They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and it is certainly true that there is a wide variety of things to do, see and explore in the second-largest state. Texans are very proud and have a lot to be proud of. Whether you're interested in cowboy history, art, or culture, it's all in Texas. When planning your next trip to the Lone Star State, be sure to check out this list of the best places to visit in Texas.
1. San Antonio
The third-largest city in Texas is San Antonio, which is nestled in the South Texas Plains. The heart of San Antonio is downtown, thanks to the abundance of restaurants and nightlife options. Nestled in tall buildings and cypress trees, and away from the noise of traffic, the Paseo del Río draws large numbers of tourists to its boutique hotels, specialty shops, and a plethora of restaurants serving alfresco dining. In the center of the city is also the famous Alamo, a national monument where the iconic Battle of the Alamo was fought. For more history, visit the many 19th century homes in the King William Historic Area, visit the Casa Navarro State Historic Park, or admire the extensive collection of the Institute of Texan Cultures.
Known for its catchphrase, "Keep Austin Weird," this city feels a little different from the rest of Texas. The population is young, thanks in part to the huge campus of the University of Texas, and it also serves as the live music capital of the country. Austin is the capital of the Lone Star State, so don't miss the chance to visit the Capitol building, which is famous for its pink color and even taller than the United States Capitol building. Also worth exploring is the LBJ Presidential Library, the stunning trails that wind along Barton Creek, and the Congress Avenue Bridge, where more than a million bats can be seen flying at sunset, creating an unforgettable event that locals know is a must-do in Austin.
As the largest city in Texas, Houston is one of the most popular places to visit in Texas. Famously known for being the home of NASA's Mission Control Center, Houston is also where you'll find places like the beautiful Rice University campus and the high-end shopping of the Galleria area. Many of the city's biggest attractions are in the Downtown Houston Warehouse District, so head there to see the incredible Downtown Tunnel System, soak up the views from the Chase Tower Observatory of the 60th floor, explore the Downtown Aquarium and enjoy an outdoor performance at the TUTS, or the Under the Stars Theater.
Less than an hour's drive south of downtown Houston is Galveston, a coastal retreat on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. As a popular vacation spot, Galveston has miles of sandy shoreline and endless options for dining, shopping, and nightlife. While in Galveston, don't forget to visit the ancient architecture of the Strand National Historic Landmark District, stroll through the incredible indoor Moody Gardens, or explore aviation history at the Lone Star Flight Museum. Galveston is the perfect place to take a dip, so don't miss the free Bolivar ferry rides or a hike down Pleasure Pier.
5. Padre Island National Seashore
A small, thin island runs parallel to the Texas coast, from Corpus Christi to the Mexican border. Surrounded by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it is known as Padre Island. Most of the island is made up of the national shoreline of Padre Island, a protected treasure where blue waters can be seen in virtually any direction. Filled with wildlife, and a major birding spot in Texas, Padre Island's national shoreline leads to South Padre Island, a popular spot for beach vacations, family fun, and serious nightlife.
6. Palo Duro Canyon
Traversing the High Plains region of Texas is the Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest in the United States, after the Grand Canyon. The red rock is exposed, creating a beautiful sight to behold, but the canyon is more than avoid. It is also where Native American tribes such as Apaches and Comanches were once called home. Wildlife is abundant in the park, so as you hike the miles of trails, keep your eyes peeled for things like Aoudad sheep, white-tailed deer, and even mountain lions. You can also go horseback riding and dine in the chuckwagon kitchen in and around the canyon.
7. Big Bend National Park
Although Big Bend National Park is one of the least visited parks in the United States, it is a gem in the heart of Texas and a must-see destination. The park is huge and borders the Grand River. The park was once underwater, and the dinosaur fossils speak of the history of the region. There are miles of scenic drives throughout Big Bend National Park, but hiking is an even better way to get a closer look at the rock formations and scenery. Try a walk east on the Window View Trail, the more challenging Chimneys Trail, or just a relaxing float down the river.
8. Texas Hill Country
In the very center of Texas is Hill County, where a variety of cultures combine to create a melting pot of history, heritage, and cuisine. Enjoy the natural beauty of the region at the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, ideal for hiking and camping, or the Hill Country State Natural Area, which is a favorite for swimming and fishing. Head to Fredericksburg for a dose of German culture, as the area was settled by German settlers in the 19th century. In Fredericksburg, you can visit a winery for a tasting, enjoy sausage and sauerkraut in an authentic beer garden, or buy Bavarian souvenirs at an open-air market. The best time to visit the region is in the spring when the hill country is full of wildflowers, including the Texas State Flower,
9. El Paso
Right on the Mexican border, in the extreme west of Texas, there is a city called El Paso. This destination is also known as Sun City and boasts incredible views as the sun sets each night over the Franklin Mountains. There are many great attractions in El Paso, just a few of which include the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, the Museum of Archeology at Wilderness Park, and the Centennial Museum. El Paso offers many opportunities for outdoor activities, so don't miss the opportunity to hike along the El Paso Mission Trail, have a picnic with views of McKelligon Canyon, or drive along the scenic Transmountain Road. . Trips to Ciudad Juárez across the border were once popular, but have become dangerous due to drug-related violence.
An important part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is Dallas, the third-largest city in the state. Dallas is probably best known for the infamous assassination of former United States President John F. Kennedy. Located in the same building from which Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots, the Sixth Floor Museum is dedicated to the murder. The city is a shopper's dream with more stores per capita than any other American city. You can also visit one of Dallas' many amusement parks or attend a local rodeo for a local flavor of Texas.
Where Are The Major Landforms Of Texas Located?
Texas is the largest of the 48 contiguous states of the US Therefore, it presents a great diversity of landforms. There are six major geographic areas in Texas: East Texas, the Gulf Coast, the Rio Grande Valley, the Blackland Prairies, the High Plains, and West Texas. In the south, the Gulf Coast Plain meets the Gulf of Mexico.
Are There Deserts In The State Of Texas?
Despite being known for having desert landscapes, less than 10% of Texas is considered a desert. The Big Bend desert and mountains are the only areas in the state with this landscape.
What Is The Geography Of The Texas Panhandle?
Some regions of Texas are associated more with the American Southeast (primarily East Texas, Central Texas, and North Texas), while the Panhandle is considered by many to have more in common with parts of the Midwest Plains than with the south or the southwest.
What Is The Elevation Of The Plains In Texas?
Extending inland from the Gulf Coast, the coastal plains, which encompass about two-fifths of the state's surface, ranging from sea level to about 1,000 feet (300 meters) in elevation. These flat and low grasslands extend inland forming a fertile crescent well adapted to agriculture and livestock.
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