Texas is big. Like really big. The state is most associated with cowboys, ranches, guns, conservative politics, the oil industry, and the famous Texas barbeque!
But within Texas, you will find tons of surprises. Did you know that Austin, Texas is one of the most liberal cities in the USA? And that Tex-Mex is as popular as the barbeque?
Even geographically the state is diverse. In Texas, you can find deserts, lush forests, twisting river valleys, and a ton of other natural formations. Beyond that, there is also a rich history and culture that you can explore.
Here are over 100 interesting, quirky, downright weird, and always fun Texas facts that will blow you away!
Funny facts about Texas Size and Population
Texas is the second-biggest state in the country! With an area of 268,581 sq miles, Texas is beaten in size only by Alaska.
Texas is the largest state in the continental United States.
Texas also has the second-largest population of any state. Over 29 million people live in Texas. Most of the Texas population lives in cities and urban areas.
Texas is home to three of the top ten most populous cities in the U.S: Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.
Texas has 254 counties; the largest of which is Harris county which has a population of 4.1 million.
Texas is larger than any country in the continent of Europe. Take that, Europe!
If Texas was its own country it would be the 40th largest in the world due to its land area.
There is one ranch in Texas (King’s Ranch) that is actually larger than the U.S.’s smallest state (Rhode Island)!
Another Fun fact for Texas – Texas’s extravagantly large size has contributed its own word to the dictionary: Texas-sized, which means humongous!
Even the state’s unofficial motto is ‘Everything is bigger in Texas’!
Texas is home to over 4.7 million immigrants, most of whom come from Mexico, and Central and South America. It is home to the second-largest population of Mexican immigrants in the U.S.
Interesting facts about Texas history
Texas was notoriously late to the party! Texas was the 28th state to join the Union in 1845. Before that, it was actually its own country, and before that, it was a territory of Mexico.
Texas has been home to many Native American tribes. Thousands of years before Europeans arrived in Texas, it was settled by the Apache, Caddo, Comanche, Wichita, and other indigenous people.
The name ‘Texas’ actually comes from the Caddo Indian word ‘Taysha’ which means friends. The Spanish referred to it as ‘Tejas’ which later became ‘Texas’.
One of the most interesting facts of Texas! In the 16th century, the Spanish Explorers Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and Francisco Vásquez de Coronado first came to Texas. However, the Spanish Empire wasn’t really interested in Texas then and returned its attention to the east coast without establishing colonies in Texas.
Weird fact about Texas: The first people to actually colonize Texas were the French! They established a colony in Matagorda Bay in 1685. However, they were driven out by the Spanish soon after the establishment of the colony and never really created an ‘empire’.
The Spanish built fortified missions on the frontier to protect their territory. These are together preserved and protected as a part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
Here’s one of the strangest facts about Texas. It was once a part of Mexico! In 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain and was granted possession of all the Spanish territories, including Texas.
The Mexican territory of Texas was a dangerous place and the Comanche-Mexico wars were too common and hurt the Mexican economy.
Know about the USA to Mexico immigration? The Mexican government incentivized US settlers to move to the Texan territory by offering cheap land grants to anyone willing to civilize the land and establish order.
After the Texas Revolution in 1836, Texas became its own country known as the Republic of Texas and remained so for 9 years!
General Sam Houston was the first-ever President of independent Texas. Today, you will find his name everywhere in the state. In fact, Houston is named after Sam Houston.
During the Civil war, Texas seceded from the Union and was a part of the Confederacy.
Texas is a proud Republican state that has voted Red in all recent elections. The people here tend to lean conservatively when it comes to politics and are extremely religious. Despite the Republican majority, cities like Austin and Houston maintain large liberal populations.
Facts about the Alamo in Texas
The most famous of the frontier Spanish Missions in Texas, the Mission San Antonio de Valero, is popularly known today as ‘The Alamo.’
The Alamo, located in San Antonio, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is visited by over 1.5 million visitors every year.
The Alamo was the famous battle site against the Mexican Army in Texas’ fight for independence. The Battle of the Alamo was lost by Texas but from then on, ‘Remember the Alamo’ became the rallying cry for Texas’ independence.
The Alamo is today a museum but once also served as a grocery store and a warehouse!
Fun facts about the state of Texas and its economy
The Discovery of Oil changed Texas! The industry is one of the major revenue sources for the state. Today, Texas is the leading crude oil producer in the U.S and has 1.8 million jobs related to the oil industry.
Texas’ easy access to oil makes it an attractive location for military bases. The bases here generate billions of dollars every year and also provide millions of jobs for the residents living near them.
Tourism is also big in Texas. Millions visit the state every year to see the famous San Antonio Riverwalk, hike in Big Bend Country, visit NASA in Houston, and to take a cruise from Galveston. The tourism industry generates over $50 billion in revenue every year.
Texas has the fourth largest wind farm in the world with more than 100,000 acres of turbines. The turbines are so efficient that they were even able to provide 45% of the electrical needs for the whole state at one point in time.
Texas has a GDP of 1.7 trillion which makes it the second wealthiest state behind only California. Many Fortune 500 companies have made their headquarters here and the rich natural resources make it a constantly producing well of wealth.
Interesting facts on Texas geography and regions
The states that border Texas are New Mexico (northwest), Oklahoma (north, northeast), Arkansas, and Louisiana (east).
Here are some cool facts about Texas: the state has plenty of great beaches as well as coastal towns!
The Texas Gulf Coast offers awesome beachfront activities and events including South Padre Island and Corpus Christi.
There are two national parks in Texas: Big Bend and the Guadalupe Mountains.
Texas is divided into 7 distinct regions: The Gulf Coast (Houston, Corpus Christi), Hill Country (San Antonio, Austin), South Texas Plains (San Antonio), Big Bend Country (El Paso), Panhandle-Plains (Amarillo, Lubach), Prairies and Lakes (Fort Worth, Dallas, Arlington) and the Pine Woods (Texarkana). Each has its own unique environment ranging from wet marshes to river valleys, massive canyons, and barren deserts.
Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas panhandle is known as the Grand Canyon of Texas. It is the second-largest canyon in the USA.
Texas is known for its Highways. It has over 70,000 miles of highway that connect the whole state together. Also, the highest speed limit in the country, 85 miles per hour is found between Austin and San Antonio in Texas.
Facts about the Texas State Flag
Texas is called the ‘Lone Star State’ because when it was a Republic, it flew a flag with a single star.
The designer of the Texas state flag is unknown and lost to history. A Dr. Charles B. Stewart is said to have made the first drawing of the flag, but it is unclear who actually designed it.
There is a very real feeling of independence and self-identity among Texans. One of the major reasons is its independent economy. To this day there is still a strong movement to make Texas a sovereign nation.
Texas facts for kids
The State Animal of Texas is the LongHorn Cow. This represents the state’s historic cattle industry and the cowboys who famously call it home.
The State Bird of Texas is the Mockingjay.
The Texas state flower is the bluebonnet. The Texas bluebonnet is a wildflower that grows all over the countryside in spring.
Taking a family photo in a bluebonnet field is a truly Texan tradition.
There are plenty of animals that live in Texas! Black bears, armadillos, coyotes, cougars, endangered cats called jaguarundis, tiger salamanders, and leopard frogs can all be found in different parts of the state.
If you like birds you’re in the right place. Texas has the most species of bird for any one state. The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail is one of the best places for birdwatching.
Texas has more cattle than any other state in the U.S. With more than 11 million cows every year since 1967, Texas has more cows than Australia and Canada put together.
The largest known bat population in the world can be found in Texas. There are more than 20 million bats in Bracken Cave in Central Texas. When they come out to feed at night it is said to look like a wave of black water erupting out of the cave’s mouth.
Also Read: Best Places to see Bats in Texas
Facts about Texas Sports
Texas is home to three professional basketball organizations: The Houston Rockets, The Dallas Mavericks, and the San Antonio Spurs.
Known as “America’s Team” the Dallas Cowboys football team has found its way into America’s hearts and minds due to its competitive and braggadocious nature.
Other major sports teams in Texas include the Texas Rangers (MLB), Dallas Stars (NHL), Houston Astros (MLB), FC Dallas (MLS), Houston Dynamo (MLS), Houston Texans (NFL).
Facts about Texas Cuisine and Food
TACOS TACOS TACOS! Texas is the birthplace of Tex-Mex cuisine. Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, and all your other Tex-Mex favorites can be found en masse throughout the state. So grab a bite!
You can’t really visit Texas while trying some of the famous barbeque! Tender, juicy, fall-off-the bone ribs are a must as are pork belly burnt ends and brisket.
The state may be famous for its barbeque, but Texas-style chili is a staple dish and even the state food of the Lonestar state!
Elgin is known as the sausage capital of Texas while Mauriceville is the official crawfish capital!
Birthplace of the Hamburger: Athens, Texas makes the bold claim of being the originator of this tasty treat. The story goes that Fletcher Davis opened a lunch counter in Athens where he served a fried ground beef patty, with mustard and onion, between two slices of bread, with a pickle on the side.
Quirky and Fun Facts about Texas
It’s Illegal to Milk Someone Else’s Cow! In a state that values cattle, this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. While the law isn’t heavily enforced today, there are a number of other strange laws still technically on the state record. For example, you’re also not allowed to sell your eye or shoot a buffalo from the second story of a hotel.
Known as “the big tree” this oak is located on the Gulf Coast. It is thought to be one of the largest live oak specimens in the United States. The age is estimated to be 1,500 – 2,000 years old which would mean it was planted while the crusades were happening in Europe.
“Don’t Mess with Texas”: While most cowboys would like to believe this phrase comes from their brawny nature, this was actually an Anti-litter campaign in the 90s. The campaign is still in place today to help keep the state clean from people’s trash.
Texas is definitely a state that loves its firearms. 47.5% of adults in the state live in a home with a gun. There are 28,690 registered machine guns in the state. That is almost as big as the entire Zimbabwean military.
Other interesting facts about Texas
The capital of Texas is in Austin. The city is a tech center and liberal haven and known for keeping things weird! The Texas State Capitol is also located in Austin.
Austin is also often known as the music capital of the world. The city is most notably known for its South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. During the week of the festival, the entire city turns into one big music venue with tons of different stages and artists from all genres.
There are lots of famous people from Texas. In terms of music you might know Willie Nelson, Selena, Buddy Holly, and Beyonce, and Selena Gomez. For movies maybe you’d recognize Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, Renée Zellweger, Jennifer Garner, and Owen and Luke Wilson. There’s also a great number of politicians, preachers, and public figures from the state as well.
You can visit many Texas Ranches! Since the cowboys roamed these plains, cattle and sheep ranching has been a vital part of Texas culture and history. Wool is one of Texas’ biggest exports. Tourists can visit many of these ranches for horseback riding and holiday fun.
The Six Flags amusement park franchise is founded in Texas and named for the six different flags that represented the state: Spain, France, Mexico, Texas, the Confederacy, and finally the United States.
Texas has its own power grid which is separate from the rest of the United States. It was created this way during WWII because a lot of vital factories in the state would need to keep producing should anything happen to the national grid.
The worst disaster in United States history occurred in Texas. The Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 killed between 6 to 12 thousand people. The water is said to have reached about 15 feet high.
Four U.S. Presidents were born in Texas: George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
There are 3 Presidential Libraries and museums in Texas at Dallas, College Station, and Austin. LBJ’s former ranch is now a nationally recognized landmark. You can visit it and watch the story of his life unfold.
The Houston Space Program was founded by N.A.S.A in 1961. One of the famous missions is Apollo 13, from which comes the famous quote, ‘Houston, We have a problem!’. Visitors can tour the Space Center on their visit.
The fastest highway in the United States is located outside of Austin. It has a speed limit of 85 mph. Texas also has the highest average speed limit in the United States at 78.3 mph.