The mention of the name Texas brings to mind cowboys riding wild horses with country music playing in the background. The state has so much more to offer. But what are the best places to visit in Texas? We’ll show you below.
15 of the Best Places to Visit in Texas
Commonly referred to as the Lone Star, Texas is the place to be if you want to savor the delectable Tex-Mex cuisine and signature barbecue. The state is culturally and geographically diverse, providing countless possibilities for exploration.
Whether you prefer visiting the metropolitan towns like Austin and Houston or the more rural Lubbock and Amarillo towns, the towns boast a distinctiveness that gives you reasons to go back visiting.
Given the vastness of this state, planning a vacation can be daunting if you don’t know the best places to visit in Texas. This guide should jumpstart your travel plans.
1. San Antonio
Besides being one of the largest cities in Texas, San Antonio is home to the iconic Alamo and the charming River Walk. The Alamo became an enduring symbol of the Battle of Alamo, dating back to 1836 when Texas gained independence.
Texas’ endearing history dots the city, evident from other attractions like the King William Historic Area homes and the vast collection of relics at the Institute of Texas Cultures.
If you aren’t a history buff, you can always head to the beautiful River Walk that stretches along the San Antonio River.
It’s lined with shops and cafes which can be explored by bicycle or on foot. The city also boasts a burgeoning cuisine characterized by Texas signature Tex-Mex food and barbecue served at eclectic upscale eateries.
Austin, Texas’s capital, is famous for its live music scene. It is here that famous musicians like Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Dixie Chicks started their careers.
The Sixth Street is the embodiment of the city’s rich music scene as it has numerous live music venues, bars, and restaurants earning Austin the title, “Live Music Capital of the World.” Away from the music scene, you’ll find Austin is one place you can enjoy the outdoors nearly all year.
The city provides the perfect balance of history, adventure, science, and foodie spots. Famously known as the heart and the soul of Texas, Houston is home to the Space Center Houston, Galleria Area, a renowned high-end shopping spot, not to mention a burgeoning art scene characterized by eclectic art galleries.
The city’s downtown area hosts prominent attractions like the Downtown Tunnel System and the Chase Tower Observatory.
If traveling with kids, you’re in luck because there are plenty of kid-friendly places to hang out, including the Houston Zoo, the children’s museum, and Buffalo Bayou Park, to mention a few.
Read Next: The Best Things to Do in Houston in 2023
Dallas is the epitome of the Texas art scene, with the Museum of Art being a favorite. Dating over 100 years ago, the museum is home to more than 22,000 pieces of art.
Museum of Art also boasts many exhibitions, literary events, lectures, presentations, and concerts that attract more than 650,000 visitors annually.
The city is also home to a painting by Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre that dates back to the 1700s, and the Arts District is known for its signature architecture. And if you’re an avid shopper, you’ll probably get lost in the numerous stores dotting Dallas.
The town is known for its rich German roots and tasty wines. It has more than 50 wineries and tasting rooms, and most wineries have extensions of dining areas allowing you to indulge in your favorite meals while savoring a glass of wine.
The town is home to Pioneer Museum and a replica of a 19th century German church stands at the town’s square. Fredericksburg also has the most beautiful cycling and walking trails.
Read Next: Where to Stay When Visiting Fredericksburg
6. New Braunfels
Dating back in the 1800s, New Braunfels is another old town in Texas state. It was a German settlement and is known for its proximity to Guadalupe and Comal rivers. Its location makes it a prime spot for water activities such as swimming, fishing, and kayaking.
If you aren’t a water sports fan, you can always head to Gruene Hall, the town’s main attraction. Renowned country music artists come here to perform, among other performances held at night. Adventure buffs could tour the limestone caves at Natural Bridge Caverns.
Less than an hour’s drive from Houston, Galveston is the perfect place for a day’s trip in Texas. It boasts miles of sandy coastline thanks to its unique location (on the Gulf of Mexico shores), six cruise ship ports, and a wide range of hotels and restaurants where you can dine and relax.
Galveston is also home to Moody Gardens, Texas’ top destination, and an educational nature center for monkeys, sharks, and other animals. A visit here isn’t complete without stopping at the Pleasure Pier for the most exciting rides.
The food spots are plenty, leaving you spoilt for choice. Gilhooley’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar stands out for its signature dish, homemade shrimp gumbo, and drinks like the Spicy Margarita.
If you want to experience Texas in its authentic form, head to Amarillo. Sitting a few miles off the historic Route 66, Amarillo is the perfect place to taste the famous 72-oz steak at the Big Texan Steak Ranch and interact with cowboys at the Amarillo Livestock Auction.
Nature lovers can admire the unique rock formations at Palo Duro Canyon State Park or visit Amarillo Botanical Gardens, which showcases a collection of the most exotic plants. Art lovers may visit the Panhandle-plains Historical Museum to view classic Western art.
9. South Padre Island
South Padre Island provides the perfect getaway for students during spring break. Its wide sandy beaches, a vast range of water activities, and sparkling blues waters provide the best atmosphere for short breaks.
Activities like dolphin watching, surfing, swimming, deep-sea fishing, and kiteboarding are commonplace, drawing many tourists, including families. The southern part of South Padre Island features a slew of restaurants, spas, and shops for visitors to dine and relax.
10. El Paso
The city sits right at the border of Mexico in the far western region of Texas. Famously referred to as the Sun City, El Paso has the most breathtaking views of Franklin Mountains at sunset.
Its proximity to Mexico also makes it a popular spot for Mexican delicacies. El Paso is no stranger to historical attractions. It’s home to the Museum of Archeology at Wilderness Park, Chihuahua Desert Gardens, and the Continental Museum.
Outdoor fanatics may traverse the El Paso Mission Trail, drive the panoramic Transmountain Road or go for a picnic in the area overlooking McKelligon Canyon.
Read Next: Is El Paso Safe to Visit in 2023?
Nestled between Dallas and Austin, this small town boasts a fair share of attractions worth exploring. Nature buffs have an opportunity to traverse Cameron Park, dotted with mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding trails.
On the other hand, Avid shoppers may go shopping at the Magnolia Market at Silos, featuring a garden, retail store, bakery, and food trucks. Other noteworthy attractions at Waco are the Cameron Park Zoo, the Dr. Pepper Museum, and Waco Mammoth National Monument.
12. Big Bend National Park
Outdoor enthusiasts will love visiting the Big Bend National Park. Although its remote location (at the Mexican border) makes it nearly unknown to many, it has long hiking trails worth exploring.
The trails overlook the beautiful canyons and stretch to desert rock formations creating the perfect picturesque. Besides hiking, other fun activities at the park include birdwatching, camping, and paddling.
13. Fort Worth
Forth Worth is another great place worth visiting if you are looking for a less refined version of Dallas. Dubbed the city of cowboys and culture, Fort Worth is the true definition of Texas’ community spirit. Locals here are friendly, full of energy, and willing to help.
Fort Worth also has a big city feel thanks to the numerous attractions dotting the city. Fort Worth Stockyards stands out as it’s one of the surviving facilities in the U.S. Millions of cattle would rest and get shipped to other states.
The stockyard has, however, transformed into a tourist attraction hosting theatrical performances, rodeos, western-themed shopping facilities, and concerts.
14. Corpus Christi
If you want a place, you can go for a quiet getaway miles away from the bustling Texas towns, head to Corpus Christi. The town overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, offering the longest stretches of sand in the state.
Corpus Christi is one of the oldest towns in Texas, dating over 400 years ago when Karankawa Indians settled here and began building.
The city is dotted with historical attractions and museums marking their existence as well as art, science, and naval aviation relics showing how the town has morphed into existence.
Located 30 minutes away from downtown Dallas, McKinney has a depth of history you won’t find in another Texas town. It features an ensemble of 19th century buildings showing how locals lived more than 150 years ago.
A walk down to Chestnut Square takes you back to the town’s earliest days. The square features 10 buildings, including an assortment of homes, a schoolhouse, a chapel, and a general store dating back to 1845, which explain the town’s communities and way of life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the commonly asked question about the best places to visit in Texas:
Which is the most visited place in Texas?
San Antonio is the most visited place in Texas. This is because it’s home to Alamo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Landmark attracting more than a million visitors every year.
Which are the best months to visit Texas?
Spring (March and April), fall (October and November), May, and June are the best months to visit Texas. They’re not the hottest or the coldest months in Texas.
Which are the coldest months in Texas?
January and February are the coldest months in Texas. With temperatures falling below 0ºC, it’s best to avoid visiting the state during these months.
Should I visit South Padre Island?
South Padre Island is an excellent place to visit if you want sandy areas to walk, dine, and rest. It’s the only place with a beach in Texas state.
Which city illustrates the true Texan culture?
Forth Worth and San Antonio are great places to visit if you want to experience Texas’ authentic cowboy culture. However, Fort Worth is more inclined to the Texan cowboy vibe, while San Antonio blends a bit of Latino into the Texan culture.
So, What Is the Best Place to Visit in Texas?
Overall, we think that Houston is the best place to visit in Texas. It provides a healthy balance of history, art, adventure, and music compared to most other Texan towns.
Dallas is another excellent pick especially if you’re an art lover. But if you’re visiting Texas to experience its famed cowboy culture, San Antonio, and Fort Worth are the best places to visit. However, anything on our list has amazing, can’t miss sights.
So, with so many amazing places to see and even better places to eat, what are you waiting for — book your trip to Texas today!