As the second-largest state in the United States, Texas is bigger than even some countries are. Home to both small-town country and winding rural roads as well as bustling big cities and vibrant art and culture, this welcoming land is as diverse as it can be. Depending on where you go in Texas, your experience may differ. You’ll find live music and an outdoorsy vibe in Austin, buzzing nightlife in Houston, and impressive colonial heritage in San Antonio. Join us as we explore every corner of this vast state and present you the best places to go on vacation in Texas, in detail.
On the more modern end of the spectrum, Dallas is a history-rich metropolis in the northern part of the state. Although it remained in history as the site where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, the city is home to spectacular art and culture at the Dallas Museum of Art, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden - a breathtaking botanical garden set on the White Rock Lake - and the Reunion Tower, an observation deck with sweeping views of the city skyline, two restaurants, and stunning light shows. Visitors interested in going more in-depth behind the Kennedy assassination can explore the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, the sniper’s nest, that has today been turned into a museum displaying exhibits of Kennedy’s presidency and assassination.
Address: 00 Reunion Blvd E, Dallas, TX 75207, USA
Website: Reunion Tower
Opening hours: 10am - 9:30pm (daily)
The state capital of Texas, Austin, is for the music lovers as much as it is for families with children, and outdoors enthusiasts. People come here for the country, blues, and rock music, for the scenic parks, but also the plethora of biking and hiking trails, and the water sports. Some of the experiences to add to your Austin bucket list include boating on the Lady Bird Lake in Zilker Metropolitan Park, swimming in the Barton Springs Municipal Pool, an outdoor pool filled with water from the area’s natural springs, and going hiking and fishing in the McKinney Falls State Park.
Zilker Metropolitan Park
Address: 2100 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704, USA
Website: Zilker Metropolitan Park
Opening hours: 5am - 10pm (daily)
3. South Padre Island
If it’s sun, sand, and sea life that you’re looking for, South Padre Island is a fantastic idea. The island’s calm waters make it a great destination whether you’re into water sports or not. For families traveling with children or adults looking to enjoy the full resort experience, check out the rides and slides at the oceanside Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Beach Resort, or hop on the go-karts or compete in a mini-golf game at Gravity Park. Another great place to visit is Sea Turtle Inc., a rescue and rehabilitation center for sea turtles. They rescue injured sea turtles and give them the care they need, educate the public, and help conserve all sea turtle species.
Sea Turtle, Inc.
Address: 6617 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597, USA
Website: Sea Turtle, Inc.
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 4:15pm (closed on Mon)
Price: 6 USD
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4. Big Bend National Park
In a state of extremes and diversity, where we have buzzing big cities, there are also some of the most spectacular natural wonders you will ever see. Big Bend National Park is an excellent example. Here, night skies are pitch black, with only the stars and moon shedding light on the solitary mountain peaks and desert trails. Hikers, climbers, bird aficionados, and canoers all come here to enjoy the many gifts this natural park has to offer. Go on a hike along Santa Elena Canyon Trail, take a sneak peek inside the Fossil Discovery Exhibit, soak in the hot springs’ waters on the edge of Rio Grande River, or spend a few nights camping under the starry skies.
Big Bend National Park
Address: Big Bend National Park, TX, USA
Website: Big Bend National Park
Galveston is another fantastic summer destination, ideal for couples, groups of friends, or families with children. What many perceive as a cruise port, is a marvelous coastal resort with lots to do. It hosts the Moody Gardens, which, contrary to the name, consists of an amusement park, a hotel, an aquarium, two theaters, and its iconic glass pyramid hosting a large rainforest. For some old-fashioned fun, the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier and its waterfront rides are worth a try. Other attractions in Galveston include the Bishop’s Palace, a historic mansion, the Galveston Railroad Museum, and the city’s downtown area.
Address: 1 Hope Blvd, Galveston, TX 77554, USA
Website: Moody Gardens
Opening hours: 10am - 8pm (daily)
Price: 75 USD
Amarillo is in many ways your typical Texan town, depicting America’s Old West. The town is located along Route 66 and is famed for Cadillac Ranch, its quirky but iconic art installation, but also the impressive Palo Duro Canyon State Park, one of the top parks in the United States, and a great outdoor destination for hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. If you’re interested in the area’s natural history, check out the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum and its artifacts. The Amarillo Zoo and the Botanical Gardens should also be on your bucket list, whenever you’re in Amarillo. Expect to see tropical flora and a variety of exotic animals.
Address: 13651 I-40 Frontage Rd, Amarillo, TX 79124, USA
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
7. San Antonio
San Antonio is another big city in Texas, one that boasts a rich colonial heritage. One of the city’s landmarks and a must-see is The Alamo Mission, an 18th-century Spanish fortress and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re looking for accommodation or just want to experience San Antonio’s shopping and dining scene, head to the San Antonio River Walk, a place of landscaped walkways, restaurants, bars, and bridges. Natural Bridge Caverns is also a popular spot, as it hosts cavern tours and an elevated adventure course.
Address: 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
Website: The Alamo
Opening hours: 9am - 7pm (daily)
Whether you’re thinking of visiting Grapevine or not, the answer is simple – you should undoubtedly visit it. The city has everything from modern skyscrapers to historic sites, a lively shopping and dining scene, wineries, but also spas and outdoor adventures. To first get a feel of the city, walk along the Historic Main Street, have a bite to eat, peek inside an art gallery, or check out one of the winery tasting rooms. If you’re looking for a place for the whole family to have fun, check out the theme rides at Legoland or head to the Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium to marvel at thousands of aquatic creatures.
Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium
Address: Mills Mall, 3000 Grapevine Mills Pkwy, Grapevine, TX 76051, United States
Website: Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium
Opening hours: Sun - Fri: 10am - 7pm; Sat: 10am - 8pm
Price: 20.95 USD
9. Texas Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country is a marvelous region located at the crossroads between the central, south, and west part of Texas, where small-town charm meets breathtaking scenery. It abounds in outdoors adventures so get ready to go hiking or camping in picturesque Garner State Park, sip wine and let yourself be swept away by the panoramic sights at the Fall Creek Vineyards, or go tubing down the Guadalupe River. Whenever you’re looking to take a break, there are plenty of great places where you can enjoy a hearty Texan meal.
Fall Creek Vineyards
Address: 18059 Farm to Market Rd 1826, Driftwood, TX 78619, USA
Website: Fall Creek Vineyards
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 11am - 7pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm
10. El Paso
Along the banks of the Rio Grande River spreads the city of El Paso with its unique desert landscape and varied flora. El Paso is a top destination for culture and history buffs, but also for adventure seekers who can choose between Franklin Mountains State Park and Hueco Tanks State Historic Site. The downtown of El Paso is home to The Plaza Theater, living proof of the city’s musical past, but also great for live entertainment today. Art aficionados can check out the El Paso Museum of Art, to find over 7,000 pieces of American, Mexican, and European art. Families looking for entertainment can check out the El Paso Zoo, which hosts daily animal encounters, exhibits from all over the world, and a year-round water play area.
The Plaza Theatre
Address: 125 W Mills Ave, El Paso, TX 79901, USA
Website: The Plaza Theatre
Texas, home to canyons, beaches, big cities, and everything in between
The only thing that can top the Texas vastness is its diversity. The state is home to family-friendly coastal resorts, majestic canyons, old-west towns, and big cities. No matter if you’re tracing the ancient history, or if you’re an outdoor adventurer looking to get an adrenaline rush tubing on Rio Grande River or hiking one of the Texan canyons, there’s a place for you in this widespread state. Check out our list of the best places to go on vacation in Texas; there’s plenty to discover.
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