15 Most Exciting Road Trips From Texas

Road trip cities from texas.

Texas

Take a state as big as Texas — 268,597 square miles — and couple it with a pandemic, and you have another meaning to "Lone Star State."

If you are antsy and in need of travel, we've found cities you can visit that are just a road trip away. Some may only take a few hours, but all can be done in a day to get you to a new place to see, explore and shake up repetitive days.

Ready to go? We have the mileage, hotels and attractions already planned out for you on these 15 most exciting road trips from major cities in Texas.

New Orleans

New Orleans

Let the good times roll in New Orleans, home to the nation's biggest Mardi Gras celebration and Jazz Fest.

Where to Go: Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World museum, the French Quarter and the Garden District

Where to Stay: Maison de la Luz , the top-ranked hotel in the city

Where to Eat: Cafe du Monde for its famous beignets

Getting There

New Orleans

From Houston: 348 miles, 5 hours and 15 minutes

From Dallas: 506 miles, 7.5 hours

From San Antonio: 543 miles, 8 hours

From Austin: 564 miles, 9 hours and 15 minutes

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs

Go farther afield to the crossroads between the American Plains and the West, where ample skiing and crisp air await.

Where to Go: The Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak and one of many zipline tours

Where to Stay: The Broadmoor , a destination resort dating back more than 100 years

Where to Eat: Salsa on the Rock, the top-rated restaurant in the city

colorado springs

From Houston: 958 miles, 14.5 hours

From Dallas: 724 miles, 10.5 hours

From San Antonio: 862 miles,13 hours

From Austin: 849 miles, 13 hours

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City

You won't be able to squeeze in all of the sights in OK City in one weekend — there are more than 50 attractions here.

Where to Go: Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Bricktown, and the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Where to Stay: Inside a 1920s renovated building at the Ambassador Hotel Oklahoma City, Autograph Collection  

Where to Eat: Metro Wine Bar & Bistro, the city's favorite

Oklahoma City

From Houston: 445 miles, 6.5 hours

From Dallas: 206 miles, 3 hours

From San Antonio:  466 miles, 7 hours

From Austin: 388 miles, 5 hours and 45 minutes

Shreveport, Louisiana

Shreveport

Check out the border city offering riverboats, gaming and waterfront entertainment.

Where to Go: R.W. Norton Art Galley, Shreveport Water Works Museum and Shreveport Aquarium

Where to Stay: Try the Remington Suite Hotel and Spa , and get pampered during your visit.

Where to Eat: Leave behind Tex-Mex for Athena Greek & Lebanese Grill.

Shreveport

From Houston:  238 miles, 4 hours

From Dallas: 188 miles, 2 hours and 45 minutes

From San Antonio:  414 miles, 6.5 hours

From Austin: 336 miles, 5.5 hours

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City

Visit the City of Fountains, and enjoy its wide array of music clubs — this is where swing and bebop began.

Where to Go: The National WWI Museum and Memorial, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Union Station and Arabia Steamboat Museum

Where to Stay:  Crossroads Hotel , a charming boutique property beloved by travelers

Where to Eat: Devour the barbeque ribs at Jack Stack Barbeque Freight House.

Kansas City

From Houston:  745 miles, 11.5 hours

From Dallas: 508 miles, 8 hours

From San Antonio:  780 miles, 12 hours

From Austin: 702 miles, 11 hours

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe

See the oldest continuously inhabited city in the U.S. — a place that inspired artist Georgia O'Keeffe.

Where to Go: Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Museum of International Folk Art and Canyon Road

Where to Stay: Sample the exceptional at the luxurious Inn of the Five Graces .

Where to Eat: Sazon, the city's best restaurant with a Latin flair

Santa Fe

From Houston: 874 miles, 13 hours

From Dallas: 640 miles, 9.5 hours

From San Antonio: 706 miles, 10 hours and 45 minutes

From Austin: 686 miles, 10 hours and 45 minutes

Mesa Verde, Colorado

Mesa Verde

Visit the oldest archaeologically preserved city in the country at this national park and heritage site.

Where to Go: The site's Cliff Palace, Balcony House, Spruce Tree House and numerous hiking trails

Where to Stay: The Far View Lodge is the only lodging within the park's entrance.

Where to Eat: The Metate Room at the Far View Lodge, featuring park views and fine dining

Mesa Verde

From Houston: 1,102 miles, 17.5 hours

From Dallas: 912 miles, 14 hours

From San Antonio:  978 miles, 15.5 hours

From Austin: 959 miles, 15.5 hours

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs

Step back in time in the town that became a retreat a century ago, due to its naturally heated thermal waters.

Where to Go: Bathhouse Row, Hot Springs National Park, Fordyce Bathhouse and Lake Catherine State Park

Where to Stay: Lookout Point Lakeside Inn will give you the best views of the lake and provide plenty of peace.

Where to Eat: Grab breakfast at the Pancake Shop dinner.

Hot Springs

From Houston:  402 miles, 6 hours and 45 minutes

From Dallas: 287 miles, 4.5 hours

From San Antonio: 548 miles, 8 hours and 45 minutes

From Austin: 470 miles, 7.5 hours

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lake Charles

Don't miss the Festival Capital of Louisiana, Lake Charles, which gives NOLA a run for its money.

Where to Go: Millennium Park, USS Orleck Naval Museum and Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu

Where to Stay: You don't need to spend a fortune to get away to the Hampton Inn Lake Charles .

Where to Eat: Save room for the steaks at Ember Grille & Wine Bar.

Lake Charles

From Houston: 143 miles, 2 hours and 15 minutes 

From Dallas: 342 miles, 5.5 hours

From San Antonio:  339 miles, 5 hours

From Austin: 404 miles, 4 hours and 45 minutes

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis

Visit the home of blues and rock 'n' roll — the likes of Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded here and Elvis and B.B. King called it home.

Where to Go: Sun Studio, Graceland, Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the National Civil Rights Museum – Lorraine Motel

Where to Stay: Stay at the iconic Peabody Hotel and watch the ducks parade in the lobby.

Where to Eat: Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken for real soul food

Memphis

From Houston: 567 miles, 8 hours and 45 minutes

From Dallas: 452 miles, 6.5 hours

From San Antonio:  725 miles, 10.5 hours

From Austin: 647 miles, 9.5 hours

Dodge City, Kansas

Dodge City

Go back to the Wild West, where Wyatt Earp regained control of the Old West town and Westerns have been filmed.

Where to Go: Dodge City Trail of Fame, Boot Hill Museum and Dodge City Zoo

Where to Stay: Take a pick from chain hotels like the Best Western Plus Country Inn & Suites .

Where to Eat: Central Station Bar & Grill for a taste of home

Dodge City

From Houston: 696 miles, 10 hours and 45 minutes

From Dallas: 466 miles, 7.5 hours

From San Antonio:  658 miles, 10 hours and 15 minutes

From Austin: 628 hours, 9 hours and 45 minutes

Branson, Missouri

Branson

Head to the Ozarks, and enjoy the vacation town of Branson, a four-season resort area.

Where to Go: Sparky Free Downtown Branson Trolley, Historic Owen Theatre and Burbank Jones specialty shop

Where to Stay: There are 15 suites in the award-winning and rustic Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks Lodging .

Where to Eat: The Keeter Center is also the go-to for great food.

Branson

From Houston: 597 miles, 10 hours

From Dallas: 432 miles, 7 hours

From San Antonio:  699 miles, 11 hours

From Austin: 621 miles,  9 hours and 45 minutes

Gulfport, Mississippi

Gulfport

Hit the white-sand beaches of Gulfport and the Gulf Islands National Seashore on the barrier islands, and try your luck at the casinos of Mississippi.

Where to Go: Ship Island, the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies and the Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum

Where to Stay:  The area is home to many cozy B&Bs, including the Guest House at Gulfport Landing .

Where to Eat: Seafood is the way to go here, and you'll find it at Half Shell Oyster House.

Gulfport

From Houston: 528 miles, 8 hours and 45 minutes

From Dallas: 560 miles, 8 hours and 15 minutes

From San Antonio:  598 miles, 9 hours

From Austin: 566 miles, 8.5 hours

Taos, New Mexico

Taos

Heed the calling of the slopes in one of the best ski resorts in the country surrounded by an artistic community.

Where to Go: Taos Ski Valley and the Spa and Wellness Center at the Blake

Where to Stay: The alpine resort, The Blake , puts you in the heart of it all, with its location adjacent to a ski lift.

Where to Eat: Continue the alpine adventure at the Bavarian Restaurant, serving authentic German fare.

Taos

From Houston: 893 miles, 14 hours

From Dallas: 658 miles, 10.5 hours

From San Antonio: 737 miles, 11 hours and 45 minutes

From Austin: 723 miles, 11 hours and 45 minutes

St. Louis

Meet where the East meets West in the Gateway City of St. Louis, well worth the drive.

Where to Go: Gateway Arch, Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, City Garden, and the Thaxton & Speakeasy

Where to Stay: Embrace the arts with a stay at the Angad Arts Hotel in the Grand Center Arts District.

Where to Eat: Pappy's Smokehouse for St. Louis-style barbeque

St. Louis

From Houston: 779 miles, 12 hours and 15 minutes

From Dallas: 636 miles, 10 hours

From San Antonio:  903 miles, 14 hours

From Austin: 825 miles, 13 hours

Big Sur, California, USA with a seascape view of the iconic Big Sur road alongside cliffs and the sea on a sunny day.

Road Trips from Texas to Other States

Though several things make Texas famous, it's mostly known for being a huge state (second largest in the US after Alaska), and for country music and delicious BBQ food. Being such a big state, it borders several other states, which make amazing destinations in their own right from iconic Texan cities.

Our list of 12 best road trips from Texas to other states includes relatively short and longer drives to epic states such as Florida, New York, Washington DC, California, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana and many other incredible destinations.

Keep reading to learn more about the epic road trips you can take from Texas, the highlights of each destination, and the best routes to make the most of your trip!

1. Texas to Louisiana: Road trip from Houston to New Orleans

350 miles from Houston (5 hours 15 minutes)

What sets this one apart: Despite being an under 6-hour drive, this route has so much along the way to explore , like National Forests and reserves, historical sites, and a plethora of restaurants that highlight the best of Cajun cuisine.

A one-of-a-kind place to explore, its architecture and landscapes are bound to transport you to a completely different setting with its bustling culture, cobblestoned streets, and colorful, vibrant neighborhoods.

Jungle Gardens in Avery Island, Louisiana, USA taken on a sunny day with a huge tree in the foreground and water and more trees in the distance.

How to get there: There are two routes you can follow for this road trip, one in-land route and a coastal route. Ideally, the in-land route is recommended because it's shorter and easier to follow, with the drive being primarily on Interstate 10 (I-10) E.

You'll begin on I-69 and Route 59 along Sam Houston National Forest. Then, you'll get on Route 28 to Alexandria and ultimately enter Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana. Eventually, you'll drive by the iconic towns of Lake Charles, Lafayette, and Beaumont, to arrive in New Orleans.

Our highlights: In New Orleans, places that are worth exploring include but are not limited to the Garden District & Uptown, Bayou St. John, the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, Saint Bar, and Lounge. If you're a music aficionado, make sure you visit the Music Box Village.

What else is there to see while you're in Louisiana: Besides New Orleans, there are several other places to explore in Louisiana. If you're looking for a short beach escape, the Grand Isle is perfect for a night or two.

Another city that's worth spending time in during this road trip, especially considering that it's on your way to New Orleans, would be Lafayette. The city is known to be a charming home to museums, local businesses and eateries.

Outside the city, you'll also get to explore nature havens like Fontainebleau State Park, Avery Island, Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and more.

Our travel tips: As a tourist-favorite city, finding the right time to visit New Orleans is essential for making it a trip like no other.

Visiting in the fall or spring months is bound to be exciting because that's when the city is most alive – with several festivals and carnivals (but booking in advance is recommended because it's a popular time to visit).

However, if you're looking to make it a budget-friendly trip, visiting in the summer months or the thick of winter could work, although not as many events are happening.

READ MORE - Road trip from Houston to New Orleans

2. Texas to Georgia: Road trip from Houston to Atlanta

790 miles from Houston (11 hours 45 minutes)

What sets this one apart: This road trip from Houston to Atlanta promises a scenic route, taking you through the best of the South, particularly East Texas's natural reserves and forests. With a path along the rolling Tennessee Hills, this half-day-long road journey is a must-do!

If you're a history buff, this is probably the top trip for you because, along the route, you'll get a chance to explore places like the Civil Rights Memorial and the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Sites.

Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia, USA landscape at dusk with tree covered canyons in the foreground.

How to get there: You'll follow I-90, passing by Beaumont and Lake Charles before merging with Interstate 10 towards Lafayette, a perfect pit stop for the night.

You'll continue your journey on I-10, where you'll get an opportunity to detour New Orleans before merging with I-85 North and some local routes through Columbus, which'll eventually get you to Atlanta!

Our highlights: Some spots considered tourist must-dos are the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, Atlanta History Center, and MLK Jr. National Historical Park. If you're a sports fan, there are several spots to explore, especially the Centennial Olympic Park.

Some local favorite places are the Sweet Auburn Historic District, Tiny Doors ATL, World of Coca-Cola, and more.

Along this route, you'll also find the Rosa Parks Library and Museum, Jungle Gardens, and Avery Island, where you can stop for a couple of hours each during your drive to make the most of your road journey.

What else is there to see while you're in Georgia: During your stay in Georgia, there are a handful of other places that you should explore outside of Atlanta.

For nature lovers and adventure seekers, trips to Chattanooga (a detour out of state but nearby), Providence Canyon State Park, Ruby Falls, and Lake Lanier are recommended.

Our travel tips: It's a great road trip to take at any point of the year, although the summer months can get hot.

Spring or autumn are the best times to visit because the weather is perfect – particularly in the fall, you'll get to witness the tree's leaves change color though you might encounter the occasional rainfall, so pack accordingly.

READ MORE - Road trip from Houston to Atlanta

3. Texas to Florida: Road trip from Houston to Orlando

960 miles from Houston (13 hours 30 minutes)

What sets this one apart: A perfect road trip to experience the best of the South Coast ; you'll pass through many unique towns that you otherwise may not get a chance to explore while heading to a tropical Oasis, Orlando!

Along this road trip, you'll get a chance to stop by and explore several national forests and reserves, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature, go on a couple of hikes, and spot some wildlife.

Orlando, Florida, USA with a view of the Orlando Eye against a cloudy but sunny sky and palm trees in the foreground.

How to get there: The drive mainly follows along Interstate 10, taking you by Kisatchie National Forest, Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Charles, and other such landmarks.

You'll drive past two exits during your journey, each making way for a detour towards New Orleans and Baton Rouge, two Louisiana cities worth exploring.

Our highlights: Along the route, you'll drive through New Orleans, which is the pinnacle of Southern culture in the US and is worth spending a night in, especially if you're visiting during Mardi Gras.

In the city, spots you must tick off your list are Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, Islands of Adventure & all the other theme parks.

Besides these top adventure parks that draw in most of the crowds, the art museums, and waterparks, mainly The Wheel at ICON Park, are also great places to see.

Among the locals, the top favorite places are the SoDo area (South Downtown) – home to several lakes, and forested regions, one of which is Loch Haven Park. Be sure to also make time for a night at The Abbey, home to live music, cabaret and dance shows, stand-up nights and more.

What else is there to see while you're in Florida: Besides Orlando, there are so many places to explore in Florida, located a short drive from the city.

Some top areas include — Wekiva Springs State Park, which is located less than half an hour away from the city with several water sports opportunities and hiking trails, Blue Spring State Park, home to beautiful springs, and manatees, making it a perfect getaway on a warm spring day.

St Augustine, known for being the oldest occupied European region in the US, is a charming city with cobblestoned streets, and locally owned and run businesses.

Our travel tips: You can make this trip during any season, although the warmer months are bound to guarantee a better experience. Remember that the peak summer months can get extremely hot and see massive crowds.

READ MORE - Road trip from Houston to Orlando

4. Texas to DC: Road trip from Houston to Washington DC

1,400 miles from Houston (20 hours 30 minutes)

What sets this one apart: One of the most extended road trips on the list, this is genuinely the perfect Southern hike up to the capital city from Houston !

With historical monuments and a plethora of national and state parks and forests, such as the Blue Ridge Mountains, this mega road trip truly has something for everyone to enjoy.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, USA with a view of the sun rising over Clingman's Dome with low cloud in the distance.

How to get there: Since it's such a long-haul drive, it'd be ideal to spread it across a week or two. The quickest and primarily very scenic route you can follow would begin by getting on I-10 East directly to Baton Rouge.

You'll switch to I-12 and follow it until Pearl River Wildlife Management Area. Then, you'll switch to I-59 North into Mississippi, passing by Bienville National Forest before you arrive in Alabama.

Here, you'll get to explore the national forests and other highlights like Little River Canyon National Preserve & De Soto State Park (and even a well-worth it detour to the famous Great Smoky Mountains National Park) as you witness the stunning Blue Ridge Mountain views as you'll get onto I-66 into Washington.

Our highlights: Washington DC has so much to see and do, starting with the Smithsonian Museums, encompassing nineteen free-access museums.

As the country's capital, Washington DC is also home to some iconic national monuments like the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the US Capitol, and more. Here you'll also find spacious parks and trails, the most popular of which are the Capital Crescent Trail and Rock Creek Park Trail.

What else is there to see while you're in Washington DC: Other nearby places to explore are Georgetown (here you'll encounter the Old Stone House and a plethora of local boutiques and eateries) and Mount Vernon (the historic estate of George Washington).

Other spots worth making time for, particularly popular with the locals, are Legendary U Street, Dumbarton Oaks, the beautiful Key Bridge Boathouse, and the US National Arboretum.

Our travel tips: You can make the road trip during any part of the year, although some months may be more fun. The winters can get harsh in DC, making it not an ideal time to make the trip, especially since it's such a long drive.

The spring and fall months are a favorite amongst tourists- the fall brings autumnal leaves and a magical atmosphere, while the spring climate is perfect for exploring the best of the city!

READ MORE - Road trip from Houston to Washington DC

5. Texas to New York: Road trip from Dallas to New York City

1,550 miles from Dallas (24 hours)

What sets this one apart: This extensive road trip from Texas to New York is dotted with stunning sights and buzzing cities, as well as must-visit destinations such as Nashville, Knoxville and the Shenandoah National Park.

This iconic route takes you from Dallas to New York, which is genuinely bound to shift for the better because of the hustle, bustle, and color of the town, and that too through several natural reserves, forests, and parks making the ultimate getaway.

Manhattan, New York, USA with an aerial view of Central Park surrounded by skyscrapers on a sunny day.

How to get there: To get to New York City from Dallas, you'll begin on Interstate 30 towards Mt. Pleasant, crossing Little Rock (in Arkansas), Ouachita National Forest, and Nashville as you merge with I-40, arriving at Knoxville.

Then, you'll exit onto I-81 North, get a chance to explore Shenandoah National Park, and ultimately get onto I-78 East to arrive in NYC.

Our highlights: There's so much to do along the way and in New York City that any list would always be missing something. But to encapsulate a bit of everything, some bucket list items for a first-time NYC tourist would be Central Park, MET, the Statue of Liberty, and The Morgan Library & Museum.

Other spots that you can't miss are the Grand Central Terminal, Brooklyn Bridge, Washington Square Park, and more.

Since New York City is a city held together by its people, the locals have a different list of places they'd recommend, including Chinatown, The Cloisters Museum & Gardens, the High Line and the New York Public Library.

What else is there to see while you're in New York: Contrary to popular belief, there are so many more things to do and places to explore in New York besides NYC.

After your tour around the city, make time to explore the Hamptons, the Finger Lakes – a set of wineries, trails, and valleys in Upstate New York, Roosevelt Island, Ellis Island, The Hudson River Valley, and the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

If you'd like to learn more about other amazing things you can see in New York City, as well as where to stay, please check our detailed guide below:

READ MORE - Our Area-by-Area Guide to NYC

Our travel tips: The summer months are pretty warm and pretty popular with tourists – although you'll have to book the room well in advance, so it would be recommended to go during the spring or fall.

READ MORE - Road trip from Dallas to New York

6. Texas to New Mexico: Road trip from Austin to Santa Fe

700 miles from Austin (11 hours and 15 minutes)

What sets this one apart: This road trip will be unforgettable because you'll get to encounter various cultures – Spanish, Mexican, and the South, along with paying homage to the historic Native American culture via museums, galleries, and memorials.

This is a one-of-a-kind road route to follow because you'll get to explore the one-of-a-kind Marfa Lights in West Texas, which are these mysterious orb-like lights that appear in the sky in a variety of different colors.

Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico, USA with a ladder leading to the cave entrances against the cliff face on a sunny day.

How to get there: While you could follow a couple of routes to reach Santa Fe, the most straightforward path would be via US-84 West. You'll begin by taking Texas 1 Loop North onto US 183 N and driving through the heart of Texas before merging with I-20 W.

You'll enter New Mexico via US Route 285 North and ultimately via the unique Old Pecos Trail to get to Santa Fe.

Our highlights: There's so much to see and do in Santa Fe, starting with some must-do places like Santa Fe Plaza and Canyon Road, where you'll find endless art galleries, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, and more.

Try and make some time to watch a show at the Santa Fe Opera and tour the Palace of the Governors. Meow World (an immersive art experience), Santa Fe Railyard Park, and the Santa Fe Farmers Market are popular among the locals.

It'd be a shame to go to Santa Fe and not enjoy the Hot Springs, especially at a luxurious resort like the Ojo Caliente Mineral Resorts & Spa for a night!

What else is there to see while you're in New Mexico: While you're in New Mexico, there are several other places to visit, like the Bandelier National Monument – a renowned historical monument home to several Native American dwellings and petroglyphs.

You can also visit Taos Pueblo (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Taos Ski Valley for a little adventure getaway. You can also take time to visit the Tent Rocks National Monument.

Our travel tips: Though possible to do year-round, the summer months might be too hot to explore the best of the wilderness along the route, and the hikes won't be as enjoyable when you're stopping to drink some water every five minutes.

In the winter, however, you may not be able to experience all parts of the national parks along the way, and some roads may also be subject to closure due to harsh weather conditions. The fall time is ideal, though you should make your travel bookings in advance!

READ MORE - Road trip from Austin to Santa Fe

7. Texas to Arizona: Road trip from Austin to Phoenix

1,310 miles from Austin (21 hours 30 minutes)

What sets this one apart: The road trip from Austin to Phoenix is bound to take you through some of the unique terrains the US offers – dry, golden deserts, rolling hills, lush green forests, snow-covered peaks, and even a white sand desert!

Phoenix is known for its immaculate weather, promising sunshine nearly all year round & offers several natural activities for you to immerse yourself in, so what better way to experience it than an exciting road trip leading you to it?

Papago Park, Phoenix, Arizona, USA after sunset with hills in the distance and desert landscape in the foreground.

How to get there: While there are two routes you can follow to get to Phoenix, this route is the most convenient. You'll begin by calling on I-35 South towards San Antonio.

As you merge with US-90 West, you'll reach the Mexico-US border, where you can choose to detour to Big Bend National Park for a bit of an afternoon of sightseeing before you get on US-385.

Ultimately, you'll get back onto US-90 West and I-10 West, where you'll get to catch a glimpse of White Sands National Park before arriving at your destination.

Our highlights: Phoenix is full of excursions and activities to immerse yourself in. Some tourist favorites include Camelback Mountain, an excellent hiking spot, Taliesin West, Papago Park, Chase Field (especially for sports fans), and Old Town Scottsdale.

There are also a handful of funky museums to visit in Phoenix, namely The Heard Museum and The Musical Instrument Museum. Try and make time to tour the Desert Botanical Garden and spend a couple of hours among the galleries and boutiques at Roosevelt Row.

What else is there to see while you're in Arizona: Besides Phoenix, other cities you can explore during your time in Arizona are Prescott, Scottsdale, and Sedona, each located a short drive from the city.

If you're looking for a nature getaway, you can also spend time at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Park, Montezuma Castle National Monument, and Tonto Natural Bridge State Park.

While in Arizona, a visit to the Grand Canyon National Park is also a must.

Our travel tips: Much like most of these road trips, you can make this trip during any part of the year. However, spring is famous because the weather is pleasant, and most national park attractions open after a slow winter.

Additionally, the fall months bring a unique experience because the natural reserves and forests would be at their most colorful.

Do keep in mind that Phoenix is at its most popular during the end of February because of the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, so if that's something you're interested in, you know when's the best time to plan your road trip.

READ MORE - Road trip from Austin to Phoenix

8. Texas to Colorado: Road trip from Dallas to Denver

795 miles from Dallas (12 hours)

What sets this one apart: This half-day road trip is bound to be one of the most scenic drives you'll experience with the drive across Santa Fe Trail and the Million Dollar Highway while making your way to Dallas.

There are several national parks and outdoor activities along the way (Great Sand Dunes National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Rocky Mountains National Park, etc.), which will be enjoyable to explore and adventure around while you drive along this 12-hour route.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado, USA with sand dunes in the foreground and mountains in the distance on a clear day.

How to get there: There are two routes between Dallas and Denver; one through New Mexico and the other through Oklahoma and Kansas. The first route takes you through the Texas plains in the northwest via Texas 121 TEXpress. Then you'll exit onto US-287 North while Sonic Drive-In.

You'll then merge onto US-87 North passing by Rita Blanca National Grasslands to enter New Mexico for over a hundred miles. Ultimately, you'll merge onto I-25 North to join Colorado, where you'll encounter Gunnison National Forest, San Isabel National Forests, and more.

Our highlights: Denver has much to do and see; you will always have something planned. You must visit the Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens and Larimer Square.

You can also take out time to venture around the Molly Brown House Museum, take a Brewery Tour, and watch the sunset at the Red Rocks State Park and Amphitheatre. Locals recommend visiting the Cherry Creek Trail, Coors Field, Union Station, and Colorado State Capitol.

What else is there to see while you're in Colorado: While in Colorado, you can take time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, believed to be one of the best national parks in the country, and it is home to over 500 miles of hiking trails.

You can also book a weekend at Vail, a world-renowned ski resort, and visit Estes Park, Colorado Springs, Breckenridge, and Mt. Evans.

Our travel tips: The best time to go on a road trip from Dallas to Denver is ideally the spring and fall months since the temperature is perfect & you'll also get to go to some music festivals, live music events & Oktoberfest too.

Denver has a lot to offer during the winter, especially if you're looking to ski or spend time on other snow-related activities.

READ MORE - Road trip from Dallas to Denver

9. Texas to Nevada: Road trip from San Antonio to Las Vegas

1,280 miles from San Antonio (19 hours)

What sets this one apart: This route from San Antonio to Las Vegas has several National (and state) Parks that are only a slight detour away (Grand Canyon National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Zion National Park), making it a great road trip for outdoor enthusiasts and hikers.

Las Vegas is truly one of the best entertainment cities to be in, so if you're looking for an adventurous trip that culminates in a relaxing but nightlife-filled destination – this is the trip to go on!

Zion National Park, USA with a view from Observation Point during the day looking through the valleys into the distance.

How to get there: You'll begin your journey via El Paso on I-10. After your visit to El Paso, where you'll have the chance to explore this one-of-a-kind melting-pot city. You'll head North towards Phoenix, getting an opportunity to explore Hoover Dam before arriving in Las Vegas.

Our highlights: A power-packed city, there's something to do at every corner in the city of sin! Bucket-list spots include the Strip, the four-mile-long road Vegas is known for, The High Roller (Ferris Wheel), Fremont Street Experience, and the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Locals love the Springs preserve, a vast oasis home to trails, gardens, exhibits, a Container Park, and wacky museums like the Mob Museum and Pinball Hall of Fame.

What else is there to see while you're in Nevada: While in Nevada, there are many other places you can see, such as Valley of Fire State Park, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and Great Basin National Park.

You can also make time for Lake Tahoe for a short nature escape or visit Reno, known famously as “The Biggest Little City in the World.” Another exciting spot to visit during this road trip would be the Extraterrestrial Highway , a remote highway in Southern Nevada known for its countless UFO sightings.

Our travel tips: Las Vegas is not ideal to visit in the summer because it gets hot and is perpetually packed with tourists. Making this trip during the winter months could be a good experience as the city wouldn't be too packed, and the weather remains lovely.

Plus, the National Finals Rodeo takes place in December if you're into that sort of thing! The springtime months are also a good option, and the scenery would be lovely along the way.

READ MORE - Road trip from San Antonio to Las Vegas

10. Texas to California: Road trip from Austin to San Francisco

1,940 miles from Austin (31 hours)

What sets this one apart: This is the second longest road trip on the list taking well over a whole day of non-stop driving, which you should ideally spread across a week or two to make the most of this across-the-country journey.

Since this is a cross-country road trip , you'll get to visit top US attractions like the Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge, and the Grand Canyon.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA taken at night with the bridge in yellows and the city beyond.

How to get there: Two routes can be followed between Austin and San Francisco, one that's primarily direct and the other that's bound to be more scenic but also adds six more hours on an already lengthy journey.

You'll begin by getting on US-290 and merge with I-10 West through Texas and, ultimately, New Mexico and into Arizona. You can explore the rugged terrains of Phoenix and stop over at the national and state parks if you're feeling adventurous and the weather permits.

You'll continue the same road to enter California and drive along the California mountains until exiting onto US-101 till Speckles, where you can detour onto Big Sur for a drive with a view and ultimately follow the west coast of the Bay to arrive in San Francisco.

Our highlights: When visiting San Francisco, places that you cannot miss out on are the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Fisherman's Wharf, and San Francisco Cable Cars.

Some spots that locals swear by are Lands' End – known to have unobstructed views of the Golden Gate Bridge, The Mission District, The Ferry Building Marketplace, and the tranquil Japanese Tea Garden.

You can also spend some time in Haigh-Ashbury, a historic neighborhood near the city center.

What else is there to see while you're in California: There's no dearth of places to wander around in California, but some top hits include the Napa Valley, perfect for a weekend of relaxation and wine-tasting, Point Reyes National Seashore, promising stunning Pacific Ocean views with a lighthouse, trails.

You can also try taking out time for Lake Tahoe, Muir Woods National Monument, Monterey, and a short getaway to Santa Cruz.

Our travel tips: San Francisco can be a little dicey regarding weather, though mostly pleasant. The summer months are lovely, perfect for hiking and beach activities, but not too hot so you can't enjoy your time outdoors.

The spring and fall months are also great for this road trip because they're a little more budget-friendly, and you'll get a chance to participate in events like the Chinese New Year parade (early spring), Outside Lands Music Festival, and more.

READ MORE - Road trip from Austin to San Francisco

11. Texas to Washington: Road trip from Austin to Seattle

2,145 miles from Austin (33 hours)

What sets this one apart: The most extended trip on this list , you're bound to feel like a mega adventurer after you complete this feat. Taking you through national parks, historical monuments, and diverse landscapes, this road trip is bucket-list worthy!

Along the route, you'll encounter a plethora of national parks in these diverse settings – the deserts of the Southwest, the Rocky Mountains, red rocks, coastal beaches, and flowering valleys; honestly, what else could you want from a cross-country road trip?

San Juan Island, Washington, USA with a view of Lime Kiln Lighthouse on a stormy day with waves crashing against the rocky coastline.

How to get there: While there are a handful of routes to get to Seattle from Austin, the shortest route will take you through the Utah Desert. You'll begin your trip by heading on Highway 71 and I-40 towards Albuquerque in New Mexico, after which you'll get on I-70 West towards Salt Lake City.

Ultimately, you'll get on Interstate 15 North in Spanish Fork, leading you through a handful of state and local routes into Seattle.

Our highlights: The places you cannot miss in Seattle include (but aren't limited to) Space Needle, Pike Place Market (a Seattle staple market, home to local artisans, vendors, etc.), Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, and Museum of Pop Culture.

Some local gems you must take time for are Fremont Brewing, Discovery Park (promising views of Puget Sound and Beaches), Gas Works Park, and Elliot Bay Book Company.

What else is there to see while you're in Washington: Other places to explore around Seattle are Tacoma, a historically rich city with several museums, San Juan Islands and Mount Rainer National Park, home to a now-defunct volcano but with solid views nonetheless.

Our other favorite places to visit while in Washington are North Cascades National Park, and Snoqualmie Falls — a 270 feet tall waterfall with endless viewpoints and trails.

Our travel tips: Since the trip does involve taking the Pacific Coast Highway, making the trip in spring and fall would be ideal. The summer is a viable option, although the desert might be too hot to explore.

The Seattle International Film Festival happens in the summer, which might be worth visiting – especially if you're a film buff.

READ MORE - Road trip from Austin to Seattle

12. Texas to Illinois: Road trip from Dallas to Chicago

990 miles from Chicago (16 hours)

What sets this one apart: Though it's not the longest nor the most scenic drive, this route has many unique attractions along the way, like the Precious Moments Chapel and the World's Largest Catsup Bottle.

Along with these wacky attractions, you'll also get to experience some of the best food this part of the US has to offer, from scrumptious BBQ in Texas, specialty fried chicken in Missouri to deep-dish pizza in Chicago, making this road trip from Dallas to Chicago perfect for the foodie in you!

Starved Rock State Park, Illinois, USA with a view of twin waterfalls crashing into Tonti Canyon on a spring day surrounded by green trees.

How to get there: There's a direct route through Memphis and a scenic route that'll add around two hours to your driving time. You'll begin your scenic drive on I-30 E, towards Arkansas, where you'll get to detour to state parks and the Hot Springs in the area.

You'll continue along I-30 until you arrive at Little Rock, taking US Route 167 and heading Northeast. Then, after passing by Pocahontas in Arkansas, you'll take US-115 and merge with US-21 towards St. Louis. Ultimately, you'll continue onto I-55 N heading straight to the windy city of Chicago.

Our highlights: Exploring Chicago is bound to be an enjoyable experience packed with vibrant culture and attractions around every corner.

Some popular tourist spots are The Art Institute of Chicago, Navy Pier, Willis Tower (famous for being the tallest building in the Western hemisphere), and Millennium Park, the infamous Bean of Chicago site.

What else is there to see while you're in Illinois: Other places to visit during your visit to Chicago are Starved Rock State Park, Galena (A beautiful historic town known for its 19th-century architecture), and The Great River Road.

Our travel tips: Much like most of the other trips on this list, this road trip, though possible during any time of year because of the overall pleasant weather, is likely to be the most exciting in the spring or fall – when the weather isn't too extreme.

Since there are several outdoor attractions to see along the way, making the trip when the trees are turning red and orange, especially when you take the hikes in Rocky Mountains National Park, is bound to be lovely – so book it in the fall if you can!

READ MORE - Road trip from Dallas to Chicago

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Best places to visit in texas.

They say everything is bigger in Texas. And if you take into account all that the state has to offer, it's easy to see why the Lone Star State packs such a potent punch with travelers. Texas is filled to the brim with breathtaking countrysides, significant historical attractions, diverse museums, pristine city parks, suburban shopping meccas, mouthwatering barbecue and more. U.S. News took into account traveler sentiment and expert analysis to come up with the best places to visit in Texas. Want to share your opinion? Make sure to vote below to help determine next year's list. 

Big Bend National Park

Fredericksburg, tx, san antonio, guadalupe mountains national park, port aransas, south padre island, mustang island, corpus christi, san josé island.

places to travel from texas

This sprawling metropolis promises a jam-packed itinerary for every type of traveler, whether you're traveling with the family or on a romantic getaway . Explore the many museums, parks and historical sites the city has to offer, including the infamous Dealey Plaza, where JFK was assassinated, or get to know Dallas' vibrant, artsy neighborhoods like Trinity Groves and the Design District. And if you're visiting during football season, catch a Dallas Cowboys game to see state pride at its best. However you spend your time, you'll be surrounded by top-notch restaurants and a surplus of shopping options.

places to travel from texas

Every year, more than 500,000 people visit this national park along the U.S.-Mexico border to spend some time outdoors. Big Bend National Park features hundreds of miles of paved and dirt roads for scenic drives, as well as 150-plus miles of hiking trails. While exploring the park's sections of the Chihuahuan Desert, the Chisos Mountains and the Rio Grande, keep your eyes peeled for more than 450 bird species, including several kinds of woodpeckers, thrashers and sparrows. At night, camp (or glamp) under the moonlight to see why Big Bend is one of the best dark sky parks in the country.

places to travel from texas

For a different kind of Texas vacation, skip the state's main cities and beach towns in favor of a visit to Fredericksburg. This Texas Hill Country locale is known for its superb shops, rich German roots and tasty wines. When you're not enjoying some retail therapy on Main Street, learn about the town's connection to Germany at the Pioneer Museum. Don't forget to sample some of Fredericksburg's delectable vino before you leave; you'll have your pick of more than 50 wineries and tasting rooms in and around Fredericksburg.

places to travel from texas

Historical relics like The Alamo are no doubt San Antonio's biggest draw. However, you don't need to be a history buff to enjoy all the city has to offer. The River Walk makes for a soothing stroll along the San Antonio River, while the expansive Brackenridge Park offers a variety of attractions and amenities. Active travelers can practice their swing at the park's golf course and ball fields, nature lovers can pass the time in its stunning Japanese Tea Garden and families can get an up-close look at the on-site San Antonio Zoo's animals. Before you leave, sample a San Antonio staple – the puffy taco.

places to travel from texas

If hiking is one of your favorite pastimes, then you'll want to venture to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. This national park by the southern Texas-New Mexico border houses eight of the state's 10 highest peaks, including the iconic El Capitan, and features 80-plus miles of hiking paths, such as traveler-approved routes like Devil's Hall and the Guadalupe Peak Trail. Although the scenery is stunning year-round, for extra-memorable vistas, visit in fall when the park's tree leaves turn vivid shades of red, orange and yellow.

places to travel from texas

This small town on Mustang Island (about 40 miles northeast of Corpus Christi) provides ample opportunities for fun in the sun. When you're not sunbathing, parasailing or splashing around at the beach, put your angling skills to the test in the "Fishing Capital of Texas" or sign up for a dolphin-watching cruise. You'll also want to keep an eye out for the endangered whooping crane and other birds in this bird-watching paradise. If you love festivals, time your visit to coincide with one of Port Aransas' events, which focus on everything from art to music to food.

places to travel from texas

Texas is home to some prime Gulf Coast shorelines , and South Padre Island is considered one of the best. South Padre offers 34 miles of relaxing beaches along the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. While the island has a reputation for being a prime party spot for spring breakers, the rest of the year it's favored by families thanks to its affordability and bevy of kid-friendly attractions. Head to Sea Turtle, Inc. to learn about local sea turtle rehabilitation efforts, or visit Beach Park Waterpark to cool off on a hot day.

places to travel from texas

The capital city's colorful character takes Texas to an entirely new level. Austin offers loads in the way of culture, cuisine and natural scenery. While here, enjoy unique outdoor areas like Zilker Metropolitan Park (where you'll find the natural Barton Springs Pool), various museums and plenty of delectable Tex-Mex joints. The best way to soak up Austin's contagious energy is to visit Sixth Street. This music hub is packed with bars, restaurants and live music venues that have helped Austin earn its "Live Music Capital of the World" moniker. For a souvenir, head to SoCo to pick up a pair of authentic cowboy boots.

places to travel from texas

Originally inhabited by wild horses, the aptly named Mustang Island is now known for its miles of beaches and outdoor activities. On this 18-mile-long barrier island, which sits about 30 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, visitors will find Mustang Island State Park, a popular place to go mountain biking, kayaking and swimming. The park is also home to endangered sea turtles and more than 400 bird species, making it an excellent destination to spot wildlife, and boasts 5 miles of beaches. For more outdoor recreation outside the park, travelers can visit North Packery Beach to enjoy water sports like kiteboarding, wakeboarding and surfing.

places to travel from texas

Once a lesser-known, low-key getaway, this small town just north of Mexico now attracts space enthusiasts thanks to its SpaceX launch site. Beachgoers will still find plenty of allure with Boca Chica's 8-mile-long stretch of sand, but remember to bring your own equipment since water sports rentals like surfboards and kiteboards are not available on-site. You'll also want to plan ahead, as the beach is closed near rocket launch dates. While here, save time for wildlife watching, as the area is a haven for various bird and sea turtle species, particularly in spring and fall.

places to travel from texas

Renowned as one of America's top barbecue destinations, Houston offers travelers a finger-licking good time. But did you know Houston is also a culture hub? Within the urban sprawl, visitors can check out museums galore, from NASA's impressive Johnson Space Center to the quirky Art Car Museum. Many of the city's restaurants and shops are also covered in Instagram-worthy murals. Plus, with the world-class Houston Zoo , verdant Buffalo Bayou Park and a children's museum, Houston is an ideal (and affordable) vacation spot for families. Consider purchasing a CityPASS to save even more coin.

places to travel from texas

Corpus Christi features several scenic shorelines and can't-miss attractions to keep you entertained for days. Popular stretches of sand in this Gulf Coast city include McGee Beach and North Beach, which is also home to two of Corpus Christi's most visited sights, the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington. Additional museums and entertainment venues can be found in SEA, the city's Sports, Entertainment and Arts District. Meanwhile, music fans can visit several sites dedicated to the emblematic Tejano singer Selena, including the Selena Museum and the Mirador de la Flor memorial.

places to travel from texas

Sitting in between Fort Worth and Dallas (roughly 23 miles from both), Grapevine delights all travelers, whether they're outdoorsy types, historians or wine lovers. Lake Grapevine is a popular boating and fishing spot, while its surrounding trails attract hikers and bikers. Meanwhile, history buffs can engage in 19th-century heritage events at Nash Farm or ride into the past on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. As its name suggests, Grapevine is also home to several tasting rooms along Texas' Urban Wine Trail. What's more, with some of the best water parks in Texas , an aquarium and a LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Grapevine is incredibly kid-friendly.

places to travel from texas

Located about 50 miles southeast of Houston, Galveston attracts Texans looking for a convenient place to spend some time at the beach. The island features family-friendly spots like Stewart Beach (with amenities like lifeguards, volleyball courts and a playground) and Pleasure Pier (which features an array of games and rides). Meanwhile, Schlitterbahn Waterpark offers yet another place to play. Away from the sand, visitors can explore the shop-, restaurant- and nightclub-filled Strand District, named a National Historic Landmark for its well-preserved Victorian architecture. Travelers will also want to check out other historical sights, such as Bishop's Palace and Moody Mansion.

places to travel from texas

Easy to reach by ferry from Port Aransas, this former ranch is now a prime beach destination. Because San José Island is privately owned, the island's only publicly accessible land is its 21-mile stretch of unspoiled sand situated below the vegetation line. But visitors will find plenty to do on the beach. The island's more than 600 kinds of fish and roughly 300 bird species make it a terrific place to go fishing and birding. Other popular pastimes here include shelling and surfing.

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

places to travel from texas

Padre Island National Seashore

places to travel from texas

Texas Hill Country

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Katie Lawrence

Katie Lawrence is a Southeast Texas native who graduated 18th in her high school class with a GPA of 4.25. She attended college in the Houston area and began writing for OnlyInYourState in 2015. Today, Katie writes, edits, and performs several other tasks for OnlyInYourState and has never been more passionate about a job before. Outside of work, you can likely find her curled up on with a hot cup of coffee, practicing yoga, baking, or exploring the beautiful Lone Star State (in particular, the vast and mystical West Texas desert).

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From fall foliage to ghost towns to natural wonders, we’ve put together some pretty unforgettable trips that are perfect for both family road trips and friend road trips. It’s never too early to start planning your next vacation, and this is the perfect list to pull from because no matter what kind of trip you’re looking for, there’s at least one that fits everyone’s fancy. In no particular order, we’ve listed some of the best road trips in Texas you’re sure to love. Be sure to click the links to our previous article to learn more about each road trip!

places to travel from texas

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places to travel from texas

So, who’s ready to hop in the car? Which one of these trips sounds the most fun to you? Let us know in the comments below!

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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Best road trips in texas.

Can I go for a train ride in Texas?

One of the best ways to see the Texan countryside is by train. If you want to experience the breathtaking beauty of Texas without the hassle of driving yourself, a scenic train ride is the way to do it. The Austin Steam Train is an old-fashioned train that offers scenic rides with incredible views of Texas hill country, plus several themed events throughout the year including murder mysteries, Christmas and holiday rides, and more. The Jefferson Railway is also a popular train ride that kids and adults of all ages will enjoy. The antique steam locomotive runs along the Cypress Bayou and offers lovely bayou views, wildlife viewing opportunities, and even a history lesson about the area before dropping off at the Diamond Don Gator Pit to witness a live gator feeding, a must-see opportunity!

What are the best things about living in Texas?

There’s so much to enjoy about living in Texas, we couldn’t possibly name it all. Texas truly has something for everyone. If you’re a foodie, Texas is the place to be, especially if you enjoy BBQ. For those that enjoy nature exploration, the Lone Star State is full of scenic spots that range from dry deserts to beautiful Gulf beaches. And if you’d rather trade greener pastures for silver skyscrapers, well, Texas has several bustling cities that would love for you to visit or move to.

What places in Texas should I see before I die?

Texas has plenty of attractions that are worthy of a road trip from any corner of the state, but there are a few that stand out from the rest. Some of the most popular tourist attractions in the Lone Star State include Big Bend National Park, Padre Island National Sea Shore, and of course, the Alamo. For city life, you won’t be disappointed with a visit to one of Texas’ major metropolitan cities like Austin, San Antonio, Houston, or Dallas.

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Featured Addresses

Enchanting Texas

42 Best Places to Visit in Texas Now

Enchanting Texas 1

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! 

Also Read: 18 Incredibly romantic Texas honeymoon ideas

Milky Way over Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park in Texas

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!

Also Read: 20+ Best Spots to Watch 2024 Solar Eclipse in Texas

McKinney Falls State Park Waterfall

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

Greetings from San Antonio mural in San Antonio Texas

Best Places to Visit in Texas 2024

San Antonio

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 in San Antonio is one of the most popular places to visit in Texas

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. 

Bright Fall Foliage on the San Antonio Riverwalk in Texas

Vibrant and bustling Austin is amongst the best cities in Texas for a number of reasons.

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.

Greetings from Austin mural is one of the best things to do in the city

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.

Pennybacker Bridge or 360 Bridge Over Colorado River in Austin

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.

Hamilton Pool is one of the best places to visit in Austin

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.

Related: 5 Secret Camping Spots near Austin to see Total Solar Eclipse 2024

Christmas tree in front of the Texas state capitol building 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.

Big Bend National Park is a must on West Texas road trip

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.

Bronze replica of Deinosuchus skull at Big Bend Fossil Discovery Exhibit is a hit with kids

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.

Dramatic mountain scenery in Chisos mountains region of Big Bend

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.

Houston Museum of Natural Science

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 Houston Waterwall looks amazing when lit up

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.

Houston Johnson Space Center NASA

It is great for those interested in space exploration and meeting astronauts.

San Jacinto Monument

The San Jacinto Monument in Texas stands as a towering symbol of Texan pride and a testament to a pivotal moment in history.

At 567 feet, it’s taller than the Washington Monument and offers panoramic views of Houston and the surrounding area.

San Jacinto Monument is a must visit for every Texan

The monument commemorates the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, where Texan forces, led by General Sam Houston, secured victory over Mexican forces, ultimately leading to Texas’ independence.

Inside the monument, the San Jacinto Museum of History showcases artifacts and exhibits, preserving the legacy of this critical event in Texas history and celebrating the state’s vibrant culture.

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.

Padre Island National Seashore is one of the best national parks in Texas

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.

Padre Island National Seashore Texas is best place to camp on the beach in Texas

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.

Greetings from Galveston Mural

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 Island Historic Pleasure Pier is one of the best things to do in Texas with kids

Galveston is also popular for water activities such as fishing, dolphin cruises, and kayaking.

Fredericksburg

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.

Downtown Fredericksburg looks very charming at Christmas

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.

Views from the pink granite dome of Enchanted Rock

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.

Stunning sunrise views at Palo Duro Canyon

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.

Beautiful views of the Palo Duro Canyon from park visitor center

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.

Texas Longhorn bull at Palo Duro Canyon State Park

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.

Gorgeous views of the Gulf Coast on South Padre Island

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.

South Padre Island Adventure Park has horse riding zipling and other fun activities

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.

Fort Worth Historic Stockyards Cattle Drive is an exciting event

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.

Sundance Square Plaza in Fort Worth

Mustang Island

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.

Sand castle at Mustang Island near Port Aransas, Texas

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.

Downtown Brenham mural is a popular Instagram spot in the city

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.

Brenham downtown buildings

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.

Washington on Brazos State Historic Site Visitor Center

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.

Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is one of the essential things to do in Dallas Texas

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.

The Grassy Knoll in Dealey Plaza marks the spot where JFK was shot in 1963

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.

The Eye aka the eyeball Sculpture near Hotel Joule in Dallas Texas

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.

Fredericksburg Winery is located in a beautiful and historic building

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.

There are several amazing wineries in Fredericksburg 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.

Garner State Park

Located in the Texas Hill Country, Garner State Park is a stunning natural oasis around the crystal clear Frio River.

Garner State Park has crystal clear water and vivid fall colors in November

Covering over 1,700 acres, this pristine park offers an array of activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and swimming in the spring-fed waters.

The park’s highlight is the iconic Garner Dance Pavilion, hosting summer evening dances that have become a tradition for generations.

With abundant wildlife, stunning limestone cliffs, and opportunities for camping, garner State Park is the perfect escape for Texas families.

Port Aransas

Port Aransas is a charming island community.

It has an interesting variety of unique restaurants, shops, and hotels that cater to visitors.

Port Aransas beach access

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.  

Red Dragon Pirate Cruises in Port Aransas

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.

Historic buildings in downtown Marfa

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.

Marfa ghost lights roadside rest stop

Corpus Christi

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.

Miradores del Mar or sea overlooks on the Corpus Christi seawall

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.

Driftwood on the beach at sunrise in Corpus Christi, Texas

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. 

Beautiful bald cypress in autumn at Caddo Lake State Park Texas

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.

Canoeing on Saw Mill Pond at Caddo Lake State Park in Texas

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.

Jetty boat connecting San Jose Island with Port Aransas

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!

Sunrise on the sand dunes at Mustang Island near Port Aransas, Texas

Enchanted Rock

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!

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area has amazing rock formations

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.

Enchanted Rock is one of the best places to visit in Texas for star gazing and seeing the Milky Way

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.

Greetings from El Paso mural is one of the most popular Instagram spots in the city

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.

Views of El Paso, Texas skyline

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.

Sunrise at Boca Chica Beach in Texas

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.

Sand Dunes on the Gulf Coast of Texas at Boca Chica State Park

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.

Fossils and dioramas at Waco Mammoth National Monument Texas

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 iconic silos at Magnolia Market in Waco

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.

Model railroad at Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco Texas

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.

Colorful sunset over the Pedernales River at Pedernales Falls State Park in Texas.Hill Country

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.

Mural in donwtown Arlington depicting citys history

Six Flags Over Texas, Hurricane Harbor water park, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, Arlington Stadium, and Theatre Arlington are some of the best things to do in Arlington .

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!

Arlington Six Flags Over Texas

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.

Summit of Guadalupe Peak in Texas

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.

Colorado Bend State Park is one of the best state parks in Texas

Gorman Falls

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.

Challenging section of the Gorman Falls trail at the end

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.  

Bursting colors of fall foliage surrounding the picturesque Gorman Falls in the Texas Hill Country

Jacob’s Well

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.

Beautiful swimming hole at Wimberley, Texas

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!

Kings Throne formation in Natural Bridge Caverns San Antonio

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.

Kids can feed zebras at the Natural Bridge Caverns Wildlife Safari

Gruene Historic District

Gruene , located about an hour away from Austin in New Braunfels by the Guadalupe River is a legacy of the first German settlers in the area

They relied on cotton production which fueled the growth of the region and brought it to life.

Gruene Texas is especially charming in the holiday season

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.

Oldest dance hall in Texas in Historic Gruene

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.

Route 66 mural in Amarillo Texas

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.

Cadillac Ranch Amarillo is one of the best places to visit in Texas

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.

Birds eye view of Paluxy River at Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose, Texas

Lake Travis

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.

Beautiful Lake Travis is a gem of the Texas Hill Country

Abilene 

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.

Chimneys at abandoned Fort Phantom Hill near Abilene Texas

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. 

Abilene also has excellent restaurants , boutique stores, and other attractions for visitors.

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.

Monahans Sandhills State Park near Monahans Texas is famous for its sand dunes

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.

Road sign for Terlingua in West Texas

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.

Terlingua Cemetery near Big Bend National Park in West Texas

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

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.

Port Isabel Lighthouse 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!

Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site

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.

Entrance to the Palestine railroad depot

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.

Vintage steam locomotive of the Texas state Railroad in Palestine, Texas

During the holiday season, you can also ride the Christmas train in Palestine .

Adrian 

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!

Historic Route 66 Midpoint Sign in Adrian, Texas

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.

Derelict motel sign on Texas Route 66

Bolivar Peninsula

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.

Bolivar Point Light near Galveston, Texas

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.

Galveston is the closest beach to Houston Texas

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.

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4 thoughts on “42 Best Places to Visit in Texas Now”

Love you Texas…( Miss you too ).

You missed Hico TX a beautiful historic town

Rockport, TX. The only Blue Wave Beach in TX n the best birding place. The BIG tree, great fishing, the aquarium and a cute little artsy town. Not far is the Aransas Wildlife Refuge.

Great content! Keep up the good work!

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29 Best Road Trip Stops on a Texas to California Drive

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A Texas-to-California drive is one epic road trip with a ton of unique sites to see. I’ve done this drive twice but on two different routes, one sticking south along the southern border and one through Northern Texas, going through Amarillo to visit the famed Route 66 attractions .

Driving from Texas to California allows you to see some of the most stunning and iconic attractions in the Southwestern United States, from hot springs and ghost towns to the Golden Gate Bridge and National Parks. No matter your final destination in California, a Texas to California road trip through America’s southwest should be high on your bucket list!

places to travel from texas

Table of Contents: Jump to

Road Trip at a Glance

How many days does a drive from texas to california take.

It takes at least two days to drive from Texas to California. However, this entirely depends on where you start and stop. One of the most direct routes from Central Texas (Dallas) to Southern California (Palm Springs) takes about 20 hours and is just over 1,300 miles following I-10

What states do you pass through to get to California from Texas?

The most direct route passes through New Mexico and Arizona to get to California from Texas.

What is the best route to drive from Texas to California?

The most popular routes to drive from Texas to California are the northern route, along I-40 (Route 66), or the southern route along I-10. The southern route is more scenic and takes you through an array of National Parks, while the northern route is perfect for those who want to experience the country’s most famous highway, quirky attractions and historic towns.

When is the best time to drive from Texas to California?

The best time for a Texas to California road trip, for optimal temperatures and road conditions, is March to May. Fall is another good time to drive from Texas to California.

Where Should I Start and End my Texas to California Road Trip?

Your Texas to California road trip will likely start from one of Texas’s four major cities: Austin, Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio. Dallas and Houston have the two major airports and are well connected to the rest of the state, making them great starting points.

There are two main routes that most people take when driving from Texas to California, the northern route along I-40 (Route 66) and the southern route along I-10.

I-20 runs across the center of Texas and is a great option if starting from Dallas. I-20 runs into I-10, heading west near Fort Davis.

However, if you are looking to skip out on driving across Texas altogether, start in a western city in Texas, such as Amarillo in the north or El Paso in the south.

Where to start in Texas

  • Dallas : Dallas has the largest airport in the state (DFW) and is the perfect place to start your road trip and a fun city to explore on its own. It’s easily accessible to the northern route along Route 66 and features city highlights such as Deep Ellum, Bishops Arts districts, and dozens of fascinating museums. If you start your drive in March, make sure to stop at Texas-Tulips, a dutch tulip farm just north of the city.
  • Amarillo : Amarillo, in northern Texas’ panhandle, is one of the most popular cities along Historic Route 66, with quirky diners, housing murals, and nostalgic gift shops. It’s a great place to begin a Texas to California road trip when wanting to go through Northern New Mexico to visit Tucumcari or Santa Fe. Make sure to stop at the Welcome to signs for Arizona and New Mexico at the border along I-40.
  • Austin : Known as the Live Music Capitol of the World, Austin is one of the most exciting destinations in Texas. It’s full of nightlife, delicious cuisines, and a friendly and inviting atmosphere. It is a perfect place to explore and begin a road trip from Texas to California when wanting a bit of community, delicious grub and some outdoor adventures.
  • El Paso : The border town of El Paso is the best place to start your Texas to California road trip if you want to bypass Texas altogether. It sits in the western panhandle and features a vast blend of American and Mexican cultures. 
  • Houston : I-10 runs through Houston and allows you to drive the furthest along your road trip in Texas, offering the most to see and do. Houston, the largest city in Texas, is known for its NASA Space Center, and has a fun Theater district and historic center showing off 19th-century architecture. It is an epic starting point for a Texas to California drive. 

View of a road lined in palm trees facing a canyon.

Where to End in California

Palm Springs or San Diego are two convenient final destinations when taking I-10 through southern Texas but there is a slew of other great options in southern California with easy access to some of the best destinations in northern California. It all depends on how much time you have and what kind of experiences you are looking forward to.

Southern California

  • San Diego : California’s southernmost city of San Diego, is a melting pot of cultures and one of the most beloved cities in California. Ending here will allow you to enjoy the small seaside towns of La Jolla, Encinitas, and Oceanside and makes a great stopping point for those who want to relax on the beautiful California beaches, enjoy sunset cliffs Natural Park and indulge in delicious local cuisine.  From Tuscon, you can take I-8 directly into San Diego.
  • Palm Springs : Palm Springs sits close to Joshua Tree National Park, right off of I-10. It is a great end point to your Texas to California road trip for desert vibes, boutique shopping, relaxing spas and golf. Its relaxing atmosphere is the perfect way to end a long drive, and Palm Springs makes a great jumping off point for many other day trips in the area.
  • Los Angeles : Los Angeles, or the City of Angels, is the second largest city in the United States and a great destination for your Texas to California road trip if you love Hollywood, beautiful beaches, fun piers, and a mix of culture. It is also the most convenient ending point when taking Interstate 40 from Texas. There is a ton to see and do in Los Angeles and it surrounding areas, including Santa Monica, the official end of Historic Route 66.
  • Santa Monica : If you want to end up on the California coast, there is no better end point to a Texas to California road trip than Santa Monica, the official “end of the road” of Historic Route 66 commemorated with a historical sign and booth along the pier. It is a great way to end your long adventure and take in one of California’s most iconic areas. Walk along the famous pier, hit Muscle Beach for a workout, enjoy the world famous Looff Hippodrome Carousel, or relax with a Pacific Ocean sunset.

The Bixby bridge overlook in Big Sur with views of the rocky coast and green hills.

Northern California/Central Coast

These options are not along the direct routes from Texas to California but are hugely popular and worth the effort if you can add more days to your road trip to see more of California.

  • Carmel: Heading inland to the famous Route 1 along California’s coast is the rugged coastlines of Big Sur stretching from San Simeon to Carmel. It is one of the most sought-after areas for scenic drives that make for phenomenal road trips. Featuring many state parks, sea lions, rocky cliffs, and gorgeous beaches, the Big Sur drive to Carmel is one of the most impressive coastal drives in the world and the perfect way to see more of California after a road trip from Texas.  
  • San Francisco : North of Monterey is San Francisco, home to Silicon Valley, the Golden Gate Bridge, the world’s windiest Street (Lombard Street), and Alcatraz (to name a few). San Francisco is another wonderful city to visit in northern California. The city is full of color, culture, and unique experiences, close to the beautiful Point Reys National Seashore, Muir Woods State Park, Sonoma, and Napa wine regions, and the unique streets of Normandy Village in Berkeley, CA.
  • Yosemite National Park : Yosemite is located in the central east of California and makes for a wonderful ending point if you want to explore some of California’s most dazzling National Parks, including Death Valley, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park. While this route may be the longest, it’s full of some of the best things to see and do for nature lovers and allows you to explore a bit more of inland California.

How Much Does a Drive From Texas to California Cost?

Is it cheaper to fly or drive from Texas to California? 

The cost depends on multiple factors, and flights fluctuate frequently, but generally speaking, it is cheaper to fly to California from Texas rather than drive. But this would only be an option if you were not looking for the best sites to see from Texas to California and wanted to get out on the open road for an adventure of a lifetime!

A direct drive from east Texas to southern California is around 20 hours and 1,300 miles, which could be done in two days if going direct.

To know how much a Texas to California drive will cost, calculate your car’s gas mileage based on 1,300-1,500 miles. Keep in mind you may not take the most direct route if you want to see the best things from Texas to California.

Also, calculate the cost of accommodations and food based on how long of a drive you want to take.

I recommend at least 5 days for a Texas to California drive to allow plenty of time for stops and overnights. I typically do this road trip in 10 days minimum but could go for much longer, depending on what I want to see (I also hate feeling rushed, and I always have to plan for some remote work days).

For accommodation, if you want to camp along the way, expect to spend $10-$35 a night for a drive-up site for one vehicle. Most motels and 3-star hotels charge around $80-$150 a night.

To save money on accommodation, consider car camping. You can sleep for free in many open lots across the US, including Cracker Barrel, Walmart, Lowes, and Home Depot. Also, at rest stops, visitor centers, and travel centers such as Flying J, Pilot, and Love’s (restrictions on overnight parking vary by cites- always ask first to avoid being towed or ticketed).

If you fly to California to Texas, you may only need an airline ticket, which is cheaper than gas, food, accommodation, and activities along the way, BUT you’ll be missing out on quite a lot.

I encourage you to hit the road and discover the best sites from Texas to California!

places to travel from texas

The Best Sites to See From Texas to California.

From scenic deserts and mountain landscapes to bustling cities, ghost towns, vintage roadside attractions, delicious diners and some quirky random sites, it’s amazing how much variety there is on a Texas to California drive.

I’ve separated this post into two sections, the Northern Route and the Southern Route, and included a variety of sites to see, from hiking trails and major cites to small towns and national parks with some quick pit stops that are sure to impress!

No matter which route you take, you will enjoy all the adventures and cool experiences waiting for you along a Texas to California road trip!

Northern Route Sites to See 

The Northern route takes you through the iconic “Mother Road” and is the more historical option best for anyone dying to experience what is left of the classic Route 66. Much of this route is on I-40, with many optional fun and quirky Route 66 stops along with a few National and State Parks.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas

Palo Duro Canyon dubbed the Texas Grand Canyon is the second largest canyon in the country based on length (120 miles long). This unique geological attraction is not too far from Amarillo, Texas. Start at the visitors center for panoramic canyon views, then take the 16 miles scenic drive to the canyon base to discover more of the canyon floor. Hikers can enjoy miles of scenic trails, including the popular Lighthouse trail to the most famous landmark in the park, or get great panoramic views of the canyon along the Triassic Trail. Fees start at $8 for day use and $16 for campsites. Reservations for camping and day use are recommended to ensure availability.

places to travel from texas

Cadillac Ranch, Texas

Sitting in the panhandle of Texas is the unique Cadillac Ranch art installation, one of the most famous attractions along Route 66. in Texas This attraction was thought up by three artists apart of the San Francisco art group “Ant Farm” and Stanley Marsh as an ode to the American Dream with hopes to baffle the locals. It’s the perfect place for a fabulous Instagram photo op and one of the unique stops along a Texas to California road trip. 

Adrian, Texas (Route 66 Midpoint)

The small town of Adrian is home to the famous midway to Chicago Route 66 sign along with the famous Midpoint Cafe. Have fun checking out all the Route 66 memorabilia and snap a photo at the ‘Welcome to Adrian’ sign, a perfect shot to document your Texas to California road trip. 

Tucumcari, New Mexico

Another iconic Route 66 town, Tucumcari, is known for its vintage neon signs that come alive at night. It is also home to museums, gift shops, and murals dedicated to the Mother Road. Visit the Tucumcari Historical Museum to learn about the History of Route 66 and the town of Tucumcari. Head down Tucumcari Blvd (old Route 66) to see the vintage Blue Swallow Motel with a classic car parked out front. Make sure to stop in at TeePee Curious, a unique gift shop, and look out for the abandoned garages and gas stations with a ton of funky fun murals and Route 66 plaques adorned to the walls. Tucumcari is a great stop along I-40 for any one looking to get their kicks on Route 66! If you are looking to take a longer pit stop, enjoy the nearby Mesalands Community College Dinosaur Museum , or enjoy some outdoor activities or picnic lunch at nearby Ute Lake  or  Conchas Lake  State Parks.

Girl with a hat and a backpack climbing up a tall wooden ladder across rocks at Bandelier National Park.

Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico

Although this stop requires a slight detour from i-40, it is totally worth the effort for anyone who enjoys historical cultures and Native American history. The area is home to over 33,000 acres of preserved lands with petroglyphs, canyons and valleys that were once apart of a thriving community dating back over 11,000 years ago. It only takes a few hours to walk around the preserved homes of the Ancestral Puebloans but there are longer hiking trails and a system of ladders that you can climb to view different levels of the historic city.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Just north of Albuquerque sits the unique and quirky town of  Santa Fe , New Mexico’s capital city and the oldest capital city in the USA. This town oozes with creativity, as seen in over 100 art galleries sprinkled around the city. It is known for its striking Pueblo-style architecture and is the location of America’s oldest public building, The Palace of the Governors, and the oldest church in the US, the San Miguel Chapel. Enjoy the art scene along Canyon road, one of the many art and history museums in the downtown square, and make sure to try some of the delicious southwest fare-The Shed comes highly recommended. If you visit in August, head to the annual Santa Fe Indian Market, the largest and most prestigious intertribal art market in the world, hosted by the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts .

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico , is the largest city in the state and is full of culture, historical sites, and delicious cuisine. Boasting multiple museums, loads of shopping, and the Rio Grande Zoo, nature lovers and city buffs will enjoy the magic of Albuquerque. Be sure to stroll around the Old Town’s narrow streets for the best locally made souvenirs and authentic Mexican eateries. If you are driving through Albuquerque in early October, you are in for a treat! The town explodes with color flying high in the sky during the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, a hot air balloon festival known for its quirky balloon shapes, including chickens, pigs, bulls, and even Dracula.

Be aware that Central Ave (Historic Route 66) in southeast Albuquerque runs through the International District (locals refer to it as the War Zone ), which has very high crime rates, including car theft and violent crime. If you want to stay overnight, stick to a hotel with secure parking. The airport hotels are known to have fewer car thefts .

Santa Rosa Blue Hole, New Mexico

The  Santa Rosa Blue Hole  in New Mexico is a natural phenomenon- a sink hole filled with spring water creating a swimming hole with a system of underground secret caves. It’s one of the most popular stops along Route 66 and is also a dedicated location to scuba diving training. It’s most famous for its electric blue color and constant water temperate of 61℉. Visitors can enjoy swimming, hiking, or relaxing around the Santa Rosa Blue Hole. If you are traveling in the summer, this place is a must-stop for cooling off and beating the heat, winter is their high season, so you may have it all to your self. Just be aware temperatures in the Santa Rosa area can surpass 100 ℉ in the summer.

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Located in northeastern Arizona is the infamous  Petrified Forest National Park . It’s one of the most jaw-dropping places in the United States and one of the best sites along a Texas to California road trip for nature lovers. What was once an ancient forest turned to stone over time and now contains the most significant amount of petrified wood in the world. Hike along the miles of trails and discover fossilized logs and trees with diverse textures and colors. 

View of the grand canyon with snow.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona 

No road trip through Arizona would be complete without a stop at Arizona’s most famous natural wonder, the Grand Canyon. One hour from Williams along I-40, its a bit of a detour but one many would agree is a must see. The Grand Canyon is the country’s #1 most visited national park, with over 4.5 million annual visitors. It can easily be reached from Route 66 and is a must-stop along any Texas to California road trip for its expansive vista and dramatic canyon, where there are plenty of opportunities for hiking and relaxing. Formed millions of years ago from erosion of the Colorado River, it spans 277 miles and is 6,000 feet deep at its lowest point. Begin at the visitor’s center to learn the canyon’s history, hike or ride around the rim, or descend into the canyon to discover it firsthand. 

Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Another stop, about 30 mins south of I-40, is Lake Havasu City. This area is fantastic for enjoying the Colorado River with water sports or nature in some nearby parks. It is also home to the original 1830s London Bridge. The bridge was purchased, deconstructed, and moved to the US, where it was rebuilt in Lake Havasu City in the 1970s. It connects the mainland to an island in the Colorado River. The downtown area is known for pubs, eateries and unique local boutiques. You can even take a boat tour to spot the many US lighthouse replicas doting the river’s shoreline.

Girl in overalls sitting next to a Route 66 sign in Seligman, Arizona

Route 66 Historic towns and sites in Texas, Arizona and California

There are many Route 66 towns and historic sites running through Texas and Arizona all the way to Santa Monica in California. I’ve listed the most popular sites from west to east below but for a more detailed look at all there is to see along Route 66 from Texas to California, check out this post highlighting the best Route 66 stops in Arizona and the best Route 66 towns in northern Texas.

  • Cadillac Ranch
  • Big Texan Steak Ranch
  • Route 66 Historic District
  • Wigman Teepees
  • Historic Route 66 Museum & Welcome Center
  • Mr. D’z Route 66 diner
  • Kingman Welcome Sign
  • Amboy Crater
  • Roy’s Motel & Cafe

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch, California

This unique collection of vintage bottles arranged as a maze of glass and steel trees is quite the sight. It is right off of the National Trails Highway (Historic Route 66), just under two hours from Los Angeles in Oro Grand, California. Elmer started turning his collection of vintage bottles into art over 15 years ago. There is a ton to look at however, Elmer recently passed away, and the ranch is no longer open to walk through freely, but you can still enjoy the artistic lawn from the road.

End of the Road Route 66 marker, California

The mile marker finishing Route 66 sits on the Santa Monica pier overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the one of the country’s most popular beaches, Santa Monica Beach. Your Texas to California road trip isn’t complete without a photo at this famous landmark.

Death Valley National Park, California

Death Valley National Park  is one of the best natural sites to see on a Texas to California road trip if you have time to head north. This national park is about 2.5 hours north of Barstow and is the hottest place in the USA and the driest in North America. Death Valley is home to many surreal landscapes, from salt flats stretching for miles and towering yellow sand dunes to the colorful mountains of the Instagram-famous Artist’s Pallet. It is truly a land of wonders, and one not to be missed.

Southern Route Stops

The Southern route along Interstate 10 is the more scenic option when driving from Texas to California and passes through various national parks, state parks, and little towns. It’s the best option for those who love exploring the outdoors and appreciate stunning natural scenery and diverse landscapes.

Girl in a white jacket and hat sitting in the middle of a road with boulders behind her.

Big Bend National Park, Texas 

Big Bend  is one of the least visited and remote National Parks in the United States, primarily due to its location, but it is undoubtedly the hidden gem of Texas. Ditch the car, set out on foot or by bike, and explore the vast National Park firsthand. Home to the rugged Chisos mountains on the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert, its a fantastic area to enjoy canyons, diverse wildlife, and the dark night sky.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico 

The well preserved natural wonder of Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a UNESCO Heritage Site for its diverse geological formations and one of the best sites along the southern route if you have some time for a short detour. The park features some of the largest caves worldwide that began to form over 250 million years old by a single drop of water. The best way to explore the caverns is by booking a guided tour, allowing you to learn about the area’s history. Tickets to enter the caves sell out weeks in advance, so make sure to book in advance at Recreation.gov.com.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Another national park worth a stop is the Guadalupe Mountains, located four hours north of Big Bend and two hours east of El Paso. This is a hiking park where outdoor lovers will enjoy the miles of rugged canyon trails and backpacking opportunities. It is only 30 mins south of Carlsbad caverns so it makes a great stop if you are hoping to visit as many National Parks as possible. If you are not into hiking or if the weather isn’t good, skip this one and head to el Paso from Big Bend.

El Paso, Texas

Whether you begin your road trip in  El Paso  or not, it still deserves a stop on any Texas to California road trip. El Paso is on the Rio Grand River and borders Juarez, Mexico. El Paso is blended with a mix of cultures, attractions, and delicious Tex-Mex cuisine. It’s one of the most underrated cities in Texas, and home to the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame, the Museum of Art, and the Franklin Mountains State Park, a perfect setting for outdoor lovers offering hiking and biking trails, camping, and rock climbing. While in el Paso, don’t forget to snap a photo in front of the Greetings from Mural located in the Substation.

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Las Cruces, New Mexico, lies just north of El Paso. Although its the 2nd largest city in New Mexico, it still has a small town charm. It makes a good overnight stop on your drive to California, where you can enjoy many attractions, including museums and art galleries, and annual festivals. It is only an hour’s drive from White Sands National Park and is home to the US’s largest military facility, the White Sands Missile Range. Explore the museum to learn more about the origins of missile testing and the space program and view over 50 rockets and missiles in the outdoor missile park. There are also plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy, from the Soledad Canyon recreational area and the Organ Mountains to the many trails perfect for wilderness pack trips and horseback riding.

Girl on top of a white sand dune in White Sands National Park.

White Sands National Park, New Mexico 

Sitting in Alamogordo, New Mexico, White Sands National Park is one of the best natural wonders along any Texas to California road trip. Most famous for its vast gypsum deposits and Ice-Age fossilized foot prints, it features giant white sand dunes and miles of hiking trails. Sandboard down the white dunes or walk for miles around the dunes near the Alkali Flat trail. You can even sleep overnight in the National Park with a permit.

Outside of an old western restaurant in Tombstone Arizona with a white horse and people in the street.

Tombstone, Arizona

This historic mining town dubbed the Town Too Tough to Die , is famous for the O.K Corral shootout depicted in the hit film Tombstone and is more like a western amusement park without the rollercoasters- it is a little cheeky, a lot touristy, and one of my favorite quirky towns to stop at on a drive to California from Texas. Tombstone requires a short detour from the main route along I-10 but makes a perfect 1/2 day stop if you want to be transported back to the 1880s when the Wild Wild West was thriving.

Kartchner Caverns State Park, Arizona

An hour outside of Tuscon, only 15 mins south of I-40, are the caverns of Kartchner. These live limestone caves were discovered in the 1970s and began forming over 200,000 years ago. During summer, the Big Room is home to over 1,000 female cave myotis bats and their young. You can camp at the state park and take guided tours of the cave system.

Girl in a red top and yellow backpack walking down the road in Saguaro National Park.

Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona , is, without a doubt, one of the most underrated cities in the country. Featuring more than 200 years of history, beautiful landscapes, and an eclectic downtown area, Tucson is a fun and exciting stop to make on your Texas to California road trip. Outdoor lovers can enjoy exploring the massive cacti of Saguaro National Park and hiking the foothills of the Catalina Mountains. In contrast, city birds will love exploring historic 4th Avenue’s unique boutiques and having a bite at one of the many cuisine options. 

Metal statue in the desert of a baby camel drinking milk from an adult camel.

Borrego Springs, California

Surrounded by the magnificent Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Springs is a small town community bathed in natural splendor. It is located in the California desert and is home to many hiking trails, dramatic 4×4 roads, and the Borrego Palm Canyon. It is also California’s first dark sky community and has an intriguing art display of over 130 scrap metal sculptures, including horses, dragons and dinosaurs seemingly popping out of nowhere throughout the town.

Girl in a white dress standing on top of a boulder in Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree National Park, California

If you are ending your road trip near or around Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park in California will likely be one of your last stops. The unique environment, climate, and vegetation make this National park one of the most impressive in the country, bursting with Joshua trees, cholla cacti, ocotillos, and a wide range of wildlife. From the Interstate, head towards Cottonwood Visitors Center, the southern entrance to the park, and enjoy miles of hiking trails, rock climbing opportunities, scenic drives, and a chance to camp under the stars. 

Dinosuars of Cabazon, California

If you are a fan of dinosaurs or traveling with children, add  Cabazon  to your itinerary during your Texas to California road trip. This quirky roadside attraction features two life-size dinosaur replicas (T-rex & Apatosaurus) and another 70+ dinosaurs and kid-friendly attractions within the park. Cabazon is great for a quick roadside stop and a unique Texas to California road trip excursion. 

Pioneer Town

Pioneer Town is only 30 mins from Joshua Tree National Park and makes a fun pit stop if western movies spark your interest. This tourist spot is a historic town that came to be when a number of Hollywood investors turned their dreams into reality and built an 1870s western movie set. Over 50 films and tv shows including Annie Oakley, and more recently Ingrid Goes West, have been shot here since the 1940s. The town is open to visitors weekly so every can get a taste of what it was like to live in an authentic western town. Enjoy restaurants, gift shops and plenty of photo ops.

Giant statue of Marilyn Monroe in a white flowy dress.

Palm Springs

If you want to explore Joshua Tree National Park or visit the Cabazon Dinosaurs, you will be in the neighborhood of Palm Springs which makes a fantastic ending to your Texas to California Road Tip. There is plenty to see and do within the city of Palm Springs and surrounding towns , including la Quinta, Palm Desert and Cathedral City. Enjoy museums, biking and Giant Marilyn in downtown Palm Springs, the shopping and golf course in La Quinta, and the thriving art scene and outdoor festivals of Cathedral City.

With all the unique roadside attractions, lively cities, historical towns and enormous natural beauty along the route from Texas to California, you’ll want to continue this road trip long after you meet your destination. Road trips can be fantastic money savers and are a great way to see the country at your leisure, so pack up your car with these road trip essentials and have your self an amazing adventure out on the open road.

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Meet Sam, a fearless wanderer and avid solo traveler who has made the world her home. Through cross country road trips, car camping in her SUV and solo adventures to far corners of the globe, she has become an expert in crafting itineraries that balance adventure and self-discovery. Through her insightful tales and practical tips, Sam inspires others to embrace the unknown, break free from conventional boundaries, and embrace the beauty of solo exploration.

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I want to drive from Houston to California in the most economical manner visiting all of the major sites in California.

Do it! I’m heading to Houston now from California with a lot of stops in between. Car Camping is the most economical option but in California many areas do no want you to sleep in your car so finding camp sites or public lands is the best bet.

Tucson is misspelled several times. Born and raised there I see that a lot. TuCSon.

OH MY GOSH- How embarrassing! Thank you for pointing that out. I re-read the post and found a few more…uugh hate it when that happens. I’ll be heading back to Tucson this fall!

Trying too plan a road trip from Texas to Sequoia National Park in the summer (July). Looking for suggestions on the best places to see on the way .

Exciting-that will be a fun trip, but hot in July! Where are you coming from in Texas? What kind of interests do you have? I’ve driven this route, once along I-40 and once along I-10. Both have a lot to see! There are many other National Parks to see along the way, White Sands, Saguaro, Death Valley are a few and plenty of towns like the R66 towns in Arizona, Flagstaff, Sedona, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, if you stay north or Tombstone, Bisbee, Tucson, Phoenix, Palm Springs, San Diego if you stay south.

Thank you for this guide, we are doing a road trip for the 2024 Great American Eclipse, and it was really helpful planning a route

I hope you got a good show. I saw the eclipse from Charleston a few years back and will never forget how cool it was to witness in real time. What a great road trip to do!

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The 27 Most Beautiful Places In Texas, According To A Local

From beaches to bluebonnets, and desert mountains to vineyards, Texas is full of stunning surprises.

places to travel from texas

Wynn Meyers

The amazing thing about Texas being as big as it is—almost 270,000 square miles to be exact—is that there is no shortage of places to explore and unique terrains that differ drastically from one region to the next. From bustling cities to small towns , Gulf Coast beaches to West Texas mountains, Texas is full of surprises just waiting to be discovered, and I've explored almost every inch.

It's home to some of the best state parks , whether you prefer tubing down the Guadalupe River or finding epic views at Enchanted Rock. You can walk along the largest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world, explore underground prehistoric caves, sip wine in a lush Texas vineyard, or take a road trip through fields of blooming bluebonnets . If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then there's something—many things, really—for everyone to find beautiful in Texas.

Here are the most beautiful places in Texas to visit, according to a local.

Guadalupe River State Park

This state park welcomes you with four miles of riverfrontage. Just one hour from San Antonio and two hours from Austin, Guadalupe River State Park is also one of the more popular  camping destinations  in the state, particularly during the summertime when swimming in its cool waters is extra appealing for families and kids. When you're not tubing, paddling, or taking a dip, embark on its hiking and biking trails. Feel free to bring your own tube and access the rivers via river parks, or use an outfitter like  Rockin’ R River Rides .

tpwd.texas.gov/guadalupe-river , 3350 Park Rd 31, Spring Branch, TX 78070

Big Bend National Park

With more than 800,000 acres, Big Bend National Park is the eighth-largest national park in the continental U.S., but it sees less than half a million annual visitors, making it one of the most sparsely touristed parks in the system. Chalk it up to the remote location, more than 400 miles away from Austin or San Antonio and a three-hour drive from the nearest airport in Midland. While you can explore countless hiking trails and lookout points on your own, enjoy a more immersed experience by booking an activity with  Big Bend Boating and Hiking .

nps.gov/bibe , multiple entrances

Willow City Loop

Just outside Fredericksburg , this 13-mile scenic loop is amongst the best ways to see the famed Texas wildflowers each spring. You'll find it bursting with bright fields of bluebonnets, fiery red Indian paintbrushes, and cheery yellow coreopsis. From March through May, it is more than worth the drive. Start at the town of Willow City, and follow the loop.

Texas Wine Country

Gabriela Herman

More than 100 vineyards and tasting rooms are located in and around Fredericksburg, Texas, and along the Fredericksburg Wine Road 290, providing the ultimate vino experience while learning about Texas grapes. Fredericksburg is one of the most-visited  wine destinations  in the country. Book the  290 Wine Shuttle  for safe all-day transportation between the wineries. Our favorite recommendations include  Grape Creek Vineyards ,  Messina Hof Hill Country Winery ,  Signor Vineyards , and  Barons Creek Vineyards .

290wineshuttle.com , 308 S Washington St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624

Garner State Park

A tubing and swimming destination in the warmer months, Garner State Park sees many visitors year-round. During fall, temperatures are often still high enough for enjoying the water of the Frio River—but they aren't sweltering—so you can swim, hike, view the changing leaves, and take advantage of the park's more developed campsites all in one trip. Weekends can get crowded, but weekdays are quieter, meaning the short, steep hikes to various overlooks—including Old Baldy (the park's most notable hill) will be less traversed.

tpwd.texas.gov/garner , 234 RR 1050, Concan, TX 78838

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

There’s perhaps nowhere that native wildflowers put on a more marvelous display than at the  Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center , southwest of downtown Austin. Founded by Lady Bird Johnson and actor Helen Hayes in 1982, the 284-acre state botanic garden and arboretum is home to over 10,000 species from all across Texas, the most diverse collection of such in North America. Throughout the year, the not-for-profit puts on events like movie nights in the gardens, sunset happy hours with live music, and workshops on how to grow your own native varieties.

wildflower.org , 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin, TX 78739

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

The top of Enchanted Rock offers panoramic views of Texas Hill Country, making it an ideal spot for leaf peeping. Located north of Fredericksburg,  Enchanted Rock State Natural Area  has 11 miles of trails to see fall color on your way to the top of the pink granite dome. This park is also designated as an International Dark Sky Park, making it a great place to see fall colors and relax under the stars.

tpwd.texas.gov/enchanted-rock , 16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624

Barton Springs Pool

This outdoor swimming hole in  Zilker Park  is entirely fed by natural springs, making it the perfect spot to cool down during hot Texas summers. It's surrounded by a picturesque grassy area, and on hot summer days, it seems as if all of Austin is there to cool off. (The visitor count has approached 800,000 in recent years.)

austintexas.gov/barton-springs-pool , 2131 William Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78746

Padre Island National Seashore

Located on Padre Island, the barrier between the Gulf of Mexico and Laguna Madre Bay, this national park contains the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world. Its 66 miles of pristine coastline shelter the rare Kemp's ridley sea turtle and more than 380 bird species, while offering its human visitors ample opportunities for walking, swimming, and birdwatching. Head to Malaquite Beach for a visitor center, pavilion, and wheelchair access to the shore.

nps.gov/pais , End of Park Road 22, Corpus Christi, TX, 78480

Marfa, Texas

ROBBIE CAPONETTO

This funky art town in the remote desert lands of West Texas became an unlikely hub attracting curious Texans, artistic bohemians, and incognito celebrities, who flock here throughout the year for its art, film, and music festivals. It's also just a perfect place to post up for a weekend to enjoy the art exhibits, local restaurants, and close proximity to Big Bend National Park. You'll feel million miles away from any city, and there's no place quite like it.

San Antonio River Walk

The great San Antonio River winds its way through the center of the city with a pedestrian-friendly River Walk that follows right alongside it, offering a serene respite that's lined on each side with countless activities to discover, from art museums to public parks to historic landmarks that have become bustling districts. Explore the San Antonio missions (including the Alamo), Historic Market Square, La Villita neighborhood, and the Pearl District. Find the map here.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

The  Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden  is a 66-acre living showplace that you can find blooming in the spring with thousands of flowers, overflowing in the fall with pumpkin displays, and absolutely decked out at Christmastime when the grounds are decorated with over 1 million LED lights, a 50-foot-tall Christmas tree, and a quaint German village.

dallasarboretum.org , 8525 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218

Hamilton Pool Preserve

One of the most iconic natural landmarks in Texas, Hamilton Pool is a unique grotto with a cascading 50-foot waterfall. It only takes a short hike from the entrance of the  230-acre preserve  to see the pool and find a spot to post up for a picnic or picture.

parks.traviscountytx.gov/hamilton-pool-preserve , 24300 Hamilton Pool Rd, Dripping Springs, TX 78620

Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area

On many country roads and small parks throughout Texas Hill Country, you'll find plenty of blossoming wildflowers to behold, such as at Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area in Spicewood. During early spring, you'll find  bluebonnets  (Texas’ famous state flower) blanketing every grassy surface. In this park near Austin, enjoy tent camping along the shore of Lake Travis or under the shade of oak-tree canopies. 

lcra.org/muleshoe-bend , 2820 Co Rd 414, Spicewood, TX 78669

Lost Maples State Natural Area

At nearly 3,000 acres,  Lost Maples State Natural Area  contains the headwaters of the Sabinal River and trails that lead up to views of undisturbed rolling hills. Each year, once the leaves have already changed and dropped to the ground in heaps throughout most of North America, the park's famed bigtooth maples begin their show, bursting into brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow during late October and November.

tpwd.texas.gov/lost-maples , 37221 RM 187, Vanderpool, TX 78885

Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail

Located in Austin , this 10-mile trail floats on and off the water and offers unbeatable views of the growing skyline and (often) blue skies that the Capital city is known for. Meander on a morning to see the city come to life with walkers, joggers, and bikers. Stop off along the way to see downtown, South Congress, and Zilker Park. Find the map here.

Wildseed Farms

Unlike most floral fields where you can look but not touch, you can pick a bouquet at the nation's largest working wildflower farm,  Wildseed Farms . This family-owned countryside escape has 200 acres of wildflower fields, a beautiful butterfly garden, a wine-tasting room, and frequent special events.

wildseedfarms.com , 100 Legacy Dr, Fredericksburg, TX 78624

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Find this state park near Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. Palo Duro Canyon is also known as the "Grand Canyon of Texas," and photographers come from far and wide to capture the blended colors of the canyon walls. In addition to over 30 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horse riding, the park hosts the TEXAS Outdoor Musical in its amphitheater throughout the summer, with musical performances highlighting the struggles and triumphs of Texas pioneers.

tpwd.texas.gov/palo-duro-canyon , multiple entrances

Utopia, Texas

There's a sign that greets visitors rolling into Utopia—a very tiny town in a remote corner of Texas Hill Country with little cell service—with a somewhat ambiguous message: "Welcome to Utopia, a paradise. Let's keep it nice." Anyone passing through town is likely here for two reasons:  Lost Maples State Natural Area and Garner State Park.  Utopia is located smack-dab in the middle of the protected sites, with each around the same distance from the main drag in perpendicular directions. Stay at one of four  luxury treehouse escapes  known as Treehouse Utopia, which are built into centuries-old bald cypress trees and fully furnished and outfitted with an outer deck and a bathroom boasting a walk-in shower.

Trinity Park

Scott Slusher

Stretched along the banks of the Trinity River and nestled next to the Fort Worth Zoo, Trinity Park feels like big breath of fresh air. You can walk or bike while taking in the stunning skyline views, or take advantage of the many attractions within the park. The Trinity River Trails is a network of over 100 miles of paved trails connecting Fort Worth to many other surrounding cities. Moreover, book a trip with Stockyards Stables , and saddle up for a ride on the banks of the Trinity River.

fortworthtexas.gov/trinity-park , 2401 University Dr, Fort Worth, TX 76107

Big Bend Ranch State Park

Southern Living

Texas’ biggest state park is also an International Dark Sky Park, with ample space (300,000 acres) for stargazing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, rafting over rapids, paddling along the Rio Grande, and even off-roading. El Solitario is the park’s signature geological feature, a 10-mile-wide collapsed volcanic dome visible from various trail overlooks and via 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Along the trails, visitors can see weathered rock hoodoos, natural springs, Native rock art, and historical ruins of ranches and other structures.

tpwd.texas.gov/big-bend-ranch , 21800 FM170, Terlingua, TX 79852

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Getty Images/VW Pics/Contributor

A UNESCO World Heritage Site (and the only one in Texas), this storied site preserves four of the five Spanish frontier missions in San Antonio. The 475-acre park boundaries are exciting to explore via walking or biking along the city's established Mission Trail.

nps.gov/saan , multiple locations

Fort Worth Stockyards

You'll still find remnants of a bygone era, like weekly rodeos, music-filled honky-tonks, and a working herd of hometown cattle at the Fort Worth Stockyards. Additionally, Fort Worth's National Historic District is shaking off the dust with new museums, restaurants, watering holes, and a renovated entertainment hub, Mule Alley. Hop on one of the  Historic Walking Tours  to learn about its history.

fortworthstockyards.org , 145 E Exchange Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76164

Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park

Courtesy Uptown Houston

This Houston landmark and community centerpiece offers one of the prettiest backdrops in the city. You can have a unique experience standing in the Waterwall’s mist and getting enveloped by the gentle roar of cascading water. The multi-story sculptural fountain is located in the Uptown district.

uptown-houston.com/waterwall-park , 2800 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX 77056

Pedernales Falls State Park

The massive limestone slabs at  Pedernales Falls State Park  create cascading waterfalls that are beautiful any time of year. During fall, the trees lining the rocks create a postcard-worthy backdrop. Take the half-mile Twin Falls Nature Trail for a scenic view of the falls, or take some of the more challenging hikes to get up close to fall color.

tpwd.texas.gov/pedernales-falls , 2585 Park Rd 6026, Johnson City, TX 78636

Natural Bridge Caverns

Courtesy of Natural Bridge Caverns

Back in 1960, four college students discovered the largest known cave system in Texas—now one of the state's most popular attractions—below a natural rock bridge on a ranch near San Antonio. The caverns, open to the public since the sixties, continue to be explored. A National Natural Landmark, the Natural Bridge Caverns attraction is still owned by the Wuest family, who risked their land and livelihood to develop it decades ago.

naturalbridgecaverns.com ,  26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Road, San Antonio, TX 78266

Gruene Dance Hall

Robbie Caponetto

In the late-1970s and 1980s, musicians flocked to  Gruene Hall , the oldest dance hall in Texas. The white-clapboard venue hasn’t changed much since its founding in Gruene, Texas, in 1878, barring the occasional coat of paint, and that just adds to the charm. With more dance halls closing as urban migration marches on, groups such as the  Texas Dance Hall Preservation Inc.  are committed to saving these historic sites, as well as the music and culture that can still be found within them. 

gruenehall.com , 1281 Gruene Rd, New Braunfels, TX 78130

Frequently Asked Questions

Currently, the Texas park systems oversees more than 640,000 acres of land, including 89 state parks, historic sites and natural areas.

Make your way through exploring the Hill Country, Gulf Coast, Panhandle, Pineywoods, and Big Bend Country (West Texas).

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13 Best Places to Visit in Texas, According to a Local

Whether you want buzzing city life or solitude in a small town, you can find it in Texas.

places to travel from texas

Jacob Bryant/EyeEm/Getty Images

As the largest contiguous state in the U.S., Texas is home to vast desert grasslands, dense forests, miles of beaches , rolling plains, and rugged hills. With more than 268,000 square miles making up the Lone Star State, there’s lots of room to roam and plenty of places to explore. 

Whether you want a bustling city or quiet place to explore, you can find it in Texas, from the Panhandle Plains and Hill Country to the Gulf Coast and Piney Woods. Here, the best places to visit in Texas, according to a local.

Mariah Tyler ©

About 30 minutes west of the hustle and bustle that is Dallas lies Fort Worth, where world-class art museums and an excellent food and drink scene collide. And while Fort Worth is growing — it’s the 12th largest city in the U.S. — it still feels relaxed and approachable. Perhaps it’s that friendly Western hospitality and a range of dining options and activities that make it a win.

In the Cultural District , visitors can check out five museums dedicated to art, science, and local history. Of course, the Stockyards is a Fort Worth rite of passage, where the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive and year-round rodeo occurs. Downtown Fort Worth is another gem, with block after block of restaurants, Broadway shows at Bass Performance Hall , and nightlife in the form of pubs, bars, live music, comedy shows, and more. The Fort Worth Zoo remains one of the best in the U.S. today, too.

Mariah Tyler

Austin , the state's quirky capital, is home to nearly one million people. Locals love to take advantage of the city’s numerous parks and public spaces, including Zilker Metropolitan Park , a 351-acre oasis with gorgeous views of the skyline and plenty of four-legged friends roaming about, as well as Barton Springs Pool , a three-acre, spring-fed pool used year-round for swimming. There are also lots of hiking trails throughout the city, including the 10-mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake, the Barton Creek Greenbelt , and McKinney Falls State Park .

Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World, too, and there are numerous places to catch a show , including the annual Austin City Limits festival. One of the best perks, though, is the city's location near Hill Country, which provides easy access to charming small towns , rivers for floating, and more.

San Antonio

Under two hours south of Austin lies San Antonio, another cultural treasure Texans love to visit and call home. Known for the Alamo, this city is home to four other beautiful missions, all part of the UNESCO-designated San Antonio Missions National Historical Park . Of course, there’s also the beautiful River Walk , full of shopping and dining, and Market Square , where more than 100 vendors sell Mexican wares and cuisine.

San Antonio also brims with incredible museums such as the Witte Museum , McNay Art Museum , Briscoe Western Art Museum , and San Antonio Museum of Art .

Located at the southern edge of Texas Hill Country, San Antonio is also full of outdoor pursuits, including Government Canyon State Natural Area , where 12,00 acres and more than 40 miles of trails offer plenty of room to roam. There’s also river access all around for fishing, swimming, and floating.

If you’re looking to explore the vast Big Bend area, Terlingua is a great base camp. Located in between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park , this former mining town became one of the country’s largest producers of quicksilver in the early 20th century, later transforming into a ghost town when the mine closed.

Terlingua is also home to two renowned chili cook-offs, which bring in thousands each fall. Hike through the state or national park, or rent a canoe and float down the Rio Grande along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Back in town, the Starlight Theatre Restaurant and Saloon is a must for dinner and live music, as it was known as the theater in town for miners back in its heyday. The Terlingua Cemetery, home to a few graves with quirky embellishments, is one of the most photographed in Texas.

There’s also lots of great art throughout town. Stop by a local gallery for mosaics, paintings, photography, and more, and don’t miss the Terlingua Trading Company for souvenirs, art, and gifts. Foodies will enjoy Taqueria El Milagro for its tacos and Tex-Mex plates, while Long Draw Pizza serves up delicious specialty pizzas like the Terlingua Spur (fajita chicken, onions, jalapeno, cheddar, mozzarella, barbecue sauce, and marinara).

Mustang Island

Courtesy of Visit Port Aransas

Named for the wild horses that inhabited the area for hundreds of years, Mustang Island, just south of Port Aransas, is a barrier island that’s ideal for those seeking a beach escape without the crowds found along the Texas coast. Visit Mustang Island State Park , where more than five miles of coastline offer swimming, fishing, kayaking, and beachcombing. The island is also a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts, as 400-plus bird species have been identified here, plus sea turtles can be spotted nesting. Adventure lovers can parasail or try their hand at surfing, or cast a line during an offshore fishing excursion.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Alisha McDarris/Travel + Leisure

In West Texas near the New Mexico state line, you’ll find Guadalupe Mountains National Park , which includes the four highest peaks in Texas. The park has more than 80 miles of hiking trails, from easy walks to all-day endeavors that require a bit of planning. Trek to the "Top of Texas" (a.k.a. Guadalupe Peak), an 8.4-mile hike with views from the highest point in the state, at 8,751 feet. Here, surrounded by vast terrain, you can see the surrounding mountains and a seemingly never-ending expanse of the desert. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is part of the world’s most extensive Permian fossil reef complex, Capitan Reef, and other activities include backpacking, camping, horseback riding, and birding.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Craig Sears/Getty Images

Texas is home to the second largest canyon in the U.S., and it’s found at Palo Duro Canyon State Park in the Panhandle. Here, the canyon sprawls for roughly 120 miles and is about 20 miles wide and up to 800 feet deep in some places. As you hike, you’ll notice four geologic layers that make up the canyon, which began forming a million years ago.

Aside from 30 miles of hiking and biking trails, the park has 1,500 acres dedicated to horseback riding. Catch the " Texas Outdoor Musical " show in the summertime at the amphitheater, and learn about the struggles and successes of early Texas settlers. Campsites and cabins are available, but new to the park are luxury glamping sites with covered porches with swings, air conditioning, fire pits, bicycles, and rustic decor.

Hal Bergman/Getty Images

This iconic Texas town is a trek, but it’s worth the drive. Marfa is an artistic oasis, full of galleries, boutiques, museums, and stand-alone art pieces. The Chinati Foundation is a contemporary art museum with pieces inspired from the surrounding landscape; guided tours are available. There’s also Ballroom Marfa , another contemporary art museum that strives to give artists and musicians a platform in the Big Bend area.

Toast to a great day at Marfa Spirit Co. , where rum, sotol, vodka, and more are blended into signature cocktails, and grab a tasty burrito from Marfa Burrito. For a cool souvenir, stop by Marfa Book Co. , and when it comes to where to stay, there are loads of quirky-cool options such as Chinati Hot Springs cabins , El Cosmico , Hotel Paisano , and Hotel Saint George .

While here, don't miss the Marfa Lights, a mysterious dancing light phenomenon that occurs southeast of town. The lights appear in a few different colors, and the cause is still argued today.

Fredericksburg

Dennis Garrels/Getty Images

Located in Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is a well-known destination for local and out-of-state tourists looking for an escape. Home to about 11,000 people, this small city is situated in the middle of Texas wine country , with more than 50 wineries, tasting rooms, and vineyards in the county.

There are also lots of shuttle options in Fredericksburg that take visitors to wineries outside of town, plus breweries and distilleries dotting the area. Nature lovers have an array of options as well, including rock climbing and hiking at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area , plus cycling and horseback riding through parks and backroads across town. For shopping and dining, head to Main Street, where you’ll find more than 150 boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and museums.

New Braunfels

Roberto Galan/Getty Images

Between Austin and San Antonio lies New Braunfels, a charming Hill Country city founded by German immigrants in the mid-19th century. In the summer months, visitors flock here to float the Guadalupe and Comal rivers, both located in New Braunfels and a favorite way to spend a long, hot day.

Back in town, Texas-German architecture lines the downtown streets, where you’ll find boutique shopping, a developing bar and restaurant scene, museums, and art galleries. New Braunfels is also home to historic Gruene and Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas and a beloved live music venue today.

Courtesy of Visit Georgetown

A suburb of Austin, Georgetown has plenty of parks and outdoor space for adventure, including Lake Georgetown, where you can picnic, swim, and hike around the water on a 26.5-mile trail. In the downtown square, you’ll find everything from fine jewelry and boutique clothing to guitars and gourmet foods. Each year, Georgetown hosts the annual Red Poppy Festival , plus a summer concert series, and the Georgetown Wine and Music Festival. Whether you want room to roam or a great place for restaurants and shopping, this city delivers.

Getty Images

Denton, north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, is a college town with two universities: the University of North Texas (UNT) and Texas Woman’s University. The city has a fun, quirky vibe, but still holds onto a small-town feel with a cute downtown square and pocket after pocket of charming neighborhoods. The creative scene here is huge, too, from a thriving liberal arts program at UNT to community organizations showcasing and promoting local artwork and performing arts. Surrounding the 19th-century courthouse are lots of local restaurants and shops to explore, including a bookstore, an ice cream parlor, and bars serving cocktails. In the fall, catch a UNT football game at Apogee Stadium and cheer on the Mean Green in a sea of green and white.

Rockport-Fulton

Lupe Chacon/Getty Images

If a beach town is what you’re after, then Rockport-Fulton might be the ticket. It’s quieter and not as touristy as Galveston or South Padre Island, but it still offers plenty of fun in the form of outdoor exploration, coastal dining, and history. Rockport-Fulton has a booming arts scene, and the Rockport Center for the Arts holds classes and workshops and has rotating exhibitions.

Birders love the area, too, as hundreds of species migrate through the area or call it home. Adventurers love to explore the coastline via kayak or boat, or head to one of the piers for fishing. Geocaching, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, and windsurfing are popular pastimes as well. More than 30 locally owned restaurants provide an array of dining options, and the sunsets here are some of the best along the Gulf Coast.

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Beryl maps show path and landfall forecast of tropical storm that could become a hurricane again

By Cara Tabachnick , Emily Mae Czachor

Updated on: July 7, 2024 / 7:27 PM EDT / CBS News

After hitting Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Tropical Storm Beryl  was churning across the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday and is expected to regain hurricane strength before it makes landfall in the southern Texas Gulf Coast on Monday morning.

The storm blew past the Cayman Islands and Jamaica earlier in the week, initially making landfall over the island of Carriacou in Grenada while tearing through the Caribbean , strengthening at times to a Category 5 hurricane — the  strongest rating .

Beryl satellite image

What is Beryl's projected path?

Tropical Storm Beryl is moving through the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday and is forecast to regain hurricane strength before it approaches South Texas and Northeastern Mexico late Sunday, according to the hurricane center. It is forecast to make landfall in Texas on Monday morning. 

A portion of the Texas Gulf Coast could see a total of up to 15 inches of rain beginning Sunday and into midweek, the hurricane center said, along with life-threatening storm surge and powerful hurricane-force winds.    

Tropical storm conditions were expected to begin late Sunday, followed by hurricane conditions on Monday, the hurricane center forecast. 

"Beryl is forecast to bring damaging hurricane-force winds to portions of the lower and middle Texas coast late Sunday night and Monday," the hurricane center said, adding that storm preparations "should be rushed to completion before tropical storm conditions begin late Sunday."  

cone-7-7.png

A storm surge warning was in effect for an approximately 300-mile stretch from the Padre Island National Seashore north to High Island, including Corpus Christi Bay, Matagorda Bay, and Galveston Bay. Texas coastal areas could see storm surges of up to 6 feet above ground, the hurricane center forecasted.    

"The combination of storm surge and tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline," the hurricane center said. 

Beryl had made landfall in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Friday as a Category 2 hurricane, just northeast of the resort town of Tulum, before weakening to a tropical storm.

As of Sunday afternoon, Beryl was centered 135 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, and 130 miles south-southeast of Matagorda, Texas. It was headed north-northwest at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. A Category 1 hurricane has minimum sustained winds of at least 74 mph.   

A hurricane warning was in effect for the Texas Gulf Coast from Baffin Bay north to Sargent, a town about 70 miles southwest of Houston. A hurricane watch was in place from Baffin Bay south to the mouth of the Rio Grande River. Tropical storm warnings were discontinued by Sunday afternoon for portions of the northeastern coast of Mexico.

Hurricane center senior specialist Jack Beven told the Associated Press that Beryl is likely to make landfall somewhere between Brownsville and a bit north of Corpus Christi.

Beven told the AP the official forecast has Beryl gaining 17 to 23 mph in wind speed in 24 hours, but noted the storm intensified more rapidly than forecasters expected earlier in the Caribbean.

"People in southern Texas now need to really keep an eye on the progress of Beryl," Beven said.

Where is Beryl bringing rain and flooding?

Hurricane conditions were possible in South Texas on Monday, preceded by tropical storm conditions on Sunday. 

"Heavy rainfall of 5 to 10 inches with localized amounts of 15 inches is expected across portions of the Texas Gulf Coast and eastern Texas beginning late Sunday through midweek. This rainfall will likely produce areas of flash and urban flooding, some of which may be locally considerable. Minor to isolated moderate river flooding is also possible," the center said. 

beryl-july-7-wind-speed-probabilities.png

Beryl became the  first hurricane  of the 2024  Atlantic hurricane season  on Saturday and rapidly strengthened. It first reached Category 4 on Sunday, wavering back to Category 3 before returning to Category 4 on Monday and then becoming a Category 5 later Monday night. It is the first major hurricane east of the Lesser Antilles on record for June, according to Philip Klotzbach, Colorado State University hurricane researcher.

Brian McNoldy, a tropical meteorology researcher for the University of Miami, told the AP that warm waters fueled Beryl, with ocean heat content in the deep Atlantic the highest on record for this time of year.

Beryl has also set records  as the first June hurricane ever to hit Category 4, the farthest east a storm has ever hit Category 4, and the first storm before September to go from tropical depression to major hurricane in under 48 hours, CBS News weather producer David Parkinson reported.

Beryl was also the earliest Category 5 hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin and was only the second Category 5 storm recorded in July since 2005, according to the hurricane center.

Brian Dakss, Alex Sundby and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Cara Tabachnick is a news editor at CBSNews.com. Cara began her career on the crime beat at Newsday. She has written for Marie Claire, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. She reports on justice and human rights issues. Contact her at [email protected]

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The Crazy Tourist

Home » Travel Guides » United States » Texas (TX) » 30 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Texas

30 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Texas

The Lone Star State, which prides itself on qualities like independence and self-sufficiency, is full of places with the kind of uncompromising rough-hewn beauty that makes you feel pretty insignificant.

I’ve picked a lot of these for my list, like the second-largest canyon in America, or the largest and remotest national park in the country. These are places that cater to a human need to be out in the elements, fending for yourself and those you love.

Size is another thing that Texas has in spades, and this is reflected in the full breadth of the state’s natural beauty, from steamy bayous in the east to sand dunes in the west, high mesas in the north and unending barrier islands in the south..

There’s a gentler side too, with springs and swimming holes for joyous summer days, exquisite botanical gardens, springtime meadows flush with wildflowers, and quaint small towns with a story to tell.

I was born and raised in Dallas, so as a Texas native I’m pretty confident you’re gonna like my list of the best places to visit in Texas:

1. Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

It’s only right that the starting point should be the largest and remotest national park in the entire United States.

Not many people make it to Big Bend National Park, and it’s not the kind of place to visit at the drop of a hat or on a detour. This forbidding lunar environment is a place for carefully planned adventures.

This might mean hiking past bizarre rock formations and up to distant lookouts, observing migrating birds, gazing at the darkest night skies in the world, driving roads with dizzyling accents or descents, or paddling through deep canyons on the Rio Grande.

If you’ve got what it takes, hike the strenuous South Rim Trail, which rises 2,000 feet, and compensates you with desert views for miles from the ridge.

Tip: You may also like my article on the most popular national parks .

2. Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock State Park

Steeped in legend, Enchanted Rock is an exposed batholith, a dome of pink granite erupting from the landscape at a height of 425 feet.

This makes it the second-largest hill composed of bedrock in the United States, and if there’s cause for regret it’s that this formation was once one of many to be found on the edge of Gillespie and Llano counties, a lot of which were quarried for their stone.

Enchanted Rock is prominent in Comanche, Apache and Tonkawa folklore, and I think it’s easy to see why—much of your time in the natural area will be spent transfixed by the hill and the panoramas that it affords.

There are many more rock formations to be admired and conquered, on more than 10 miles of trails.

3. Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Texas’s answer to the Grand Canyon is only 25 miles from Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle, at the site of the Comanche’s last stand in 1874.

With its high mesa walls, multi-colored bands of rock and spire-like hoodoos, this 800-foot cleave in the landscape is the work of water erosion across many millennia on the Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River.

The artist Georgia O’Keeffe was drawn to this place, and painted it multiple times between 1916 and 1918.

One of the things I love most about Palo Duro Canyon State Park is how accessible it is, with 16 miles of paved roads, and another 30 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails leading to the main sights.

The canyon’s icon is Lighthouse Rock hoodoo, 300 feet tall and three miles along a trail from the park road.

4. Caddo Lake State Park

Caddo Lake State Park

Straddling the Texas-Louisiana border is the mysterious Caddo Lake, a natural body of water formed around a thousand years ago by a giant log jam known as the Great Raft.

The lake is essentially a network of sloughs, bayous and ponds, sprouting tall bald cypresses draped in Spanish moss. Alligators, turtles, snakes, beavers, river otters, bobcats, and more than 70 fish species flourish in this environment.

Caddo Lake has been inhabited for 12,000 years, and when the Spanish arrived in the 16th century they came across the Caddoan society, which had developed sophisticated agriculture.

The state park is a place to go fishing, paddle (rentals are available), hike on 2.5 miles of trails, camp, or rent one of the park’s historic cabins, built by the CCC during the Great Depression.

5. Colorado Bend State Park

Colorado Bend State Park

If I had to choose one place that encapsulates the Texas Hill Country it would surely be Colorado Bend, a couple of hours northwest of Austin .

Over 5,300 acres, the state park is a land of karstic formations, woven with caves, springs, and sinkholes.

There’s a lot to get up to, whether you’re lounging in crystal clear waters at Spicewood Springs, touring a cave, or marveling at the 70-foot Gorman Falls, the park’s standout sight.

The topography varies wildly, with trails that lift you to craggy outcrops or zigzag down a valley to a shaded creek bed.

There’s camping of all kinds, from drive-up to hike-in, and you find yourself in the company of local wildlife like deer and armadillos, which go as they please at the park.

You may also like my guide on where to stay when visiting Austin .

6. El Capitan

El Capitan

What you see when you look at this icon of Texas is an ancient barrier reef from 290 million years ago, hoisted up by tectonic forces.

El Capitan’s sheer limestone walls, like the rest of the Guadalupe Mountain peaks, are the exposed sides of the reef stripped away of all their softer sediment.

Only the hardiest of climbers reach the summit, and for everyone else this is a natural monument best enjoyed from a distance, either on a trail in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, or from the southeast side along U.S. Highway 62/180.

My ideal time to make the stop is early on a sunny day, when those sheer cliffs are aglow.

7. Barton Springs Pool

Barton Springs pool in Austin, Texas

An outdoor municipal pool might not be an obvious candidate for my list of the most beautiful places, but Austin’s treasured Barton Springs Pool is something special.

The pool is an impounded stretch of Barton Creek, fed entirely by the fourth largest spring in the state.

The water on the surface is between 68 °F and 74 °F all year, with swimming permitted year round, except on Thursdays when the pool is closed for cleaning.

When you stop to take in the scene, with the glassy waters, the green sloping banks of the creek and the towers of downtown Austin visible along the valley, it’s impossible to deny the Barton Springs Pool’s place on the list.

Also extraordinary, the Barton Springs salamander is a species that exists pretty much only in this spot. This one also made it to my list of  55 Best Things to Do in Austin .

8. Monahans Sandhills State Park

Monahans Sandhills State Park

It’s a testament to the size of Texas that on one side you can have steamy bayous and on the other you can enter a range of sand dunes that look like the Sahara.

I think you’ll be fascinated to learn that this isn’t even a desert. The Monahans Sandhills are a rare semi-arid ecosystem supporting the shinoak shrub, which has huge root systems penetrating the dunes and reaching the groundwater many feet below.

There are no marked trails here—instead you can go where you please, and rent sand disks for some Texas-style sledding, down slopes as high as 70 feet.

See also :  23 Amazing Hidden Gems in Texas

9. Caverns of Sonora

Caverns of Sonora

As magnificent as they are remote, the Caverns of Sonora are on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, halfway between San Antonio and Big Bend National Park.

What elevates this limestone cave above most others is the breathtaking quantity and complexity of its calcite formations.

The helictites are among the finest on show anywhere in the world, and resemble intricate works of glass art by someone like Dale Chihuly.

My favorite fact about this place is that it’s active, with 98% of those formations still growing as we speak. The main tour is just under two hours long, taking through two miles of chambers to a depth of 155 feet.

10. Padre Island National Seashore

Padre Island National Seashore

If, like me, you associate the name ‘Padre Island’ with the famous resort town then the Padre Island National Seashore will come as a shock. Instead of spring breakers there’s more than 60 miles of uninhabited shoreline, on the longest barrier island in the world.

The national seashore is so remote that you can only reach it with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. A pristine sandy shoreline continues to the horizon, with dunes, tidal flats, and the immensity of the Laguna Madre on the west side.

To me it feels like the far end of the world. Birds love it here. In fact 380 species have been documented on Padre Island, which is almost half of species recorded in North America.

Fall through is the best time for birdwatching, either during the epic migrations or when many thousands of birds winter along the shore.

11. Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg, Texas

The off-ramp for Enchanted Rock also happens to be one of Texas’s most beautiful small towns . Settled by Germans in the mid-19th century Fredericksburg still has a bit of a German accent, present in its cuisine, place names, customs and architecture.

The town could not have a better location, with epic natural wonders but also more than 50 vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms minutes away, lined out on gentle south slopes of the Pedernales river.

Back in town, the historic Main Street is a long, twin row of engaging specialty shops, galleries, tasting rooms, boutiques and German restaurants.

As the boyhood home of Chester W. Nimitz (1885-1966), Fredericksburg is the site of one of the country’s best military museums, documenting the Pacific Theater.

12. Hamilton Pool Preserve

Hamilton Pool Preserve

The obligatory day trip from Austin is a natural pool in a bowl with overhanging cliffs 50 feet in height. This stunning work of natural architecture was created when the dome of a subterranean river collapsed.

For you and me, the result is a swimming hole of unrivaled beauty, with Hamilton Creek entering the bowl as a waterfall.

The volume of the waterfall changes with the seasons, but the level of the pool never changes.

The natural processes that forged Hamilton Pool are ongoing, so the pool is occasionally closed for swimming when the cliffs become unstable.

The surrounding preserve has interesting botany, especially in the rocky canyon areas, where stream orchids and the westernmost colony of red bay can be seen.

13. Franklin Mountains State Park

Franklin Mountains State Park

The writer Cormac McCarthy moved to El Paso in the 1970s, and I think the Franklin Mountains at the far western limit of Texas embody the high-desert setting of his most famous books.

Little more than 15 minutes from downtown El Paso, this range is a constant presence in the city, and promises a sense of peace, widescreen vistas over the lowlands, and a scenic desolation.

You’re in the Chihuahuan Desert here, with slopes sparsely tufted with yucca, poppies and barrel cactus, and oak, juniper and cottonwood crowding the mountain springs.

Be ready for tough desert terrain on more than 100 miles of trails in 37 square miles of pure wilderness.

14. Jefferson

Jefferson

West of Caddo Lake, this pre-Civil War town is almost intact, preserved as it was when it was one of Texas’s main riverports.

I can’t get enough of Jefferson’s brick-paved streets and genteel commercial buildings, all labeled with historical markers.

The town’s golden age was between 1845 and 1872, but navigation on the Big Cypress Bayou was suddenly made impossible in 1875 when a logjam was cleared downstream, lowering the level.

In Jefferson it behooves you to slow things down a little, and the best way to start is at a quaint old bed & breakfast.

You can pore over the collections at the local historical museum, set in a Romanesque Revival courthouse and post office, with four floors of exhibits, including the steamboat days and the Civil War.

15. Dallas Arboretum And Botanical Garden

Dallas Arboretum And Botanical Garden

On the shores of White Rock Lake in East Dallas, this relatively young arboretum first opened to the public in 1984.

I think the setting is part of the magic of the Dallas Arboretum, on the estate of the geophysicist Everette Lee DeGolyer (1886-1956), whose work was instrumental to the oil industry.

The Spanish Revival DeGolyer home (1938) mingles with some 20 gardens, incorporating art, fascinating botany, art and expert landscape architecture.

On the winding trail it feels like you’re in a new little world every few steps. If there’s an ideal time to be here, it’s surely early spring, for Dallas Blooms.

This is the largest annual floral festival in the Southwest with uplifting spring blooms, from tulips to azaleas, paired with live culture, children’s activities, Easter events and more.

I’ve written some great guides on Dallas:

  • Guide to Downtown Dallas
  • 55 Amazing Things to Do in Dallas
  • 15 Best Day Trips from Dallas
  • Best Tours in Dallas

16. Willow City Bluebonnets Loop

Bluebonnets, Texas

If you’re in Fredericksburg around early April there’s never a better time to see the Texas state flower, the bluebonnet in bloom.

A few miles northeast of the town you’ll leave behind a bucolic rural landscape for something a little rougher, in a rocky land of cliffs and deep canyons, with views that scroll out for miles.

Here a 13-mile ranch road twists through the rugged terrain, and in spring your eyes will be drawn to the roadside meadows in the valleys.

After a wet winter these fields are astonishingly beautiful, sporting wildflowers of many different varieties and colors, but it’s bluebonnets that bring the crowds.

In fact, my word to the wise is to make the drive on a weekday as the weekends can get hectic on the Willow City Loop .

Marfa

A little town adrift in the high desert of the Trans-Pecos, three hours from El Paso has become a hotspot for contemporary art, and a luxury tourist destination.

For this you can thank Donald Judd (1929-1994), the Minimalist artist who relocated here from New York in the 1970s, buying a slew of buildings and acquiring more than 30,000 acres of ranch land.

His legacy abides in Marfa’s museums, galleries, art installations, contemporary artisan shops and the town’s sleek architecture.

The Chinati Foundation, established by Judd in 1986, is a great starting point. The museum is rooted in Judd’s own philosophies and specializes in works that have a close relationship with their natural surroundings.

18. Big Thicket National Preserve

Big Thicket National Preserve

Something that fascinates me about Southeast Texas is that it’s the meeting point for a variety of habitats that are spread across big chunks of the United States.

This is a crossroads, at the western and southern limit for plant species associated with the East Coast and Midwest. To protect this unique diversity the National Park Service set up one of the first two National Preserves here in 1974.

The Big Thicket National Preserve is 15 units comprising a total 113,000 acres, and while that may sound massive, you can think of it as a cross-section of American nature condensed into one corner of Texas.

You can paddle between the bald cypresses in a bayou, observe rare carnivorous plants dining on insects in baygall bogs, and take an easy walk in longleaf pine uplands. Start at the Visitor Center in Kountze to wrap your head around Big Thicket’s importance, and go from there.

19. Texas State Capitol

Texas State Capitol

Presiding over downtown Austin from its hilltop perch, the Texas State Capitol is up there with the nation’s finest state capitol buildings.

Truly Texas, this monument mixes scale with artistry. It’s the sixth-tallest state capitol, and has more floor space than any other.

A whole spur of the Austin and Northwestern Railroad was constructed in the 1880s to transport the reddish granite that clads the capitol from Marble Falls.

Inside, check out the Great Seal in the Rotunda, and the magnificent star, which was installed in the dome, 218 feet above the floor, in 1958.

There’s a whole statuary for Texas’s political and historical figures, but the greatest work of all is the Goddess of Liberty crowning the dome.

The current statue is a replica from 1986, and the 1888 original can be seen in a dedicated museum on the capitol grounds.

See also :  15 Best Romantic Weekend Getaways in Texas

20. Devils River State Natural Area

Devils River State Natural Area

If it’s true wilderness you’re seeking I don’t think it gets more wild than the Devils River, a tributary of the Rio Grande, wriggling through a sparsely inhabited tranche of southwestern Texas.

The 37,000-acre natural area on the river is 60 miles north of Del Rio, in rugged lands inhabited by mountain lions, black bears, rattlesnakes, and not much else.

Camping is primitive here, so plan carefully and bring everything you need to survive for several days.

With some care, you’ll have the privilege of paddling on some of the clearest water you’ve ever seen, in a place where, even now, few people dare to venture.

You’ll need to be an experienced paddler too, as the river is notoriously boisterous, with rapids and drops like the roaring Dolan Falls which is listed in my selection of the best waterfalls in Texas .

21. Natural Bridge Caverns

Natural Bridge Caverns, Texas

In 1960, while exploring the Texas Hill Country, four students from St. Mary’s University stumbled upon a limestone cave system so large that even today new passages are being discovered.

Later, one of the students dropped out to help the landowner develop the caves for tourism, and this is the origin of the largest commercial caverns in Texas, still family owned and operated more than 60 years later.

The basic Discovery Tour puts you in the boots of the people who found the cave, taking you through the hall-like first chambers, and showing off the engrossing formations with expert lighting.

I recommend you dress for the conditions, as there’s 99% humidity and a constant 70 °F underground.

The headline feature is the one that gives the caverns their name—a 60-foot natural bridge spanning the bowl-like entrance, formed when a sinkhole collapsed underneath.

22. Caprock Canyons State Park

Caprock Canyons State Park

For anyone enchanted by the harsh beauty of Palo Duro Canyon, there’s another place with scenery straight out of a John Ford Western, little more than an hour away.

Hewn out by the Little Red River, Caprock Canyons has the same steep bluffs and colorful stratification, each line layer representing a different geologic age.

You can get away from it all on more than 90 miles of trails, some of which are hard going. One of the tougher routes is the Haynes Ridge Overlook Trail, taking you to the very top of the park for all-encompassing views of the canyons below.

The Texas State Bison Herd adds some extra mystique to Caprock Canyons, roaming free over 10,000 acres in the state park.

23. Lost Maples State Natural Area

Lost Maples State Natural Area

If you want to see fall colors in Texas then you may not need me to tell you that the place to go is Lost Maples State Natural Area, around 70 miles of San Antonio.

This isolated stand of bigtooth maple forest is a remnant of a once massive expanse that flourished thousands of years ago when the region’s climate was much cooler and damper than it is today.

My tip is to make a note of the weather in autumn before visiting, because the reds are even more vivid in years when there’s less rain and the nights are cooler.

These 3,000 acres pack a lot of rugged limestone features, especially along the Sabinal River, which is flanked by steep canyon walls.

Salado

Small-town Texas at its best, Salado was born in the mid-19th century, along the Chisholm Trail cattle drives.

Something that has been here since the time of the trail is the Stagecoach Inn (1852), thought to be the oldest operating hotel in Texas (now known as the Shady Villa Hotel).

Less than an hour from Austin , Salado shares its near neighbor’s artsy vibe, with a whole community of creators doing their thing here.

The town is by no means large, but packs days’ worth of art experiences, at galleries and studios where you can see acclaimed artists in action. Two art-related dates to keep in the diary are the Wildflower Arts & Crafts Festival in March and the August’s Salado Art Fair.

25. Mission San José

Mission San José

More than 300 years old, the largest of the San Antonio Missions is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is affectionately known as the Queen of the Missions.

The church as we see it was begun in 1768, and was the core of a complex to convert Coahuiltecan Native Americans. I think Mission San José’s beauty is plain to see.

Those weathered limestone walls contrast with theatrical Baroque carvings, around and above the main portal, and on the stunning rose window on the south facade.

Of course, there’s a complicated and thorny history to unravel at Mission San José, and there’s no two ways about it. Drop by the visitor center first for exhibits depicting life at this place in the 18th century.

Be sure to also check out my guides on San Antonio:

  • 15 Best Things to Do in Downtown San Antonio
  • 25 Best Things to Do in San Antonio (TX)
  • 15 Best Day Trips from San Antonio
  • 15 Best San Antonio Tours

26. Port Aransas

Walking over the Dunes in Port Aransas

Eco-tourism has taken off in a big way at Port Aransas, which sits across the bay from Corpus Christi on Mustang Island.

Birds play a big part in that, with hundreds of native and migrating species to be observed at no fewer than six sites on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail.

The star of the show is the endangered whooping crane, which winters on Mustang Island and nowhere else between November and March, and is even the subject of an annual festival in February.

People have been paddling this waters for years, and the inward Redfish Bay is the site of the first designated paddling trail on the Texas coast .

Come summer Port Aransas is a place for the simple joys of the sand between your toes, wind in your hair, on 18 miles of open sandy shoreline.

27. The Alamo

The Alamo

I can’t leave out the most iconic landmark in Texas, charged with monumental importance as the site of a 13-day siege in 1836 by Mexican troops against rebel Texians.

And while The Alamo is remembered as a battleground and a battle cry that soon led to the formation of the Republic of Texas, this was originally a mission, founded in 1718.

The church’s Baroque facade remains The Alamo’s signature image, and this building was later adapted as a U.S. Army Quartermaster Depot.

There’s 300+ years of history to uncover on four acres of grounds, with interpretive exhibits woven into shaded subtropical gardens, framed by those old stone walls.

28. Jacob’s Well Natural Area

Jacob’s Well Natural Area

At the source of Cypress Creek in the Texas Hill Country there’s a perennial karstic spring walled by rocky bluffs.

The water percolates through the bedrock and up through this dark, 12-foot hole, forming a light ripple when it reaches the surface.

Jacob’s Well is even deeper than it looks—and it looks deep. The main cave descends vertically for around 30 feet, and then there’s a series of chambers reaching an average depth of about 120 feet.

With its shimmering waters, the spring is tempting on hot summer days, and is normally open to swimmers May through September.

As a reminder of the fragility of this natural site, the spring’s flow has ceased several times since 2000, and this down to the lowering of the Trinity Aquifer, caused by development in the area.

29. Zilker Botanical Garden

Zilker Botanical Garden

Two of my entries on this are within walking distance of each other. In the same park, just a few hundred feet from Barton Springs Pool there’s another of the state’s great botanical attractions.

Zilker Botanical Garden has been billed as the “jewel in the heart of Austin”, laid out on a hillside with stately live oaks and views of downtown.

Meandering paths link a diversity of themed gardens, like the Hartman Prehistoric Garden, which recreates a lush Cretaceous environment, or the koi-filled ponds of the Taniguchi Japanese Garden.

You can pause at any number of little shaded nooks, or bask in the sun on the neat lawns.

30. Medina River Natural Area

Medina River Natural Area

I’ll finish with a lesser known spot. On the south side of San Antonio there’s more than 500 acres of picture-perfect riparian landscapes along the Medina River.

As well as being just 20 minutes from downtown San Antonio, the Medina River Natural Area stands out for the variety of plant life.

Down on the riverfront there’s pecan and venerable bald cypress, while the uplands have honey mesquite, cactus and gorgeous wildflowers in springtime.

I recommend keeping a watchful eye for snakes and poison ivy, but thankfully there are plenty of signs to keep you informed of any threats.

Water activities are not permitted here, but if you want a paddling trip on the Medina River, head to Bandera, where the waters are clear as can be.

Want more? Check out my other posts on Texas:

  • 40 Places to See in Texas Before Your Kids Grow Up
  • 15 Best Places to Live in Texas
  • 23 Amazing Hidden Gems in Texas
  • 15 Best Small Towns to Visit in Texas

30 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Texas:

  • Big Bend National Park
  • Enchanted Rock
  • Palo Duro Canyon State Park
  • Caddo Lake State Park
  • Colorado Bend State Park
  • Barton Springs Pool
  • Monahans Sandhills State Park
  • Caverns of Sonora
  • Padre Island National Seashore
  • Fredericksburg
  • Hamilton Pool Preserve
  • Franklin Mountains State Park
  • Dallas Arboretum And Botanical Garden
  • Willow City Bluebonnets Loop
  • Big Thicket National Preserve
  • Texas State Capitol
  • Devils River State Natural Area
  • Natural Bridge Caverns
  • Caprock Canyons State Park
  • Lost Maples State Natural Area
  • Mission San José
  • Port Aransas
  • Jacob’s Well Natural Area
  • Zilker Botanical Garden
  • Medina River Natural Area

Totally Texas Travel

The 20 Best Places To Visit In Texas

By: Author texasonly

Places to visit in Texas Pin Image

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, many state and national parks, miles of coastline, small towns, and big cities.

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

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

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

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

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

Austin, Texas, is the state capital of Texas and a city with its vibe.

Known as the ‘Live Music Capital of the World,’ Austin is a lively city with much to offer locals and visitors.

Whether you spend a weekend or a week in Austin, Austin will keep you entertained.

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

Lady Bird Lake is a great place to walk, jog, cycle, paddleboard, 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, offering free interior tours.

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

Austin is also one of Texas’s best places to visit 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 live music is also played around the city every night.

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

You will also want to check out the Austin food scene during your time in Austin.

For this, think of delicious tacos (especially breakfast tacos), great Texas barbecue, and even fancy five-star restaurants!

Don't Mess With Texas mural

Austin also has some great museums to offer to visitors.

Visit the Bullock Texas State History Museum to learn more about Texas’s history.

This museum walks you through the history of Texas, from the fight for independence to modern-day events.

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

Several art museums are also 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.

One of which is the scenic drive from Austin to Fredericksburg , or you can visit some of the best waterfalls in Texas in this area!

Houston skyline with park in front

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

Houston is another Texas city that will keep you entertained for as long as you wish to stay. It offers world-class museums, famous attractions, and a great food scene.

One of Houston’s most popular tourist attractions is the Space Center Houston .

The Space Center Houston welcomes over 800,000 visitors every year!

The Space Center Houston’s mission is to educate and inspire young people to embrace science and technology. It allows visitors to experience space exploration hands-on.

The Space Center Houston also features several permanent exhibits, artifacts, and various space items.

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 with a fun boardwalk full of carnival rides and games.

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

The Houston museum scene is also fabulous, 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, 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.

Houston has you covered on all levels, with food ranging from delicious Texas barbecue to fresh Gulf Coast seafood.

If you want to get outdoors, Houston also has you covered there.

There are several parks and lakes in Houston that you can use to escape the summer heat.

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.

Dallas is also home to a thriving arts district.

The Dallas Arts District comprises numerous museums, live theatre venues, and great outdoor spaces in downtown Dallas.

This city is also great for wining and dining with your significant other.

There are so many choices 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 which is 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 contains items of pop culture related to the Kennedy family, which are unique!

ferris wheel and pond at Fair Park in Dallas

There are loads of great museums in Dallas to explore.

You might also want to consider 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 buildings for visitors to explore.

You might also want to head to the Dallas Farmer’s Market during your time in the city.

The farmer’s Market sells fresh fruits and vegetables and houses numerous food stalls, which are great for a fun lunch in the city.

Dallas is a great area to enjoy being outdoors.

Outdoor recreation in the area comprises 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.

Numerous weekend getaways from Dallas allow you to do just that.

fountains in front of building in Fort Worth Sundance Square

Although Fort Worth is located only about 30 minutes west of Dallas, the two are very 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 embraces its cowboy heritage, and it 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.

Fort Worth also has a cattle pen maze and a mechanical bull, which you can try during your visit.

However, cowboy culture and the Fort Worth Stockyards aren’t the only things Fort Worth has to offer.

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

Some of the city’s popular museums 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, the Fort Worth Cultural District, and the West 7th area.

flowers at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens

Fort Worth has many choices if you want a night of live entertainment.

Bass Hall hosts everything from comedy acts to symphony performances, while Billy Bob’s Texas hosts many country music concerts.

You should also take time to explore some of the city parks while in Fort Worth.

The Fort Worth Botanical Gardens has acres of Texas flora and fauna to enjoy.

The Fort Worth Water Gardens is a great place to visit for a unique urban park.

The Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs also have great sports venues, theme parks, and outdoor spaces.

San Antonio

San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio is one of the best places to visit in Texas!

San Antonio is 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 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 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.

You can sit and people-watch for hours by grabbing a table overlooking the River Walk and your favorite margarita.

mission of San Antonio

Another of the best places to visit in the city is the San Antonio Botanical Garden .

The gardens are home to beautiful Texas flora, 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.

Explore the historic Pearl District for some great dining and entertainment options.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park and Sea World are called 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 and all 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 Interstate 35 makes it a popular stop, especially for visitors driving from Dallas to San Antonio .

Visitors to Natural Bridge Caverns can explore the cave system on one of the guided tours or on one of the adventure tours.

The Natural Bridge Caverns also have a zipline course, a ropes course, a maze, and gem and fossil mining.

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 allows visitors to see the historic Victorian-style building from Galveston’s heyday.

Numerous boutique shops and some great restaurants and bars are housed in these old buildings.

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 rooftop bar at the Tremont House Hotel.

The drinks here are amazing, and the view from Tremont’s rooftop bar is stunning.

The Strand street sign

The Galveston Pleasure Pier is another hot attraction in the city.

Enjoy riding the amusement park rides and playing carnival-style games while 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, Galveston is 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 island’s history is intriguing, and there is no better way to learn about it than from a local guide.

Galveston Island State Park is a great place to go bird-watching, fishing, horseback riding, or just enjoying 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

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

It is also 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 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 to explore.

While 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 the normal beach activities people love!

You can build sandcastles, collect sea shells and 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.

Padre is part of the Central Flyway Migratory Route for birds, making it the perfect place for bird watching.

Fredericksburg

vineyard in Fredericksburg

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

Known for the Texas wine and wineries that line the area, Fredericksburg is 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 also has Enchanted Rock State Park, a unique German heritage, and numerous museums.

Fredericksburg has you covered if you want to learn more about the area’s history.

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 explore the other hiking trails in the area.

Fredericksburg is also home to one of Texas’s most fabulous lavender fields !

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 definitely enjoy your visit!

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.

Explore Cameron Park or enjoy some time on Lake Waco for your outdoor fix.

road into the countryside in Alpine

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

Alpine is a small town 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 full of fun boutique shops, great local restaurants, and fabulous art galleries.

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

New Braunfels

river with trees in New Braunfels

Located just north of San Antonio, New Braunfel s is near the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers.

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

In the summer, people will float in the rivers and visit Schlitterbahn Waterpark to escape the Texas heat.

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

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, allowing visitors 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 the Schlitterbahn Waterpark.

You will 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.

the city of Amarillo

Amarillo is the quintessential West Texas town.

One of the top tourist attractions in Amarillo is the Cadillac Ranch.

Cadillac Ranch is a roadside attraction that has become a tourist hot spot in Texas and 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, head to Big Texan Steak Ranch to see if you can conquer their 72-oz. steak challenge. (Good luck!)

Head out to Palo Duro Canyon State Park to burn off some of the food you just ate.

Known as ‘the Grand Canyon of Texas,’ Palo Duro Canyon offers gorgeous rock formations and numerous hiking trails.

Of course, there are other things to do in Amarillo, too.

You can explore the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, visit the city’s art galleries, or see a live performance at the theatre.

street in Laredo Texas

The South Texas town of Laredo is another Texas town 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 the bridge from Laredo to Mexico means crossing the Rio Grande and entering another county.

If you don’t want to venture outside the United States, you can 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, 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 mountains in Texas.

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.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park visitors can enjoy miles of hiking trails and 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 offers you gorgeous views of Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Just be sure to bring all the supplies you will need as this national park is remote, and there are few areas where you can 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, which means that the terrain is harsh.

Don’t let that stop you from visiting Big Bend National Park.

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 be 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 (and one of the best Texas lakes ) in the Texas Hill Country.

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

You must visit the Blue Bonnet Café , which is located in the center of town.

The Bluebonnet Café has welcomed visitors for years, and the biggest draw is their pie!

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

beer with awards hanging on it

The downtown area of Marble Falls has everything from home décor to boutique clothing shops!

Maybe you will find the perfect Texas souvenir during your shopping adventure!

There are also several state and local parks in the area, including Lake Marble Falls, for fun lake recreation.

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

This is also a great place to see Texas bluebonnets if you visit during springtime.

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 many other fun activities.

You can start your time in Port Aransas by visiting the Port Aransas Museum.

This museum is the perfect introduction to Port Aransas’s history before you explore the city’s offerings.

Of course, one of the major draws is 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.

Wildlife is abundant in the area, as seen from the 700-foot boardwalk on the property.

Other popular activities include taking a dolphin-watching tour or a charter fishing trip to spend time on the ocean.

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

river with cypress trees

The artistic community of Wimberley, TX , is a Texas gem you must 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 allows visitors to swim in an incredible blue-green colored swimming hole surrounded by gorgeous towering Cypress trees.

Wine lovers will want to visit Wimberley Valley Winery as well.

This great winery has a fabulous outdoor space to enjoy drinking its 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 in the town square, visit one of the many great restaurants 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 fancier, then the Leaning Pear might be what you’re looking for.

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 visit Jefferson to enjoy the many bed and breakfast 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.

Riding on the Historic Jefferson Railway is a must during your visit.

The railway travels along miles of Big Cypress Bayou through the East Texas forest, showing visitors the beauty of East Texas.

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 and beautiful moss-strewn Cypress trees everywhere you look.

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

While in this area, check out the wineries in East Texas ; there are some great ones!

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places to travel from texas

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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.

tiffy roxxx

Tuesday 18th of October 2022

Such a great list! I learnt so much about the different cities and how there's so much to do in Texas wow

Thanks so much for reading, Tiffy!

Sunday 16th of October 2022

I have not spent a lot of time in Texas but your article makes it seem like I could find a lot of great experiences there. Thanks for sharing!

Monday 17th of October 2022

Hi Heather! Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. Texas is full of amazing places to explore. I hope you get to visit soon!

Saturday 15th of October 2022

We have been to several places on this list but still have some to cover!

Oh Yay! So glad we could add to your list!

One of the things I love about Texas is that the terrain is so diverse. From the hill country to Big Bend, you'll see so many beautiful landscapes. I even love Amarillo! Years ago this was such a small town, but what's interesting it is the capital for several important industries like AHCA. Excellent article, and love that it is full of helpful tips.

Wow Texas looks amazing! Love the diversity of places, the NP look just mindblowing!!!

Hi Marina. It really is amazing. There is truly something for everyone!

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Discover the best that Southern USA has to offer! Hidden gems, vibrant cities and more!

the bluebonnets in a field in texas

15 Best Things To Do In Texas: The Ultimate TX Bucket List

August 30, 2022 //  by  Southern Trippers

Are you looking for the best things to do in Texas? If so, checkout our guide for the ultimate bucket list of what to see in Tx.

Texas, has so much to offer visitors. For those who want to travel in Texas, checkout our guide for fun road trips in Texas . Whether you are looking for National Parks and outdoor adventures, museums and historical sites like the Alamo. To exploring bluebonnets the national flower of Texas, springs, caves and Texas wine country.

a view of dallas texas at night

You can’t come to Texas without stopping at this historic marker! The Alamo, located in San Antonio is one of the attractions in Texas you can’t miss. The Alamo is known as the Shrine of Texas Liberty, and it plays a huge part of Texas history! You can take a guided tour and see everything the Alamo has to offer. There is no admission charged, making it one of the free things to do in Texas. All entries are timed currently!

Make sure to walk through the Living History and talk to the Living Historians. Here you’ll get an up-close and personal take on what life was like during the 1800s and even learn about events surrounding the Battle of the Alamo in 1836! This historical landmark flew flags from 5 countries during its history!

The alamo is one of the best things to do in Texas

San Antonio Riverwalk

Name the #1 attraction in Texas, the San Antonio Riverwalk, is a must see! This is one of the cool things to do in Texas for adults and children alike. As you stroll along the cobblestone treelined paths along the river, you can eat , shop, drink and even take a boat ride!

The Riverwalk is a destination in of itself. The Paseo del Rio as it is also know was built in 1929 to control flooding of the San Antonio River. Now, the 15 miles of riverwalk are broken up into 3 sections : the Downtown Reach, the Museum Reach, and the Mission Reach.  The 5 miles downtown section, is the most popular section of the riverwalk.

You can walk, bike, or kayak the riverwalk! Making it the perfect year round activity! Visit one of the museums, art galleries, or take in the history at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Trust us this is one of the cool things to do in TX that needs to be on your bucket list.

the riverwalk is lighted up at night with the river in the background with trees and restaurants

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park has to be on your bucket list for Texas. The admission fee to enter the national park is $30 per car, or $15 for single visitors and it is a good for 7 days. As Big Bend is located in the desert, the best times to visit are late fall through early spring. Winter is a gorgeous time of year, while summer can bring scorching temperatures.

The scenic vistas here are diverse, with opportunities to see wildlife, camping, historical sites and more. Explore sea fossils, dinosaur bones to volcanic dikes in the canyons of the Big Bend of the Rio Grande—Santa Elena, Mariscal, and Boquillas.

Stargazing here is one of the things to do in Texas at night. Big Bend is known as one of the best star gazing spots in the US as it has the least amount of light pollution of any other national parks in the continental US. Camp at one of the 4 campgrounds or camp backcountry out in the wild to really experience Big Bend!

A man standing on the rocks at Big Bend national park with the starry night sky

Cadillac Ranch

Located in Amarillo, along Route 66 Cadillac Ranch is an iconic art instillation of Cadillac vehicles stationed in the ground. Since 1974, when the 10 Cadillac’s were first buried vertically in the ground it has had visitors stopping by.

Next, you can bring your own spray paint, or you may be lucky enough to find a can that was left behind by a previous visitor! People come from all over to spray paint their own mark on a vehicle! 

After spray painting, stop by the visitor center and buy jewelry made from paint chips that have come off the cars! There’s no record of how many layers of paint are currently on this fixture!

an upside down spray painted cadilac car in the ground

Fredericksburg

Founded in 1846,Fredericksburg is an old and enchanting German town. Whether you want to find an authentic German restaurant to eat at, explore museums, check out historical sites, or just browse the shops downtown, there are so many things to do here!

Furthermore, Texas hill country is one of the things to see in Texas that you can’t miss. It is home to vineyards producing award-winning wines. There are over 50 wineries in Fredericksburg making wine tasting one of the most popular activities in Texas.

From a limousine tour to a trolley car, or a shuttle bus, there are over 20 different options of private tour companies to chose from. They offer tours for half the day or the whole day. If you are looking for a more casual approach to the Fredericksburg wine tours, consider the 290 Wine Shuttle. 

Make sure to check out our list of the best things to do in Fredericksburg!

the beautiful stone library of Fredericksburg library in wine country

Got to the Texas Springs

For those looking for outdoor places to visit in Texas, head to one of the Texas springs. Hamilton Pool preserve has some of the prettiest blue water in Texas. In addition, there is a 50 foot waterfall that plunges into the water below creating a swimming pot that visitors love!

Before you go, check the Hamilton Pool website to make sure that swimming is allowed during your visit. Oftentimes, due to falling rocks or hazardous weather, the pool can be closed for guest safety. Reservations to attend the area must be made in advance online.

To enjoy the area out of the water, the hiking trail around the pool is a fun and scenic activity. It is a roughly 30-minute hike from your car to the pool. But, the terrain is rough and rugged, so make sure you’re up for the challenge. Guided hikes are offered for visitors to learn more about the area and the wildlife that surrounds it and takes visitors to areas they can’t visit themselves.

swim in the tidal ponds or float on inter-tubes at Hamilton Pool preserve with a waterfall and rock ledge

Jacobs Well

Jacob’s Well is located in Hays County and is one of the most popular things to do Tx! The natural well area is roughly 81 acres and is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily!  It is the second-largest submerged cave in Texas and is 140-feet deep!

However, you must make a reservation prior to coming here and swimming is only allowed between May 1-September 30. The allowed time for each swim reservation is 2 hours, so make sure you plan your day for this! You can also hike in this area, and you do not need a reservation to hike, only to swim!The water here stays a constant 68 degrees, with water being fed in from the Trinity Aquifer.

From October to April, visitors can take a free guided tours on Saturday mornings. The tour explains the history of Jacobs well, as well as explains about wildlife and vegetation.

a woman in a hat looking into jacobs well

Natural Bridge Caverns

For those looking for one of the best activities in Texas, check out the Natural Bridge Caverns. This family owned attraction, was discovered in the 1960’s and stays a constant 70 degrees as you explore 180 feet under ground.

We highly recommend taking the discovery tour with light illuminations, the hidden passages tour, or the adventure tours. This is another of the best things to do in Texas with children as they have an outdoor mining area were you can mine of gems and fossils! Finish up your day with ice cream and a visit to the general store.

As you explore Texas’ largest caverns you will guided through the underground chambers. Make sure to dress warm as it is 70 degrees. Explore the spectacular ancient formations and chambers.

the natural caverns in Texas where you can go underground as one of the things to do in Texas

Padre Island National Seashore

For those who have time to travel in Texas, head out to Padre Island National Seashore. This is the 3rd national park on our bucket list of the cool things to do in Texas. What makes Padre Island unique is the is the longest undeveloped barrier island in the World. In addition, it is where the Gulf of Mexico is separated from the Laguna Madre, one of a few hypersaline lagoons in the world.

Admission here is one $10 per vehicle for a 1 day pass and $25 for a day pass. Visitors here can explore the 66 miles of coastline, with beaches, the lagoon, or even drive the 60 miles down to the Mansfield Channel.

Your first stop should be the Malaquite Visitor Center & Pavilion to grab maps and get aquatinted with the park. In addition, you can attend a ranger led tour, camp around the park, and watch the hatching of sea turtles or even go birding.

Padre Island National Seashore is one of the best things to do in Texas for those who love the outdoors and birding and flowrs and beach

Bluebonnets

One of the top things to see in Texas are the Bluebonnets! The official state flower of Texas is a breathtaking experience as they are grown in fields creating a vast blue backdrop! 

These flowers grow best in the Texas Hill country area. Stop by the Bluebonnet House in Marble Falls, or head to Ennis, just south of Dallas, or travel through the Official Bluebonnet City of Texas! In Ennis, you will see the official Texas Bluebonnet Trail or head to Burnet, the Official Bluebonnet Capital of Texas!

For those who have seeing Bluebonnets on their Texas bucket list, spring is the best time to visit. If theTexas winter is mild, they may start blooming as early as late February or March. Generally, though, early April will be your best bet for when to visit!

texas Bluebonnets are blue flowers that bloom only in texas

Museum of Fine Arts Houston

For those looking for what to do in Texas and want to visit a museum, head to the Museum Fine Arts in Houston. Admission is $19 for adults, and $12 for college students and youth. Military and children under 12 are free.

The museum houses a 70,000 work collection from antiquity period to present day. It is the largest museum in the southwest region. As you wander the museum you can see showcases on American panting and sculpture, Art of Asia, European art, prints and drawings among others.

This is one of the best things to do in Houston for adults and you shouldn’t miss it!

come to the museum of fine arts in houston a modern white geometric building with green trees and water featurres

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Located in Dallas, the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is one of the fun things to do in Texas! Admission is $20 for adults, $16 of seniors, and $12 for children. With an extra $3 to enter the children’s adventure garden and it costs $5 to park.

In the women’s garden you can walk along sculptures and infinity pools, to the Color garden featuring large displays of season flowers. There are 66 acer of beautiful gardens to explore. This is one of the things to do in Texas with kids, as the Rory Meyers Children’s garden teaches kids about life and science with over 8 acer to explore.

As it can be overwhelming to know where to begin, they offer sample itineraries that highlight the best places to picnic to best spots to explore with children. Come spend the day exploring the gardens!

the beautiful flowers and manicured gardens

Port Aransas

On Mustang Island this is one of Texas’ Gulf beach destinations. For those looking for outdoor Texas activities, Port Aransas Beach is ranked as on the best family beaches and one of the best fishing spots in the USA!

Port Aransas Beach is ranked one of the top ten family beaches in the USA. Why not make a weekend trip here, where you can explore the 18 miles of coastline, where beach fires and camping are allowed. 

Mustang Island State Park has an admission fee, but is a great options for those looking for things to do in Texas with children. Camp in one of the 100 spots, or paddle along the coast through over 20 miles of marked paddling trails.

Or head to San Jose Island a privately owned wildlife preserve. Take the ferry from Port Aransas, and explore the wildlife, shelling, birding.

an ariel view of Port Aransas in texas is one of the many things to do with beaches and amazing views of coastline

 Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is the second national park on our bucket list of places to go in Texas ! Known for having the 4 highest peaks in Texas, the most extensive Permian fossil reef and the stargazing on a clear night that is unlike anywhere else! From here, you can see over 11,000 stars and have a perfect view of the Milky Way! 

You can also hike any of their numerous trails, or spend a few days camping on the land. If you’re crunched for time, you can visit their visitor’s center and spend some time in the museum! 

The entrance fee to the park is $10 per person, and the pass is good for 7 days. Giving visitors plenty of time to hike the over 80 miles of trials. Some of the most popular spots in the National Park are McKittrick Canyon, Salt Basin Dunes, The Frejole Ranch, Dog Canyon, and Williams ranch.

El Capitan in Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Space Center Houston And The Johnson Space Center

The Space Center Houston is one of the most interesting things to do in Texas. In addition, the Johnson Space Center is a short drive away. At the Space Center, the museum guides visitors through the history of America’s space program.

As you walk through the exhibits, each one corresponds to a different time in NASA’s history. You will have the opportunity to touch a moon rock – yes, from the actual moon. Or you can step into the cockpit of a replica space shuttle. This has to be on your bucket list for Texas!

Learn about what NASA sees as the future of space travel and exploration. At the Johnson Space Center, you can tour the area where astronauts train and see a docked space shuttle. Depending on when you visit, you may get the opportunity to see one of NASA’s astronauts at work! It’s easily one of the coolest places to go in Texas!

a space shuttle at the

Happy To be Texas

21+ Best Places to Visit in Texas (Don’t Miss Them!)

As the second largest state in the US, Texas has it all. 

Deserts, mountains, beaches, big cities, small towns – there is so much to explore in the best places to visit in Texas!

World class museums in Texas , historical sites, and beautiful parks are all waiting for you. 

Love shopping?

Whether you love antiques or designer clothes, there’s something for everyone. 

Or take in one of the many sightseeing tours from wine tasting to ghost tours to a tour of NASA’s space center. 

And Texas is all about that food.

Indulge in everything from BBQ to Tex-Mex to Texas sheet cake (and chili…so much chili).

Now let’s explore some of the must-see places in Texas, from Abilene to Austin .

Hey! Want more expert tips on Texas? Check out our other guides!

  • 11+ Best Castles in Texas
  • 13+ Awesome Texas Waterfalls
  • 19 Unique Texas AirBnBs
  • 21 Best Things to do in Texas

GET A FREE TEXAS GUIDEBOOK WITH LOCAL TIPS!

With 71 pages of helpful travel tips and the “best of” Texas lists, this is your ad-free key to your Texas trip.

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1. San Antonio

Our favorite San Antonio hotel: St. Anthony Luxury Hotel Our favorite San Antonio tour: The Ultimate San Antonio Food Tour

San Antonio is one of the must see places in Texas and best Texas day trips .

It’s the 7th largest city in the US and home to the Alamo , SeaWorld, and the River Walk. 

San Antonio

Entertainment, shopping, beautiful landscape and architecture, history, culture, and food (make sure you try a puffy taco!) are all front and center. 

History buff? 

Take a self-guided walking tour through the four Spanish colonial missions. 

San Antonio

Be sure not to miss the Alamo and its stunning gardens! 

Or head over to La Villita Historic Arts Village and step back in time as you shop, eat, and explore 300-year-old architecture.

San Antonio is easily one of the best vacation spots in Texas for families! 

San Antonio

Six Flags, zoos, museums, water parks, and SeaWorld are just some of the reasons it’s one of the most fun places to visit in Texas.

Our favorite Austin hotel: Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa Our favorite Austin tour: Double-Decker Austin Sightseeing Tour

Being the “live music capital of the world” easily makes Austin one of the coolest places to visit in Texas. 

Coffee shops, food trucks, ghost tours, murals (take the mural selfie tour!), record stores, and one of a kind shopping all add to the artistic charm of the city. 

Austin Texas

Love music? 

Experience the live music crawl or go two-stepping at one of the dancehalls. 

Spend time on Sixth Street and take in bands or see a movie at Alamo Drafthouse . 

Austin Texas

Surround yourself with art at the Blanton Museum of Art , or wander the sculpture park on Lake Austin (learn more about the best lakes in Texas here!)

Visit a presidential library and then head over to the Museum of Ice Cream to round out your day. 

Austin Texas

Get back to nature at the 240-acre Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center or explore 358-acre Zilker Park and swim in a spring-fed pool. 

There are also some wonderful day trips from Austin to discover, including Texas Hill Country and Texas Wine Country.

Our favorite Houston hotel: C. Baldwin, Curio Collection Our favorite Houston tour: Pedal Party Barge Houston Tour

World-class dining, shopping, and culture set Houston apart from the rest and make it one of the best places to go in Texas. 

Houston

Houston has a rich arts scene.  

Explore the Museum of Fine Arts along with 18 other museums in the museum district.

The kids will love the children’s museum and the Houston zoo located there, as well. 

Houston

Be part of NASA’s mission as you visit the Space Center Houston and at night relax under the stars and take in a classical concert or a Shakespearean play at the Miller Outdoor Theatre. 

Enjoy nature at the Houston Arboretum . 

And you don’t want to miss the iconic 64-ft-tall water wall in the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park.

Want nightlife? 

Houston

Washington Avenue has you covered. 

Play vintage arcade games at Kung Fu Saloon or sip southern style cocktails at Julep. 

4. Galveston

Our favorite Galveston hotel: Hilton Galveston Island Resort Our favorite Galveston tour: Must-Do Dolphin Sightseeing Tour

Stunning Victorian homes, miles of beaches, and a thriving art scene make Galveston one of the most beautiful places to visit in Texas (it’s also one of the best Texas beach towns !).

Galveston

Galveston is also one of the top places to visit in Texas for family fun. 

Spend your days on 32 miles of beaches boating, swimming, surfing, and kayaking. 

Check out Pleasure Pier for exciting rides that take you out over the Gulf of Mexico. 

Galveston

Make sure you explore Moody Gardens to see the Rainforest and Aquarium Pyramids and afterwards take a dinner cruise on a colonial paddlewheel boat. 

Or make your way to Kemah Boardwalk to see the Johnson Space Center, and the games and rides on the fairway and touch a live stingray in Stingray Reef. 

Craving an adrenaline rush? 

Galveston

Schlitterbahn Water Park has water slides, wave rivers, and the world’s tallest water coaster. 

Massive Blaster is 81 ½ ft. of pure fun!

5. Port Aransas

Our favorite Port Aransas hotel: Ocean’s Edge Hotel Our favorite Port Aransas tour: Glowing Kayak Tour

Get back to nature in Port Aransas (and check out a full guide of things to do in Port Aransas here ).

Explore beaches and parks and dine on seafood as you relax in open air eateries.

Port Aransas

Like to fish? 

Port Aransas is the fishing capital of Texas. 

Take an off-shore excursion and fish in the bays and channels.

Port Aransas

Or get some sun and swim in the 18 miles of shoreline beaches. 

Want more excitement? 

Go parasailing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, or choose from many other water activities. 

Don’t miss Mustang Island State Park . 

It has 5 miles of beach, shallow water fishing, bike trails, and 20 miles of paddle park trails.

Port Aransas

Ever wanted to hunt for treasure? 

Take a pirate cruise and go on a treasure hunt, sword fight, and even dolphin watch.  

6. Fredericksburg

Our favorite Fredericksburg hotel: Hotel Kitsmiller on Main Our favorite Fredericksburg tour: Winery Tour with Lunch Included

Fredericksburg is a small town with German roots. 

Art, theater, eclectic shops, and historic charm make Fredericksburg one of the nicest places to travel in Texas. 

Fredericksburg Texas

What Fredericksburg lacks in size they make up for in culture.

Head to a local winery for a tasting and a tour (there are more than 50 wineries to choose from!) 

Prefer beer? 

There’s also a brewery where you can grab German beer and food. 

Check out one of the museums for a history lesson. 

Fredericksburg TX

Or explore the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site.

It’s one of the best places for stargazing and in 2021 was designated an International Dark Sky Park.  

Art is a huge part of life in Fredericksburg with 9 different art galleries. 

Explore the galleries, do some shopping, and then eat at one of the many farm to table restaurants. 

7. Corpus Christi

Our favorite Corpus Christi hotel: Aloft Corpus Christi Hotel Our favorite Corpus Christi tour: Walking Ghost Tour

Beaches, Tex-Mex, seafood, and fun in the sun is why Corpus Christi is one of the must visit places in Texas. 

Corpus Christi

With 9 different beaches and miles of shoreline on the gulf, you can play, relax, and reconnect. 

No trip to Corpus Christi is complete without a visit to Padre Island National Seashore . 

It’s 70 miles of shoreline and the perfect place for windsurfing, parasailing, kayaking, and surfing.

Corpus Christi Texas

Want to try something new? 

WaterDog offers a paddleboard yoga class. 

Get outside for some “floating fitness.”

Wander the grounds at South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center. 

Explore the USS Lexington Museum and have fun in the escape rooms and flight simulator.

Or check out the Surf Museum in downtown Corpus Christi. 

Have the adventure of a lifetime snorkeling with sharks, eels, stingray, and other fish at the Texas State Aquarium.  

8. Terlingua

If you ever wanted to see an actual ghost town, now’s your chance! 

Terlingua Texas

Terlingua is an eccentric, artsy, tiny little town loaded with unique art installations including a pirate ship, submarine, statue of liberty, and even a statue of a full mariachi band. 

Its quirkiness makes it one of the best places to travel in Texas, as well as one of the most unique camping spots in Texas .

Stay in a traditional rock house and visit the one-room Terlingua jail and the old cemetery which dates back to 1903 (maybe see a ghost or two.) and check out St. Agnes church which was built in 1914.

Terlingua

Get back to nature and explore Summit at Big Bend which has over 1,000 acres of desert land. 

It’s the darkest sky in the lower 48 states which makes it ideal for stargazing. 

Still have more energy? 

Terlingua neighbors Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Minimalist art, a random, instagram worthy, Prada store art installation, and unexplained light shows in the night sky put Marfa on the list of cool places to go in Texas. 

Marfa Prada

Stay in a yurt, an Airstream trailer, or even a bubble! 

And be prepared for some of the best food of your life as Marfa has world-renowned chefs waiting to feed you.  

See the landscape from above as you take a tour in a glider plane. 

Learn how to make cheese at Marfa Maid Dairy and you can’t miss the Chinati Foundation self-guided tour. 

Marfa Texas

Purchase one of a kind custom made shoes or treat yourself to some specialty soap from a local shop. 

Head to Alta Marfa winery for wine tastings and pick up a bottle of wine to enjoy while you sit under the stars and watch the Marfa lights.

Our favorite Waco hotel: Aloft Waco Baylor Our favorite Waco tour: Fixer Upper Fan Tour

Besides being the hometown of Dr Pepper and HGTV’s Fixer Upper, Waco also has amazing parks, rivers, shopping, and food. 

Fan of Joanna and Chip Gaines?

Waco

Visit Magnolia Market where you can peruse 6 different shops, eat at the food trucks, and take classes.

Watch artisans work, shop for their handmade goods, and dine in the restaurant at Homestead Craft Village.

Waco

Spend the day exploring Cameron Park’s 416-acres, including a 52-acre zoo, Brazos and Bosque rivers, three playgrounds, splash pads, etc. 

Don’t miss Lover’s Leap overlook and trails.  

Enjoy the Suspension bridge built in 1870 and Waco Mammoth National Monument, a 100-acre park on the Bosque River. 

Drink whiskey at Balcones distillery or head to the Dr Pepper Museum for the “make a soda” experience.

places to travel from texas

Situated on the banks of the Rio Grande, Laredo is a town steeped in history and Mexican culture. 

Walk the streets of Laredo and check out the various historic streets and districts. 

Take time to explore the museums! 

The Republic of the Rio Grande Museum showcases items from the Laredo area in the 19th century. 

In the Old Mercado district, you’ll find the Laredo Center for the Arts which houses three galleries in its building.

Or enjoy a state of the art, immersive experience at the Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center Planetarium. 

For outdoor fun head to Lake Casa Blanca International State Park for hiking, biking, and water sports.

Go shopping on San Bernardo Avenue. 

It’s 40 blocks of one-of-a-kind stores.

In the San Agustin de Laredo Historic District you’ll find Zaragoza Street. 

A cobblestone street full of cool boutiques and great restaurants.

12. Jefferson

places to travel from texas

Jefferson will make you feel like you are stepping back in time. 

Reserve a cozy room in a bed and breakfast and explore this quaint, historic town. 

Do some shopping in the antiques shops and vintage stores, and then relax and enjoy a charcuterie board at Austin Street Bistro. 

Take an historic walking tour that begins and ends at the Excelsior House Hotel. 

The tour showcases historic homes, memorials, and churches. 

Or take a tour of the historic Atalanta rail car. 

It has 4 staterooms, a dining room, a lounge, a kitchen, a butler’s pantry, and a ballroom!

Take a ride on the historic Jefferson railway and then grab a sweet treat at Fudge Factory or try gourmet flavored peanut butter at Nutty’s. 

At night be sure to check out the LED light shows on the Howe Truss bridge.

13. Boerne

places to travel from texas

Boerne is an upscale city in Hill Country perfect for romantic getaways or family-friendly adventures.

Take the historic walking tour featuring more than 100 historic properties and then check out the  Old Jail Museum. 

Spend the day shopping in vintage, antique, and thrift stores. 

Enjoy art galleries, theatres, and a variety of restaurants that cater to every palate. 

Get pampered at the Puresol Spa and Salt Cave and afterwards take a tour of one of the many local wineries and breweries. 

Explore the outdoors at Cibolo Nature Center. 

Hike the trails and relax by the creek surrounded by 1,000 year old cypress trees. 

Be sure to see the exact replicas of 100,000,000 year old Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur tracks. 

Or head to Cave without a Name, a Natural National Landmark, and see the stalagmites, stalactites, and pan for gemstones and fossils.

14. Rockport

places to travel from texas

With 367 miles of coastline, fresh seafood, water sports, and a thriving art scene, Rockport Texas is a perfect getaway. 

Discover the Rockport Cultural Arts District and see art galleries, a sculpture garden, and restaurants. 

Hit up Latitude 2802 for a restaurant, bar, and art gallery in one.

Explore the Fulton Mansion State Historic Site, see the Texas Maritime Museum, or have a moment of zen at Schoenstatt Shrine. 

Visit Goose Island State Park and see a 1,000-year-old tree that has a 35 ft. trunk and branches that stretch 89 ft. across. 

Bring a picnic and enjoy hiking, fishing, biking, and birding. 

Get out on the water. 

Enjoy a whooping crane boat tour. 

Go kayaking at night on the GlowRow boat tour. 

Don’t miss Rockport Beach! 

It’s a certified Blue Wave Beach. 

There’s a saltwater lagoon, walking paths, and kids play areas.  

15. Port Isabel

places to travel from texas

Stunning views of the Texas Gulf Coast, historic museums, great food, and artisan shops make Port Isabel one of the must see places in Texas. 

Get pampered at one of the luxurious spas and then look for hidden gems at the Port Isabel Antique and Flea Market. 

Ever wanted to climb to the top of a lighthouse? 

The Historic Port Isabel Lighthouse is 70 ft. tall, has a 16 mile view and is open to the public. 

Afterwards, check out Lighthouse Square for unique shops and restaurants (Don’t miss the local fudge!)

Go dolphin watching, take an eco tour, or a romantic sunset cruise at Dolphin Docks. 

See wild dolphins at Laguna Madre Bay when you take the boat from South Padre Island Dolphin Research and Sea Life Center.  

16. Amarillo

places to travel from texas

Located in the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo is a gateway to the stunning Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in the United States.

Visitors can explore the canyon’s dramatic landscapes through hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

Amarillo also offers quirky attractions like the Cadillac Ranch, an art installation featuring half-buried, graffiti-covered cars, and the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum, celebrating the history of this iconic horse breed.

With its blend of natural beauty and unique cultural experiences, Amarillo provides a captivating and diverse destination for travelers.

places to travel from texas

Known as the “Rose Capital of America,” Tyler boasts an abundance of scenic beauty and charm.

The Tyler Rose Garden, the largest rose garden in the country, offers a stunning display of thousands of rose bushes, especially vibrant during the annual Texas Rose Festival.

Beyond its floral allure, Tyler is home to the Caldwell Zoo, offering a delightful family-friendly experience with a variety of animal exhibits.

The city also features numerous parks and lakes, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Tyler’s warm community and picturesque settings make it a delightful place to visit.

18. Palestine

places to travel from texas

Nestled in the Piney Woods of East Texas, Palestine offers a rich tapestry of history, nature, and Southern charm.

Its well-preserved downtown is a treasure trove of Victorian architecture, quaint shops, and inviting eateries.

The Texas State Railroad provides a nostalgic journey through the scenic countryside, perfect for a leisurely day trip.

Palestine is also known for its vibrant dogwood blooms in the spring, celebrated with the annual Dogwood Trails Festival.

This small town’s blend of historical significance and natural beauty makes it a delightful destination for visitors seeking a tranquil escape.

19. Brenham

places to travel from texas

Famous for being the home of Blue Bell Creameries, Brenham is a charming town that captures the essence of small-town Texas.

Visitors can tour the creamery and indulge in some of the best ice cream around.

Brenham is also located in the heart of Texas’s wildflower country, making spring a particularly beautiful time to visit when the fields are blanketed with bluebonnets and other wildflowers.

The town’s historic downtown area is filled with quaint shops, antique stores, and cozy cafes, offering a perfect setting for a relaxing stroll.

20. Arlington

places to travel from texas

A vibrant city nestled between Dallas and Fort Worth, Arlington is a hub of entertainment and excitement.

It’s home to major attractions like Six Flags Over Texas, a sprawling amusement park with thrilling rides and family-friendly entertainment.#

Sports fans can catch a game at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, or Globe Life Field, where the Texas Rangers play.

Arlington also boasts a lively arts scene with venues like the Arlington Museum of Art and the Levitt Pavilion, which hosts free concerts.

21. Midland

places to travel from texas

Situated in the heart of West Texas oil country, Midland is a city with a rich history and a bright future.

Visitors can explore the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum to learn about the region’s vital role in the oil industry.

Midland is also known for being the childhood home of former President George W. Bush, with the George W. Bush Childhood Home offering a glimpse into the early life of the 43rd president.

The city’s vibrant downtown area features a mix of cultural attractions, including theaters, galleries, and restaurants.

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Impacts may be 'catastrophic' as Hurricane Beryl pounds Jamaica: Live updates

Editor's note: This page reflects news on Hurricane Beryl from Wednesday, July 3. For the latest news on Hurricane Beryl please follow USA TODAY's live updates on the storm for Thursday, July 4 .

Hurricane Beryl was retreating from Jamaica late Wednesday and is expected to pass just south of the Cayman Islands overnight as a major hurricane, bringing intense winds and heavy rain, the National Hurricane Center said.

As of 2 a.m. ET Thursday, Beryl was downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 125 mph and was about 110 miles southeast of Grand Cayman — the largest of the Cayman Islands. After roaring by Jamaica's southern coast, the hurricane was expected to unload "devastating hurricane-force winds, life-threatening storm surge, and damaging waves" across the Cayman Islands, according to the hurricane center.

The Cayman Islands could get up to half a foot of rain through Thursday. Weather officials are also warning about life-threatening surf and rip currents along parts of western Cuba, the Yucatan Peninsula, and the coast of Belize.

Beryl was on track to approach the Cayman Islands on Wednesday night and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula about 24 hours later, still as a hurricane but weakened by expected wind shear.

In Jamaica, emergency crews evacuated people living in flood-prone communities and nearly 500 people were in shelters by Wednesday afternoon, according to Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

“We’re concerned about widespread damage and potentially catastrophic impacts in Jamaica,” said Bernie Rayno, AccuWeather's chief on-air meteorologist. "Flooding may last days to even weeks. Widespread power outages are expected. Beryl will likely damage many homes and businesses and cause severe coastal inundation."

The chances of Beryl impacting part of the Texas Gulf Coast have increased with the projected path veering northwest, AccuWeather reported , although it would not bring anywhere near the ferocity of its devastating assault on the southern Windward Islands earlier this week. The current track calls for Beryl to weaken to a tropical storm as it crosses the Yucatan and then becomes a hurricane again before making landfall along the coast near the border of Mexico and Texas.

The storm is projected to drench Jamaica with 4 to 8 inches of rain, and 12 inches are forecast in some places, which could cause "life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides," the NHC said. Holness declared all of Jamaica a "disaster area" and imposed an islandwide curfew Wednesday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

On Monday, Beryl made landfall in Grenada's Carriacou island as a Category 4 hurricane, ravaging the southern Caribbean Islands, flattening hundreds of buildings and causing the deaths of at least seven people. On Monday night, Beryl became the earliest Category 5 hurricane on record. Driven by record-hot ocean temperatures, Beryl's rapid strengthening has stunned experts.

Amazing drone footage: As Hurricane Beryl tears through Caribbean, a drone sends back stunning footage

Developments:

∎ The death toll from the powerful hurricane rose to at least 10, according to Reuters. But that figure is expected to increase as communications come back online across islands damaged by flooding and intense winds.

∎ The Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica posted on X that a small section of the roof of its passenger boarding pier was damaged by Beryl. "Once the storm has completely passed, a full assessment of damage will be done," the airport stated on X.

∎ The Meteorological Service of Mexico issued a hurricane warning for the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Puerto Costa Maya to Cancun, a popular tourist destination, according to the NHC. Tropical storm warnings were also issued for other parts of the Yucatan Peninsula.

∎ Venezuela's vice president, Delcy Rodriguez, and senior officials in her traveling party were injured by a falling tree Tuesday night while surveying an area near the country's Caribbean coast where the Manzanares River overran its banks after heavy rainfall caused by Beryl.

Hurricane Beryl tracker: See projected path of storm

Will Hurricane Beryl hit Texas?

Portions of South Texas are now within the forecast cone of Hurricane Beryl , which meteorologists say could arrive in the state over the weekend or early Monday.

However, forecasters remain unsure of what Beryl will do and how strong it will be as it approaches the Gulf Coast after hitting Mexico: "High uncertainty remains with both the track and intensity of Beryl," the  National Weather Service said Wednesday.

"From Panama City, Florida to New Orleans, there is a low risk of direct impacts from Beryl, but from about Corpus Christi to Brownsville, Texas, the risk increases significantly due to the potential for Beryl to have more direct impacts,"  AccuWeather  meteorologist Jonathan Porter said. "That southern portion of the Texas coast is the zone we have to really watch."

Coastal threats could begin this weekend, Weather.com warned: "Well ahead of Beryl, onshore winds could lead to increasing surf, rip currents and coastal flooding along parts of the Gulf Coast from eastern Mexico to Texas and western Louisiana beginning as soon as Saturday, and continuing until just after Beryl's final landfall, Weather.com  said. The rip current threat could also even extend farther east along the northern Gulf Coast.

Brennan said Tuesday that "folks in the Texas coast, as we go into the holiday weekend, you're going to want to make sure you check back on the forecast and make sure you're ready for any potential impact. If we were to see tropical storm conditions affect those areas in the far western Gulf of Mexico, it could be during the day Saturday."

– Doyle Rice

More than 90% of the homes, buildings destroyed

More than 90% of homes and buildings across at least three islands were destroyed or severely damaged after Beryl tore through the southeast Caribbean, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency reported Wednesday. The agency was assisting with the disaster response in Grenada, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines.

Beryl struck the islands with winds of 150 mph and higher gusts on Monday, causing significant impacts to the islands, according to Elizabeth Riley, the disaster management agency's executive director. In addition to infrastructure damages, some islands have also faced power outages and disruptions to communications.

In a briefing late Tuesday, Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell described "total destruction" on the islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

"There's really nothing that can prepare you to see this level of destruction," Mitchell said. "It is almost Armageddon-like, almost total damage and destruction of all buildings. Complete devastation and destruction of agriculture. Complete and total destruction of the natural environment."

— Dinah Voyles Pulver

Airlines waive fees for some in Hurricane Beryl's path

Six major U.S. airlines said they're waiving various fees for travelers who have flights booked in Beryl's path. In most cases, flights booked before July 1 are eligible for the changes. The listed flights include departures from or arrivals in airports in Mexico, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Belize.

American , JetBlue , United , Delta , Southwest , and Spirit Airlines are offering a variety of fee waivers because of the hurricane. Passengers are encouraged to check directly with the airlines on what amended policies apply to them.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said on its website travelers on international flights may be able to recover expenses from a delayed or canceled flight by filing a claim with the airline.

"If the claim is denied, you may pursue the matter in court if you believe that the carrier did not take all measures that could reasonably be required to avoid the damages caused by the delay," the agency said. 

− Krystal Nurse

Resort manager in Jamaica maintains composure as Hurricane Beryl approaches

The coming hurricane doesn't scare Tamar Atkinson, the manager of a small resort in Hanover, a community on Jamaica's northwest coast.

"The way I look at it, I can't stop it," she told USA TODAY. "If the hurricane is going to blow your house down, it's going to blow the house down."

Atkinson, 42, who moved back to Hanover a year ago after she lived in the U.S. for 20 years, already has her sea legs in weathering Jamaica's hurricanes. She remembers facing Hurricane Gilbert, a Category 5, as a little girl – the storm blew the roof off her aunt's house, where she sheltered, but left her mother's house in "perfect condition."

When Hurricane Ivan hit two decades ago, Atkinson sheltered at a nearby school. Once again, the storm blew out the school's windows but left Atkinson's house untouched. "I'm not leaving my house, and I'm not going to go crazy like the rest of the people," she said, adding that she's told her guests to "relax their nerves."

Jamaica closes all international airports as Hurricane Beryl nears island

The Jamaica Tourist Board announced Wednesday that the Sangster, Norman Manley, and Ian Fleming international airports were closed as Hurricane Beryl approached the island.

Jamaica's travel website, VisitJamaica.com, doesn't list a reopening time for the airports and encourages travelers to contact their travel agents and/or airlines for flight updates. The website also encourages travelers to heed any instructions from their hotel or private accommodation on sheltering.

"We also encourage you to register with your Embassy for country-specific guidance and support," the board said on the website.

The U.S. Embassy in Jamaica is open on a limited basis and encourages Americans to not visit the embassy for shelter and instead seek a government-run shelter. Citizens in Jamaica are encouraged to call the embassy at (876) 702-6486 if they need assistance. 

– Krystal Nurse

Ahead of Hurricane Beryl, Jamaicans prepare their homes

Donae Maye stocked up on water, candles, and food earlier this week, before supermarkets across her hometown of Montego Bay, a city on Jamaica's northern Coast, emptied.

"There was no bread, no essentials that you actually need, no candles, very few tin products," she said on Wednesday, after a recent visit to some local grocery stores.

Maye, 27, also prepped her home, where she will shelter with her fiance, her son and his father. "We cleared away any trees that might be blocking any electrical wires and stuff like that that might fall and break the window," she said.

She's confident that her house, which is made of concrete, will stand up to the storm better than many buildings did to Hurricane Ivan 20 years ago. Back then, more structures were made of board, which didn't fare well in the storm, she said. Today, "most structures are built to withstand the winds and the hurricane," she said.

Humanitarian groups rally relief for impacted countries

Global Giving and Americares are among the humanitarian organizations collecting money for those affected by Hurricane Beryl. Both promise donations to support various impacted communities, focusing on those who are disadvantaged and on decimated medical facilities.

Cora Nally, international emergency response director of Americares, said the organization focuses on restoring damaged medical facilities and expects to deploy its workers to Jamaica soon after Beryl leaves.

"That is really going to serve as a home base for them, and we are asking them to do an assessment of all the impacted islands in the Caribbean, and we are going to be keeping an eye on the storm as it moves towards Mexico and the United States," she said.

Is Cancun in the path of Hurricane Beryl?

Among the parts of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and surrounding areas under hurricane warnings were Cancun and the island of Cozumel, two popular tourist destinations packed with luxury resorts and cruise ship ports.

The hurricane warnings were issued by the Meteorological Service of Mexico as forecasters warned residents and tourists of the projected impact of Hurricane Beryl.

Brennan, the director of the NHC, said in a YouTube livestream on Wednesday that the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, including Cancun, faces 3 to 5 feet of storm surge as well as up to 8 inches of rain.

The record-breaking hurricane is expected to make landfall along the Yucatan Peninsula on Thursday night or early Friday, NHC said.

In Jamaica, tourists shelter in hotel ballroom from Hurricane Beryl

Cecilia Garcia and her family initially planned to weather the beginning of the hurricane in the bathroom of their hotel room in Ocho Rios, on Jamaica's northern coastline. "We do have windows in our room, so I think the safest option would probably be to go in our restroom," she said.

Moon Palace Jamaica, where Garcia, 25, is staying with her parents, brother, sister and two kids, told hotel guests to evacuate to a ballroom. When Garcia and her family first visited the shelter, they found it too chaotic. "We ended up back in our room because it was very crowded," she said. "It was very hot in there."

But later on Wednesday morning, as the winds picked up, the family returned to the packed ballroom, where thin cots were arranged in rows, according to a video Garcia shared with USA TODAY.

Garcia and her family's flight back to their home of Houston, Texas, isn't until Saturday – the hurricane will strike at the midpoint of their week-long vacation. Garcia said if they chose to end their stay earlier, they wouldn't get a refund. 

Looking out at skies still partially clear on Wednesday morning, Garcia said the family was keeping calm ahead of the storm. "We're kind of used to bad weather and floods like that in Houston," she said. "But again, it's different when you're not at home, so that's the only scary part."

Hurricane Beryl spoiling graduation trip

Mona Parhar, 23, and Arezoo Rafkhani, 24, didn't start searching for early return flights from their vacation to Jamaica until Tuesday night, less than 24 hours before Hurricane Beryl was expected to sweep across the island. By then, they learned airports had closed.

"We really have no choice but to stick it out," Parhar said Wednesday from their hotel room at the Hotel Riu in Montego Bay on the island's northern side.

The two Toronto natives booked their trip to celebrate their recent graduations – Rafkhani from Toronto Metropolitan University and Parhar from York University. "We've never experienced something like this as Canadians," Rafkhani said. "It's kind of nerve-wracking."

The pair were comforted by the hotel staff, who kept guests informed and safe. "Since last night, they've been sending us messages about how to get prepared, what they're doing and will be doing this morning," Rafkhani said. "They've been keeping us calm," Parhar said.

Jamaica braces for Hurricane Beryl

Jamaican officials warned residents to stock up on food, batteries, candles, and drinking water. Residents in flood-prone areas were also advised to prepare for evacuation.

"Secure your critical documents and remove any trees or items that could endanger your property," the Office of the Prime Minister in Jamaica said on X on Tuesday. "Everyone, including those living alone, should take these necessary steps now."

As a precaution, Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness said Tuesday night that electricity and water services will likely be shut off "if the storm reaches a serious threshold" to prevent fires and protect equipment.

"Only one hurricane has ever affected Jamaica during July," according to AccuWeather meteorologist Jesse Ferrell. "Category 4 Hurricane Dennis in 2005 did not make landfall but killed one person and caused a lot of damage."

Record-breaking path: Hurricane Beryl tears through the Caribbean

Hurricane Beryl breaks records

Forecasters have projected 2024 to be one of the busiest hurricane seasons on record. Beryl has already surprised forecasters and broken records since it formed, including becoming the earliest Category 4 or 5 storm on record.

Beryl broke the previous record set by Hurricane Emily on July 17, 2005, for the strongest Category 5 hurricane. Beryl rapidly strengthened from a tropical storm to a major hurricane in about 48 hours.

The storm is also the earliest Category 4 or larger storm by more than a week, breaking the record set by Hurricane Dennis, a Category 4 storm on July 8, 2005.

It was fueled by  much warmer than normal  ocean temperatures in the Atlantic and aided in that development by light winds that allowed it to build a strong inner core.

— Jennifer Borresen, Dinah Voyles Pulver and Ramon Padilla

Hurricane Beryl tracker: See projected path of Category 5 storm

Smaller islands hit hard by Beryl

Beryl hit St. Vincent and the Grenadines especially hard, according to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.

"The hurricane has come and gone, and it has left in its wake immense destruction," he said, adding that Union Island had 90% of homes "severely damaged or destroyed."

After making landfall in Grenada's Carriacou Island on Monday, strong winds and high water levels smashed fishing boats in Barbados, downed power lines in Grenada and St. Vincent, and knocked out drinking water in St. Lucia, according to officials.

Grenada's Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell noted on Tuesday that the islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique were significantly impacted by the hurricane. In addition to downed power lines, roads remained impassable and fuel stations were destroyed.

"The situation is grim. There is no power. There is almost complete destruction of homes and buildings," Mitchell said.

Contributing: Cheryl McCloud, USA TODAY Network-Florida ; Reuters

Weekend rundown: Here's the biggest news you missed this weekend

First Democrat in Congress calls on Biden to withdraw from 2024 election after debate

WASHINGTON — Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, became the first sitting Democrat in Congress to call for President Joe Biden to withdraw from the 2024 presidential race, citing his poor debate performance and the fact that he “has trailed Donald Trump” all year in surveys.

“Our overriding consideration must be who has the best hope of saving our democracy from an authoritarian takeover by a criminal and his gang. Too much is at stake to risk a Trump victory—too great a risk to assume that what could not be turned around in a year, what was not turned around in the debate, can be turned around now," Doggett said in a statement Tuesday. "President Biden saved our democracy by delivering us from Trump in 2020. He must not deliver us to Trump in 2024."

While numerous Democrats have privately expressed concerns or suggested anonymously that Biden leave the race , Doggett, who is 77, is the first lawmaker to say it openly. He represents a blue district based in Austin and has served in Congress since 1995.

“I represent the heart of a congressional district once represented by Lyndon Johnson," he continued. "Under very different circumstances, he made the painful decision to withdraw. President Biden should do the same.”

“I am hopeful that he will make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw. I respectfully call on him to do so,” he said.

It is unclear whether — or how many — Democratic lawmakers will follow suit as Biden and his team insist he will stay in the race and be the party’s nominee. A Biden campaign official said he is “staying in” and noted that other Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have provided supportive statements standing behind Biden.

Doggett emphasized that he believes Biden has “achieved much for our country at home and abroad” as president, but he added: “While much of his work has been transformational, he pledged to be transitional. He has the opportunity to encourage a new generation of leaders from whom a nominee can be chosen to unite our country through an open, democratic process.”

Lloyd Doggett speaks

“President Biden has continued to run substantially behind Democratic senators in key states and in most polls has trailed Donald Trump. I had hoped that the debate would provide some momentum to change that. It did not. Instead of reassuring voters, the President failed to effectively defend his many accomplishments and expose Trump’s many lies,” Doggett said.

He argued that the Supreme Court’s immunity ruling adds fresh urgency to the task of defeating Trump. “This week, with the Supreme Court creating 'a law-free zone around the President,' Trump, newly-empowered with immunity, could usher America into a long, dark, authoritarian era unchecked by either the courts or a submissive Republican Congress,” Doggett said.

After Doggett’s call, Democratic candidate Adam Frisch, who is running in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, also called on Biden to exit, saying neither he nor Trump should be running for president.

“We deserve better. President Biden should do what’s best for the country and withdraw from the race,” said Frisch, who lost by a razor-thin margin to Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert in 2022.

Julián Castro — a Housing and Urban Development secretary in the Obama-Biden administration who clashed with Biden as a 2020 candidate — joined the calls on MSNBC, saying there is “a stable of Democrats” who would be more effective against Trump, including Vice President Kamala Harris.

“He is not the campaigner he was in 2020,” Castro said. “I believe there are stronger options out there for Democrats.”

Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, one of five House Democrats who represent Trump districts, published an opinion piece in the Bangor Daily News saying: “While I don’t plan to vote for him, Donald Trump is going to win. And I’m OK with that.”

He said democracy “will be just fine” under Trump.

places to travel from texas

Sahil Kapur is a senior national political reporter for NBC News.

For the third year, artists visit South Bend to paint the town for Mural Mania

places to travel from texas

SOUTH BEND — The last time Oscar Joyo visited the South Bend Museum of Art, he competed in the annual Scholastic Art Awards show in 2011.

Now, he spent the last week painting a mural on the museum's loading dock as one of the seven artists in town for the third annual Mural Mania .

Joyo lived in South Bend for 10 years but currently lives in Chicago. While he's been painting at the museum for Mural Mania, friends, family and even old teachers have come to visit.

"It's a very enriching experience. … Just being back home and seeing how South Bend has changed," Joyo said.

One of the changes in South Bend witnessed by Alex Ann Allen, who also grew up in South Bend, is all the new murals that have been added. Allen said that five to six years ago, there weren't many murals in the city, but after this year's festival ends Julyy 7, 18 murals will have been added.

Allen said she attended her first mural festival in 2019, which gave her the idea to bring the event into South Bend. For three years, she has been organizing the event , which brings in artists from around the world.

Seeing the festival is something that has made Allen really proud.

" I feel proud to live in here, and I feel so much love," Allen said.

Several of the murals contain features added by the artists that pay tribute to South Bend.

Britt Johnson, a muralist from Austin, Texas paints portraits of locals in some of her murals. This year's mural is a portrait of Mandy Krause, who owns a bakery called Love and Macarons.

Johnson said she hopes that local residents feel a sense of joy when they see Krause's expression as they pass by.

Johnson enjoys how murals are all unique and different from each other.

Joyo's mural is an image he's had in his mind for awhile and he said it's a celebration of his cultural heritage. Joyo was born in Malawi.

Joyo said he has been an artist for as long as he can remember. He became a muralist for six years where he first painted indoor murals.

For outdoor murals, Joyo uses spray paint and usually only paints during the day for better visibility. When he chooses the colors for his murals, he tries to make them have an electric feel.

"The palette I've been doing recently has been relatively consistent with like a lot of purples, blues and pinks," Joyo said. "I always think there the power is very electric."

Although Nico Cathcart is originally from Toronto, Canada, her mural still has a few details specific to Indiana. Cathcart currently lives in Virginia and has been a professional muralist for 10 years. She met Allen at a mural festival in Tennessee, and Allen invited her to Mural Mania.

Cathcart's mural is part of her ongoing symbiotic mural series where she paints a skull, florals and a range of animals.

"It's just kind of the concept that we're all kind of tied together," Cathcart said. "The health of us is tied to the health of the environment around us."

She hopes that her mural will lead the viewer to think about the climate around them and how they're impacted.

"I feel like public art has got a responsibility to kind of talk about things that are important," Cathcart said. "So a lot of my stuff is kind of based in social justice or climate concerns."

Cathcart's mural will take her five days to paint because of the amount of details she incorporated. She uses the grid method for painting, which she considers to be a "traditional method." Several flowers are painted in the mural including peonies, Indiana's state flower.

When Allen was making deliveries to artists throughout mural mania, she saw a family looking at the murals. She said they just stopped for a moment.

"I just watched their eyes light up and they were five minutes behind me and then they'll go to the next one," Allen said. "So people are really just engaging, and that keeps a city moving and brings life into the city."

Allen said the murals can be used for a number of things in the community and can inspire events like mural walks. While the murals may not last forever, with most of them on average lasting 10 years, Allen said when that happens, artists can just paint over those murals.

"It just engages so many people and there's so many things murals can do," Allen said.

Taylor Barnes, who uses Taylord professionally, paints a lot of women and specifically women painters.

"I love being out in the world painting at large and bringing my art into different communities," Barnes said. "And also the connections I make with the people around town. I get to meet people from all walks of life."

In her mural, Barnes chose to paint one of her friends. She hopes the portrait will "grab people's attention."

A professional artist for 17 years and a muralist since 2019, Barnes said she likes to channel someone's essence when she's painting a portrait of them.

Murals, Joyo said, are a great cultural marker.

"I think what separates it from gallery work is that you only have a finite amount of time before that piece has to go somewhere else to a new owner," Joyo said. "Whatever murals are forever, and just like everyone in the world can see, you can see it at any time of day."

Mural Mania artists

■ Max Sansing from Chicago: Mural at Main and Colfax Garage

■ Taylord from Austin, Texas: Mural at Leighton Parking Garage

■ Oscar Joyo from Chicago: Mural at South Bend Museum of Art loading dock.

■ Cameron Moberg from San Francisco: Mural at the Monarch Building.

■ Brittney Johnson + Efren from Austin, Texas: Mural at the ZSTONE and Roselily building

■ Nico Cathcart from Richmond, Va.: Mural at the ZSTONE building.

Email Tribune staff writer Rose Androwich at [email protected] .

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