Most people come to Texas to spend time in our popular, big cities like Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio. While these are all great Texas vacation destinations. I would say you are missing the best part of the state! Texas small towns are what makes our state so fabulous.
The small towns in Texas have so much to offer. From quirky attractions to rolling vineyards dotted with wineries, Texas has it all.
Honesty, it would be amiss to not include some small towns on your Texas itinerary as many of these are some of the top places to visit in Texas!
We have included small towns in all regions of Texas, so we have you covered!
Named Canyon because it is the gateway to Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in the United States.
Most people come to the town of Canyon to spend time in Palo Duro Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of Texas.
While in Canyon, can explore the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in Texas, and the Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
One of the most charming small towns in Texas, Granbury will win your heart the moment you see it.
Made popular by Granbury Lake, and located just outside of Dallas-Fort Worth, Granbury is a great place to plan a weekend getaway.
Here you can walk around the historic downtown square, which is home to several boutique shops and restaurants. In addition, there are a couple of great wineries in the downtown area that are well worth seeing as is City Beach Park.
Marfa is one of the small towns in Texas that is unlike any other!
Known as a thriving art community in west Texas, Marfa is a unique Texas town indeed! Here you can see the art installations that are scattered throughout the town, including the infamous Prada Marfa Prada Store art installations.
Of course, many people come to Marfa to see the Marfa Lights. You can decide for yourself when you see them if you think this is a naturally occurring phenomenon or visits from aliens. It has been an ongoing debate for years!
South Padre Island
Head to the tip of Texas’ Gulf Coast region and you will find South Padre Island, one of the top spring break destinations in Texas and one of the best small towns on the beach.
This barrier island consists of more than 30 miles of beach, so you are sure to get your fix of the Texas Gulf Coast while visiting. Padre Island is a great place for fishing, horseback riding on the beach, or just lounging around in the Texas sun.
I mean, it is one of the best beaches in Texas!
While here, don’t miss visiting the nearby small town of Port Isabel. You can check out the Port Isabel Lighthouse and the Museum of Port Isabel. Port Isabel is a great little town to check out!
You will find one of the smallest small towns in Texas, Luckenbach, located a short drive west of Austin, TX, making this a popular road trip.
The official census showed Luckenbach to have as many as three people living here! Made famous by the country music song titled, “Luckenbach, Texas,” this Texas town draws visitors from all over the United States to come and listen to some live music.
Also in the tiny town of Luckenbach are a general store and the Luckenbach post office. Both of which, especially the post office, are a piece of Texas history.
Located along the iconic Route 66 in the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo is another one of the quirky small towns in Texas to make our list.
I say quirky because most people associate Amarillo with the infamous roadside attraction of Cadillac Ranch. Cadillac Ranch is an art installation on Route 66 that consists of ten Cadillac cars being buried nose down in the desert.
Of course, you can grab a bottle of spray paint to leave your make on the Cadillacs as well.
While here, check out the Sixth Street Historic District and check out the shops, museums, and restaurants that call this small town home.
Once you see Bandera you will understand why this Texas small town is called the “Cowboy Capital of the World.”
Numerous dude ranches and guest ranches call Bandera home and love to welcome guests that want to experience the “cowboy lifestyle” for a little while, thus the “Cowboy Capital of the World”.
Bandera is also home to two State Natural Areas, including the Hill Country State Natural Area where which contains over 5,000 acres of plateaus and canyons.
If you are into visiting distilleries and wineries, then you have to add Dripping Springs to your list of small towns in Texas to visit!
Dripping Springs is home to several distilleries and wineries. We love visiting Dripping Springs Vodka, Frog Pond Distillery, and Deep Eddy Vodka when visiting.
Of course, we can’t forget the wineries here. You definitely want to check out Bell Springs Winery, Solaro Estate, and Driftwood Estate Winery.
In addition, there are also several boutique shops just waiting to welcome you as is Hill Country Olive Co.
Salado is one of the charming small towns to make our list. Visiting Salado truly makes you feel as though you have stepped back in time to the 19th century.
Here, you can tour the many places in Salado that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, like the George Washington Baines House and the Stagecoach Inn. In all, there are 40 historical sites in this small town, as well as art galleries, and boutique shops!
Head about an hour west of Dallas, and you will find the town of Canton. Canton is home to the world’s largest flea market where over 5,000 vendors sell a variety of items. These items include everything from unique housewares to boutique clothing.
While in Canton you can also the shops that reside in this small west Texas town. Be sure to check out the breweries and restaurants in Canton like Q & Brew at the Silver Spur Resort.
Canton is truly one of the best small towns in Texas for a laid-back, relaxing weekend of eating and shopping.
If you are an antique lover, then Round Top has to be on your list!
Antique enthusiasts have been visiting the twice a year antique show known as Round Top Antiques Show for over 50 years. Here you can experience the largest antiquities market in Texas.
Of course, there are antique shops open in town year-round as well. This town is proud of its tiny size. They even have a slog of “big-time small.”
You can explore the world’s smallest Catholic church, go to the region’s many wineries, and enjoy Round Top’s historic downtown while here.
Jefferson is one of the historic small Texas towns as Jefferson boasts almost 100 historic landmarks!
During your time in this Texas town, you can explore historic landmarks like the Excelsior House Hotel and The Jefferson Carnegie Library before taking in the Historic Jefferson Railway.
Of course, Jefferson also offers plenty of outdoor activities many of which can be enjoyed on Caddo Lake State Park or a day of boating on Lake O’ the Pines.
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Hunt is one of the small towns in Texas that is often overlooked by visitors, but, I say, add Hunt to your list!
While in Hunt, you have to visit Criders, home to the Saturday night rodeo and dance. The cool thing about Criders is that the dancehall is located under a giant oak tree that is incorporated into the design!
A popular swimming hole, Schumacher’s Crossing, and Stonehenge II, a replica of the Stonehenge site in Europe, should be on your list also.
Fredericksburg, Texas is one of the oldest German settlements in Texas, numerous wineries, and Enchanted Rock State Park.
Enchanted Rock State Park is one of Texas’ popular state parks and a huge draw for Fredericksburg. Here, you can hike, camp, and explore Enchanted Rock State Park while in this historic town.
While spending time in Fredericksburg, Texas, be sure to explore the many wineries in Fredericksburg and check out the great shopping area up and down its main street.
The town square has a cute little museum devoted to Fredericksburg’s German heritage also.
Nacogdoches started out as a Spanish settlement and was one of the oldest towns in Texas. The Missionaries that settled here wanted to convert the American Indians to Christianity.
Today this east Texas city welcomes tourists to explore its historic downtown and learn about the town’s heritage. At Stone Fort Museum, you can tour a fort that never served as a fort. Instead, this fort was a trading post, a private home, a jail, and even a saloon, but never a fort!
A trip to Nacogdoches offers outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to play disc golf, go fishing, try out horseback riding, or just walk around one of the many parks that call Nacogdoches home.
Terlingua is a former 19th-century mining community that many claimed had become a west Texas ghost town. Today, only about 50 people call Terlingua home!
Most people come to Terlingua to spend time in Big Bend National Park. Big Bend National Park is a huge national park that is perfect for hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and more!
While in this area, don’t overlook the small town of Terlingua though. You can enjoy some delicious Mexican food at the Chili Pepper Cafe and explore the quirky roadside attractions that are located in Terlingua.
This is one of the best small towns close to Big Bend.
Shiner is a great little town in The Lone Star State!
Shiner’s close proximity to Austin, San Antonio, and Houston makes it easy to do on a day trip from one of these larger cities.
A trip to Shiner has to include visiting Spoetzl Brewery, where Shiner beer is made! While here, you can also see the Edwin Wolters Memorial Museum, shop for antiques, or enjoy being outside at Welhausen Park.
Marble Falls is a great little town that is built around Lake Marble Falls, one of the Highland Lakes of Burnet County.
It is home to several great wineries like Flat Creek Estate and Spicewood Vineyards that are well worth a visit.
You will also want to head into town to shop at all of the fabulous boutique shops on Main Street before grabbing a slice of pie from Bluebonnet Cafe. Bluebonnet Cafe has been serving up delicious pies in Marble Falls since 1929.
The small town of Lockhart, TX has been designated the ‘Barbecue Capital of Texas’ thanks to the abundance of famous Texas barbecue you will find here.
If you are choosing to eat your way through the ‘Barbecue capital of Texas,’ then you have to eat at Black’s, Smitty’s, and Kreuz Market for sure.
When you’re ready to work off some of that delicious barbecue, you can head to Lockhart State Park. Lockhart Park is the perfect place for an afternoon hike, a day of golf, or a refreshing swim to escape the Texas heat.
Another one of the great coastal towns in The Lone Star State, Port Aransas should definitely be on your list of small Texas towns to visit.
Known for its sandy shores lining the Gulf Coast, Port Aransas is the perfect place to enjoy some downtime! There are so many things to do in Port Aransas. You can go fishing, try your hand at windsurfing, or go on a relaxing dolphin-watching cruise from this town.
Ennis, Texas was settled in 1872 when the Central and Houston Railroads emerged on this spot in Texas.
One of the biggest draws to the small town of Ennis is its annual Ennis Bluebonnet Festival.
This celebration welcomes the blooming of the Texas state flower, the bluebonnet, where guests can drive over 40 miles of mapped driving trails in Ennis to see the gorgeous flowers.
The town of Gruene, Texas dates back to 1872 when it was founded by Ernst Gruene, a German farmer. While the downtown area is home to several cute shops, including a general store, that isn’t what draws people to Gruene.
Gruene is home to the famous Gruene Hall, a Texas dance hall that dates back to 1878 and is the oldest continually operating dance hall in Texas!
The history of this dance hall includes performances from country music legends like George Strait and Willie Nelson.
Tubing the river is another popular activity in Gruene as is eating at the Gristmill Restaurant. The Gristmill serves up great food and honors the history of the town as it is modeled after the original cotton gin that stood there before burning down in 1922.
The town of Boerne is located on the Guadalupe River in the Texas Hill Country. Visitors to Boerne love shopping at the Hill Country Mile which is the downtown historic district of the town.
Boerne has art galleries, eclectic home shops, boutiques, antique shops, and cute cafes for you to explore.
When you want to spend some time outdoors, you can relax at one of Boerne’s many breweries, distilleries, or wineries. Boerne is also home to the Cibolo Nature Center and the Guadalupe Nation Forest, both of which offer walking and hiking trails for visitors to enjoy.
Another great Texas Hill Country town in Texas is New Braunfels. People flock to New Braunfels to float the river and explore the quirky mix that makes up historic downtown New Braunfels.
In addition to floating the river, you can also play at Schlitterbahn Water Park and the beautiful Canyon Lake to keep cool during the hot Texas summers. You will also find Natural Bridge Caverns and a great drive-in theatre in town.
Be sure to eat at Naegelin’s, the oldest Texas bakery, during your time here. Trust us, you will be glad you did!
The small town of Dublin is a great addition to your Texas itinerary.
Locals know Dublin for the delicious soda that was invented here at Dublin Bottling Works, Dr. Pepper. You can tour the production facility, although they are no longer allowed to make Dr. Pepper.
During your visit, you can even make a soda creation of your own. There is also a cool little museum celebrating the history of the beloved Lone Star State soda.
Brenham is a small town celebrated by Texans. This town offers up the best ice cream in The Lone Star State, Blue Bell. You can still visit the original Blue Bell Creameries and get a scoop of that delicious ice cream.
Take time to tour more of Brenham while you’re here. The town has some cute murals, an antique carousel, and some fun little shops and restaurants to visit.
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Johnson City is a great little Texas town full of history. Here you can tour the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Site. This historical site is the former home of the former President. You can visit the home and the historical site, which is still a working ranch.
Alpine is where many visitors to Big Bend choose to stay but don’t forget to spend some time in Alpine also.
It is home to America’s most remote brewery, Big Bend Brewing Company. You can also see the Brewster County Courthouse and Jail and the Museum of the Big Bend. Alpine is such a great little town in Texas and well worth a visit!
Wimberley is one of the best small towns in Texas for art lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The Wimberley town square is the perfect place to start exploring. Visit the art galleries, shops, and restaurants in this area before heading out to visit one of the region’s top attractions, the Blue Hole. Wimberley’s Blue Hole is a popular swimming hole as is Texas’ Hamilton Pool.
Visit the wineries and distilleries in the area and take a drive down the Devil’s Backbone, a scenic drive in the Wimberley area.
Laredo, TX is a Texas border town that is the oldest border crossing in the state. Sitting on the edge of the Rio Grande River, this town is worth a visit. Check out the Laredo historic district and the many parks of the area. There is also a great children’s museum, the Imaginarium, which offers students hands-on learning.
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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.