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The 20 Best Places To Visit In Texas

The 20 Best Places To Visit In Texas

Everything is bigger in Texas, right?! Well, that is the saying, and we agree, especially based on all of these awesome places to visit in Texas!

As the second largest state in the USA, Texas is big in size and big on charm.

Texas offers delicious barbecue, breathtaking vistas, a plethora of state and national parks, miles of coastline, small towns, and big cities.

Really, there are so many great vacation spots in Texas that we have devoted this entire website to showing you all of the great things that the Lone Star State has to offer.

While Texas is best known for its cowboy culture, it is really so much more than just that.

Texas is home to world-class museums, the Houston Space Center, an exciting music scene, unique geological features, loads of history, and an extreme amount of southern hospitality.

Let’s check out some of the best places to visit in Texas (in no particular order)!

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    Austin

    lake with Austin skyline in the background-places to visit in Texas

    Austin, Texas, the Texas state capitol and a city with a vibe all its own. Known as the ‘Live Music Capital of the World,’ Austin is a lively city with so much to offer locals and visitors.

    Whether you are spending a weekend in Austin, or a week, Austin will definitely keep you entertained.

    The city surrounds beautiful Lady Bird Lake (one of the lakes in Austin) which offers visitors (and locals) the opportunity to get out in nature during their time in Austin.

    Lady Bird Lake is a great place to go walking, jogging, cycling, paddle boarding, and more.

    A quirky Austin attraction to enjoy during your time in the city is to see the Austin bats. Head to Congress Street Bridge on the edge of Lady Bird Lake at sunset to get a chance to see the nightly flight of the largest urban bat colony in the world!

    Of course, you can’t visit the Texas state capitol and not visit the state capitol building.

    The Texas state capitol building is open daily and free tours are offered of the interior of the building.

    After you have toured the Texas state capitol, don’t miss a chance to tour the Governor’s Mansion as well.

    Austin is also one of the best places to visit in Texas if you are a live music lover. Not only do they host huge music festivals like South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits Festival, but you can also find live music playing around the city every night.

    Some fun areas to consider for nightlife in Austin include Rainey Street and the famous Austin Sixth Street.

    During your time in Austin you will also want to check out the Austin food scene. For this, think delicious taco (especially breakfast tacos), great Texas barbecue, even fancy five-star restaurants!

    Austin also has some great museums to offer to visitors. To learn more about the history of Texas, you definitely want to visit the Bullock Texas State History Museum. This museum walks you through the history of Texas from the fight for independence through modern day events.

    To ‘keep Austin weird,’ you definitely don’t want to miss the Museum of the Weird during your time in the city!

    There are also several art museums in the area. Austin offers the Contemporary Austin Jones Center, the Mexic-Arte Museum, and the George Washington Carver Museum.

    If you have time, don’t miss out on some of the fun day trips from Austin as well. One of which is the scenic drive from Austin to Fredericksburg or visit some of the best waterfalls in Texas that can be found in this area!

    Houston

    Houston skyline with park in front

    Houston is the largest city in Texas, and is considered by many to be the hub of the state.

    Offering up world-class museums, famous attractions, and a great food scene, Houston is another of the Texas cities that will keep you entertained for as long as you wish to stay.

    One of the most popular tourist attractions in Houston is the Space Center Houston. The Space Center Houston welcomes over 800,000 visitors every year!

    With a mission to educate and inspire young people to embrace science and technology, the Space Center Houston allows visitors to get hands on with space exploration.

    There are several permanent exhibits, artifacts, and various space items on display at the Space Center Houston as well.

    Kids and kids at heart will have a great time at the Space Center!

    Just past the Space Center Houston is the fun little town of Kemah. Kemah is a great seaside town that has a fun boardwalk full of carnival rides and games.

    There are also some great restaurants and some fun shops to explore in Kemah, so don’t miss your opportunity to visit it while in Houston.

    The Houston museum scene is fabulous as well, with downtown Houston loaded with choices. You can visit the Museum of Fine Arts which contains over 64,000 works of art from six continents.

    If you prefer a natural museum, then head to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Here you can see the butterfly exhibit and investigate the origins of the Houston area.

    Don’t miss the culinary scene during your time in Houston as well. With food ranging from delicious Texas barbecue to fresh, gulf coast seafood, Houston has you covered on all levels.

    If you are wanting to get outdoors, Houston has you covered there as well. There are several parks and lakes in Houston that you can use to escape the summer heat.

    Dallas

    Dallas skyline lit up at night-one of the best places to visit in Texas

    A visit to Texas isn’t complete without visiting Dallas.

    Home to an incredible arts district, world-class restaurants, and a fabulous nightlife scene, Dallas is the place to see and be seen during your visit to Texas.

    One of the top attractions in Dallas is the Dallas World Aquarium. The Dallas World Aquarium is home to more than just fish.

    This awesome rainforest-like environment houses exotic birds, mammals, fish, and more for visitors to enjoy.

    Dallas is also home to a thriving arts district. The Dallas Arts District is comprised of numerous museums, live theatre venues, and great outdoor spaces right in the heart of downtown Dallas.

    This is also a great city to enjoy wining and dining your significant other. There are so many choice for Dallas date ideas that we could go on forever.

    Just find one that speaks to your style and go for it!

    History buffs will want to visit Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum housed in the Texas School Book Depository.

    The Sixth Floor Museum is a museum dedicated to chronicling the life and assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Sixth Floor Museum contains more than 90,000 items related to the assassination and presidency of Mr. Kennedy.

    Guests at the Sixth Floor Museum can view a timeline of the events surrounding the President’s assassination. The Sixth Floor Museum also offers contains items of pop culture related to the Kennedy family which are unique for sure!

    There are loads of great museums in Dallas to explore. Some others that you might want to consider include the Dallas Holocaust Museum, the Perot Museum, the Museum of Illusion, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, and the Old Red Museum.

    If you want to see the Dallas of the past, then head to the Dallas Heritage Village. Dallas Heritage Village houses a large collection of 19th century Pioneer and Victorian homes and commercial building for visitors to explore.

    You might want to head to the Dallas Farmer’s Market during your time in the city as well. Not only does the Farmer’s Market sell fresh fruits and vegetables, but it also houses numerous food stalls that are great for a fun lunch in the city.

    Dallas is a great area to enjoy being outdoors also. Outdoor recreation in the area is comprised of some fabulous lakes in Dallas, parks (including a teddy bear park), fun Dallas beaches, and more!

    Dallas also makes for the perfect hub to explore more areas in Texas, especially the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. There are numerous weekend getaways from Dallas that allow you to do just that.

    Fort Worth

    fountains in front of building in Fort Worth Sundance Square

    Although Fort Worth is located only about 30 minutes west of Dallas, the two could not be more different.

    Fort Worth locals (like us) will tell you that Fort Worth is the more fun, laid-back version of the two cities. LOL!

    Home to the Fort Worth Stockyards, the city chooses to embrace its cowboy heritage, and it sure shows.

    As one of the top tourist attractions in the state, the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District is well worth some of your vacation time.

    Head to the Stockyards National Historic District to watch the daily cattle drive, see a rodeo, eat some delicious Texas beef, and learn how to do the Texas two step!

    The Stockyards is packed with fun shops and loads of restaurants to choose from. There is also a cattlepen maze and a mechanical bull that you can try during your time in Fort worth.

    Cowboy culture and the Fort Worth Stockyards aren’t the only things that Fort Worth has to offer though.

    Fort Worth has fabulous museums, a great zoo, and outstanding restaurants throughout the city.

    Some of the popular museums in the city are the Fort Worth Museum of Natural Science and History, the Modern Art Museum, and the Kimball Art Museum.

    Other areas of Fort Worth that you should check out are Sundance Square, the Magnolia area, and Fort Worth Cultural District, and the West 7th area.

    If you want a night of live entertainment, then Fort Worth has loads of choices. Bass Hall hosts everything from comedy acts to symphony performances while Billy Bob’s Texas houses loads of country music concerts.

    You should also take time to explore some of the city parks while in Fort Worth. The Fort Worth Botanical Gardens is home to acres of Texas flora and fauna to enjoy.

    For an unique urban park, the Fort Worth Water Gardens is a great place to visit.

    The Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs also have loads of great sports venues, a theme park, and some great outdoor spaces.

    San Antonio

    San Antonio River Walk

    San Antonio is definitely one of the best places to visit in Texas! Home to the San Antonio River Walk, the world famous Alamo, amusement parks, and a fabulous food scene, there are so many great things to do in San Antonio.

    The Alamo is one of the most visited attractions in Texas. Visitors flock to this historic Spanish Mission to learn the history associated with the city and the historical monument.

    While you definitely don’t want to miss visiting the Alamo, don’t make it the only mission you visit in the city. San Antonio is home to a total of five Spanish Colonial Missions, all well worth visiting.

    Another must visit site in the city is the San Antonio River Walk. The San Antonio River Walk is lined with great restaurants and fun shops.

    Honestly, the San Antonio River Walk is the place to go if you love to people watch. Just grab a table overlooking the River Walk and your favorite margarita and you can sit and people watch for hours.

    Another one of the best places to visit in the city is the San Antonio Botanical Garden. The gardens are home to beautiful Texas flora and fauna and a great Japanese Garden.

    The delicious cuisine in San Antonio is another reason to visit. There are great restaurants throughout the city, not just the River Walk. Take time to explore the historic Pearl District for some great dining and entertainment options as well.

    Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park and Sea World also call San Antonio home. Both of these are great options for some great family fun.

    Outdoor lovers will want to check out the state parks near San Antonio in addition to all of the local San Antonio parks.

    Another fun attraction in the area is the Natural Bridge Caverns. The fact that the Natural Bridge Caverns are located right off of Interstate-35 makes it a popular stop, especially for visitors driving from Dallas to San Antonio.

    Visitors to the Natural Bridge Caverns can enjoy the opportunity to explore the cave system on one of the guided tours, or on one of their adventure tours. The Natural Bridge Caverns also have a zipline course, a ropes course, a maze, and gem and fossil mining.

    Galveston

    Galveston Pleasure Pier

    Galveston Island is one of the best places to visit in Texas on the Texas Gulf Coast.

    Home to cruise ship ports, the historic Pleasure Pier, Moody Gardens, and miles of Texas coastline, Galveston has lots to offer.

    Families love to explore the many fun offerings that Moody Gardens has to offer. Kids love the rainforest pyramid, the water park, and the aquarium at Moody Gardens.

    The downtown Strand area offers visitors an opportunity to see the historic Victorian-style building from Galveston’s hey day. Housed in these old buildings are numerous boutique shops, and some great restaurants and bars.

    If you are a foodie, then consider taking a food tour during your time in Galveston. They are fun and informative!

    Be sure to visit the the rooftop bar at the the Tremont House Hotel. The drinks here are amazing and the views from the Tremont’s rooftop bar are stunning.

    The Galveston Pleasure Pier is another hot attraction in the city. Enjoy riding the amusement park rides, and playing the carnival style games as you are surrounded by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

    Nature lovers will, of course, feel right at home in Galveston. In addition to the numerous beaches in Galveston, the city is also home to great restaurants, the Galveston Island State Park and Nature Center, and more.

    During your time in Galveston, be sure to take one of the many history tours of the city. The history of the island is so intriguing and there is no better way to learn about it then from a local guide.

    The Galveston Island State Park is a great place to go bird watching, fishing, go horseback riding, or just enjoy the stretch of beach while listening to the surf.

    Padre Island

    beach and ocean on Padre Island-one of the places to visit in Texas

    Another one of the best places to visit in Texas on the Texas Gulf Coast is Padre Island, one of the best beaches in Texas.

    Padre Island is the longest barrier island in the world, so it only makes sense that people flock to this area.

    People come to Padre Island for the numerous ecological opportunities, Schlitterbahn Water Park, and the great local restaurants that are in the area.

    The South Padre Island National Seashore is a major attraction on Padre Island. The South Padre Island National Seashore has 60 miles of sandy beaches for you to explore.

    During your time visiting the South Padre Island National Seashore, you can enjoy driving and camping on the beach.

    Of course South Padre Island National Seashore also offers all of the normal beach activities that people love! You can build sandcastles, collect sea shells, fish, swim, and more!

    The ecological tours from the island are another one of the many reasons people flock to Padre. The island offers dolphin watching tours, a birding and nature center, a sea turtle rescue and recovery program, and numerous nature trails.

    Since Padre is part of the Central Flyway Migratory Route for birds, it is the perfect place to do some bird watching.

    Fredericksburg

    vineyard in Fredericksburg

    Fredericksburg is one of the Texas small towns that will steal your heart for sure!

    Known for the Texas wine and wineries that line the area, Fredericksburg is definitely one of the best places to visit in Texas if you are a wine lover!

    Wine isn’t the only attraction in Fredericksburg though. This small town is also home to Enchanted Rock State Park, a unique German heritage, and numerous museums.

    If you are wanting to learn more about the history of the area, then Fredericksburg has you covered. You can visit the Pioneer Museum or the historic Fort Martin Scott.

    Outdoor lovers will want to visit Enchanted Rock to climb to the top of the rock and to explore the other hiking trails in the area.

    Fredericksburg is also home to one of the fabulous lavender fields in Texas!

    Close by are the small towns of Luckenbach Texas and Johnson City, the birthplace of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

    No matter what you choose to do, there are so many things to do in Fredericksburg that you will enjoy your visit for sure!

    Waco

    bridge over river

    What was once a small college town has become one of the top places to visit in Texas thanks to the hit HGTV show featuring Chip and Joanna Gaines.

    People love to visit Waco to visit the Magnolia Market at the Silos, but that isn’t the only thing Waco has to offer.

    Waco visitors should also check out the Dr Pepper Museum, the Cameron Park Zoo, and the Waco Mammoth National Monument.

    Outdoor lovers will find that Waco has plenty to offer them as well. Take time to explore Cameron Park or enjoy some time on Lake Waco to get your outdoor fix.

    Alpine

    road into the countryside in Alpine

    The city of Alpine is located in the hills of West Texas.

    Alpine is a small town that is often used as a hub to explore Big Bend National Park, but don’t overlook what the town of Alpine has to offer as well.

    This small town has a great downtown area that is full of fun boutique shops, some great local restaurants, and fabulous art galleries.

    You can also visit the Museum of the Big Bend to learn more about the local history of the area.

    New Braunfels

    river with trees in New Braunfels

    Located just north of San Antonio, New Braunfels is close to both the Guadalupe River and the Comal River.

    The proximity to these Texas rivers mean that people love to visit this central Texas town to enjoy all that the rivers have to offer.

    In the summer, you will find people floating the rivers and visiting Schlitterbahn Waterpark to escape from the Texas heat.

    Of course, you can also enjoy fishing, kayaking, and swimming on the rivers as well.

    If you aren’t into the water sports, no worries, the New Braunfels area has other attractions.

    Visit the Gruene Historic District to see the German heritage in the area.

    The Gruene Historic District is also home to Gruene Hall, the oldest continually operating dance hall in the country, a great little shopping area, and some wonderful restaurants.

    Corpus Christi

    marina with boats in Corpus Christi

    There are so many fabulous things to do in Corpus Christi that it is easy to see why it is one of the best places to visit in Texas!

    Corpus Christi overlooks the Gulf of Mexico and offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy a great little coastal community.

    Of course, the biggest attraction in Corpus Christi is the beaches. The beaches in Corpus Christi range from secluded stretches of sand to a bustling beach in the middle of the city.

    Other popular attractions in Corpus Christi are the Texas State Aquarium, the SS Lexington, the Selena Museum, and Schlitterbahn Waterpark.

    You will definitely want to visit Mustang Island State Park and enjoy some time on the long stretches of beach the park offers.

    Corpus Christi is a great getaway, whether you are doing a Texas road trip or a weekend getaway, it is perfect.

    Amarillo

    the city of Amarillo

    Amarillo is the quintessential West Texas town.

    One of the top tourist attractions in Amarillo is Cadillac Ranch. Cadillac Ranch is a roadside attraction that has turned into a tourist hot spot in not only Texas, but all of the United States.

    People flock to Cadillac Ranch for their chance to spray paint one of the Cadillac cars that have been buried nose down in the Texas dirt.

    After leaving your mark at Cadillac Ranch, then head to Big Texan Steak Ranch to see if you can conquer their 72-oz. steak challenge. (Good luck!)

    To burn off some of the food that you just ate, head out to Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Known as ‘the Grand Canyon of Texas,’ Palo Duro Canyon will surround you with gorgeous rock formations and loads of hiking trails.

    Of course, there are other things to do in Amarillo also. You can explore the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, check out the art galleries in the city, or see a live performance in the theatre.

    Laredo

    street in Laredo Texas

    The South Texas town of Laredo is another Texas town that you should have on your list of places to visit.

    Sitting at the bottom of the state means that Laredo borders the Rio Grande River and the country of Mexico.

    Crossing over the bridge from Laredo to Mexico means that you cross over the Rio Grande and into another county.

    If you don’t want to venture out of the United States, then take time to explore the town of Laredo instead.

    Laredo attractions include the Imaginarium of South Texas and the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum.

    If you are looking for outdoor activities in Laredo, then head to Lake Casa Blanca International Park.

    Guadalupe Mountains National Park

    mountain in Guadalupe Mountain State park

    Guadalupe Mountains National Park is home to four of the tallest mountain in the state of Texas. Not only that, but Guadalupe Mountains National Park is also home to an extensive Permian fossil reef thanks to the ocean that used to cover this part of Texas.

    Visitors to Guadalupe Mountains National Park can enjoy miles of hiking trails and can view a fabulous view of the night sky.

    During your visit, don’t miss the opportunity to hike to the top of Guadalupe Peak. Guadalupe Peak offer you gorgeous views of Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

    Just be sure to bring all of the supplies that you will need as this national park is in a remote area and there are few areas to refill supplies.

    Big Bend National Park

    Canyon in Big Bend

    Big Bend National Park is located in far west Texas on the border of Texas and Mexico. The remote location makes it one of the least visited national parks in the United States, which is a shame, because it is amazing!

    Big Bend National Park is made up of the Chisos Mountains and the Chihuahuan Desert, meaning that the terrain here is harsh.

    Don’t let that stop you from visiting Big Bend National Park though. The countryside is beautiful and the night skies here are like no other!

    A trip to Big Bend National Park offers visitors over 200 miles of hiking trails, an opportunity to kayak in the Rio Grande, and gorgeous scenic drives.

    The conditions here can be harsh though, so always come prepared. Bring plenty of food and water and wear good hiking shoes when you visit.

    Marble Falls

    lake at sunset

    Marble Falls is a small lakeside community in the Texas Hill Country.

    Known for it’s fabulous lakeside location, great Texas wineries and breweries, fabulous outdoor spaces, and great local restaurants, Marble Falls has something for everyone.

    During your visit, you have to visit the Bluebonnet Café which is located right in the center of town. The Bluebonnet Café has welcomed visitors for years, and the biggest draw is their pie!

    After you have had your fill of country cooking and that famous pie, then walk off some of that food while shopping in Marble Falls’ historic downtown area.

    The downtown area of Marble Falls has everything from home décor to boutique clothing shops! Maybe you will find the the perfect Texas souvenir during your shopping adventure!

    There are also several state and local parks to enjoy in the area, and, of course, lake Marble Falls for some fun lake recreation.

    Honestly, there are so many things to do in Marble Falls that you will definitely want to devote several days to exploring the city.

    Port Aransas

    sand dunes by ocean with the sun setting

    Located close to Corpus Christ, Port Aransas is another Texas coast community to make our list of vacation spots in Texas.

    This beachfront community features 18 miles of Texas shoreline, great museums, and loads of other fun activities.

    You can start your time in Port Aransas by visiting the Port Aransas Museum. This museum is the perfect introduction to the history of Port Aransas before you dive deeper into what the city has to offer.

    Of course, one of the major draws is the Port Aransas Beach. The miles of sparkling water and soft sand are the perfect place to enjoy a day outdoors. Enjoy building sand castles, swimming, or just lounging on the sand.

    Bird lovers will want to visit the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center. There is an abundance of wildlife in the area that can be seen from the 700 foot boardwalk on the property.

    Other popular activities include taking a dolphin watching tour or a charter fishing trip to get some time out on the ocean.

    Mustang Island is also close to Port Aransas and another great place to enjoy some time in the surf and sand.

    Wimberley

    river with cypress trees

    The artistic community of Wimberley, TX is a Texas gem that you have to visit!

    Wimberley offers visitors great wineries, fun distilleries, crystal clear rivers, and an awesome community full of welcoming people.

    The town of Wimberley is a tourist hot spot in the summer. That is thanks to the many water activities that Wimberley has to offer.

    People flock to Jacob’s Well to experience the unique swimming hole that remains a cool 68 degrees year-round.

    Another popular swimming hole in the Wimberley area is the Blue Hole Regional Park. The Blue Hole offers visitors an opportunity to swim in an incredible blue-green colored swimming hole surrounded by gorgeous towering Cypress trees.

    Wine lovers will definitely want to visit Wimberley Valley Winery as well. This great winery has a fabulous outdoor space to enjoy drinking their delicious varieties of Texas wines.

    Take time to support the local artists when you visit the many art galleries in the area. There are several galleries in town ranging from hand-blown glass to one-of-a-kind paintings.

    After shopping on the town square, then visit one of the many great restaurants in town for a delicious dinner.

    Wimberley also offers some great seasonal events, especially around Christmas time.

    For a laid-back, fun evening, then consider heading to Ino’z. If you want something a little fancier, then the Leaning Pear might be what you’re looking for.

    Jefferson

    bridge over river in Jefferson

    The East Texas town of Jefferson, Texas is a great place to visit if you are a history or nature lover.

    Jefferson is a town filled with an interesting history. This history makes the town home to almost 100 historic landmarks.

    Visitors come to Jefferson to enjoy the many bed and breakfasts inns, the Historic Jefferson Railroad, Caddo Lake State Park, and more.

    A visit to the Jefferson Historical Museum will introduce you to the history of Jefferson and Marion County as a whole.

    Taking a ride on the Historic Jefferson Railway is a must during your visit to Jefferson. The railway travels along miles of the Big Cypress Bayou through the east Texas forest, showing off the beauty of East Texas to all of its visitors.

    Caddo Lake State Park is another must-see while in this area. The 26,000-acre lake is an incredible combination of natural swamp land with beautiful moss strewn Cypress tress everywhere you look.

    Caddo Lake State Park truly makes you feel like you have been transported to another land!

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    Michelle Snell founder of That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel

    About The Author

    Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel.  Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

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