What are the best places to visit in Texas? Great question.
The Lone Star State is the biggest of the contiguous 48 states, so there are plenty of options for places to visit. From big, vibrant cities and charming beach towns to mountain landscapes, Texas has got a LOT to offer.
With that many options, though, how do you narrow down where to go?
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14 Best Places to Visit in Texas
Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of the 14 best places to visit in Texas.
Please note – Some of our selections contain affiliate links. These allow us to earn a small percentage every time you make a booking. Using our links enables us to provide all the information found on this site free of charge.
The state capital and perhaps Texas’s most liberal and diverse city, Austin is worth a visit. There are tons of things to do here, no matter what type of travel you’re interested in.
For a unique experience that you can only get in Austin, head to Congress Bridge. Every night around sunset, the largest urban bat colony on the planet emerges by the millions to feed on mosquitoes. Needless to say, it’s quite a sight to see.
San Antonio is famous for its fascinating colonial heritage. This is evident in its most famous attraction: The Alamo. This 18th-century Spanish fort and mission now operates as a museum.
The rest of the city is also full of beautiful Spanish architecture. For a panoramic view of the city, you can also visit the Tower of the Americas.
While you’re in town, you’ll also want to explore the River Walk. Stretching 15 miles down the San Antonio River, this pedestrian promenade is home to many of the city’s major attractions.
You’ll also find plenty of shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants along the way if you need refreshments throughout the day. If you’re looking to explore the city at night, check out this Scenic Night Tour and River Walk Cruise.
On the outskirts of the city, you’ll also find the Natural Bridge Caverns, a popular spot for those interested in underground canopy adventures.
Fredericksburg is located in Texas Hill Country, a region famous for its wine. Wine lovers have plenty of options.
If you’re looking for a way to explore as many vineyards as possible, hop on the 290 Wine Shuttle. Or, if you’re looking to combine wine with an educational experience, check out this Texas Hill Country and LBJ Ranch Tour.
Fredericksburg also offers a rich historical experience. Founded by German settlers in the early 19th century, you’ll find plenty of evidence of this German heritage around town.
To learn more about it, visit the Pioneer Museum for a living history event. End your day by visiting a peach orchard or shopping at the unique boutiques on Main Street.
Founded by German settlers in 1845, New Braunfels is another Texas Hill Country destination. Nestled in between San Antonio and Austin, this town may be small but it packs a big historical punch.
Visit Gruene Historic District to admire the historic buildings dating back to the Civil War. In addition, some of Texas’s best country music is performed at Gruene Hall in the evenings. You can also visit the New Braunfels Railroad Museum and the Sophienburg Museum to learn more about the town’s history.
New Braunfels is also the home of the “longest shortest river in the world.” The 2.5-mile long Comal River both starts and ends in New Braunfels. Tubing is a local favorite, so if you’re looking to escape the heat, this is the perfect way to do it.
New Braunfels is also a hotspot for craft beer. It’s no surprise, considering this town was founded by Germans.
A cultural hub of north Texas, the city of Dallas is one of the state’s main attractions. Having played a major role in both Texan and American history, there’s a lot to explore here.
Perhaps one of the most famous attractions is Dealey Plaza, where the assassination of JFK took place. You can now visit the Sixth Floor Museum dedicated to the event.
If you’re looking to combine a trip to Dallas with nearby Fort Worth, check out this Dallas & Fort Worth Combination City Tour.
Many people pass up Fort Worth because of its proximity to Dallas, but this smaller city is worth a visit.
Fort Worth is known as the crossroads of cowboys and culture, and it’s easy to see why. True to its old West culture, one of its main attractions is the Fort Worth National Historic Stockyards District.
There are also tons of old West restaurants and saloons where you can cool your heels after a long day exploring. If you’ve still got energy left and are up to learning something new, try your hand at square dancing.
Still not sure where to start? Check out this Welcome to Fort Worth 4-Hour Small Group tour.
Another of Texas’s major cities, Houston is twice the size of Dallas and is known as the heart and soul of Texas. With a varied array of attractions, this city has something for literally everyone.
If you’re more into history, there’s a whole district dedicated to 19 of the city’s museums. If you’ll be there in the spring, visit Hermann Park.
But perhaps most importantly, Houston is renowned for its barbecue scene. We’d recommend stuffing yourself with as much as you can.
Galveston is a popular vacation destination for many Texans, and it’s easy to see why. This small coastal city has it all, from beautiful beaches to vibrant urban life.
Some local favorites include Stewart Beach and Galveston Beach. After a day of sunbathing, head to Galveston Pleasure Pier. The boardwalk is home to 15 rides, including the Texas Star Flyer, giving riders an incredible view of the city and the sea.
For excellent shopping and dining options, head inland a few streets to the Strand.
For some history, head to Bishop’s Palace. This Victorian mansion is made of granite, limestone, and sandstone. Not only is the exterior of the building spectacular, but the interior is even more lavishly decorated.
Galveston is also known for spooky happenings. If you’re into that kind of thing, check out this Ghost-Themed Walking Tour of the city’s most haunted attractions.
Big Bend National Park
Located in western Texas along the US-Mexico border, Big Bend National Park is one of the state’s most-visited attractions.
Situated on a bend of the Rio Grande River, this national park spans the Chihuahuan Desert. Many people visiting Big Bend use the town of Alpine as their base.
Each day, you can embark on scenic drives, hiking and biking trails, and more. The South Rim Trail and the Saint Elena Canyon Trail are some of the most popular in the area.
Big Bend is also famous for being home to over 450 species of birds, making it a well-known bird watching site.
South Padre Island
The longest barrier island in the world, South Padre Island provides visitors with 34 miles of beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.
A popular place to surf, swim, and sunbathe, this is as close to paradise as you could get. One of the best beaches in the area is Beach Park at Isla Blanca.
If you’re interested in more than just the beach, head to Sea Turtle, Inc. Here, you’ll learn more about efforts to rehabilitate and protect the local population of sea turtles.
You can also visit the Birding and Nature Center, home to a 5-story viewing tower where you can see migrating birds in action.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
If you’re a hiking enthusiast, this is one of the best places to visit in Texas for you.
Situated on the Texas-New Mexico state border, this national park is home to four of the state’s highest peaks. You can also take advantage of over 80 miles of incredible hiking trails, including Devil’s Hall Trail and Guadalupe Peak Trail.
Guadalupe Peak Trail is known for providing spectacular views of the national park. If you’re up to the challenge, hike 8.5 miles to the peak. During your hikes, you’ll pass through canyons and springs and enjoy amazing views of the vistas and peaks.
Corpus Christi is home to the famous military base, but did you know it’s also a beach town?
This city offers miles of pristine shoreline for you to sunbathe on, including McGee Beach and North Beach. The North Beach area is also home to the USS Lexington, one of the largest surviving aircraft carriers that served in WWII. Today, it operates as a naval museum featuring vintage aircraft and simulations for what life on deck would have been like.
End your evening in SEA, the city’s legendary Sports, Entertainment, and Arts district.
Located in Texas’s westernmost corner across the Rio Grande from Chihuahua, El Paso is known as one of the state’s friendliest cities.
Thanks to its proximity to Mexico, visitors with a taste for spice can enjoy authentic Mexican specialties all day long. If you’re lucky enough to visit during Dia de los Muertos, you’ll find ghost tours operating around the city.
On a regular day, though, you can check out this El Paso & Juarez Downtown Historic Walking Tour.
To learn more about El Paso’s history, visitors can also take a tour of the legendary El Paso Mission Trail.
If you’re looking to escape the city, head to Franklin Mountains State Park, where you can hike across the desert.
Don’t feel like hiking? Then take the Wyler Aerial Tramway up to the peaks of the mountains and enjoy the views along the way.
Located on Mustang Island, Port Aransas is home to several Gulf of Mexico beaches. Port Aransas Beach is the most popular for both swimming and surfing, while the nearby Holiday Beach is a less crowded option.
Port Aransas also offers many opportunities for visitors to learn about and participate in conservation efforts. Check out the Port Aransas Nature Preserve to walk through the gardens and trails and observe the native wildlife.
You can also head to Joan and Scott Holt Paradise pond for great bird watching.
Best Places to Visit in Texas Wrap-up
There you have it: the 14 best places to visit in Texas. With such a wide range of options, you’ll want to explore it all. This list will give you a taste of every side of the state’s personality. So, be sure to explore as many places as you can.