Welcome to our ultimate guide of the best places to visit in Texas!
From the Gulf Coast beaches in the east to the western desert region, Texas promises a bucket load of fun to its visitors.
The Lone Star State is simply huge – did you know it is the second largest in the country – and has a mind-numbing diversity of landscapes as well as attractions for visitors!
Texas also has a rich and vivid history as well as many cultural attractions.
Beautiful waterfalls, spectacular city skylines, urban parks, stunning natural areas, as well as pretty beaches, Texas has it all!
Here are our top favorite places to visit in Texas, all worth adding to your bucket list!
Best Places to Visit in Texas
From the cities of San Antonio and Houston to small towns of Fredericksburg and Rockport
…from historic attractions such as the Alamo and Texas State Capitol to beautiful natural areas such as Big Bend National Park and Padre Island on the Gulf Coast,
Here are some of the most amazing and incredible places to visit in Texas!
Also Read: Best Weekend Getaways in Texas for 2022
San Antonio is a must for everyone visiting the Lone Star State.
The city is home to some of the most visited attractions, including the historic Mission Alamo, the architectural marvel of San Antonio River Walk, and El Mercado or Historic Market Square.
The Alamo, a Spanish frontier mission, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It was here that the iconic Battle of the Alamo which gave momentum to the Texas Revolution took place.
Another must-visit is the beautiful 15-mile long San Antonio Riverwalk and its many attractions.
It offers a relaxed and romantic atmosphere and an abundance of great restaurants, eateries, and shops.
It can be explored on foot or by bike.
Austin is a bustling Texas city.
It is the state capital and home to the Texas State Capitol building.
Austin is known for its food scene, beautiful parks and lakes, and world-class museums.
Austin is also known as the live music capital of the world and hosts a variety of music festivals, concerts and performances throughout the year.
The Texas Capitol Building in downtown Austin can be seen on guided tours and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
It has beautiful Italian Renaissance style architecture and is made from pink granite found in the Texas Hill Country.
Another popular Austin attraction is the Hamilton Pool Preserve.
Hamilton Pool Preserve features a 50-foot waterfall, and fern-covered cliff sides, as well as distinctive plants and birds.
Located in nearby Dripping Springs, this natural swimming hole is extremely popular during the hot summer months.
Austin’s Lady Bird lake is a great place to visit to admire the city skyline and enjoy kayaking or paddle boarding.
The famous bat flight from under the Richards Congress Avenue Bridge is also worth seeing in Austin.
Big Bend National Park
Located right on the border with Mexico, Big Bend National Park is a unique spot for nature lovers.
This is one of our favorite national parks to visit in Texas.
The park has beautiful vistas of the Chisos mountains and the Chihuahua desert.
There are plenty of attractions in Big Bend National Park for visitors.
Stop by the visitor center to get more information regarding the hiking trails, purchase souvenirs, and get a park map.
Hike along the famous Rio Grande river and observe beautiful landscapes within the park from the scenic drive.
Big Bend National Park features diverse fauna and flora and is home to around 450 species of birds, as well as hares, roadrunners, mountain cougars, and bears.
Other popular activities in the Big Bend National Park include camping, horseback riding, and kayaking the Santa Elena Canyon.
H-Town is, undoubtedly, one of the best cities to visit in Texas!
It is the largest city in Texas and home to famous attractions like the Space Center Houston and the Museum District.
H-Town prides itself for having some of the best barbecue in the state and a laid-back vibe that keeps visitors coming for more.
The Museum District in Downtown Houston is a hit with families and culture lovers.
It features several premier museums including the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Museum of Fine Arts, Contemporary Art, Children’s Museum, and more.
The nearby Hermann Park is home to the Houston Zoo, the children’s train, Japanese garden, and green spaces.
The Johnson Space Center Houston is one of Texas’s top attractions and receives millions of visitors every year.
On a visit, you can walk inside a replica of America’s first space station, Skylab, or touch a rock from the moon.
It is great for those interested in space exploration and meeting astronauts.
Padre Island National Seashore
Located a short drive from Corpus Christi, this beautiful undeveloped barrier island separates the Laguna Madre from the Gulf of Mexico.
The island is 70 miles long and the longest barrier island in the world.
It is home to the National Park site of Padre Island National Seashore.
The park is a great place to experience the natural beauty of the Texas Gulf Coast.
Enjoy clean sandy beaches or go for a swim in the ocean.
Camping on the beach, kayaking, fishing, windsurfing and biking on the sand are other popular activities in the park.
The park is a famous nesting site for Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles and on a visit during summer, you can participate in their famous rare sea turtles hatchling release program.
Galveston, located on the Texas coast near Houston, is the perfect family vacation destination.
There are plenty of things to do in Galveston for visitors.
Get an adrenaline rush at the Pleasure Pier, a beachfront amusement park at any time of the year.
Visit the Moody Gardens, a tourist complex with a botanical garden, huge glass pyramids, an aquarium and various species of animals.
Spend an afternoon at The Strand, a National Historic District packed with antique shops, restaurants, art galleries, and wonderful architecture.
For those looking to catch some sun, Galveston offers 32 miles of beaches.
Galveston is also popular for water activities such as fishing, dolphin cruises, and kayaking.
Fredericksburg, located in the Texas Hill Country, is one of the best small towns in Texas.
It is charming and romantic and features a Main Street filled with historic buildings, boutiques, and restaurants.
Fredericksburg has a rich German heritage and was founded by German settlers in the 19th century.
Fredericksburg is home to several museums including the national museum of Pacific War, historic sites, and other attractions.
The nearby Enchanted Rock Natural State Area is popular for hiking, wildflowers, and bouldering.
Palo Duro Canyon
Looking for an amazing state park to visit in Texas? Head to Palo Duro!
Palo Duro Canyon State Park, located near Amarillo in the Panhandle, is a beautiful place to visit in Texas.
Did you know – Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the US and famously known as the Grand Canyon of Texas.
The canyon is 120 miles long, up to 20 miles wide, and between 600 and 800-feet deep.
Visitors love the streaked bright red and brown rocky mountains and fascinating geological shapes such as the lighthouse formation.
The State Park Visitor Center has lots of interesting exhibits about the geology and the cultural history of the canyon as well as amazing views from the rim.
Visitors can explore the canyon in depth by hiking within the canyon or on the scenic drive that goes to the foot of the canyon.
The park offers a wide range of activities for outdoor lovers including wildlife watching, birding, nature photography, camping, stargazing, and mountain biking.
South Padre Island
The resort town of South Padre Island Is located on the southern Texas coast.
This is one of the best beach towns in Texas and offers a variety of attractions from dolphin cruises and sandcastle building lessons to amusement parks and beautiful beaches.
The city also has several fun things to do including short Boardwalk trails, souvenir shopping, sunset sails, horseback riding, and paragliding.
Because of its mild climate, South Padre Island is one of the best places in Texas to visit in winter.
Head to the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District to experience the true spirit of Old Texas.
The Stockyards area features several buildings and streets built in the style of the Wild West.
You will find honky tonk halls with live music, rodeos on Fridays and Saturdays, barbecue, and stores selling western apparel.
However the highlight of the visit is the daily cattle drive.
Real cowboys with boots and hats lead the cattle drive in front of the Fort Worth Livestock Exchange Building.
The cattle drive is often followed by mock shootouts which are fun to watch for the whole family.
Mustang Island State Park, located south of Port Aransas between San Jose Island and Padre Island, is one of the most visited state parks in Texas.
The park has over 5 miles of beautiful coastline and white sandy beaches.
It is an ideal location for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of big cities.
Simply relax on the sand with a book or go beach combing for shells and sand dollars.
Enjoy sunbathing, fishing, paddling, hiking, kayaking or bird watching – the opportunities at Mustang island are numerous.
Those interested in paddling can check out the Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail.
Located 70 miles northwest of Houston, Brenham is a small German town that makes the perfect Texas getaway.
Every year, it attracts visitors for beautiful Texas bluebonnet displays as well as for Maifest, the annual festival that celebrates the German heritage of Brenham.
Other Brenham attractions include Blue Bell Creameries, historic Main Street, Fire Museum, and the Antique Rose Emporium.
The Washington-on-the-Brazos National Historical Park is also located near Brenham.
It was here that the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed – hence the park is famously known as the birthplace of Texas.
The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is one of the best places to visit in north Texas.
Downtown Dallas is home to a variety of museums, parks, restaurants, and historic buildings.
The Sixth Floor Museum in Dealey Plaza is a must visit while in Dallas.
This museum is located in the Dallas County Administration Building and was formerly the site of the Texas School Book Depository.
It was from here that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F Kennedy in 1963.
The museum is dedicated to events surrounding JFK’s death and his legacy.
Visitors can see detailed exhibits about the assassination as well as see the window from where he was shot. The museum also includes excellent information about JFK’s political contribution, his family, and news footage.
Some of the other popular tourist attractions in Dallas include the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, Dallas Zoo, Reunion Tower, Dallas World Aquarium, The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, etc.
Texas Hill Country Wineries
The picturesque Texas Hill Country is a popular tourist destination in Texas.
It is a well known grape growing region in Texas and renowned for its wineries.
Several wineries and vineyards color the Hill Country landscape, and most produce high-quality wines that every wine lover can appreciate.
Many of the Texas Hill Country wineries are located in and around Fredericksburg.
Located between Fredericksburg and Stonewall, Becker Vineyards organizes events, tastings, and tours within the walls of its impressive stone reception hall.
Grape Creek Vineyards is one of the oldest producing vineyards in Texas.
Fall Creek Winery located near Driftwood is another great option to sample the Texas whites and reds.
The main street of Fredericksburg also has several tasting rooms; Wine Tours are also available from the city.
Port Aransas is a charming island community.
It has an interesting variety of unique restaurants, shops, and hotels that cater to visitors.
One of the highlights of visiting Port Aransas is its pristine beaches.
Other activities available include kayaking, windsurfing, and fishing. You can easily find gear rentals here.
Some of the best beaches in Texas are located here including the IB Magee Beach Park.
Interested in history? Visit the Port Aransas Museum to learn about the past of this little beach town.
Marfa is one of the most unique small cities in Texas.
The city has a number of historical attractions as well as art galleries and public art work.
The Marfa Prada, a unique art installation, makes a great road trip stop on the way to Big Bend.
One of the most iconic attractions in Marfa is the Marfa lights.
The cause of these lights appearing on the desert landscape is still unknown and numerous legends including Paranormal Activity is associated with them.
Head to the Marfa Lights observation area just outside the city to see the view for yourself.
Corpus Christi is a good combination of the sun, the beach, and the city.
It is full of activities for different types of travelers.
Observe the marine world at the Texas State Aquarium or visit the Selena Memorial and listen to iconic songs by the famous musician.
Go to the Selena Museum if you want to learn more about this important figure and her role in Texan culture.
Head to the North Beach near the Harbor Bridge to catch some sun or swim in the water on a hot summer day.
Or, take a tour at the USS Lexington museum ship that was operational in World War II.
This former aircraft carrier ship is a National Historic Landmark and has been converted into a naval museum.
On a self-guided tour, you can see various military artifacts, aircrafts, exhibits, or even try the flight simulator.
Caddo Lake State Park
Caddo Lake is a beautiful Lake located on the Texas Louisiana border in the Piney Woods Region.
It is one of our favorite places to visit in East Texas.
Here you will find several acres of cypress swamps.
The bald cypress trees are draped in Spanish moss while Lotus, lily pads, and reeds grow in the lake.
The Caddo Lake State Park, located on the lakeshore, is great for hiking, camping, and kayaking.
Visitors especially enjoy observing wildlife watching, birding, and spectacular fall colors at Caddo Lake state park.
Read our post on Best Things to do in Caddo Lake State Park for more details.
San Jose Island
Come to San Jose Island if you are looking for something more remote and wild.
A great place to escape the noise of the city and wind down, read a book, collect seashells, and take in the scenery – it is recommended for those looking to have a quiet afternoon!
Enchanted Rock, located in the Enchanted Rock State Park north of Crabapple, is one of the largest natural rock formations in the whole country, rising 425 feet above the ground.
Climb the rock for spectacular views and rocky outcrops, just don’t forget to bring water.
The climb is a little challenging, but definitely worth it!
Within the park, there are various other trails and places to rock climb.
Other activities include camping, picnics, observing wildlife, geocaching, stargazing and taking photos of the beautiful landscape.
The park also offers ranger programs, which is great if you want to understand more about the creation of formations and wildlife.
Being a border town in the Wild West, El Paso combines Mexican flavors with historic architecture and a unique Texas atmosphere.
Visit the iconic Plaza Theater in the Downtown Historic District or venture on the El Paso Mission Trail to admire the colonial buildings.
Soak in some culture at the Museum of Art, roam through the Mexican Markets, and enjoy the cuisine in El Paso.
Explore El Segundo Barrio, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city.
Here you will find beautiful street murals revealing the town’s Hispanic heritage.
El Paso has a number of tourist attractions and makes a perfect stop on the west Texas road trip.
Boca Chica State Park
Boca Chica State Park near Brownsville encompasses the Boca Chica beach as well as the SpaceX launch site, 22 miles east of Brownsville.
The facility is pretty impressive that all the spacecraft lovers will appreciate.
The Boca Chica beach is relatively remote and less crowded than the South Padre Beach.
This means fewer services being offered, but it is perfect for things like fishing, birdwatching, strolling along the beach, and building sandcastles, or kiting.
There aren’t many amenities, so prepare well if you do decide to spend an afternoon here by bringing enough water and snacks.
Although not very popular among campers, there is an opportunity to camp here if you wish.
The city of Waco is located on the banks of the Brazos River in Central Texas.
Waco has plenty of attractions for families and makes a great spring break destination in Texas.
At the Waco Mammoth National Monument, visitors can see the fossilized remains of Ice Age Columbian mammoths.
Cameron Park Zoo is great to see a variety of animals while the Waco River walk mix what a pleasant stroll.
The well-known Magnolia Market Waco Silos of HGTV’s Fixer Upper fame is also located here.
The Dr. Pepper Museum in downtown is a great place to learn about Texas’ iconic soda.
Visit art galleries, boutiques, or restaurants in Waco Downtown Cultural District or spend a day on the water at Lake Waco.
Pedernales Falls State Park
Located around 35 miles west of Austin, Pedernales Falls State Park is where travelers can find some of the best natural views in the area.
Swim in the river, hike Twins Fall Nature Trail, or the more challenging Wolf Mountain Trail.
There are options for kayaking and tubing the river too.
Campsites with the necessary amenities are great for those who want to spend more time here.
Ranger Programs are available.
Between Dallas and Fort Worth, Arlington, a loud and lively city that attracts many adventure seekers for the variety of exciting activities it has to offer.
Six Flags Over Texas, Hurricane Harbor water park, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, Arlington Skatium, and Theatre Arlington are just a small part of what you’ll find here.
After a hectic day, head to lake Arlington or River Legacy Park to wind down before continuing your trip.
If you are looking to have some fun, Arlington is not the one to skip!
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a prime example of what a Permian-era fossil reef is.
It is famous for great hiking and backpack possibilities and for being one of the most unspoiled wilderness locations in the United States.
Around 80 miles of trails, winding through the desert-like areas, displaying some beautiful plants, the mountains, and riverside oases won’t disappoint any type of hiker.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, located in Pine Springs, northern Culberson County, is also home to the highest point in Texas, Guadalupe Peak.
Amazed by the falls and would love to see some more?
Visit Gorman Falls in Colorado Bend State Park, one of the most beautiful and popular state parks in Texas.
You can explore the 65 feet falls on a 1.4-mile guided walk, or choose the 2.6-mile hike to reach the same destination.
In the nearby lake you can go boating, kayaking and swimming.
Campsites are available in the park and dogs are welcome too.
Groups can book tours of the falls to learn more about them.
Jacob’s well is located in an 81-acre natural area near Wimberley.
Surrounded by limestone cliffs, this artesian spring always remains the same temperature at 68°F.
It is about 140 feet deep, which just adds to its mysterious vibe and look.
People are welcome to take a dip inside this natural wonder, just keep in mind that the swimming season is between May 1 and September 30.
The bravest visitors can go diving and cliff jumping.
The water is crystal clear, so you may want to bring a snorkel or water-proof camera for some underwater views.
Natural Bridge Caverns
The largest known caverns that are open for visitors!
Natural Bridge Caverns were discovered by four college students and since then have become one of the most important tourist attractions in Texas.
On a tour of the caverns, visitors can see stunning geological rock formations including stalactites and stalagmites.
Gruene Historic District
They relied on cotton production which fueled the growth of the region and brought it to life.
It is a sweet little place to visit, wander through various boutiques, antique stores, and bars in some old buildings that still preserve that old Texas charm.
Gruene Hall, the oldest working dance hall in Texas, is a must visit.
This authentic venue has contributed a great deal to Texas’ music scene and continues to do so, featuring some of the best live shows in the country.
Located in the heart of the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo attracts visitors for its art deco buildings together with hints of Old Texas throughout the town, amazing beer, and great food scene.
For those brave enough, the Big Texan Steak Ranch offers the famous 72-ounce Steak Challenge, which has been around for almost 60 years.
After filling that tummy, drive the historic Route 66 and visit the famous Cadillac Ranch.
This art installation is situated along the south of I-40 between exits 60 and 62.
Visitors are welcome to spray graffiti paint on one of the half-buried Cadillacs in the middle of farmland.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
A short drive northwest of Glen Rose, you will find the Dinosaur Valley State Park.
This park features million-year-old dinosaur footprints at the bottom of the Paluxy River.
Other popular activities include various hiking and biking trails, as well as an area for horseback riding surrounded by beautiful natural scenery.
There are campsites and also picnic areas available.
The 4.5 miles wide Lake Travis, one of the lakes on the Colorado River in central Texas is a piece of paradise for travelers of all ages.
The lake spans over 18,929 acres and attracts many visitors throughout the year.
There is more to do here than you can think of: parks, lodging, boat rentals, zip lining, waterparks, live music events, breweries, and even vineyards, all located around this beautiful lake.
Abilene is a small city 185 miles west of Dallas which was designated as the official Storybook Capital of Texas in 2015.
As well as having the biggest collection of storybook sculptures in the country, Abilene hosts various literary events, including the West Texas Book Festival and the Children’s Art & Literacy Festival.
For those who are not fans of conventional museums, we recommend visiting Frontier Texas – an interactive exhibition that teaches visitors about the history of Texas in a modern way.
Monahans Sandhills State Park
The beuatiful Monahans Sandhills State Park covers an area of over 3,840 acres in the West Texas desert.
It is covered with sand dunes and allows visitors to explore the unique landscape that stretches as far as the eye can see.
Sand surf, observe the unique flora and fauna that can only be seen here, take photos, and finally, watch as the sun disappears in the horizon.
Chances are you will want to do it again!
There is a campsite in the park, so visitors are welcome to stay overnight.
It is also a great opportunity for stargazing.
Terlingua Ghost Town
Looking for some mystery?
The ghost town of Terlingua will give you just that.
Once a bustling community, now it is just a few buildings and ruins that echo the village’s history in the Chihuahuan Desert.
See the ruins of the Chisos Mining Company, visit the St. Agnes Church, as well as the cemetery dating from the early 1900s.
Port Isabel, located at the southern tip of Texas, is a small coastal town.
It is best known for the Port Isabel Lighthouse – the only lighthouse open for the public in Texas.
Climb the stairs for a great view of South Padre Island.
Take in some history at the Port Isabel Historical Museum or go fishing at the Pirates Landing Fishing Pier.
Participate in Texas International Fishing Tournament, go on a dolphin cruise, or explore the sea on the Black Dragon ship surrounded by the pirates who love making jokes!
Rusk Palestine Railroad
Take a break from driving in a car and explore the East Texas forests on the Texas State Railroad.
Live a moment in history as you ride a 1896 steam train from Rusk to Palestine via the Piney Woods Route.
The round-trip journey is about 3 hours, 25 miles each way.
Rusk and Palestine are quiet historic towns featuring Victorian architecture, unique boutiques and shopping, as well as cafes!
Each town has a depot featuring information about the locomotives and the history of the town, as well as gift shops.
During the holiday season, you can also ride the Christmas train in Palestine.
Adrian is located at 1139 miles of Route 66
It marks the midpoint of this historic route, meaning there are 1,139 miles left to go to reach Santa Monica, California!
Like the Cadillac Ranch, the Midpoint is also a great place to take photos.
There is also a Midpoint Cafe, a small decorated café, where you can grab a snack before continuing the trip.
A lot of Route 66-themed merchandise and postcards are available in a store near the café.
Bolivar Peninsula, located northeast of Galveston, stretches 27 miles along the Gulf of Mexico.
As a result, it attracts a large number of visitors to its huge sandy beaches and many beach activities.
Bolivar Peninsula also has many attractions available for the whole family.
It encompasses a number of communities including Gilchrist, Port Bolivar, Crystal Beach, and High Island.
Some of the most popular activities to do on the beach are swimming, surfing, birdwatching, kiting, and also fishing.
Other attractions include Fort Travis, the Bolivar Lighthouse, shops and restaurants, live music, and other events.
We hope you liked our post on the best places to visit in Texas. Did we miss out on any popular Texas attractions? Let us know in the comments.