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TEXAS TRAVEL GUIDE

Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas sign in Alpine, Texas Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas

Welcome to the bigroads.com travel guide to Texas! Hopefully this page helps provide some inspiration and tips to help you plan your next trip to Texas.

Take note that I build and maintain this website as both a hobby and public service. I take joy in performing travel research and sharing my experiences and adventures. I do not make any profit from this website, and you will see no ads on it. Your constructive feedback about this site and its content is encouraged. Please email me if you have any suggestions or ideas for improvement.

Author/Contributor: Greg Parsons

OVERVIEW



Texas is huge and it can take an entire day just to drive across it. While there are huge swaths of the state that lack noteworthy attractions, there are other areas brimming with top-rated attractions and natural scenery. Because of the size of the state, you have to make efforts to plan exactly where you want to go. I recommend starting with the general Texas Hill Country area, which includes Austin, Fredericksburg, and San Antonio.

TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS IN TEXAS



Are you short on time or struggling to choose something to do or see in Texas? Here are my selections for the top 10 attractions or experiences in Texas, in no particular order:

Walk the famous San Antonio River Walk, and then visit The Alamo
Indulge in the live music scenic in Austin while visiting some of the city's amazing restaurants, including Franklin's BBQ
Explore the trails and scenery of Big Bend National Park
Enjoy some of the beaches along the Texas Gulf Coast
Visit some of Houston's outstanding museums (e.g. Space Center Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Museum of Natural Science, etc.)
Eat at the Big Texan Steak Ranch and then spray-paint some half-buried cars at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo
See the geologic formations of Palo Duro Canyon State Park in northern Texas
Wander the streets of the quaint town of Fredericksburg and visit nearby wineries in Texas Hill Country
Hike to the summit of the highest peak in Texas: Guadalupe Peak
Visit the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District

If I could select only one place to visit in Texas, I would choose the "Texas Hill Country" area, which includes Austin, Fredericksburg, and San Antonio. You can easily spend 1-2 weeks exploring in that area (and you should at some point).

For a list of 10 great attractions in each U.S. state, click here.

5-STAR ATTRACTIONS IN TEXAS



Here is my opinionated list of 5-star attractions in Texas. I believe each of these attractions should be on your Texas bucket list since they are all noteworthy from a national perspective:

Northern Texas (including Amarillo & Lubbock)
American Windmill Museum, Lubbock - largest windmill museum in the world with more than 150 windmills on display
Big Texan Steak Ranch, Amarillo - famous eclectic steakhouse (and roadside attraction); home of the free 72oz steak challenge
Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo - grab a can of spray paint and paint some Cadillac's that are half-buried into the ground
Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque  - features rugged canyons and badlands; excellent hiking trails
Cowgirls and Cowboys in the West, Amarillo - offers horseback riding and chuck wagon events
Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum, Amarillo - see a collection of vintage RVs; one of the top RV museums in the U.S.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Canyon - offers rugged canyon beauty and interesting rock formations (including the "Lighthouse")

Central & Western Texas (including Abilene, El Paso, Odessa, and both of Texas's national parks)
Big Bend National Park - remote desert park packed with outdoor adventures (like 4x4 driving, hiking, backpacking, and rafting/floating)
Big Bend Ranch State Park, South Saucedo - visit the largest and wildest state park in TX; tons of 4x4, hiking, mtn biking, and horseback trails
Frontier Texas!, Abilene - a good western heritage museum
Guadalupe Mountains National Park - one of two national parks in Texas; excellent hiking (including Guadalupe Peak) and backpacking
Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site, El Paso - world-class rock climbing & bouldering; many pictographs and petroglyphs
McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis - one of the best places for stargazing in the U.S. from one of the world's largest optical telescopes
Prada, Marfa - a permanent piece of sculptural art depicting a Prada store; one of the best roadside attractions in Texas
Whitewater rafting or floating the Rio Grande River - travel by raft along the US/Mexico border

Dallas & Fort Worth area (including Arlington and Waco)
AT&T Stadium, Arlington - one of the very best football/NFL stadiums in the U.S; home of the Dallas Cowboys
Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth - one of the top performance halls in the country
Brazos Bluffs Ranch, Waco - famous horseback riding ranch
Cameron Park Zoo, Waco - a small but highly-rated zoo
Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, Dallas - offers beautiful gardens and views of the Dallas skyline
Dallas Cattle Drive Sculptures, Dallas - see roughly 50 bronze sculptures of cattle crossing a small waterway
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas - one of the largest art museums in the U.S.
Dallas World Aquarium, Dallas - one of several good aquariums in Texas (the largest and top-rated aquarium is in Corpus Cristi)
Eye Sculpture, Dallas - a 30-foot tall eye sculpture / roadside attraction; very creepy!
Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Fort Worth - beautiful gardens
Fort Worth Stockyards Nat. Historic District, Fort Worth - old west-style historic district with shopping & cattle drives
Fort Worth Zoo, Fort Worth - one of the top 25 zoos in the U.S.
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Glen Rose - guided and self-guided safari driving tours
George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Dallas - famous presidential attraction
Globe Life Park, Arlington - acclaimed MLB baseball park; home of the Texas Rangers
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth - dubbed "the best small art museum in the world"
Klyde Warren Park, Dallas - public park in downtown Dallas; kid's love the fountain and water area
Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas - beautiful concert hall and the home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas - excellent natural history and science museum with fossils, gems & minerals, and much more
Reunion Tower, Dallas - take an elevator 470-feet up for 360-degree views of Dallas
Six Flags Over Texas & Hurricane Harbor, Arlington - one of TX's largest amusement parks
Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, The, Dallas - visit the site of the JFK assassination
Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth - famous car racing track
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco - official museum of the famed state police agency
Traveling Man Sculptures, Dallas - three large metal art sculptures of a giant robot; one of the best roadside attractions in Texas
Waco Mammoth National Monument, Waco - paleontological site and museum

Austin (see below for the rest of Texas Hill Country)
Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake - outstanding network of 10 miles of walking and biking trails
Barton Springs Pool - swim in a gigantic natural spring-fed 68-degree pool within Zilker Park
BBQ restaurants in Austin - you'll find some of the best BBQ restaurants on earth in Austin (including Franklin's BBQ)
Breweries in Austin - there are dozens of breweries in and close to Austin
Bullock Texas State History Museum - outstanding state history museum
Congress Avenue Bridge - see thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats fly out from under this bridge from late March through early Fall
Covert Park/Mount Bonnell - hike up to cliffside views of the (Texas) Colorado River and northwestern Austin
DRK Texas memorial Stadium - large college football stadium; home of the U. of Texas Longhorns
Driskill, The - one of the most historic hotels in the country
Esther's Follies - a modern-day vaudeville theatre
Guided food tours in Austin - Austin is a foodie's paradise, and you'll eat some of the best food on these tours
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - gardens with more than 900 species of native Texas plants
LBJ Presidential Library - famous presidential attraction
Live music in Austin - Austin is arguably the best city in the U.S. for live music; often called "the live music capital of the world"
South Congress Street - popular tourist areas filled with shops, art galleries, and restaurants
Texas State Capitol / State Capitol Building - visit the largest U.S. capitol building
Zilker Metropolitan Park - popular urban park in downtown Austin with many outdoor activities (hiking, biking, swimming, paddling, etc.)

San Antonio (see below for the rest of Texas Hill Country)
Alamo Historic Site / The Alamo, San Antonio - visit the site of the famous 1836 battle; one of the most popular tourist attractions in Texas
Buckhorn Saloon & Texas Ranger Museum, San Antonio - see more than 500 mountain animals on the walls of this famous saloon
Majestic Theatre, San Antonio - a beautiful and historic theatre; the oldest theatre in Texas
Natural Bridge Caverns, San Antonio - one of several caves that offer guided tours in Texas
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, San Antonio - guided and self-guided drive-thru safari tours
River Walk (Paseo del Rio), San Antonio - famous tourist area with below-street level walkways; arguably the best river walk in the U.S.
San Antonio Botanical Garden, San Antonio - beautiful botanical gardens
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, San Antonio - tour four stunning and historic Spanish frontier mission buildings
SeaWorld San Antonio, San Antonio - one of the most famous theme parks in the country
World’s Largest Cowboy Boots, San Antonio - roadside attraction of 35-foot tall cowboy boots; a fun photo-op

Texas Hill Country and the areas surrounding Austin & San Antonio (see above for Austin & San Antonio)
Cascade Caverns, Boerne - one of several caves that offer guided tours in Texas
Cave Without a Name, Boerne - one of several limestone caves that offer guided tours in Texas
Downtown Fredericksburg (Main Street) - the best small town district in Texas with tons of shops, restaurants & museums; stay 2-3 days
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Fredericksburg - climb or hike up and/or around a 425-foot pink granite batholith
Gruene Historic District, New Braunfels - historic district with shops and restaurants
Hamilton Pool Preserve, Dripping Springs - beautiful 50-foot waterfall and swimming hole; reservations may be required
Inner Space Cavern, Georgetown - one of several caves that offer guided tours in Texas
Jacob's Well Natural Area, Wimberley - an artesian spring popular for swimming
Lake Travis Zipline Adventures, Volente - excellent zip-lining tours
Longhorn Cavern State Park, Burnet - one of several caves that offer guided tours in Texas
Lost Maples State Natural Area, Vanderpool - nature park famous for its fall foliage; features 10 miles of trails for hiking & backpacking
National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg - an excellent World War II museum
Pedernales Falls State Park, Johnson City - scenic riverside park featuring huge limestone slabs, swimming, and hiking trails
Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort, New Braunfels - one of the very best water parks in the U.S.
Stars and Stripes Drive in Theatre, New Braunfels - enjoy a modern drive-in movie theatre
Wildseed Farms, Fredericksburg - see the nation's largest working wildflower farm
Wimberley Zipline Adventures, Wimberley - excellent zip-lining adventures
Wineries in/near Fredericksburg - there are more than 50 wineries, vineyards, and wine-tasting rooms in and around Fredericksburg

Houston area (including Galveston)
Beaches in Galveston - e.g. Porretto Beach, San Luis Beach, Sea Isle Beach, Sunny Beach, Terramar Beach, etc
Big Thicket National Preserve, Kountze - hiking trails and waterways through nine different ecosystems; hike or paddle-in remote campsites
Boat tours in Galveston - e.g. fishing tours, dolphin tours, water sports, jet boats, etc.
Buffalo Bayou Park, Houston - 2.3 mile long urban public park along the Buffalo Bayou
Children's Museum, Houston - one of the largest children's museums in the U.S.
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands - famous outdoor concert amphitheater
Discovery Green, Houston - small but attractive urban park in downtown Houston
Galleria, The, Houston - visit one of the largest malls in the U.S.
Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston - one of the most popular science museums in the US
Houston Zoo, Houston - one of the most popular zoos in the country; more than 6,000 animals!
Menil Collection, The, Houston - "one of the greatest private art collections in the US"
Minute Maid Park, Houston - famous MLB baseball park and the home of the Houston Astros
Moody Gardens, Galveston - tourist center with an aquarium, indoor rainforest, a museum, a theatre, and more
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston - one of the largest art museums in the U.S.
National Museum of Funeral History, Houston - "America's largest collection of authentic historical funeral service items"
Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum, Galveston - tour a retired oil rig
Sam Houston Statue, Huntsville - see a 67-foot tall statue of one of Texas's most famous people
Space Center Houston, Houston - one of the very best space museums in the U.S.
World’s Largest Working Fire Hydrant, Beaumont - a gigantic roadside attraction; one of Texas's top roadside attractions

Southern tip of Texas (including Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, and South Padre Island)
Black Dragon Cruises, Port Isabel - pirate-themed boating tours
Boat tours in South Padre Island - e.g. dolphin tours, sunset cruises, water sports, etc.
Largest Outdoor Sandcastle in the U.S., South Padre Island - the oldest outdoor permanent sandcastle in the U.S.
Padre Island National Seashore - visit the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world; beaches, camping, kayaking, and sea turtle releases
Port Aransas Beach - one of the finest beaches in Texas
Rockport Beach, Rockport - one of the finest beaches in Texas
Sea Turtle, Inc., South Padre Island - visit a sea turtle rehabilitation facility
South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, South Padre Island - excellent bird-watching and walking trails
USS Lexington Museum, Corpus Christi - visit a World War II Essex-class U.S. Navy aircraft carrier

All other areas of Texas
Caddo Lake State Park, Karnack - amazing paddling (e.g. canoeing/kayaking) in bald cypress bayous, sloughs, and ponds
Captain Ron's Swamp Tours, Karnack - guided pontoon boat tours of beautiful Caddo Lake
Caverns Of Sonora, Sonora - guided tours of one of the most impressive caves in the U.S..
Eiffel Tower, Paris - replica of the famous France monument, with a Texas cowboy hat on top; a classic roadside attraction
George Bush Presidential Library & Museum, College Station - famous presidential attraction
Kyle Field, College Station - famous college football stadium; home of the Texas A&M Aggies

Are you aware of any other 5-star attractions in Texas? If so, please email me at gparsons66@hotmail.com.

For a list of 5-star attractions in neighboring states, click on any of these links:  AR  |  LA  |  NM  |  OK

BEST TOWNS & CITIES TO VISIT IN TEXAS



These towns and cities in Texas are generally regarded as the most interesting to travelers:

Austin - a major city known for its cool/hip culture; the "live music capital of the world"; the city has awesome BBQ restaurants, many breweries, great green spaces, and excellent cycling paths; a major technology hub of the U.S.
Dallas - a major city known for its excellent museums, arts scene, and professional sports; next to Fort Worth (another major city)
Fort Worth - a major city known for its western heritage and the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District; next to Dallas
Fredericksburg - a quaint small town with a lively tourist area full of shops and restaurants; "German heritage with Texan hospitality"
Galveston - a medium-sized city on the Gulf Coast near Houston; features beaches and lots of boardwalk attractions/entertainment
Houston - a very large city that is famous for its green spaces and many excellent museums
San Antonio - a very large city famous for The Alamo, its River Walk, and several major amusement parks; has a strong Latin heritage
South Padre Island - a small town on a barrier island that has 34 miles of great beaches; lots of water sports and great bird-watching

My favorite major cities in Texas are Austin & San Antonio - I recommend that first-time visitors spend a combined 7-10 nights there. You could even consider spending a full 2 weeks. This area is one of my favorite places in the country, famous for its nature parks, museums, amusement parks, historical sites, live music, and food. Much of this area is considered part of the famed "Texas Hill Country".

My favorite small city in Texas is Fredericksburg - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 2-3 nights there. Shop on Main Street and enjoy some of the 50+ wineries in the area. There's also some cool nature parks nearby (e.g. Enchanted Rock).

The historic districts of Grapevine, Gruene (in New Braunfel) and McKinney may also be worth visiting, but I haven't been to any of those places myself yet.

If you want to visit Big Bend National Park, stay inside the park (Chisos Mountain Lodge) or in nearby Alpine or Terlingua.
If you want to visit Guadalupe Mountains National Park, stay in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Click here if you'd like to see a complete list of towns and cities that I find interesting across the entire U.S.

WHAT IS TEXAS FAMOUS FOR?



Here are some things that Texas is famous or well-known for:

bat flights / bat watching
BBQ
caves / cave tours
chili
corn dogs
cowboy culture
drive-in movie theaters
football
live music
natural springs
oil and gas industry
prison museums
professional sports teams
rodeos
steak
water parks
wool production
zoos / wildlife centers

Click here if you'd like to explore what other U.S. states are famous for.

NATIONAL PARKS IN TEXAS



There are two national parks in Texas, plus many other federally-managed parks and properties, including:

National Parks
Big Bend National Park - remote desert park packed with outdoor adventures (like 4x4 driving, hiking, backpacking, and floating/rafting)
Guadalupe Mountains National Park - grand desert mountain scenery that is perhaps best enjoyed by hikers and backpackers

National Monuments
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
Military Working Dog Teams National Monument
Waco Mammoth National Monument

National Recreation Areas
Amistad National Recreation Area
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

National Forests
Angelina National Forest
Davy Crockett National Forest
Sabine National Forest
Sam Houston National Forest

National Historical Parks / Other National Parks & Properties
Big Thicket National Preserve
Blackwell School National Historic Site
Caddo-LBJ National Grasslands
Chamizal National Memorial
El Camino Real de los Tejas
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro
Fort Davis National Historic Site
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
Padre Island National Seashore
Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park
Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

If you've never been to Big Bend National Park before, I recommend staying for 2-3 nights.
If you've never been to Guadalupe Mountains National Park before, I recommend staying for 1-2 nights.

For more information on Texas's national parks, visit the Texas page of the National Park Service. For an overview of all U.S. national parks, click here.

STATE PARKS IN TEXAS



Texas has more than 80 state parks. Many would agree that these represent Texas's finest state parks:

Flagship / Premier State Parks:
Big Bend Ranch State Park, South Saucedo - visit the largest and wildest state park in TX; tons of 4x4, hiking, mtn biking, and horseback trails
Caddo Lake State Park, Karnack - amazing paddling (e.g. canoeing/kayaking) in bald cypress bayous, sloughs, and ponds
Caprock Canyon State Park, Quitaque - features rugged canyons and badlands; excellent hiking trails
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Fredericksburg - climb or hike up and/or around a 425-foot pink granite batholith
Longhorn Cavern State Park, Burnet - one of several caves that offer guided tours in Texas
Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Canyon - offers rugged canyon beauty and interesting rock formations (including the "Lighthouse")

Other Notable State Parks:
Brazos Bend State Park, Needville
Colorado Bend State Park, Bend
Davis Mountains State Park, Fort Davis
Dinosaur Valley State Park, Glen Rose
Franklin Mountains State Park, El Paso
Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site, El Paso - world-class rock climbing and also many pictographs and petroglyphs
Lost Maples State Natural Area, Vanderpool - nature park famous for its fall foliage; features 10 miles of trails for hiking & backpacking
Monahans Sandhills State Park, Monahans
Pedernales Falls State Park, Johnson City - scenic riverside park featuring huge limestone slabs, swimming, and hiking trails

To see my list of the top 100 state parks in the country, click here.

BEST WATERFALLS IN TEXAS



Texas only has a few notable natural waterfalls. Here are some of the best waterfalls in Texas:

Cattail Falls in Big Bend National Park
Gorman Falls in Colorado Bend State Park
Hamilton Pool Falls in Hamilton Pool Preserve, Dripping Springs
McKinney Falls in McKinney Falls State Park
Pedernales Falls in Pedernales Falls State Park
Westcave Falls in Westcave Preserve - more a set of dripping springs than a waterfall

The best waterfall in Texas, by far, is Hamilton Pool Falls. Reservations are required to visit these falls in the warmer months due to the ever-rising popularity of the swimming hole below the falls.

For a listing of all known waterfalls in Texas, visit the World Waterfall Database.

BEST SCENIC DRIVES IN TEXAS



Here is a list of the best scenic drives in Texas:

Bluewater Highway - a 40-mile paved oceanside route from Galveston to Surfside Beach
Chisos Basin Road - a 6-mile paved route in Big Bend National Park
Davis Mountain Scenic Loop - a 75-mile paved route around Mt. Livermore that uses portions of TX-166, TX-17, and TX-118
El Camino Del Rio (River Road) - a 50-mile paved route from Presidio to Lajitas that mostly travels through Big Bend Ranch State Park
Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive - a 30-mile paved route in Big Bend National Park
Scenic Drive, El Paso - a 2-mile paved route that climbs to 4,222 feet and offers great views of El Paso
TX-207 just east of Palo Duro Canyon State Park - a 48-mile paved route from Silverton to Claude; "great views of Palo Duro without hiking"
Willow City Loop - a 13-mile paved route in Willow City (northeast of Fredericksburg) that is known for its spring wildflower displays

For a list of great scenic drives in each U.S. state, click here.

BEST OCEAN BEACHES IN TEXAS



Texas offers many great Gulf of Mexico beaches, including:

Northern coastline
Galveston area beaches (e.g. Porretto Beach, San Luis Beach, Sea Isle Beach, Sunny Beach, Terramar Beach, etc.)
Matagorda Beach, Matagorda
Surfside Beach, Freeport

Southern coastline
Port Aransas Beach
Rockport Beach
South Padre Island beaches (e.g. Isla Blanca Beach)
Whitecap Beach, Corpus Christi

BEST RAIL TRAILS IN TEXAS



Here is a list of some of the best rail trails (or similar cycling paths) in Texas:

Dallas & Fort Worth area
Campion Trail
Chaparral Rail-Trail
Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway
Trinity Trails

Austin area
Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake
Bushy Creek Regional Trail

San Antonio area
Leon Creek Greenway
Salado Creek Greenway

Houston area
Brays Bayou Greenway Trail
George Bush Park Hike and Bike Trail
Terry Hershey Park Hike & Bike Trail

For detailed information on all known rail trails in Texas, visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website.

BEST AMUSEMENT PARKS / THEME PARKS IN TEXAS



Texas is one of the very best states for amusement parks in the United States. I'd argue that it has some of the finest roller-coaster and water parks in the country. The best amusement parks in Texas include:

Northern Texas
Wonderland Amusement Park, Amarillo

Dallas & Fort Worth area
Bahama Beach Waterpark, Dallas
Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark, Grand Prairie
Hurricane Harbor, Arlington
Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington

Austin & San Antonio area
Aquatica, San Antonio
Morgan's Wonderland, San Antonio - the "world’s first theme park designed with individuals with special needs in mind"
Schlitterbahn Waterpark, New Braunfels
SeaWorld, San Antonio
Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio
Typhoon Texas Waterpark, Pflugerville
ZDT's Amusement Park, Seguin

Houston area
Big Rivers Waterpark & Adventures, New Caney
Grand Texas, New Caney - this amusement park is scheduled to open in 2023
Kemah Boardwalk, Kemah
Pirates Bay Water Park, Baytown
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown, Spring
Typhoon Texas Waterpark, Katy

Southern tip of Texas
Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, Galveston
Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Galveston

BEST MUSEUMS IN TEXAS



Texas harbors an extraordinary collection of museums. Some of best museums in Texas include:

Northern Texas
American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum, Amarillo
American Windmill Museum, Lubbock
Devil's Rope Museum, McLean
Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum, Amarillo
National Ranching Heritage Center, Lubbock
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon
Silent Wings Museum, Lubbock

Dallas & Fort Worth area
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas
George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Dallas
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth
National Videogame Museum, Frisco
Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas
Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, The, Dallas

Central Texas
Dr. Pepper Museum, Waco
Frontier Texas!, Abilene
George Bush Presidential Library & Museum, College Station
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco
Waco Mammoth National Monument, Waco

Austin, San Antonio, and the Texas Hill Country area
Bullock Texas State History Museum, Austin
LBJ Presidential Library, Austin
National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg
Thinkery, Austin
Witte Museum, San Antonio

Houston
Children's Museum
Houston Museum of Natural Science
Menil Collection, The
Museum of Fine Arts
National Museum of Funeral History
Space Center Houston

Southern tip of Texas
Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum, Galveston
USS Lexington Museum, Corpus Christi

BEST DAY HIKES IN TEXAS



Texas has many miles of great hiking trails, and there is good hiking to be found all over the state. Here are some of the best day hikes in Texas:

Northern Texas (including Amarillo)
Lighthouse Trail, Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Upper Canyon Trail, Caprock Canyons State Park

Central & Western Texas (including Abilene, El Paso, Odessa, and both of Texas's national parks)
Balanced Rock / Grapevine Hills Trail, Big Bend National Park
Closed Canyon Trail, Big Bend Ranch State Park
Emory Peak, Big Bend National Park
Guadalupe Peak, Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Hot Springs Trail / Big Bend Hot Springs, Big Bend National Park
Lost Mine Trail, Big Bend National Park
McKittrick Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Santa Elena Canyon Trail, Big Bend National Park
South Rim Trail, Big Bend National Park
Window Trail, Big Bend National Park

Dallas & Fort Worth area (including Arlington and Waco)
Cedar Ridge Preserve trails
Dinosaur Valley State Park trails (e.g. Natural Trail)
Penitentiary Hollow, Lake Mineral Wells State Park

Austin & San Antonio area (including Fredericksburg and New Braunfels; includes the famed "Texas Hill Country" region)
Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail in Austin (e.g. Twin Falls, Sculpture Falls)
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area trails
Gorman Falls, Colorado Bend State Park
Lost Maples State Natural Area trails (e.g. Maple Trail, East Trail)
Mount Ol' Baldy, Garner State Park
West Peak Overlook, Hill Country State Natural Area

Houston area (including Galveston)
Brazos Bend State Park trails
Turkey Creek Trail, Big Thicket National Preserve

All other areas of Texas
Caddo Lake State Park trails (e.g. Caddo Forest Trail)

My favorite hike in Texas is either Emory Peak in Big Bend National Park or Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Both summits are awesome and each requires a challenging day hike. There are views for 80-100+ miles on clear days!

The highpoint of Texas is Guadalupe Peak (8,751') in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. A challenging day hike is required to reach the summit, which is often very windy. Watch out for rattlesnakes!

BEST BACKPACKING TRIPS IN TEXAS



Texas offers a surprising amount of great backpacking opportunities. Some of premier backpacking routes in Texas include:

Caprock Trailway
Colorado Bend State Park trails (e.g. the Big Loop)
Cross Timbers Trail
Goodwater Loop
Grasslands Outer Loop, Caddo-LBJ National Grasslands
Guadalupe Mountains National Park trails (e.g. McKittrick Canyon)
Lone Star Hiking Trail, Sam Houston National Forest - 92 miles long
Lost Maples State Natural Area, Vanderpool
Outer Mountain Loop, Big Bend National Park
Rancherias Loop, Big Bend Ranch State Park
South Rim Trail, Big Bend National Park
Trail Between the Lakes, Sabine National Forest

CLASSIC OUTDOOR ADVENTURES IN TEXAS



Texas offers many adventures, including these classics:

ATV/ORV-ing in Hidden Falls Adventure Park, Marble Falls
ATV/ORV-ing in Northwest OHV Park, Bridgeport
ATV/ORV-ing in River Run Park, Jacksonville
ATV/ORV-ing in Sabine ATV Park, Burkeville
Backpacking in Big Bend National Park
Backpacking in Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Backpacking the Lone Star Hiking Trail
Bouldering in/near Austin
Bouldering in Hueco Tanks State Park
Bouldering in/near Lake Belton
Bouldering in Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Canoeing/kayaking on the Brazos River
Canoeing/kayaking on the Colorado River (not the same Colorado River as the one found in CO/AZ)
Canoeing/kayaking on the Devils River
Canoeing/kayaking on the Guadalupe River
Canoeing/kayaking on the San Marcos River
Canoeing/kayaking on the South Llano River
Day hiking Emory Peak in Big Bend National Park
Day hiking Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Kayaking on Caddo Lake
Mountain biking in Big Bend Ranch State Park (e.g. Fresno-Sauceda Loop)
Mountain biking in Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Mountain biking in Reveille Park Ranch
Parasailing in Galveston, Port Aransas, South Padre Island, and other places along the Gulf of Mexico
Rock climbing in/near Austin
Rock climbing at Continental Ranch
Rock climbing in Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Rock climbing in Hueco Tanks State Park
Rock climbing in Milton Reimers Ranch Park
Sky diving at one of the many facilities found across the state
Surfing on South Padre Island
Tubing the Comal River
Tubing the Guadalupe River
Tubing the San Marcos River
Whitewater rafting the Rio Grande River - e.g. Boquillas Canyon, Colorado Canyon, and Santa Elena Canyon
Wild cave tours at Inner Space Cavern
Wild cave tours at Kickapoo Cavern State Park
Wild cave tours at Natural Bridge Caverns

TEXAS TRAVEL TIPS



For offbeat and unique Texas attractions, visit one or both of these amazing websites: Atlas Obscura and Roadside America

UNIQUE / SPECIALTY FOODS TO TRY IN TEXAS



Here are some unique / specialty foods to try while you are in Texas:

beignets
BBQ / BBQ brisket
buttermilk pie
chicken-fried steak
chili
chili con carne
chilis rellenos
frito pie
huevos rancheros
hot guts
kolache
migas
pecan pie
steaks

For a list of unique foods and mom-and-pop type eateries and restaurants in Texas (or any other U.S. state), visit the Roadfood.com website.
For a list of unique foods to try in each of the 50 U.S. states, click here.
For a list of the top-rated beers to try in Texas (or any other U.S. state), visit the Beer Advocate website.

OTHER KEY TEXAS INFORMATION



State Capital:
Austin

Major Airports:
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport (IAH), and
San Antonio International Airport (SAT)

Largest Cities:
Houston (2,345,606), San Antonio (1,456,069), Dallas (1,325,691), Austin (996,147), Fort Worth (954,457), El Paso (684,753), Arlington (400,032)

Primary U.S. Interstates:
I-10, I-20, I-27, I-30, I-35, I-37, I-40, I-45

State Highpoint:
Guadalupe Peak (8,751'); a challenging day hike within Guadalupe Mountains National Park in western Texas is required to reach the top

Professional Sports Teams:
MLB: Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers
NBA: Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs
NFL: Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans
NHL: Dallas Stars
WNBA: Dallas Wings

Funny or Unique Town/City Names:
Bangs, est, Bigfoot, Chocolate Bayou, Cut and Shoot, Ding Dong, Goodnight, Gun Barrel City, Lovelady, Muleshoe, Notrees, Oatmeal, Skidmore, Telephone, Uncertain, Wealthy, and Welfare

Take note that in general this travel guide intentionally excluded restaurants, lodging/hotels, breweries, wineries/vineyards, and certain other types of attractions (like arcades, ax-throwing, bowling alleys, and escape rooms). These types of places tend to come and go, and keeping up with that would be too challenging. I encourage you to use Google Maps, Tripadvisor, Yelp, and other travel sites that have reader reviews to find the latest and greatest places that I haven't covered here.



Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas
Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas

Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, Texas
Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, Texas

bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas
bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas

Big Bend National Park, Texas
Big Bend National Park, Texas

sign in Alpine, Texas
sign in Alpine, Texas

summit of Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
summit of Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

Cadillac Ranch in Austin, Texas
Cadillac Ranch in Austin, Texas

views from Emory Peak in Big Bend National Park, Texas
views from Emory Peak in Big Bend National Park, Texas

Caverns of Sonora in Sonora, Texas
Caverns of Sonora in Sonora, Texas

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Texas
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Texas

Buckhorn Museum in San Antonio, Texas
Buckhorn Museum in San Antonio, Texas

The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas
The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas

River Walk in San Antonio, Texas
River Walk in San Antonio, Texas


ROAD TRIP GUIDEBOOKS



In addition to the information found on my website, I personally recommend purchasing these road trip/travel-related guidebooks. Click on any book cover to read reviews and/or purchase these books on Amazon.com.

        


MORE U.S. STATE TRAVEL GUIDES



Did you enjoy this state travel guide? If so, here are links to more of my comprehensive U.S. state travel guides:

Alabama Maryland Oregon
Arizona Massachusetts Pennsylvania
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California Minnesota South Carolina
Colorado Mississippi South Dakota
Connecticut Missouri Tennessee
Delaware Montana Texas
Florida Nebraska Utah
Georgia Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico Washington DC
Iowa New York West Virginia
Kansas North Carolina Wisconsin
Kentucky North Dakota Wyoming
Louisiana Ohio  
Maine Oklahoma  

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