The Best Places To Visit In Texas – 28 Top Tourist Destinations

Texas is one of the most popular tourist destinations in America. It is the second-largest state the U.S. has to offer. As a result, there are thousands of amazing places to visit.

The Best Places To Visit In Texas - 28 Top Tourist Destinations

A state jam-packed with impressive landscapes, busy cities, history, and culture, Texas is one of those places that has something for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you enjoy a shopping spree, fine dining, outdoor activities, hiking, or museums, Texas has it all.

Thanks to this diverse range of things to do and places to visit, Texas is a great vacation spot. If anything, we have too many places to choose from. Today, we’re here to help those of you planning a trip to Texas.

In this article, you’ll find 28 of the best places in Texas. The places on our list are the spots you don’t want to miss. Without further ado, let’s dive straight into our list!

1. Austin

The first place in Texas on this list is Austin. Austin is the state capital of Texas and is easily one of the best places to visit. Also known as the “Live Music Capital of the World” Austin has a unique vibe and energy that makes it a hugely entertaining place to be.

This lively city has everything. It has an incredible live music scene, impressive architecture, museums, markets, and some excellent natural landmarks. One of the best natural landmarks in the city is Lady Bird Lake.

This is a beautiful part of the city that has plenty of walking, running, cycling, and even paddle boarding options. Other popular attractions in the city are Congress Street Bridge and the Texas State Capitol Building.

2. Dallas

Another iconic city in Texas is Dallas. As a result of Dallas’ popularity as a tourist destination, the city has seen incredible growth in recent years. The city is a perfect place for couples and families as there are plenty of things to do.

Dallas has an incredible skyline, an interesting art scene, diverse food markets, museums, parks, a zoo, and so much more. If you’re looking for a classic Texas experience, Dallas is the place to go.

Some of the most popular tourist spots include Margarita Mile, the farmer’s market, the Sixth Floor Museum, and Dallas Zoo. One of the best things to do during your time in the city is to take in sunset views of the city from one of the many rooftop bars.

3. San Antonio

If you’re keen to take in more history during your vacation in Texas, you should visit San Antonio. San Antonio is one of the most historic cities in the state. In fact, it is historical relics like The Alamo that draw most people to the city.

You can learn more about San Antonio’s history by exploring the city on a cultural tour or by walking around one of the many museums.  There are plenty of things to do in San Antonio if you don’t like history too.

One of the best is The RiverWalk which takes you along the San Antonio River. Brackenridge Park is a beautiful part of the city too.

4. Fort Worth

The next place on our list is Fort Worth. Fort Worth is one of the cleanest, safest, and most enjoyable places you can visit in Texas. It is home to a wide range of epic tourist attractions and has an awesome food and live music scene.

This city also has a number of lush parks and crystal-clear lakes to explore. You can explore most of these by following one of the many nature trail walks.  Arguably the most exciting part of Fort Worth is Downtown Fort Worth.

This part of the city is extremely entertaining. It is here that tourists will find local shops, market stalls, world-class restaurants, and lively live music halls. Fort Worth Zoo is well worth visiting too.

5. Waco

Waco is a charming city found between Dallas and Austin. Despite being a popular city, it is one that better suits holidaymakers looking for a more relaxed vacation.

Waco isn’t as busy and hurried as the cities above. Instead, it has a more relaxed, almost peaceful atmosphere. Having said that, you’ll still find parts of this city pretty lively. Most people that visit this city leave feeling like Waco is home.

Offering homey vibes and an array of attractions, you simply have to visit. Two of the best attractions in the city are the Dr. Pepper Museum and Magnolia Market. The Bosque River that runs through Waco has plenty to offer too.

6. Houston

If you’re traveling to Texas with your family we would go as far as saying that Houston is the best place to visit. No matter what you enjoy or what you’re looking for, this city has it all.

The largest city in Texas, Houston has something for everyone. If you love sports, you can watch live baseball, football, or basketball. If you love astronomy, you can explore Space Center Houston.

If you love the great outdoors, you can visit one of many parks such as Sam Houston Park. Finally, if you have children with you, you could visit Houston Zoo or the Children’s Museum. This only scratches the surface of this remarkable city, as there is so much more to see and do.

7. Big Bend National Park

Moving away from Texan cities for a while, if there is a place that exemplifies the natural beauty of Texas best, it has to be Big Bend National Park. Situated to the far west of the state, Big Bend National Park’s natural beauty will take your breath away.

This vast landscape is completely undisturbed. Free from any skyscrapers, you’ll be greeted with open skies, challenging hiking trails, stunning canyons, and ancient limestone cliffs. This impressive part of Texas sits in a desert landscape.

Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, it offers sensational isolation. If you’re lucky, you might get to spot some of the local wildlife during your visit.

8. The Natural Bridge Caverns

Next up, we have the Natural Bridge Caverns. This is one of the most unique places you can visit during your visit to Texas. The caverns are a system of limestone caves. Surprisingly large, the structures can be explored via a tour.

Wonderfully, the caverns are also home to a large amphitheater. This is where the tours begin and where the occasional demonstration will take place.

You will find the Natural Bridge Caverns in San Antonio, so make sure you save some time to pay them a visit during your vacation.

9. USS Lexington

The USS Lexington is one of the most visited Museums in Texas. Found in Corpus Christi, the museum sits inside a large aircraft carrier. Also known by the name “the Blue Ghost” this ship served during the Second World War.

Interestingly, the ship was widely regarded as unsinkable, as the Japanese reported trying to sink the ship on multiple occasions with no success. Today, the USS Lexington is a museum that the public can visit if they want to learn more about the ship’s history and the war.

This is a great place to visit if you love the navy or all things history. Not only do you have the chance to learn more, but you also have the opportunity to explore the ship.

10. South Padre Island

Texas is also home to hundreds of miles of pristine coastline. One of the most beautiful shorelines in the state can be found at South Padre Island.

Offering a whopping 34 miles of divine coastline, South Padre is most popular for its gorgeous beaches, impressive sunsets, and abundance of wildlife. For those interested, South Padre Island also has a solid reputation for throwing a good party.

An affordable, relaxing vacation destination for families, South Padre Island has a range of attractions everyone can enjoy. There are also kid-friendly specific attractions too. Lucky visitors might get the chance to see sea turtles during their time in the area.

11. Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park might just be the most impressive national park in Texas. In fact, there’s a good argument to suggest that it’s the best in the United States.

An expansive desert terrain, Guadalupe Mountains National Park looks like it belongs on another planet. Found to the west of El Paso, this hostile environment seems quite intimidating at first. Surprisingly barren, the park’s vastness actually puts some people off.

However, true outdoor enthusiasts will see the park for what it actually is, an outdoor haven. Home to humungous rock formations, incredible wildlife, and beautiful bodies of water, this national park has it all. One of the best spots in the park is Guadalupe Peak.

12. Hamilton Pool

Sticking to the theme of natural beauty, the next place on our list is right up there with the most beautiful places in Texas. Easily one of Texas’ most beautiful sights, Hamilton Pool is a natural pool that offers locals and tourists a place to relax and unwind.

Completely natural, this relaxing oasis is filled with water that comes from an underground river. It is this river that provides the plants that surround the pool with fresh water.

Aside from offering tourists a great place to kick back and relax, Hamilton Pool also offers an escape from the Texas heat. The pool has a rocky overhang that keeps part of the pool covered.

13. Kimbell Art Museum

Kimbell Art Museum is a super interesting museum with a lot to offer. One of the most interesting things about it is its size. The Kimbell Art Museum is very small.

Whilst this may seem strange, it hasn’t stopped the museum from being considered one of the best museums internationally. Opened in 1965, this museum was commissioned by art collector Kay Kimbell.

The museum strives to introduce visitors to the world of art. Its main aim is to develop a lifelong love for art. The staff at the museum hopes to do this through its collection of permanent art exhibits.

The museum is impressively home to work by El Greco, Picasso, Rembrandt, and Monet. There are more than 350 different pieces of art on display.

14. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Just from its name, you can probably tell what Enchanted Rock State Natural Park has to offer. One of the more magical places in Texas to visit, this part of the state is home to a unique rock intrusion that looks fantastic.

Also referred to as a pluton, the rock is made from a huge pink granite dome. It is more than 400 feet tall and covers more than 600 acres of land. It is believed that the monolith structure at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area has been around for at least 11,000 years.

This structure is something you have to see for yourself if you’re going to appreciate it. There is a lot of history, myths, and mystery surrounding the area, so stop by.

15. Bullock Texas State History Museum

History buffs will love the next tourist attraction on our list. The Bullock Texas State History Museum is easily the best place you can visit if you want to learn more about Texas.

Accurate, engaging, and interactive, this museum has a number of detailed exhibitions that tell visitors more about Texas and its rich history. Those that visit the museum will learn the full story of the state.

The museum is named after Texas’ 38th lieutenant governor. It has been chronicling the history of the state since it first opened in 2001. More than 9 million people have already visited the museum, making it one of Texas’s most popular attractions.

16. Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

Found on the Texas Gulf Coast, Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is a key place you need to visit if you want to have good fun. Jam-packed with entertaining tourist activities, this historic site is home to amusements, shops, games, and amusement rides.

This unique boardwalk also has a wide range of eateries that serve some of the most delicious food. Even if you don’t plan on going on any of the rides or playing in the amusements, this pier is well worth visiting. It is a historic landmark in Galveston.

It was first built in 1940 before being re-established in 1961 and 2008 after hurricane damage.

17. Japanese Tea Garden

Next up, we have San Antonio’s Japanese Tea Garden. The Japanese Tea Garden is where you should visit if you want some peace and quiet during your time in San Antonio.

Originally a quarry, San Antonio officials decided to turn the area into a thriving, lush, vibrant open space both locals and tourists could enjoy. They turned it into a beautiful Japanese Tea Garden complete with flowers, trees, plants, and a lily pond.

To ensure the space was authentic, officials asked a knowledgeable local Japanese family for help. The end result was fantastic. This stunning open space is a great place to unwind and explore. Remember to look out for the koi ponds whilst wandering through the gardens.

18. Schlitterbahn Waterpark

Schlitterbahn Waterpark is one of the best places in Texas you can visit when traveling with your children. Full of entertainment, this waterpark will help you and your family create memories you’ll never forget.

Like a lot of Texan tourist attractions, the waterpark is also a great place to visit if you want to escape the Texas heat. This waterpark is loaded with exciting rides, activities, and accommodation options.

Some of the best attractions on offer include the lazy river, the heated lagoon, the water coaster, and the splash parks. One of the greatest things about the park is that it has something for everyone.

19. El Paso

Moving back to some of the best cities in Texas, one of the very best is El Paso. Famous for its rugged landscape and hot weather, you can’t go wrong in Texas if you visit El Paso.

Offering more than 300 days of sunshine a year, El Paso is the perfect place to visit if you’re seeking a hot vacation in the great outdoors. Thanks to the city’s glorious weather, your days can be filled with breathtaking hikes, scenic adventures, and a hunt for dinosaur footprints.

The best mountain views of the city can be found in the Franklin Mountains. These mountains sit within Franklin Mountains State Park. It is here that you’ll find the best hiking trails.

20. Corpus Christi

There aren’t too many cities in Texas that offer ocean views and a refreshing sea breeze. Corpus Christi is one of the select few that does. Corpus Christi is a beautiful city that sits on the Gulf of Mexico coast.

As a result, the city is blessed with divine white sand beaches and tropical waters. The crystal clear waters here are perfect for swimming all day long. This is probably the best way to escape the Texas heat.

If swimming in the sea isn’t something you enjoy, you could always jump on a boat trip or take part in a local fishing excursion. There’s always the Texas State Aquarium to explore too.

21. Amarillo

Next up, we have Amarillo. Amarillo is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. It is one of the more rugged, natural cities Texas has to offer. The landscape surrounding the city consists of desert canyons, dry greenery, and vast barren lands.

One of the most popular spots here is Cadillac Ranch. This unique attraction, created in 1964, features multiple Cadillacs buried in the ground nose-first. The cars have then been spray painted with unique artwork.

Amarillo is also home to the second-largest canyon in the United States. This canyon is called Palo Duro Canyon. The adrenaline junkies among us will be pleased to hear that you can zipline across this canyon.

22. Conroe

Conroe is the fastest-growing city in Texas. With that in mind, you should consider visiting the city during your Texas vacation. The main reason for this city’s fast growth is its charming nature, relaxed atmosphere, and array of outdoor opportunities.

The city of Conroe sits on Lake Conroe. This is a 22,000-acre lake that sits alongside a national forest. As if the lake itself didn’t offer enough, the forest features more than 96 miles of trails to explore.

As you can imagine, these two natural areas make Conroe one of the best places to hike in Texas. You can hike, run, cycle, fish, bird watch, paddleboard, or simply sit down with a picnic and admire the views.

23. Johnson City

Johnson City is another one of Texas’s cities that is better known for its rich landscape and undisturbed natural areas. Once again, this is a great place to visit if you love the great outdoors. The landscape here is scattered with dense forests, lakes, canyons, and pools.

There are plenty of hiking trails and an abundance of epic viewpoints. That’s not all though! Johnson City is also famous for its exotic zoo.

The exotic zoo in Johnson City offers drive-through and guided tours, giving visitors the chance to get up close and personal with the animals. Some animals found at the zoo include camels, wallabies, emus, and more.

24. Wimberley

Texas also has some of America’s most outstanding small towns. Whilst there are a wide variety of charming towns with plenty to offer, we firmly believe that Wimberley is the best.

The small town of Wimberley has witnessed a dramatic increase in tourism in recent years and it’s not hard to see why. Wimberley has a stunning natural landscape, a charming town center, and hundreds of tourist attractions to visit.

This vibrant town’s main attractions are its natural swimming pools. 100% natural, these swimming pools are a great place to have fun, play, relax, and stay cool.

Jacob’s Well and  Cypress Falls are two of the best. Wimberley is also home to Mount Baldy. It is from here the best panoramic views can be found.

25. Fredericksburg

Another popular Texas small town is Fredericksburg. Situated in the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is a “bite-size” city that offers everything we would expect from a large city, minus the hustle and bustle. Downtown Fredericksburg is where it’s all happening.

This quaint, pretty part of town is full of entertainment options, restaurants, shops, and a museum. Interestingly, Downtown Fredericksburg has German heritage. As a result, you’ll also find German shops and restaurants.

Those of you that like drinking wine will love Fredericksburg too, as the town is home to a variety of vino wineries. You can also access Enchanted Rock State Natural Area from Fredericksburg so be sure to visit if you’re looking for a good hiking destination too.

26. Luckenbach

Luckenbach prides itself on welcoming tourists with open arms. The town’s motto is “Everybody is Somebody in Luckenbach”. With a motto like that, we can expect to feel a warm welcome and appreciation when we visit the town.

Just 13 miles away from Fredericksburg, Luckenbach is just a small community but it has plenty to offer. A rustic, almost old-fashioned town, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time during your stay.

The town has a beautiful surrounding landscape, a rustic saloon, and a dance hall. It is in the dancehall that the town is brought to life. Dancing events and musical performances are held regularly.

Interestingly, this town also holds the world record for the most guitar players playing at the same time. The record is 1,868.

27. Rockport

Texas is also home to a number of quaint beach towns that offer tourists a summer’s break away from city life. Rockport is one of the best. This seaside town is more relaxed and less busy than Corpus Christi.

This makes it a better place to visit if you’re after a quieter, more peaceful break. You’ll leave the beach town feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and relaxed.

Aside from enjoying the sea breeze and taking a dip in the sea, this town has art galleries, the Rockport Center, and a number of unique landmarks. 

28. Terlingua

The final place on this list is Terlingua. This is one of the places in Texas you should try and visit during your vacation. The town itself is great, but it’s also an ideal base for those of you wishing to visit Big Bend National Park.

Terlingua is a small town with a cracking atmosphere. Offering laid-back, relaxed, and fun vibes, the town can be enjoyed by anyone. One of the town’s best attractions is the Starlight Theatre. This is the town’s main hub.

You’ll find live music blaring out of this venue most days. Another popular attraction is the Rio Grande. There are tour companies that offer extremely entertaining rafting tours down this river.

If you enjoy staying somewhere different and unique, Terlingua can help you too. Terlingua is famed for its unique and quirky accommodation options.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, a list of the best places to visit in Texas. Now you’ve made your way through our list, you should have a much better understanding of what Texas has to offer. As you can see from the list, there are loads of great places to visit.

This list could have gone on with more places, but we’ve done all we can to show you the very best. The places on our list are the top tourist destinations the state has to offer (see also “Top 25 Tourist Attractions In The USA“).

We ensured our list has places everyone can enjoy. Now you have this list at your fingertips, you can start planning your Texas vacation.

Alex Kallen
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