They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and it is certainly true that there is a large range of things do so, see and explore in the second largest state. The landscape changes dramatically throughout the expanses of the Lone Star State, from deserts and scrublands to swamps, pine forests, and mountains.
Texas are fiercely proud, and they have a lot to be proud of. Whether you’re interested in history, art or cowboy culture, it’s all found in Texas. Here’s a look at the best places to visit in Texas:
Number 10. Palo Duro Canyon
Cutting through the High Plains region of Texas is the Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest in the United States, after the Grand Canyon.
Red rock is exposed, creating a beautiful sight, but the canyon is more than just a void. It is also where Native American tribes like the Apache and the Comanche once called home. There is an abundance of wildlife in the park, so as you hike the miles of trails, keep your eyes peeled for things like whitetail deer and even mountain lions.
Number 9. Fort Worth
Located just a stone’s throw away from Dallas, wandering around Fort Worth is like stepping into the Wild West and it is sometimes known as ‘Cowtown’ due to its cowboy roots. There are various cowboy and cowgirl museums scattered around town where you can learn more about the local history and culture. You can even go to watch a rodeo or cattle drive if you feel like it.
If cowboy culture isn’t your thing then head to the fantastic Kimbell Art Museum which has some lovely paintings by Picasso and Goya, or take a walk around one of the city’s numerous parks.
Number 8. El Paso
Lying on the border with Mexico, El Paso is the Westernmost city in Texas and as it is located in the desert, it has over 320 days of sunshine a year. An increasingly popular place both to live and visit, El Paso is home to a very welcoming and friendly population.
Surrounded by desolate yet beautiful desert landscapes, there are loads of great outdoor activities to be had that vary from rock climbing to cycling and horseback riding. Trips to Ciudad Juarez just across the border were once popular but have become too dangerous due to drug-related violence.
Number 7. Big Bend
The aptly named Big Bend National Park in Texas is so-called because it’s set in a dramatic meander of the Rio Grande.
On one side of the river is Texas, USA, and on the other side is Mexico. Almost the same size as Rhode Island, Big Bend is known for it’s diversity and has loads to discover on its many trails. The Chisos Basin is the most popular area of the park and features mountain views, but the Chihuahuan Desert – home to real-life roadrunners and coyotes – is really the place to escape into nature.
Number 6. Dallas.
The state’s third largest city, Dallas is probably best known for the infamous assassination of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Located in the same building from which Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots, the Sixth Floor Museum is dedicated to the assassination.
The city is a shopper’s dream thanks to more stores per capita than any other American city. You can also visit one of the many amusement parks in Dallas or attend a local rodeo for some local Texas flavor.
Number 5. Galveston
Lying just off of Texas’ Gulf Coast, Galveston is a beautiful place that delightfully combines Southern charm with lovely beaches and loads of stunning nineteenth century architecture.
Located on Galveston Island, the resort city is very popular with Houstonians who flock there during the weekend and summers to enjoy the warm weather and laidback way of life, while most cruise ships heading to Texas stop by in its large port.
Galveston is the perfect place to make a splash, so don’t miss the free Bolivar Ferry rides or a walk along Pleasure Pier.
Number 4. Hill Country
Located In the very center of the state, the Hill County shirks Texas’ reputation for being dry and flat, with rolling hills, oak trees, spring-fed creeks and flowing rivers.
The whole region is a popular retreat and resort area, with some wonderful hill views and lake swimming, and some good places to camp. Head to Fredericksburg for a dose of German culture, since the area was settled by German settlers in the 19th century. The best time to visit the region is in spring when the Hill Country is ablaze with wildflowers including the Texas State Flower; the Bluebonnet.
Number 3. Austin
Known for its slogan, “Keep Austin Weird,” this city definitely feels a little different from the rest of Texas. The population is youthful, thanks in part to the enormous campus of the University of Texas, and it also serves as the Live Music Capital of the country. Austin is the capital of the Lone Star State, so don’t miss the chance to tour the capitol building, which is famously pink and even taller than the U.S. Capitol Building.
Also worth exploring are the paths that wind along Barton Creek and the Congress Avenue Bridge, where you can see more than one million bats fly out at sunset.
Number 2. Houston
As the biggest city in Texas, Houston is one of the most popular places to visit in the state. Famously known for being home to the NASA Mission Control Center, Houston is also where you’ll find places like the beautiful campus of Rice University and the high-end shopping of the Galleria Area.
Many of the city’s biggest attractions are located in the Warehouse District, so head there to see the incredible Downtown Tunnel System or soak in the views from the 60th floor Chase Tower Observatory.
Number 1. San Antonio
The jewel of Texas, San Antonio is a city steeped in both rich history and modern day appeal. Located in south-central Texas, the city is one of the largest in the United States and best known as the home to the Alamo.
Another of San Antonio’s most visited attractions is the Riverwalk, a vibrant pedestrian scene of restaurants, shops and entertainment venues stretching along both sides of the San Antonio River right in the middle of the downtown area.