32 Best Places To Visit In Texas: Cities, Towns, And Tourist Spots

The Lone Star State is the second-largest state in the US after Alaska and it is full of natural beauty, vibrant cities, and interesting spots to visit.

32 Best Places To Visit In Texas: Cities, Towns, And Tourist Spots

Whether you’re visiting Texas for a couple of days or a couple of weeks, you will never run out of places to visit and things to do.

With so much on offer in Texas, it can make it difficult to know where to start! There are so many options and beautiful places to visit that the choices can be overwhelming.

That’s why we’ve created this list of the best places to visit in Texas. We’ve picked a mix of cities, towns, and tourist spots so no matter how long you’re in Texas or what you’re looking for, there are sure to be plenty of places on this list for you.

We’ve listed everything in alphabetical order so let’s get started!

Best Places To Visit In Texas: Tourist Spots

Let’s begin by looking at some of the best tourist spots in Texas. These are a mix of national parks, caverns, and other places of interest.

1. The Alamo

This is one of the most famous historical sites in America and is a must-see for any visitors to Texas. There are several things to see at the site such as the Alamo Church, the 300-year-old Long Barrack, Alamo cannons, and the Cavalry Courtyard full of bronze statues of Alamo heroes.

You can learn about the history of the Alamo and the battle at the on-site museums but we recommend taking a guided tour to get the most from the experience.

If you head to the Alamo during the winter, you will be able to take in the beautiful Alamo Lights which are festive illuminations.

2. Big Bend National Park

Our first choice is a national park that is located in West Texas and borders Mexico. It covers over 800,000 acres (or 1,252 square miles) which makes it bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island!

It’s the perfect place to get away from everything and there are many activities to do, such as hiking, rafting, and camping. 

The park is full of beautiful natural sights such as Santa Elena Canyon. For hikers, we recommend hiking the South Rim but if hiking isn’t your thing, consider taking your car along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.

Big Bend National Park is stunning all year round but is especially worth visiting during spring and fall.

3. Cadillac Ranch

Located on the iconic Route 66 in the city of Amarillo, Cadillac Ranch is a popular roadside attraction. It’s an art installation that is well worth the stop if you are heading down Route 66. It’s free of charge and easy to find

The art installation consists of 10 classic Cadillacs that are half-buried in the ground in single file. Each car is installed at the same angle as the Pyramids of Giza and they’re all painted in a variety of colors and designs.

4. Colorado Bend State Park

If you’re looking for a spot of untamed nature and wilderness while you’re in Texas, then Colorado Bend State Park is a great spot to choose.

There are plenty of things to see and do within the park and there are 35 miles of trails to hike and bike.

You can take a tour through the wild caves underneath the park, visit Gorman Falls to see the 70-foot waterfall or take a dip in Spicewood Springs. 

5. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is a little smaller than some of the other natural parks and regions in Texas but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a visit.

The undoubted highlight of the area is the pink-colored natural dome made of granite that can be seen for miles around. 

Other than the dome, you can hike around nearly 11 miles of trails or try your hand at rock climbing. The area is perfect for stargazing and bird watching and is also available for camping if you want to extend your stay.

6. Garner State Park

This is a great park to visit if you want to hike or swim. The Frio River runs through the park and this is the center for a variety of different activities. You can operate a paddle boat, canoe, or fish, and it’s also a great place for swimming.

The park has 16 miles of scenic trails to choose from and they vary greatly in distance and difficulty so no matter your experience or fitness level, you can find a hiking trail for you.

Some of the trails are also open to bikes as well. If you visit the park during the summer, you can also take part in the jukebox dances. Remember to arrive early, however, as these are very popular!

7. Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a dream attraction for hikers. The terrain isn’t made for vehicles and the park instead consists of a network of hiking trails that will lead you around the natural sights.

It’s home to Guadalupe Peak, which is the highest peak in Texas. If you’re able to reach the summit, you will get one of the best views in all of Texas. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground then head to Smith Spring.

This is found on one of the shortest trails in the park and the sight of the water in such a dry climate makes it even more impressive.

8. Hamilton Pool

As the name suggests, this tourist spot is built around a pool that has long been a popular swimming hole. It was designated a preserve in 1990 and is a popular attraction for tourists.

The water level in the pool stays more or less constant throughout the year and it is home to a variety of wildlife such as birds, fish, and other animals.

Hamilton Creek feeds into the pool with a 50-foot waterfall and depending on the time of year and circumstances, you can take a refreshing dip in the pool.

9. Mustang Island

Mustang Island is a short ride from Corpus Christi and is an 18-mile-long barrier island. It was originally inhabited by wild horses and it is still a haven for animals and wildlife.

Mustang Island State Park, for example, has over 400 wild bird species as well as being home to endangered sea turtles.

The Island is also a great place for outdoor activities. You can go mountain biking, swimming, kayaking, kiteboarding, snorkeling, and wakeboarding.

The beautiful stretches of beach are also perfect for relaxation, however, and there are a large number of campsites if you want to stay the night.

10. Natural Bridge Caverns

Only discovered in 1960, the Natural Bridge Caverns are a spectacular view of the natural world that exists underneath the ground.

There are several different tours you can choose from that will take you down into the caverns to see the natural rock formations and the stunning 60-foot-long natural limestone bridge.

Once you’ve resurfaced above the ground, there are several more attractions you can enjoy. The attraction has zip lines, climbing, and a maze, and you can even try your hand at gem and fossil mining.

11. Palo Duro Canyon State Park

This state park is home to the second largest canyon in the United States and that alone makes it worth a visit if you’re in Texas. You can explore the canyon and the 30-mile surrounding area on a series of hiking, biking, or equestrian trails.

During the summer months, you can also enjoy the TEXAS Outdoor Musical at the Pioneer Amphitheater which is located in the park. This fun show will teach you all about the life of the early settlers in the area.

Best Places To Visit In Texas: Cities And Towns

Now we will look at the best towns and cities. Whether you’re looking for a large metropolis or something more historic and rustic, Texas has what you’re looking for.

12. Amarillo

Amarillo isn’t always the first place that jumps to mind when tourists think about places to visit in Texas, but there is still plenty to see and do to make it worth your time.

It’s located on the iconic Route 66 and is the largest city along the stretch of road that runs from Oklahoma to New Mexico. The historical district around the route is packed with art galleries, antique shops, restaurants, and other unique stores.

While you’re in Amarillo, you can take a trip to Cadillac Ranch and Palo Duro Canyon State Park which are located just outside of the city.

13. Austin

This is the capital city of the state of Texas and is a great choice for anyone looking to experience city life in Texas. It’s well known for its long history with live music and is even known as the “Live Music Capital of the World.”

If you’re looking for live entertainment during your evenings and nights, you will be spoiled for choice in Austin!

The best time to visit Austin is during the Austin City Limits music festival, but if you’re not a fan of higher prices and the extra tourism it brings in you may want to avoid this time.

Austin is also a great destination for more than just live music as it is full of delicious restaurants and excellent shopping.

For shopping, head to South Congress Avenue and once you’ve finished, you can stop for a drink in one of the many bars on 6th Street.

14. Boerne

Boerne is a stunning Texas Hill Country town and it is the perfect stop for anyone who wants to experience the slower-paced small-town life.

There are several guided tours that will show around everything Boerne has to offer as well as teach you about the town’s history.

The area has two natural living cave systems and the Cibolo Nature Center is a popular attraction for birdwatchers. You can also indulge in some water sports at Boerne City Lake Park if you want.

15. Conroe

Conroe is one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas. It lies in the heart of several areas of outstanding beauty such as the Sam Houston National Forest and Lake Conroe.

This lake is the perfect place for a variety of activities such as boating and water sports.

The city was founded by a lumberman in 1881 and there are still many historic buildings in the city. We recommend taking a historic walking tour to discover Conroe’s past.

Once the tour is finished, you will have plenty of delicious restaurants and bars to choose from.

16. Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi is a beautiful coastal city that is a fantastic destination for a beach vacation. There are nine beautiful and unique beaches in Corpus Christi and there are a variety of activities you can do here, such as windsurfing, kayaking, and parasailing.

There are also some less common beach activities such as horseback riding and even paddleboard yoga.

There is more to the city than just the beaches, however. We recommend visiting the Texas State Aquarium to see and learn about marine life.

We also recommend a visit to the USS Lexington Museum where you can board a real WWII aircraft carrier. 

17. Dallas

Dallas is one of the top destinations in Texas due to its variety of attractions and universal appeal.

The city is famous for being the location of the assassination of President Kennedy and there are numerous sights and museums dedicated to the event and his life in general. 

One of our favorite spots in Dallas is the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden which has 66 acres of beautiful gardens and scenic views. If you’re in Texas during the fall, then make sure you hit Dallas for the Texas State Fair. During the rest of the year, you will be able to take in the various museums, galleries, and bars.

18. El Paso

The city of El Paso offers a variety of options for anyone who visits. The Franklin Mountains State Park is within easy reach and covers 27,000 acres of desert and mountains.

It’s ideal for hikers as there are over 100 miles of trails to discover and you can get spectacular views from the summit of North Franklin Peak.

If mountain climbing and hikes aren’t for you, then the rest of El Paso has plenty to offer as well.

There are numerous water parks, museums, and art galleries, and the sunny weather received in El Paso makes it ideal for vineyards and wineries. It also has plenty of historic sites, such as the only jail that Billy the Kid broke into.

19. Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg is located in the center of Texas and is an easy drive from both Austin and San Antonio. While there, you can visit the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, which we spoke about earlier in this article.

The city has much to offer visits. It’s a great hub for the art community as it has a large number of art galleries and antique stores.

The best time to visit Fredericksburg in our opinion is spring, as you can drive the Willow City Loop to see the famous Texan wildflowers in full bloom.

After visiting the art galleries and wildflowers, you’ll find you’re spoiled for choice for delicious restaurants and wine bars.

20. Galveston

Galveston is a coastal resort city that is only about an hour’s drive from Houston, making it a popular destination for a variety of people.

It’s popular with families, students on spring break, honeymooners, and history lovers so whatever you’re after, you’ll find something in Galveston.

If you’re after adventure, you can go kayaking or head out onto the waters on a fishing boat.

For history buffs, Galveston has a lot to choose from as it has several museums covering the history of Texas and the American West, as well as transportation based-museums such as the Galveston Railroad Museum and the Galveston Historic Seaport.

21. Fort Worth

Fort Worth is a great mix of historic Texas and modern life. If you head to the Stockyards National Historic District you will be able to see twice daily cattle drives while the Noble Planetarium and Museum of Science and History offer more modern and scientific attractions.

For natural beauty, consider a visit to the Fort Worth Botanical Garden, the Japanese Garden, or the Water Garden. You can also go for a nice walk around Sundance Square and hit up the shops, restaurants, and music halls in the area. 

22. Houston

Houston is the fourth largest city in America but it has so much more to offer than just being a large city.

It’s probably most well-known for its links to NASA as it has the Johnson Space Center and if space and science are of interest to you, you can choose from a large number of museums and attractions.

Houston is also a city of great art and culture and is packed with galleries and theaters. Families will love a visit to the Houston Zoo or the Downtown Aquarium and there is also a museum aimed squarely at children.

There are also plenty of green spaces to visit, such as the Bayou Bend, and exciting attractions like the Skydive Spaceland.

23. Jefferson

If you want to learn more about the history of Texas, then Jefferson is a great place to start. It has nearly 100 historical landmarks that date to around the Civil War and the best way to visit all of these and learn about their history is with one of the many tours.

We recommend the Historical Markers tour as this will show you a wide variety of landmarks.

Jefferson also has many delicious restaurants to choose from and is a haven for shoppers looking for antiques and unique gifts.

24. Johnson City

Johnson City has a beautiful town square that is surrounded by shops, restaurants, and a 19th-century courthouse and this is the best place to start your visit to Johnson City.

If you venture outside of the downtown area, you’ll find the Johnson Settlement which was established in the 1860s to 1870s. You can also visit the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park to learn all about the president’s life.

If you want to see nature, however, head to Pedernales Falls State Park. This is a great place to hike and the beautiful Pedernales River is the perfect spot for relaxation. 

25. Luckenbach

Luckenbach was established as a trading post back in 1849. It has retained much of its history and is an entertaining stop for anyone interested in the early history of Texas.

It has an old-fashioned dance hall, a general store, and a bar and frequently has events to showcase the history of the area.

26. Marfa

Found deep in the Big Bend region, Marfa is a town that can offer a different experience than anywhere else in Texas. It’s famous for two main things, the first of which is its creative community.

It has a wide range of art galleries, museums, and even performance pieces that any art lover is sure to enjoy.

The second reason to visit Marfa is the mysterious Marfa lights. These are mysterious lights that can sometimes be seen on the horizon in the southeast of the town.

They can appear on any night at any point of the year and although there are many theories of their source, from the scientific to the mystical, it is still a mystery.

27. New Braunfels

Located between San Antonio and Austin, New Braunfels is a popular destination during the long summer months. It has two tubing rivers, the Guadalupe River and the Comal River, and you can take part in a variety of river-based activities.

If you prefer waterparks to rivers, then you should consider a visit to the Schlitterbahn Waterpark.

The town was founded by German settlers and is now an intriguing mix of German and Texas cultures. You can enjoy the open-air beer gardens as well as some of the oldest bakeries and restaurants found in the state.

If you’re interested in history, then a guided tour of downtown and Greune is a must!

28. Rockport

Located on the eastern coast of Texas, Rockport has a beautiful beach and several historical sites of interest. We recommend visiting the Fulton Mansion State Historic Site as it is a wonderful example of Second Empire architecture. 

29. San Antonio

This is one of the most populous cities in the United States and is packed with things to do. As a large city, it has all of the shopping, restaurants, and bars that you would expect and it is known as one of the best shopping destinations in America.

However, San Antonio offers so much more than just the standard city attractions. We mentioned both the Alamo and Natural Bridge Caverns in their own sections already, but San Antonio has even more to see.

You can stop by to take in the beautiful architecture of the San Fernando Cathedral, take a walk along the San Antonio river, or see the stunning views from the Tower of the Americas.

30. South Padre Island

You can find South Padre Island is a barrier island on the coastal tip of Texas and is part of Cameron County. Both the island and town have the same name and they’re the perfect Texan beach getaway.

Although South Padre Island is known for being a popular destination for students on spring break, it has much more to offer throughout the rest of the year. 

It has miles of beautiful beaches so you can take part in all of the typical beach and sea activities such as sunbathing, fishing, and jet skiing.

South Padre is also teeming with wildlife so it’s a vital destination for anyone looking to spot some birds or even dolphins! While there, you should visit the Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Park and the Isla Blanca Waterpark.

31. Waco

Waco is one of Texas’s smaller cities and it is located between Austin and Dallas. Despite its small size, there is still plenty to see and do.

We recommend the Waco Mammoth National Monument where you will be able to see a variety of mammoth bones and learn all about these majestic and extinct creatures. However, if you want to see living creatures, head to the Cameron Park Zoo instead!

Waco is also home to Dr. Pepper and you can visit the Dr. Pepper museum to learn more about the famous soft drink. For more traditional history, there is the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and the Mayborn Museum Complex.

32. Wimberley

Our final place to visit in Texas is Wimberly. This used to be a relatively unknown spot for tourists in Texas but has become more popular in recent years.

Many tourists head for the natural waters at Jacob’s Well and Blue Hole which are both stunning swimming holes.

If you’re looking for stunning views then head to Mount Baldy where 221 limestone steps will take you to the summit. You’ll be able to see numerous trees, cacti, and wildflowers while there.

For more excitement, consider a trip to Wimberley Zipline. There are also plenty of shopping and food and drink options as well.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we listed 32 different places to visit in Texas. We included cities, towns, national parks, and historical sites from across the state.

Regardless of how long your stay is in Texas or what attractions you’re looking for, you’re sure to find something on this list.

Mylene Mace