Discover Texas: The Top Places to Visit and Explore

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the list of the best places to visit. From the bustling cosmopolitan cities to the tranquil Hill Country, the Lone Star State is brimming with diverse landscapes and unique experiences, no matter if you prefer a small town or a big city.

As a Texas Travel Blogger (who was recently rated as the best travel blogger in Texas), we spend all our time travelling around Texas in the United States. We aim to find all the fun things to do in the big cities as well as driving through back roads to find the hidden gems of small towns.

So if you are looking for the top places to visit and explore in Texas, you’re in the right place! Whether you’re travelling during the summer months or not, you can make use of our website to plan all your trips and find the main attractions to see. This guide lists both indoor and outdoor activities, so you can have fun no matter the weather.

With our latest edition of our Texas Travel Guide, you can take an exciting vacation every weekend without breaking the bank and still have more to do! And in just one trip, the guide pays for itself! You’ll be amazed at all the hidden gems, international influence, and wacky attractions you’ll find all over Texas!

Not ready to purchase yet? We wanted to make this guide as accessible as possible, so we’ve shared our 1st edition of our guide, 50 Texas Trips Under $50. Click the button below to get yours for FREE!

Top Touristy Spots to Visit in Texas

Austin, Texas

A trip to Texas is not complete without a trip to Austin, a city that perfectly combines the old and the new. It’s known for its vibrant live-music scene, with country, blues, and rock performances echoing from every corner. Of course, Austin is also weird, colorful, and known for all of the opportunities to get outdoors.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the Texas State Capitol and the beautiful Zilker Botanical Gardens, a great place for a picnic.

a collage of best places to visit in austin texas

San Antonio

San Antonio, home to the historic Alamo, is another stop you won’t want to skip. The picturesque network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, is a must-see.

Here you’ll find some of the best Tex-Mex as well as the famous breakfast tacos, which are a major food group if you live in San Antonio. However, that’s only the typical touristy stuff. We’ve got all the hidden gems and exciting things to do in San Antonio for you to check out.

a collage of the best places to visit in san antonio texas

Big Bend

For nature lovers, Big Bend National Park offers a remote getaway with stunning vistas, clear night skies, and breathtaking hiking trails. It’s a drive, but it’s an affordable option that people will love and one of the best state parks around!

Take on all of the best hikes at Big Bend National Park, stay at all of the unique glamping options, and don’t forget to spend some time in the old ghost town of Terlingua.

Big Bend National Park rock formations


If you’re longing for the best time at a serene coastal retreat, the city of Galveston is the perfect place. With its historic Pleasure Pier, where you can indulge in thrilling rides at an amusement park, and its picturesque beaches that offer a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, Galveston is a destination that promises to exceed your expectations.

Immerse yourself in the rich history of this coastal gem. You can explore its vibrant local culture, and create unforgettable memories against the backdrop of breathtaking ocean views. Galveston truly is the best thing for those seeking a perfect blend of charm, excitement, and natural beauty.

a collage of the best places to visit in Galveston texas


For those who appreciate a thriving urban environment rich with culture and innovation, Houston is the city to visit. Houston stands as the largest city in Texas, famous for its dynamic arts scene. The city’s Museum District is a cultural hub, presenting 19 museums in a convenient 1.5-mile radius.

The city’s culinary scene is equally impressive, serving up everything from gourmet dining to delectable street food. Sports enthusiasts will find themselves at home here, with the city boasting major league sports teams including the Houston Rockets, Astros, and Texans. Embrace the bustling energy of this dynamic city, and don’t forget to visit the fascinating Space Center Houston, where you can delve into the wonders of our universe.

Houston, with its diverse range of attractions and activities, truly embodies the spirit of Texas.

a collage of the best places to visit in houston texas

Fort Worth

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in authentic Texas culture and history, then Fort Worth has a bunch of popular attractions. The city, affectionately known as ‘Cowtown’, offers a unique blend of the Old West and modern sophistication.

History enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the Fort Worth Stockyards. It’s a place where you can experience an authentic cattle drive and embrace the legacy of the Old West. Here, you can also shop for traditional western attire and immerse yourself in the ambience of times past.

The city’s cultural district boasts world-class museums like the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. The Fort Worth Zoo is also worth a visit. Not to be missed is the thriving Sundance Square. It’s a vibrant 35-block entertainment district filled with restaurants, boutiques, and performance venues.

Fort Worth also hosts the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, a quintessential Texas experience. With its rich history, flourishing arts scene, and warm hospitality, Fort Worth provides a true taste of Texas charm and spirit.

a collage of the best places to visit in fort worth


Dallas, the third-largest city in Texas, is a bustling hub known for its thriving economy, vibrant arts scene, and iconic skyline. The city is home to a rich tapestry of neighborhoods, each boasting their own unique character and charm.

Downtown Dallas is a mecca for culture and entertainment, with attractions like the Dallas Museum of Art, the Crow Collection of Asian Art, and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. For sports enthusiasts, Dallas proudly hosts the Cowboys, Mavericks, and Stars, ensuring a full calendar of high-powered sporting events.

Food-lovers will revel in the city’s culinary scene, which ranges from authentic Texas barbeque to innovative world cuisines. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the historic West End district. It’s where you can explore the fascinating Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

Dallas, with its captivating blend of southern hospitality and cosmopolitan flair, is a city that delights at every turn. Even more, you’ll be amazed at our international culinary scene, unique spas, and a list of attractions you probably didn’t know Dallas had.

an ice cream, a ferris wheel and a hotdog stand

Corpus Christi

Known as the “Sparkling City by the Sea,”. Corpus Christi is a coastal city in southern Texas that beckons visitors with its stunning Gulf Coast beaches, vibrant nightlife, and diverse cultural offerings.

The city boasts the Texas State Aquarium, a haven for an extensive variety of marine species waiting to be discovered. Additionally, the USS Lexington, a decommissioned aircraft carrier now a museum, offers a captivating glimpse into naval history.

For those who enjoy the great outdoors, the Padre Island National Seashore offers miles of beautiful beaches and is the perfect spot for camping, bird watching, and fishing. Corpus Christi’s culinary scene is a delightful blend of Tex-Mex flavors and fresh seafood, offering a unique taste experience.

With its endless sunshine, rich history, and friendly locals, Corpus Christi encapsulates the laid-back, welcoming vibe of Gulf Coast Texas.

a dolphin and a boat


Nestled in the heart of Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is a small city known for its German heritage. This place offers visitors a unique mix of Texan hospitality and European charm. This city is renowned for its historic downtown, where you can stroll along Main Street, lined with shops selling antiques, local crafts, and delectable pastries. One of Fredericksburg’s key attractions is the National Museum of the Pacific War. It is dedicated to the history of World War II in the Pacific.

The city is positioned along the Texas Wine Trail, making it a prime destination for wine lovers. With more than 50 wineries and vineyards in the vicinity, visitors can indulge in exceptional tastings and tours.

Fredericksburg is also the gateway to the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. The place has a massive pink granite dome, perfect for hiking and stargazing. With its blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culinary scene, Fredericksburg provides a unique cultural experience in the heart of Texas.

a picture of a grape and a winery you can visit in fredericksburg


Situated along the Brazos River. Waco is a city in Central Texas that is bursting with history, culture, and natural beauty. Known primarily as the home of Baylor University, Waco also boasts a number of remarkable attractions.

The Dr. Pepper Museum, housed in the original 1906 Dr. Pepper bottling plant, pays homage to the beloved beverage born in Waco. History buffs will appreciate the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, which details the storied history of the legendary law enforcement agency.

One of the city’s most famous sites is the Magnolia Market at the Silos. It is run by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s ‘Fixer Upper’ fame, which features a retail store, food trucks, and a bakery.

For nature lovers, Cameron Park offers miles of trails for walking, biking, and running, as well as access to the Brazos River for paddling and fishing. Waco, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and scenic landscapes, is a city that offers something for everyone.

sunset in waco and a hand holding a glass

San Marcos

San Marcos, a vibrant city nestled in the heart of Texas Hill Country, is renowned for its natural beauty and dynamic arts scene. The city is home to Texas State University, a major contributor to its lively atmosphere and robust cultural offerings.

The university’s Wittliff Collections is a must-visit, housing an extensive array of Southwest literature, photography and music. For outdoor enthusiasts, the San Marcos River provides a crystal-clear waterway perfect for tubing, kayaking, or simply enjoying a picnic on its banks.

The city’s downtown square is a hub of activity. It is filled with eclectic shops, art galleries, and a wide variety of restaurants. History buffs can delve into the past at the LBJ Museum of San Marcos, dedicated to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s formative college years. San Marcos’ combination of natural splendour, cultural attractions, and historic richness makes it an enticing destination in Texas.

things to do in san marcos texas

Small Town Gems to Visit in Texas

New Braunfels

Situated between San Antonio and Austin, New Braunfels is a small city in Texas that exudes an enchanting blend of German heritage and Texan charm. A key feature of the city is its two clear, spring-fed rivers, perfect for tubing, swimming, or simply relaxing by the water. New Braunfels is home to the original Schlitterbahn Waterpark. A family-friendly summer staple offering thrilling water rides and relaxing river floats.

The Gruene Historic District offers history buffs an authentic window into the city’s heritage, showcasing well-maintained buildings and quaint antique shops. At its heart lies Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas, brimming with historic charm.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Natural Bridge Caverns, a spectacular underground network of caves open to exploration. With its vibrant festivals, particularly the annual Wurstfest, a ten-day salute to sausage, New Braunfels promises an authentic and unique Texas experience.

a castle in new braunfels

Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake, nestled on the border between Texas and Louisiana, serves as a natural sanctuary for lovers of the outdoors. It holds the distinction of being the sole natural lake in Texas. It is named after the Caddo Nation who once lived in the area.

The lake is famed for its enchanting beauty and diverse array of wildlife. With its mystic bayous and labyrinth of cypress trees draped with Spanish moss, the lake offers a unique, almost magical, landscape for exploration.

Home to more than 70 species of fish and countless species of birds, Caddo Lake is a vibrant ecosystem and an important habitat for wildlife. Visitors can take guided boat tours to navigate the waterways, go fishing, or simply engage in bird watching. With a multitude of campsites and cabins available for rent, it’s also a popular spot for overnight stays.

The rich history, stunning natural beauty, and diverse wildlife of Caddo Lake make it a must-visit destination in Texas. While in Caddo, make sure to also visit Jefferson Texas, known as the bed and breakfast capitol of Texas.

a collage of the best places to visit in new braunfels

Beaumont, Texas

Beaumont, Texas, located near the Louisiana border, is a city steeped in history and rich in natural beauty and cultural diversity. It is famous for its pivotal role in the Texas oil boom. Their rich history is showcased at the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum. This museum provides visitors with a compelling look into the era that dramatically shaped the region’s economy.

The city also caters to nature enthusiasts with the Big Thicket National Preserve. It’s a sprawling area of diverse ecosystems that house hundreds of plant and animal species.

Beaumont’s commitment to the arts and entertainment shines through in the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, a cultural hub for the region. The historic Jefferson Theatre further embodies this spirit, serving as a monument to the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Additionally, the city’s culinary landscape offers traditional Southern cuisine alongside diverse international fare. Beaumont, with its blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, is a captivating destination in Texas.

a woman doing yoga and a waterpipe

Frisco, Texas

Frisco, Texas, is a vibrant city located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, recognized as a premier destination for sports enthusiasts. Known as the ‘Sports City USA,’ Frisco boasts numerous state-of-the-art sporting venues.

The Ford Center at The Star, a 12,000-seat venue, serves as the Dallas Cowboys’ world headquarters and training facility. Baseball fans can enjoy a game at the Dr Pepper Ballpark, home to the Frisco RoughRiders. For soccer aficionados, the Toyota Stadium, home of FC Dallas, is a must-visit.

The Comerica Center, home to the Dallas Stars’ practice facility and executive offices, offers an immersive experience for ice hockey fans. Additionally, Frisco is the proud host of the NCAA Division I Football Championship, drawing college football enthusiasts from across the nation. The city also welcomes fans to the Frisco Bowl, another highlight in the collegiate sports calendar.

With a plethora of shopping, dining, and entertainment options complementing its sports-centric attractions, Frisco, Texas, is a vibrant sports getaway. Or go for video game spots like the National Video Game Museum, Nerdvana, and more.

a collage of the best places to visit in Frisco Texas

Round Rock, Texas

Round Rock, Texas, is a dynamic city renowned for its family-friendly attractions and robust economy. The city’s crown jewel is Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, America’s largest indoor water park.

This resort offers a unique blend of recreational activities. It includes thrilling water slides, a massive wave pool, luxury cabana rentals, world-class dining options, and a state-of-the-art convention center.

The resort also hosts a variety of family-friendly indoor and outdoor adventures, such as mini-golf, bowling, arcade games, and a safari-themed adventure park.

a collage of the best places to visit in Round rock Texas

Dripping Springs, Texas

Dripping Springs, Texas is fondly known as the ‘Gateway to the Hill Country. This city lures visitors with its natural beauty, flourishing culinary scene, and rich cultural heritage. It’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a multitude of nature trails, parks, and spring-fed swimming holes like Hamilton Pool and Blue Hole.

The city is also known for its thriving craft beverage industry. It houses numerous breweries, distilleries, and wineries, including the popular Deep Eddy Vodka Distillery and Driftwood Estate Winery.

Dripping Springs is also renowned for its vibrant food scene. The city features an array of local restaurants that serve everything from authentic Tex-Mex to gourmet farm-to-table fare. Additionally, its historic Mercer Street is the epicenter of local culture. The street is lined with boutiques, eateries, and live music venues, always buzzing with activities and events.

a collage of the best places to visit in Dripping Springs

Castroville, Texas

Castroville, Texas is often referred to as the ‘Little Alsace of Texas. It is a charming city known for its distinct Alsatian influence. This unique cultural blend is a result of the city’s founding by Henri Castro. Henri is a Frenchman who brought settlers from Alsace, France, in the 19th century.

This heritage is seen today in the architectural style of the original stone homes and the city’s traditional annual events. The city is home to the renowned Castroville Historic District. It is where visitors can take a step back in time and explore the preserved Alsatian homes.

The city is also famous for Castroville Regional Park, a natural haven offering fishing, hiking, camping, and opportunities to enjoy the serene Medina River.

a collage of the best places to visit in castroville

Dublin, Texas

Dublin, Texas is fondly called the “Irish Capital of Texas”. It holds a distinctive place in the Lone Star State for its rich Irish heritage and history.

The city’s claim to fame is the Old Doc’s Soda Shop. They are known historically as the Dublin Bottling Works, where Dr Pepper was bottled for the first time. This shop stands as a celebrated site for the globally recognized soft drink. While the Dublin Bottling Works no longer produces Dr Pepper, it continues to produce a line of pure cane sugar sodas that are enjoyed by all.

The city also hosts an annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration that attracts visitors from far and wide, featuring a parade, traditional Irish music, and a carnival. Dublin’s historical downtown district features an array of shops offering antiques, crafts, and distinctive local items. These establishments contribute to the city’s quaint, rustic allure.

The Ben Hogan Museum is another must-visit spot in Dublin. It is dedicated to the life and accomplishments of the legendary golfer who was born in this quaint city.

a picture of bottles of soda in dublin texas

Denison, Texas

Situated in North Texas a short drive from the Oklahoma border, Denison is a vibrant city steeped in a rich mix of history and culture. It is perhaps best known as the birthplace of the 34th U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and visitors can explore his childhood home and the adjacent Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site.

Denison’s downtown area, locally known as “Denison Main Street,” is a historic district that features a charming blend of antique shops, boutiques, and local cuisine, set against the backdrop of picturesque Victorian and early 20th-century buildings.

Another attraction is the Red River Railroad Museum, which offers a glimpse into the town’s important role in railway history. For nature enthusiasts, Lake Texoma, bordered by Denison, is a true paradise, providing ample opportunities for fishing, boating, and camping. Denison, with its unique heritage and welcoming community, gives visitors a wholesome and enriching Texan experience.

a collage of the best places to visit in Denison Texas

Laredo, Texas

Laredo, nestled on the border between Texas and Mexico, is a city rich in history and culture. Its roots are traced back to the Spanish colonial period, influencing its vibrant multicultural ambiance. One of its most notable landmarks is the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum, preserving the history of the short-lived country that Laredo once was.

The city’s San Agustin Historic District boasts beautiful Spanish colonial architecture, featuring the San Agustin Cathedral, a sight to behold.

Laredo is also home to the largest inland port in the US, emphasizing its importance in trade and commerce. Its annual Washington’s Birthday Celebration is a month-long event that includes parades, a jalapeño festival, and an air show, drawing crowds from all over.

Whether you’re indulging in the delicious Tex-Mex cuisine, exploring the scenic Lake Casa Blanca International State Park, or enjoying shopping at the San Bernardo Avenue, Laredo provides an immersive Texas-Mexico border experience.

a collage of a swimming pool, falls and a peacock

Best Places to Visit in Texas in the Fall

San Saba, El Paso, and Plano

San Saba, often called the ‘Pecan Capital of the World,’ is a lovely fall destination. The city’s picturesque beauty is heightened by the vibrant hues of autumn, especially during the Pecan Jam music festival. Meanwhile, El Paso offers a distinctive fusion of Texan and Mexican cultures.

In autumn, the must-see Franklin Mountains State Park provides a breathtaking panorama of fall colors. In Plano, Texas, fall brings a delightful blend of mild weather and colorful foliage. Take a stroll through the charming downtown area, adorned with festive decorations, or visit one of the many parks to experience the beauty of nature’s transition.

Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in seasonal treats and explore the local events and festivals that make Plano a wonderful place to be during the fall season.

Plus Check Out Our Full List of Best Places in Texas to Visit in Fall

Best Places to Visit in Texas in the Winter

McAllen, Big Bend National Park, Frisco, and Round Rock

If you’re looking to escape the harsh winter chills, heading south to McAllen is a fantastic choice. Known for its vibrant food scene, this city also offers beautiful hiking trails, making it an attractive destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Another southern jewel is the Big Bend National Park, which provides a spectacular landscape for winter hiking and camping, without the extreme cold of northern regions.

If you prefer urban centers, Frisco is a great option. Despite winter temperatures, it offers plenty of indoor activities like shopping, museums, and sports facilities.

Round Rock is another choice known for its indoor waterpark, perfect for a fun-filled family outing and a warm retreat from the outdoors. Whether sliding down water slides or floating in the lazy river, Round Rock ensures a memorable winter escape.

Best Places to Visit in Texas in the Spring

Ennis, Marble Falls, and the Texas Hill Country

When spring blooms in Texas, Ennis shines as the ‘Bluebonnet Capital of Texas’. The Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival in April offers over 40 miles of mapped driving trails, showcasing a vibrant sea of blue. Marble Falls hosts the annual Burnet Bluebonnet Festival, featuring wildflowers, a carnival, live music, and a grand parade in mid-April.

The Texas Hill Country boasts rolling hills, canopies of wildflowers, and charming Fredericksburg, making it a must-visit for an unforgettable Texan spring experience.

 A woman enjoying a beautiful field of bluebonnets, surrounded by vibrant colors and nature's beauty.

Best Places to Visit in Texas in the Summer

Concan, San Marcos, and Junction

When the Texan summer heat is at its peak, there’s no better way to cool off than by visiting the enticing swimming holes available across the state. Concan, famous for the Frio River, is a top pick for clear, cool waters that provide a refreshing escape from the summer sun. Tubing, swimming, and picnicking along the river’s banks are popular activities that you can indulge in while enjoying the serene landscape.

Moving on to San Marcos, the city offers numerous natural spring-fed swimming holes that maintain a steady temperature, making them perfect for summer frolics. Lastly, Junction, a treasure trove in the heart of Texas, boasts beautiful rivers and lakes, inviting you to dive in, cool off, and enjoy the summer in true Texan style.

Don’t miss the chance to beat the heat and experience the enchanting waters of these Texan summer destinations.

Plus Check Out Our Best Swimming Holes in Texas Post

No matter what your preferences are, Texas has a place that will leave you with unforgettable memories. Texas is more than you might expect and we hope our guide will give you a glimpse into that!

Plus check out our 50 Texas Trips Under $50 guide to help you out. Explore the land where the West begins and discover the true heart of American southern hospitality.

Last Updated 3 months ago by Jessica Serna | Published: July 30, 2023