Texas Gem On The Colorado River: 10 Things To Do In Wharton, Texas

Things to do in Wharton, TX
Catherine
Catherine 
Updated

Known as the Gateway of the Gulf Coast, Wharton, Texas lies 60 miles (96 kilometers) southwest of Houston and 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the Gulf. With the mighty Colorado River running through the town, Wharton is a wonderful example of simplistic Texas living. A railroad town in its early days, Wharton today is a small, yet vibrant community thriving in health, manufacturing and agricultural industries. Here are 10 things to do in Wharton, Texas.

1. Views of tranquil Texas beauty at Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park in Wharton, TX IMG 1057
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Billy Hathorn used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Riverfront Park is a lush green park that lies along the Colorado River. Riverfront Park offers many wonderful nature trails for taking a relaxing stroll or a nice bike ride. Several observation decks allow visitors to enjoy great views of the Colorado River and the wildlife along its banks. Riverfront Park also hosts several fun events and entertaining concerts. It’s a lovely, quiet atmosphere to have a picnic, or drop a fishing line. For avian enthusiasts, bring a pair of binoculars and scope-out the local bird population. Don’t forget to view the life-size dinosaur sculpture located at the west end of the park. The creature stands 20 feet (6 meters) high and 77 feet (23 meters) long!

Riverfront Park

Address: 925-999 East Elm St, Wharton, TX 77488

Website: Riverfront Park

2. Small-town history buffs, head to Wharton County Historical Museum

Wharton County Museum IMG 1054
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Billy Hathorn used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Founded in 1979 by a group of interested locals, Wharton County Historical Museum is dedicated to preserving and educating the Wharton community and its visitors about the history and contributions of this Texas town. Wharton County Historical Museum is small but impressive, with a must-see wild-game trophy room and an intriguing historic doll collection. Newsman and Wharton native Dan Rather’s childhood home sits on the premises. Admission is free and the curators are friendly and informative. Outside there’s even a wonderful cactus garden to explore.

Insider tip: Famed Texas dramatist and Academy Award-winning writer Horton Foote is a native of Wharton as well. And though his home is an unmarked landmark, if you ask around a local will probably be happy to direct you to its location.

Wharton County Historical Museum

Address: 3615 N Richmond Rd, Wharton, TX 77488

Website: Wharton County Historical Museum

3. What's a rotary phone? Find out at 20th Century Technology Museum

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Sharing space with the Wharton County Historical Museum is the 20th Century Technology Museum. Before there were computers there were typewriters and before there were iPhones there were clunky computer modems. All these innovations, along with so much more, are traced at the 20th Century Technology Museum. Visitors are astounded at the size of the museum and the gadgets and gizmos that are housed inside. The museum’s owners have collected a large portion of the items on display. Many are in working condition, so you can get a real hands-on experience.

20th Century Technology Museum

Address: 3615 N Richmond Rd, Wharton, TX 77488

Website: 20th Century Technology Museum

4. Raise the curtain for good times at The Plaza Theater

Plaza Theater in Wharton, TX IMG 1029
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Billy Hathorn used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located in Wharton’s historic town square, The Plaza Theater’s mission is to bring art in various forms to the local community. Rescued from its derelict state in the 1990s, The Plaza Theater is now a fully-operational cultural and entertainment venue that boasts a vibrant array of plays, concerts and special events. With its line-up of impressive shows, The Plaza Theater often hosts a packed house, and attracts performers and audiences from throughout the Texas region.

The Plaza Theater

Address: 120 S Houston St, Wharton, TX 77488

Website: The Plaza Theater

5. Milam Street Coffee & Wall2Wall Words Used Books: classic gathering spot

Coffee Pen Notebook
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Every small town has one; the local friendly coffee shop. And Wharton is no exception. Milam Street Coffee & Wall2Wall Words Used Books is a real gem that’s part coffee shop, bookstore and gift boutique. The menu is small but mighty, with a delicious choice of coffee or tea drinks, as well as malts and milkshakes. Don’t miss Milam Street Coffee & Wall2Wall Words Used Books’ drink specials, like Frap Friday and Smoothie Saturday. If you’re hungry Milam Street Coffee & Wall2Wall Words Used Books has you covered with the Brown Bag Meal Deal: sandwich, drink, chips and dessert for only 8 USD.

Milam Street Coffee & Wall2Wall Words Used Books

Address: 200 W Milam St, Wharton, TX 77488

Website: Milam Street Coffee & Wall2Wall Words Used Books

6. Teepee Motel & RV Park: quirky and cute lodging

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Even if you have no plans to stay at Teepee Motel & RV Park it’s still worth an investigation. One of several kitschy roadside motels that sprouted along US highways in the 1940s, Teepee Motel & RV Park is a worthy stop just to get the low-down on the place’s interesting past. There are claims country singer Willie Nelson stayed here as a youth while working the cotton fields. Another story has Teepee Motel & RV Park being rescued from disrepair by a Texan who won the lottery. Picnic tables and a fire pit occupy the grounds, making a nice, relaxing evening for guests.

Teepee Motel & RV Park

Address: 3699 N Richmond Rd, Wharton, TX 77488

Website: Teepee Motel & RV Park

7. Cozy up to Brahmas at the Heritage Cattle Company!

Brahman cattle graze in Brazos County, Texas. NRCS photo by Beverly Moseley. (24489776063)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user USDA NRCS Texas

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Avoid the ordinary and head over to the extraordinary Heritage Cattle Company. A family owned business, Heritage Cattle Company offers guests a chance to experience close-up the amazing Brahma cattle of Texas. Originally brought over from India, the Brahma cattle with their unique characteristics are a must-see. Just a 10 minute drive from Wharton, in Hungerford, TX, visitors are welcome to tour the ranch and experience these gentle and amazing creatures. Heritage Cattle Company provides a welcoming and friendly atmosphere filled with Southern hospitality.

Heritage Cattle Company

Address: 1832 FM 1161 Rd, Hungerford, TX 77448

Website: Heritage Cattle Company

8. Historic Downtown Courthouse: architectural jewel in the heart of town

Wharton TX Court House
Source: Photo by user Djmaschek used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Originally erected in 1889, the historic Downtown Courthouse of Wharton underwent an extreme face-lift in 2003 that took four years to complete. It was worth the wait. The beautiful structure is a perfect mix of Victorian and Italianate-style elements. A beautiful bell/clock tower completes this majestic-looking building; volunteers hand-wind the weights of both the clockworks and the bell on a weekly schedule. The historic Downtown Courthouse was designed by American architect Eugene T. Heiner, who fashioned many courthouses, county jails, and other public buildings in Texas.

Historic Downtown Courthouse

Address: 100 S Fulton St, Wharton, TX 7748

Website: Historic Downtown Courthouse

9. Cowboy Up Hang Gliding: a bird's eye view of Wharton!

Hang gliding hyner
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Audrey used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Just because Wharton exudes a small-town feel doesn’t mean it lacks big-time action. Experience Cowboy Up Hang Gliding to get a different perspective on Wharton and the surrounding Texas landscape. You’re in good hands as certified instructors take you on a ride of a lifetime. Cowboy Up Hang Gliding is a great way for first-timers to experience the high-flying sport. The team at Cowboy Up Hang Gliding are friendly, helpful, and patient and make guests feel welcome and comfortable.

Cowboy Up Hang Gliding

Address: 714 Robert VonderAu Drive, Wharton, TX 77488

Website: Cowboy Up Hang Gliding

10. Restored Southern Pacific Railroad Depot: celebrating a time gone by

Texas and New Orleans Railroad Depot 2015
Source: Photo by user Larry D. Moore used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Established a century ago, the Restored Southern Pacific Railroad Depot has undergone renovations that have brought it back to its original glory. In its heyday, the Restored Southern Pacific Railroad Depot was the vibrant hub of transportation, news and Wharton social life. Today, there’s a revitalized park and pretty landscaping surrounding the depot building. The Restored Southern Pacific Railroad Depot sits on what was called the “Macaroni Line”, named in honor of the 1,200 Italians who helped lay the track for the New York, Texas, and Mexican Railroad in 1882. Tours are offered to the general public. Call the Wharton Chamber of Commerce for details.

Restored Southern Pacific Railroad Depot

Address: 100 S Sunset St, Wharton, TX 77488

Contact: +1 9795321862

Website: Restored Southern Pacific Railroad Depot

Worry-free riverside life in Wharton

Wharton is a great introduction to travelers to the coastal area of Texas. As the relaxing sound of the Colorado River flows, you get the sense Wharton is one of those towns you stumble upon by accident and then are happy you did. So get lost in the easy-going simple living of small-town Texas and spend some time in Wharton.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

As a child, Catherine's family took a trip to the World's Fair New Orleans and her mom asked what she wanted to see. She exclaimed, "Everything!" She's been working on that endeavor ever since.

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Wharton
Good things are meant to be shared!