular swimming spot year-round), immerse yourself in the incredible art collections at the Blanton Museum or the LBJ Presidential Library, and savor the stunning sunset views from picturesque Mount Bonnell.

 

Don't forget to capture memories with some of the city's iconic murals!

 

If you visit between late March and early fall, be sure to witness the awe-inspiring night flight of the bats at the Congress Avenue Bridge!

 

And, of course, no visit to Austin would be complete without indulging in the city's legendary food scene, with a special emphasis on TexMex, barbecue, and mouthwatering breakfast tacos.

 

Staying downtown puts you within walking distance of many of Austin's top attractions. However, keep in mind that Austin is a sprawling city, and having a car will allow you to fully explore both the city and its numerous incredible day trip opportunities.

 

Suggested by Kate of Lone Star Travel Guide

 

 

San Antonio

 

San Antonio River Walk San Antonio undeniably stands as one of the best destinations in Texas. Home to the iconic San Antonio River Walk, the world-famous Alamo, thrilling amusement parks, and a remarkable food scene, the city offers an abundance of fantastic experiences.

 

The Alamo, one of the most visited attractions in Texas, draws visitors who seek to learn about the city's history and the significance of this iconic Spanish Mission.

 

While the Alamo is undoubtedly a must-visit, don't stop there. San Antonio is home to a total of five Spanish Colonial Missions, each deserving of exploration and admiration.

 

Another gem of the city is the vibrant San Antonio River Walk. Lined with delightful restaurants and enticing shops, the River Walk provides a perfect setting for people-watching. Simply find a cozy spot overlooking the water, order your favorite margarita, and enjoy hours of relaxation while observing the lively atmosphere.

 

bridge over the riverOne of the other must-visit destinations in San Antonio is the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Texas' flora and fauna, and take a moment to appreciate the tranquil atmosphere of the stunning Japanese Garden.

 

San Antonio's culinary scene is a true delight. From fine dining to hidden gems, the city offers a wide array of exceptional restaurants throughout its various districts. While the River Walk is renowned for its dining options, don't miss the chance to explore the historic Pearl District for even more superb dining and entertainment choices.

 

San Antonio is also home to exciting attractions such as Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park and Sea World, both of which guarantee a memorable family-friendly experience.

 

For outdoor enthusiasts, San Antonio offers numerous state parks in addition to its local parks. Explore the natural beauty surrounding the city and embrace the tranquility of nature.

 

Another exciting attraction in the area is the Natural Bridge Caverns, conveniently located right off Interstate-35. A popular stop for visitors traveling from Dallas to San Antonio, the Natural Bridge Caverns offer guided cave tours, adventure tours, a thrilling zipline course, a ropes course, a maze, and gem and fossil mining.

 

 

Terlingua

 

For those seeking to explore the vast Big Bend area, Terlingua serves as an excellent base camp. Nestled between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park, this former mining town played a pivotal role as one of the country's major producers of quicksilver in the early 20th century before transforming into a ghost town when the mine ceased operation.

 

Terlingua is also renowned for hosting two acclaimed chili cook-offs that attract thousands of visitors each fall. Embrace outdoor adventures by hiking through the state or national park, or rent a canoe to float along the picturesque Rio Grande, which forms the U.S.-Mexico border.

 

Back in town, be sure to visit the historic Starlight Theatre Restaurant and Saloon, which was once the theater of choice for miners. The Terlingua Cemetery, featuring gravestones adorned with whimsical embellishments, is one of the most photographed cemeteries in Texas.

 

Terlingua also boasts a vibrant art scene, with numerous galleries showcasing mosaics, paintings, photography, and more. Don't miss a visit to the Terlingua Trading Company for unique souvenirs, art, and gifts. Food enthusiasts will find delight in the tantalizing tacos and Tex-Mex dishes at Taqueria El Milagro, while Long Draw Pizza serves up mouthwatering specialty pizzas like the Terlingua Spur, featuring fajita chicken, onions, jalapeno, cheddar, mozzarella, barbecue sauce, and marinara.

 

 

Mustang Island

 

Mustang Island State Park, located south of Port Aransas between San Jose Island and Padre Island, ranks as one of the most frequented state parks in Texas.

 

The park features over 5 miles of pristine coastline with white sandy beaches, providing an idyllic escape from the bustling city life.

 

Sand castle at Mustang Island near Port Aransas, TexasSand castle at Mustang Island near Port Aransas, Texas Whether you prefer lounging on the sand with a captivating book or searching for seashells and sand dollars along the coast, Mustang Island caters to your desires.

 

The park offers a wide range of activities, including sunbathing, fishing, paddling, hiking, kayaking, and bird watching. Whether you're an experienced paddler or a novice, the Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail is worth exploring.

 

Downtown Brenham mural is a popular Instagram spot in the cityDowntown Brenham mural is a popular Instagram spot in the city

 

 

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

 

Guadalupe Mountains National Park showcases a prime example of a Permian-era fossil reef. Renowned for its outstanding hiking and backpacking opportunities, this park offers a pristine wilderness experience unlike any other in the United States.

 

Summit of Guadalupe Peak in TexasSummit of Guadalupe Peak in Texas With around 80 miles of trails meandering through desert-like landscapes, majestic mountains, and serene riverside oases, Guadalupe Mountains National Park caters to hikers of all skill levels.

 

Pine Springs, located in northern Culberson County, is home to this unspoiled wilderness location, which also boasts the highest point in Texas—Guadalupe Peak.

 

Colorado Bend State Park is one of the best state parks in TexasColorado Bend State Park is one of the best state parks in Texas

 

 

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

 

Famous for its awe-inspiring natural beauty, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Considered the second largest canyon in the United States and often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Texas, Palo Duro Canyon offers a truly remarkable experience.

 

Palo Duro Canyon is one of the best places to visit in Texas.

 

The canyon's rock formations exhibit breathtaking colors, and the presence of fascinating hoodoos adds an extra element of wonder. Palo Duro Canyon State Park provides over 30 miles of trails, perfect for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

 

The Lighthouse, one of the park's most iconic rock formations, captivates visitors and can be reached via a 3-mile trail. Climbing to the base of the Lighthouse rewards you with stunning panoramic views. Remember to bring plenty of water and plan your visit early to beat the heat and crowds.

 

Palo Duro Canyon State Park is also home to diverse wildlife, making it a paradise for nature lovers. Keep your eyes peeled for wild turkeys, mule deer, white-tailed deer, snakes, lizards, bobcats, coyotes, and even Texas longhorns!

 

Birdwatching enthusiasts will relish the chance to spot various species in the different habitats found within the park. From woodpeckers and roadrunners to painted buntings and western meadowlarks, you are in for a treat.

 

The park's vegetation includes mesquite, cottonwood, willow, and juniper, and you can enjoy a delightful display of wildflowers during the appropriate season. Summer brings musical performances at the Pioneer Amphitheater, providing a unique cultural experience amid the natural beauty of Palo Duro Canyon.

 

Suggested by us

 

 

Marfa

 

This iconic Texas town may require some travel effort, but the journey is well worth it. Marfa stands as an artistic oasis, boasting a vibrant collection of galleries, boutiques, museums, and standalone art pieces. Notable destinations include The Chinati Foundation, a contemporary art museum showcasing pieces inspired by the surrounding landscape. Guided tours are available for a more immersive experience. Another must-visit is Ballroom Marfa, a contemporary art museum dedicated to providing artists and musicians with a platform in the Big Bend area.

 

At Marfa Spirit Co., toast to a great day with signature cocktails featuring rum, sotol, vodka, and more. For a delicious bite, indulge in an exquisite burrito from Marfa Burrito. Don't miss the opportunity to visit Marfa Book Co. for a unique souvenir. As for accommodations, Marfa offers a range of quirky-cool options, including Chinati Hot Springs cabins, El Cosmico, Hotel Paisano, and Hotel Saint George.

 

While in Marfa, don't miss the phenomenon of the Marfa Lights, mysterious dancing lights that appear southeast of town. The lights, still a subject of debate, come in various colors and continue to captivate visitors.

 

 

Fredericksburg

 

vineyard in Fredericksburg Fredericksburg, one of the charming small towns in Texas, is sure to win your heart!

 

Renowned for its Texas wine and wineries, Fredericksburg offers an unforgettable experience for wine enthusiasts.

 

However, wine is not the town's only attraction. Fredericksburg is also home to Enchanted Rock State Park, boasting stunning natural formations, as well as a unique German heritage and numerous museums.

 

For a glimpse into the area's history, be sure to visit the Pioneer Museum and the historic Fort Martin Scott.

 

Nature lovers will find delight in exploring Enchanted Rock, climbing to the top of the rock, and discovering the park's other scenic hiking trails.

 

Don't miss the opportunity to visit one of the fabulous lavender fields in Texas, in close proximity to Fredericksburg!

 

Nearby, you can also explore the small towns of Luckenbach Texas and Johnson City, the birthplace of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

 

No matter what you choose to do, Fredericksburg offers a wide variety of experiences that will ensure an enjoyable visit!

 

 

New Braunfels

 

Roberto Galan/Getty Images

 

Nestled between Austin and San Antonio, New Braunfels presents a charming Hill Country city founded by German immigrants in the mid-19th century. During the summer months, visitors flock here to experience the joy of floating along the Guadalupe and Comal rivers, both located in New Braunfels and perfect for escaping the heat.

 

Back in town, you'll find picturesque Texas-German architecture lining the downtown streets. Explore boutique shops, savor delicious meals at the developing bar and restaurant scene, delve into the city's rich history at museums, and peruse local art galleries. Historic Gruene and Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas, add an extra touch of charm to this vibrant destination.

 

 

Georgetown

 

Courtesy of Visit Georgetown

 

As a suburb of Austin, Georgetown beckons with its abundance of parks and outdoor spaces, including the serene Lake Georgetown. Settle in for a relaxing picnic, take refreshing swims, or embark on a hike along the scenic 26.5-mile trail that encircles the lake. The town's downtown square offers a delightful shopping experience, with a wide range of offerings from fine jewelry and boutique clothing to guitars and gourmet foods. Georgetown is also known for hosting the annual Red Poppy Festival, a summer concert series, and the Georgetown Wine and Music Festival. Whether you seek adventure or a vibrant downtown scene, Georgetown delivers.

 

 

Denton

 

Located north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Denton stands as a lively college town with two prestigious universities: the University of North Texas (UNT) and Texas Woman's University. Denton exudes a vibrant and quirky atmosphere while retaining a small-town charm, showcased by its cute downtown square and charming neighborhoods. The city boasts a thriving creative scene, with UNT hosting a renowned liberal arts program and various community organizations dedicated to promoting local artwork and performing arts. The area surrounding the 19th-century courthouse abounds with local restaurants, shops, a bookstore, an ice cream parlor, and bars serving delicious cocktails. In the fall, immerse yourself in the spirited atmosphere of a UNT football game at Apogee Stadium and support the Mean Green amid a sea of green and white.

 

 

Dallas

 

Dallas

 

After exploring Fort Worth, continue your Texas adventure by traveling 30 minutes east to the bustling city of Dallas. Dubbed the Big D since the 1930s, Dallas has gained a place in the hearts of locals and tourists alike. In addition to its iconic skyline, the city captivates visitors with its renowned art districts, stunning arboretums, and exciting sports scene.

 

Covering an impressive 19 blocks, the Dallas Art District stands as the largest urban arts district in the United States. Highlights include the esteemed Dallas Art Museum, a treasure trove that may require multiple visits to fully appreciate. Deep Ellum, another artistic hotspot, enchants with its vibrant street art.

 

While other cities in Texas may claim greater historical significance, Dallas has indisputably etched its name in history as the site of JFK's assassination. The Sixth Floor Museum offers a chance to retrace the events and learn about this impactful moment in American history.

 

Sports enthusiasts will have plenty to cheer about in Dallas. Home to the Cowboys (America's Team), the Mavericks (NBA), and the Rangers (MLB), the city guarantees an exciting experience for fans of all ages.

 

 

Amarillo

 

the city of Amarillo Amarillo perfectly embodies the spirit of West Texas.

 

One of the top tourist attractions in Amarillo is Cadillac Ranch. Originally a roadside attraction, Cadillac Ranch has transformed into a cultural phenomenon and a must-visit spot not only in Texas but throughout the United States.

 

Cadillac Ranch offers visitors the unique opportunity to spray paint one of the Cadillac cars that have been buried nose down in the Texas soil.

 

After leaving your mark at Cadillac Ranch, make your way to Big Texan Steak Ranch and test your mettle by attempting their famous 72-ounce steak challenge (good luck!).

 

To burn off some calories, head out to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, known as the "Grand Canyon of Texas." Indulge in gorgeous rock formations and numerous hiking trails that showcase the region's natural beauty.

 

Of course, Amarillo offers more than just these attractions. Explore the fascinating Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, discover the city's art galleries, or immerse yourself in a live theater performance.

 

 

South Padre Island

 

The picturesque resort town of South Padre Island, located along the stunning southern Texas coast, offers visitors an array of incredible experiences. Renowned as one of the finest beach towns in Texas, it showcases a diverse range of attractions, including exciting dolphin cruises, fascinating sandcastle building lessons, thrilling amusement parks, and pristine beaches.

 

For nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers, South Padre Island boasts breathtaking views of the Gulf Coast. Visitors can explore the city's short Boardwalk trails, engage in souvenir shopping, embark on enchanting sunset sails, enjoy exhilarating horseback riding sessions, and even try their hand at paragliding.

 

Thanks to its mild climate, South Padre Island emerges as an ideal winter destination in Texas, providing tourists with a remarkable winter experience unlike any other.

 

 

Texas Hill Country

 

Texas Hill Country, a captivating region situated in the southeast section of the Edwards Plateau, stands out as an exceptional destination in Texas. It particularly draws attention during the enchanting bluebonnets season, when the landscape flourishes with cheery blue spring wildflowers, making it a haven for landscape photographers.

 

This expansive region, which lies west of Austin and north of San Antonio, offers unparalleled opportunities for a remarkable road trip. Travelers can immerse themselves in the wonders of Texas Hill Country, discovering charming towns like New Braunfels, Wimberley, and Fredericksburg along the way.

 

Moreover, Texas Hill Country showcases an abundance of charming inns and bed & breakfasts, ensuring visitors can indulge in unforgettable stays during their scenic road trip. Outdoor enthusiasts can relish the chance to hike the picturesque trails of Garner State Park, tube or kayak down the Frio River, marvel at the beauty of Enchanted Rock, experience the thrill of floating along the Guadalupe River, or take a refreshing swim in the natural pool at Dripping Springs or the Blue Hole in Wimberley.

 

Travelers can also delight in exploring the quaint museums, engaging in fun-filled shopping sprees, and savoring the delectable barbecue offerings that Texas Hill Country towns have to offer.

 

 

Big Bend National Park

 

Big Bend National Park, a mesmerizing destination located in far west Texas on the border of Texas and Mexico, stands as a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. While its remote location often makes it one of the least visited national parks in the United States, it boasts unparalleled natural beauty and captivating experiences.

 

The park's vast expanse encompasses both the Chisos Mountains and the Chihuahuan Desert, resulting in a rugged and awe-inspiring terrain. Despite the challenging conditions, the natural landscapes and the mesmerizing night skies of Big Bend National Park are a sight to behold.

 

Visitors to Big Bend National Park can embark on thrilling adventures, with over 200 miles of hiking trails, opportunities for kayaking in the Rio Grande, and breathtaking scenic drives that offer unparalleled vistas.

 

It is important to note that the park's conditions can be harsh, so visitors are advised to come prepared with an ample supply of food and water and to wear suitable hiking shoes for their explorations.

 

 

Galveston

 

Galveston Island, situated on the majestic Texas Gulf Coast, is a must-visit destination, offering a harmonious blend of sun, sand, and city experiences.

 

Boasting convenient cruise ship ports, the iconic Pleasure Pier, the renowned Moody Gardens, and miles of pristine Texas coastline, Galveston promises visitors a vast array of activities and attractions. Families can delight in exploring the myriad of offerings at Moody Gardens, where kids can immerse themselves in the wonders of the rainforest pyramid, enjoy the thrilling water park, and marvel at the fascinating aquarium.

 

The downtown Strand area is a treasure trove of historical Victorian-style buildings that transport visitors back to Galveston's illustrious past. Within these charming edifices, visitors can discover a plethora of boutique shops, excellent restaurants, and vibrant bars.

 

Food enthusiasts will revel in the culinary delights of Galveston, with options ranging from tantalizing food tours to sensational dining experiences. The rooftop bar at the Tremont House Hotel is an absolute must-visit, offering exquisite drinks and breathtaking views.

 

Nature lovers can immerse themselves in Galveston's natural beauty, with numerous beaches, the Galveston Island State Park and Nature Center, and a wealth of opportunities for bird watching, fishing, and horseback riding.

 

 

Lake Conroe

 

A mere one-hour drive north of Houston, Lake Conroe presents a refreshing escape from the city's bustling heat. Spanning a vast 21,000 acres, this pristine lake serves as a captivating water playland, perfect for both families and couples seeking a rejuvenating getaway.

 

Boating enthusiasts can indulge in the thrill of gliding across the expansive lake, with various marinas offering rentals of boats, jet skis, and kayaks. As an added delight, boaters can also dock at lake-front restaurants for a delectable lunch or indulgent beverages. Swimming beaches are scattered throughout the area, readily accessible at hotels and public parks.

 

Fishing enthusiasts will find their paradise at Lake Conroe, renowned for its record-sized bass and catfish. Guide services are available for those seeking an unforgettable fishing experience.

 

For those seeking respite from the water, the picturesque Sam Houston National Forest envelops Lake Conroe, providing a serene setting for hiking or strolling amidst the majestic pines. The local communities surrounding the lake offer a plethora of indulgences, including breweries, wineries, specialty restaurants, and delightful small-town shopping.

 

Lodging options abound, ranging from luxurious lakefront hotels and cozy lakeside cabins to tranquil vacation rentals. Alternatively, visitors can opt for a more casual experience and camp at one of the lakeside campgrounds. Resorts such as Margaritaville and Holiday Inn's Piney Shore Resort offer nighttime entertainment on private beaches, ensuring a memorable stay.

 

 

Beaumont

 

Located 85 miles east of Houston on I-10, Beaumont invites visitors to explore its vibrant attractions and immerse themselves in its rich culture and history. A quick pit stop simply won't suffice when it comes to experiencing all that Beaumont has to offer.

 

Beaumont's array of entertaining attractions and museums, excellent culinary offerings, surprising natural environments, and historical landmarks make it a destination worth savoring. Birdwatching enthusiasts will find solace at the Cattail Marsh Wetlands, which serves as a paradise for a myriad of bird species, thanks to its position at the intersection of several migrating bird flyways.

 

Gator Country, an exciting animal park, offers visitors the opportunity to witness massive rescued alligators in action, along with captivating wildlife shows.

 

Beaumont's history as a boomtown, fueled by the discovery of oil in January 1901, is an intrinsic part of its identity. The Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the past, featuring a re-creation of an old west village and a captivating reenactment of the oil gushing at Spindletop, complete with the use of water for a realistic demonstration.

 

Visitors can also delve into the lavish past at the McFaddin-Ward House Museum, the former residence of a prominent family that flourished during the oil boom. The Texas Energy Museum offers further insight into the history of the oil industry and showcases exhibits on various energy sources.

 

The streets of Beaumont are adorned with artistic murals, reflecting the town's vibrant heritage. Visitors can explore an array of noteworthy attractions, including the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont Children's Museum, Edison Museum, Tyrrell Historical Library, and Fire Museum of Texas, boasting the world's largest operating fire hydrant.

 

Culinary delights await in Beaumont, with an array of highly recommended dining establishments, including Tacos La Bamba, Tia Juanita's Fish Camp, Amelia Farm and Market, Boomtown BBQ Company, Rao's Bakery, and J. Wilsons.

 

 

Shamrock

 

Situated in Northern Texas, Shamrock beckons visitors with its retro charm, historic architecture, and vibrant Route 66 ambience. Travelers with a passion for nostalgia, iconic buildings, and neon signs will find Shamrock to be a captivating stop along their journey.

 

The town's main attraction is the iconic art deco-style building of the old Conoco gas station and cafe, which, while no longer serving as either, remains a stunning sight. Fans of Disney's film "Cars" may find the building familiar, as it served as inspiration for Ramone's garage.

 

Within the old Conoco building, visitors can explore exhibitions that delve into the site's history. The building truly comes to life after dark, when it ignites with dazzling neon lights, offering a spectacle that demands to be captured through photography.

 

Shamrock boasts a museum that tells the tales of the area, showcasing the town's history and its fascinating connections to Ireland. The town proudly embraces these connections, as evidenced by the abundance of shamrocks and Irish touches adorning its streets.

 

Exploration of Shamrock reveals the tallest water tower in Texas, the town's own rendition of the Blarney Stone, and an array of vintage cars, retro buildings, and picturesque photo spots. Visitors can revel in the town's timeless charm and revel in the allure of a bygone era.

 

 

Nacogdoches

 

As the oldest town in Texas, Nacogdoches embraces its rich history, making it an undeniable highlight among the Lone Star State's captivating destinations. Founded in 1779 by Don Antonio Gil Y'Barbo, the town carries a storied past, marked by smuggling accusations that led to the founder's exile and prohibition from returning.

 

Nacogdoches boasts a wealth of historical landmarks and charming old architecture. Exploring the town's downtown area, with its red brick streets, offers a delightful stroll through time. Driving through Nacogdoches reveals even more architectural treasures waiting to be discovered. Among the must-see landmarks are the Sterne Hoya Museum & Library, the Old Nacogdoches University Building, and the iconic General Mercantile mural.

 

Make sure to take a detour to Oak Grove Cemetery, one of Texas's most renowned burial grounds. It holds the final resting place for legendary Texans, including the four signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

 

Visiting Mission Tejas State Park allows travelers to trace the footsteps of the original El Camino Real. This historic road, built by the Spaniards from 1686 to 1692, spanned 2,500 miles and connected Mexico to Louisiana. The park provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich history of the region while exploring the remnants of this grand path.

 

Beyond its historical allure, Nacogdoches captivates visitors with its natural beauty. Known as the Garden Capital of Texas, Nacogdoches boasts gardens scattered throughout the city. A visit in late March allows for the stunning sight of blooming azaleas in both the historic districts and residential areas, creating a captivating floral spectacle.

 

 

Corpus Christi

 

Corpus Christi effortlessly combines the allure of sun, beach, and city vibes, making it an ideal destination for a diverse range of travelers. With its myriad of activities and attractions, it promises an unforgettable experience.

 

Nature and marine enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the wonders of the Texas State Aquarium, observing the captivating marine world up close. Paying a visit to the Selena Memorial offers an opportunity to honor the iconic musician and enjoy the timeless melodies that have left an indelible mark on Texan culture.

 

North Beach, located near the Harbor Bridge, invites visitors to bask in the sun and indulge in refreshing swims in the Gulf of Mexico's azure waters on hot summer days.

 

History buffs and space enthusiasts can explore the renowned USS Lexington museum ship, which served in World War II. This remarkable naval museum allows visitors to enter a replica of America's first space station, Skylab, and even touch a rock from the moon.

 

Corpus Christi proudly showcases the Houston Museum of Natural Science, one of many premier museums within the city's Museum District. Other highlights include the enchanting Hermann Park, home to the Houston Zoo, a delightful children's train, a serene Japanese garden, and inviting green spaces.

 

Visiting the Johnson Space Center Houston promises space exploration enthusiasts an opportunity to delve into the history of space exploration, witness remarkable artifacts, and even meet astronauts.

 

 

El Paso

 

Nestled in the Wild West, El Paso offers a unique blend of Mexican influences, historic architecture, and a distinct Texas atmosphere. Located at the border and immersed in captivating history, El Paso invites visitors to explore its iconic Plaza Theater in the Downtown Historic District and embark on the El Paso Mission Trail to admire colonial buildings that showcase the region's rich heritage.

 

Culture enthusiasts can indulge in the Museum of Art, immerse themselves in the vibrant Mexican Markets, and savor the delectable cuisine that El Paso has to offer. El Segundo Barrio, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, unveils its Hispanic heritage through breathtaking street murals.

 

With its diverse range of attractions and its position along the west Texas road trip route, El Paso promises an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking adventure, history, and cultural discoveries.

 

 

Padre Island National Seashore

 

Among the world's most extraordinary natural wonders lies the Padre Island National Seashore. Stretching a staggering 70 miles, it stands as an untouched paradise and a vital area of conservation. Nowhere else on Earth can one find such an extensive, undeveloped seashore.

 

A short drive from Corpus Cristi, this national seashore boasts a magnificent collection of pristine beaches that merge into rolling dunes and unspoiled grassland habitats. It serves as a haven for birdwatchers, offering an abundance of species, including the remarkable Kemp's ridley sea turtles, which hatch during the summer months.

 

While beach activities, such as sandcastle building and swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, are beloved pastimes at Padre Island National Seashore, the trails that wind along the shore are an absolute treat for nature enthusiasts. These trails allow visitors to encounter more than 350 migratory bird species that make the barrier island their resting place during their majestic journeys.

 

Additional activities at Padre Island National Seashore include kayaking in the Laguna Madre and embarking on off-road four-wheel driving adventures along the beach, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all who venture here.

 

 

Brenham

 

Located 70 miles northwest of Houston, Brenham is a small German town that offers a delightful Texas getaway. Every year, visitors flock to Brenham to witness the stunning displays of beautiful Texas bluebonnets and celebrate the German heritage of the town at the annual Maifest. In addition to these attractions, visitors can explore the famous Blue Bell Creameries, stroll along historic Main Street, visit the Fire Museum, and browse the Antique Rose Emporium. For history enthusiasts, the Washington-on-the-Brazos National Historical Park, located near Brenham, is a significant site where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed, earning it the title of the birthplace of Texas.

 

 

Port Aransas

 

Port Aransas is a charming island community that offers a diverse range of unique restaurants, shops, and hotels to cater to its visitors. One of the main highlights of visiting Port Aransas is the opportunity to enjoy its pristine beaches, which are perfect for activities such as kayaking, windsurfing, and fishing. The area is also home to some of the best beaches in Texas, including the popular IB Magee Beach Park. For those interested in history, a visit to the Port Aransas Museum provides insight into the rich past of this coastal town.

 

 

Caddo Lake State Park

 

Caddo Lake, located on the Texas-Louisiana border in the Piney Woods Region, is a breathtaking lake surrounded by serene cypress swamps. Visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of the area, with Spanish moss-draped bald cypress trees, vibrant Lotus and lily pads, and lush reeds growing in the lake. The Caddo Lake State Park, situated along the lakeshore, offers opportunities for hiking, camping, and kayaking. Wildlife watching, birding, and witnessing the stunning fall colors are favorite activities among visitors to the park. For more detailed information and recommendations, read our post on the best things to do in Caddo Lake State Park.

 

 

San Jose Island

 

San Jose Island is the perfect destination for those seeking a secluded and wild getaway. This remote island provides a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Visitors can enjoy quiet afternoons reading a book, collecting seashells, and savoring the scenic beauty of the island. With its stunning sand dunes and picturesque sunrises, San Jose Island offers an idyllic setting for relaxation and tranquility.

 

 

Enchanted Rock

 

Enchanted Rock, situated in Enchanted Rock State Park north of Crabapple, is an awe-inspiring natural rock formation, towering 425 feet above the ground. Climbing to the top of the rock offers breathtaking views and opportunities to explore rocky outcrops. The hike may pose a challenge, but the rewards are worth it. The park also features various trails, rock climbing spots, camping areas, and picturesque landscapes, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Ranger programs are available for those interested in learning more about the formation of the rock and the diverse wildlife in the area.

 

 

Boca Chica State Park

 

Boca Chica State Park, located near Brownsville, encompasses the beautiful Boca Chica beach as well as the SpaceX launch site, making it a fascinating destination for space enthusiasts. The beach is relatively remote, offering a tranquil and less crowded environment compared to South Padre Beach. Activities such as fishing, birdwatching, strolling along the beach, building sandcastles, and even camping can be enjoyed here. Although amenities may be limited, the park provides a unique opportunity to connect with nature and immerse yourself in its serene surroundings.

 

 

Pedernales Falls State Park

 

Located approximately 35 miles west of Austin, Pedernales Falls State Park offers visitors some of the most stunning natural views in the area. The park is home to the scenic Pedernales River, where visitors can swim, hike along the Twins Fall Nature Trail or the more challenging Wolf Mountain Trail, and even go kayaking or tubing. Campsites with necessary amenities are available for those who wish to extend their stay. Ranger programs are also offered for an educational experience within the park.

 

 

Arlington

 

Located between Dallas and Fort Worth, Arlington is a vibrant and lively city that offers a multitude of exciting activities for adventure seekers. Visitors can immerse themselves in the thrilling experiences provided by attractions such as Six Flags Over Texas, Hurricane Harbor water park, and the home of the Dallas Cowboys, Arlington Stadium. Additionally, Theater Arlington offers excellent performing arts entertainment. For a more relaxing outing, visitors can head to Lake Arlington or River Legacy Park to unwind before continuing their journey. Arlington is a city that should not be missed for those seeking fun and excitement.

 

 

Gorman Falls

 

For those captivated by the beauty of waterfalls, a visit to Gorman Falls in Colorado Bend State Park is a must. This state park is known for its stunning natural landscapes and is one of the most popular parks in Texas. Visitors can embark on a guided walk to explore the 65-foot Gorman Falls or opt for a longer hike to reach the falls. The park also offers opportunities for boating, kayaking, swimming in nearby lakes, and camping. Groups can even book tours to learn more about the falls and their geological significance.

 

 

Natural Bridge Caverns

 

The Natural Bridge Caverns, situated in San Antonio, are the largest known caverns open to the public. Discovered by four college students, these caverns have become a significant tourist attraction in Texas. Visitors can embark on a guided tour to witness the breathtaking geological formations, including stalactites and stalagmites. Additionally, the Natural Bridge Caverns offer the chance to enjoy the Wildlife Safari, where kids can feed zebras and a variety of other animals.

 

 

Gruene Historic District

 

Gruene, located in New Braunfels by the Guadalupe River, is a historic district that showcases the legacy of the area's first German settlers. This charming town was shaped by cotton production, which brought growth and vitality to the region. Visitors can explore various boutiques, antique stores, and bars housed in old buildings that exude the timeless charm of Texas. Gruene Hall, the oldest working dance hall in Texas, is a definite must-visit. This authentic venue has played a significant role in Texas' music scene and continues to host some of the best live shows in the country.

 

 

Lake Travis

 

Lake Travis, a 4.5-mile wide lake located in central Texas on the Colorado River, offers a piece of paradise for travelers of all ages. This vast lake spans over 18,929 acres and attracts numerous visitors year-round. With a plethora of parks, lodging options, boat rentals, zip-lining adventures, water parks, live music events, breweries, and vineyards, Lake Travis has something to offer everyone. Its picturesque setting provides the perfect backdrop for a memorable visit.

 

 

Monahans Sandhills State Park

 

Covering over 3,840 acres in the West Texas desert, Monahans Sandhills State Park boasts breathtaking sand dunes, allowing visitors to explore a unique and expansive landscape. Activities such as sand surfing, observing the distinct flora and fauna, and capturing stunning photographs make this park a must-visit destination. While amenities may be limited, a campsite within the park offers the opportunity for overnight stays and stargazing, providing an unforgettable experience.

 

 

Port Isabel

 

Port Isabel, a small coastal town located at the southern tip of Texas, is renowned for its historic Port Isabel Lighthouse, the only lighthouse open to the public in Texas. Climbing the stairs of the lighthouse rewards visitors with a spectacular view of South Padre Island. The town also offers the chance to delve into history at the Port Isabel Historical Museum and enjoy fishing at the Pirates Landing Fishing Pier. For a unique experience, visitors can participate in the Texas International Fishing Tournament, go on a dolphin cruise, or even embark on an adventure aboard the Black Dragon ship, where pirates entertain with their playful jests.

 

 

Alpine

 

The city of Alpine, situated in the hills of West Texas, serves as a gateway to explore the marvelous Big Bend National Park. However, Alpine itself offers plenty to discover. This small town boasts a thriving downtown area with a plethora of fun boutique shops, excellent local restaurants, and fabulous art galleries. A visit to the Museum of the Big Bend provides an opportunity to delve into the local history of the area and gain a deeper understanding of its cultural heritage.

 

 

Laredo

 

Laredo, located in South Texas, offers a unique destination for travelers, as it sits right on the border of the Rio Grande River and Mexico. Crossing the bridge from Laredo to Mexico allows visitors to experience another country, but staying in Laredo provides its own exciting opportunities. Highlights in Laredo include the Imaginarium of South Texas and the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy Lake Casa Blanca International Park for various recreational activities. Whether exploring Mexico or the vibrant town itself, Laredo is a destination worth adding to your travel itinerary.

 

 

Marble Falls

 

Situated in the Texas Hill Country, Marble Falls is a small lakeside community known for its picturesque location, excellent wineries and breweries, stunning outdoor spaces, and outstanding local cuisine. A must-visit in Marble Falls is the famous Bluebonnet Café, which has been welcoming visitors for years, offering mouthwatering pies. After indulging in country cooking and their renowned pie, take a leisurely walk through the historic downtown area, where you can find an array of charming shops. State and local parks, along with Lake Marble Falls, provide ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. With its abundance of attractions, Marble Falls deserves several days of exploration.

 

 

Wimberley

 

river with cypress trees The picturesque town of Wimberley, Texas, is renowned for its vibrant artistic community, making it a true treasure worth exploring.

 

Wimberley offers its visitors a plethora of attractions. From first-class wineries and lively distilleries to crystal clear rivers and a warm and welcoming community, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

 

During the summer months, Wimberley becomes a popular destination among tourists. This is primarily due to the abundance of thrilling water activities offered in the area.

 

A must-visit location is Jacob's Well, where visitors can experience a truly unique swimming hole. With a consistently refreshing temperature of 68 degrees year-round, it provides the perfect escape from the Texan heat.

 

Another renowned swimming hole in the Wimberley vicinity is the Blue Hole Regional Park. Nestled among the enchanting towering Cypress trees, the park offers visitors an opportunity to swim in a breathtakingly beautiful blue-green colored swimming hole.

 

Wine enthusiasts will be delighted by the Wimberley Valley Winery, known for its superb Texas wines. The winery boasts a splendid outdoor setting, allowing visitors to savor their delectable wine varieties while surrounded by the stunning natural scenery.

 

While exploring the town, be sure to show your support to the local artists by visiting the numerous art galleries scattered throughout the area. From mesmerizing hand-blown glass pieces to one-of-a-kind paintings, there is an art form to suit every taste.

 

After indulging in some retail therapy on the charming town square, treat yourself to a remarkable dining experience at one of Wimberley's exceptional restaurants, where you can savor a delicious dinner fit for any palate.

 

Wimberley also hosts a variety of exciting seasonal events, particularly during the enchanting Christmas season, creating a magical atmosphere that cannot be missed.

 

For a laid-back and enjoyable evening, consider spending your time at Ino'z. If you desire a more sophisticated ambiance, the Leaning Pear is the ideal choice for an exquisite dining experience.

 

In conclusion, Texas truly offers a diverse landscape and an array of exciting destinations for those seeking a memorable travel experience. From the vibrant music scene in Austin to the stunning landscapes of Big Bend National Park and the serene beaches of South Padre Island, there is something for everyone in the Lone Star State. So, pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey through the best places to travel in Texas, where adventure and relaxation await at every turn.

 

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