Sitting at nearly 270,000 square miles, it’s no surprise that planning a visit to Texas can be overwhelming! Where do you go? How many cities do you visit? What should you do? While there are countless wonderful things to see in each part of the state, we’ve narrowed down our top ten favorite tourist destinations that are a must-see in the Lone Star state.
The Alamo and River Walk in San Antonio
One of the most important landmarks representing the Texas Revolution, The Alamo resides in San Antonio, Texas. This piece of Texas history is a must-see for anyone visiting the Lone Star state. Tour the grounds of The Alamo to see restored buildings, and walk through the gardens. When you’re done with your history lesson, head on over to the famous River Walk to stroll, shop and dine. This 15-mile waterway in the heart of downtown in a main reason tourists visit San Antonio. Explore the river by foot or climb aboard a river barge for a unique experience. There’s something for everyone here!
Big Bend National Park
Escape to a place that hardly makes you feel like you are in Texas. Located in the Southwest tip of Texas, near Mexico, lies beautiful landscape and breathtaking views! Big Bend National Park is the perfect destination for the true nature lover, as it is chalk-full of wild adventures like hiking, horseback riding, rafting, ziplining, camping, mountain biking and so much more. Get a glimpse of the wildlife or spend the days relaxing in a luxurious spa retreat. We promise this top destination will not disappoint.
The Texas State Capitol in Austin
Enjoy learning about the history of Texas and its long lasting traditions at the State Capitol Building. Featuring seasonal and permanent exhibits, you’ll get a first-hand look at the rich culture of Texas through the eyes of cowboys and cowgirls, Texas Revolution soldiers and more! Enjoy a free 30-minute tour and walk the historic halls, or pick up a free self-guided pamphlet and take it at your own pace. You’ll be amazed at the massive three-story structure and its elegant architectural details. If you’re a history buff, you won’t want to miss this one!
Fort Worth Stockyards
Ready for a little glimpse into Texas nightlife? The Fort Worth Stockyards is the ultimate destination to eat, shop and play! Enjoy boutique shopping and horseback riding during the day, then get your dancing boots on for some live music, two-steppin’ and craft beers after dark. The Fort Worth Stockyards also hosts multiple seasonal events, so there is always something going on. Come see how the west gets wild!
South Padre Island
Yes, Texas has beach destinations too! Known for its gorgeous waters, South Padre Island is a resort town on a barrier island of the same name, off the southern coast of Texas. Enjoy a day sunbathing on the sand, or check out the long list of daring excursions from skydiving to parasailing or scuba diving. Other things to do in South Padre include fishing, shopping, live music and the Sea Turtle Art Trail.
Cadillac Ranch Amarillo
A true Texas road trip icon, Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas has been a famous roadside attraction over the years that always attracts onlookers, and for good reason. Comprised of graffitied Cadillacs stuck into the ground; the spectacle is truly a site to see. Where exactly is it? Just west of the Amarillo city line on I-40, exit 60. Follow the frontage road on the south side of I-40 (old Route 66) east for 1 mile, and Cadillac Ranch will be up on your right. Park your car on the shoulder and enter through the unlocked gate. Have fun!
Guadalupe River in New Braunfels
If you’ve ever heard someone talk about “floating the river in Texas”, they probably mean floating the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels. Spend the day under the sun cascading down the river on a giant innertube listening to music and enjoying the refreshing water. Large rafts and canoes are available too! There are various places along the river to rent equipment for floating the river. Before you go, be sure to check the water levels as some parts of the river close during dry seasons.
Space Center Houston
Looking for something the whole family can enjoy? Space Center Houston is a leading science and space exploration learning center. With over 400 things to see and do, this destination is perfect for young, curious minds looking to explore the marvels of space. The Space Center offers hands-on learning events, explorer camps and overnight experiences.
Reunion Tower Dallas
Reunion Tower in Dallas, Texas is the perfect destination for a romantic date night. Create a night to remember 470 feet above the Dallas skyline. Explore the GeO-Deck for breathtaking views before heading down to Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck restaurant for contemporary Asian dishes and hand-crafted cocktails.
Marfa, Texas may very well be the little-known gem of West Texas. With a population of only 1,800 people, Marfa is a small town focused on enjoying the simple things in life. This quaint, but full-of-life destination offers shopping, unique eateries, art galleries and museums, and the Marfa Lights. The Marfa Mystery Lights, as some call them, draw visitors from around the country. The source of the lights remains a mystery, but they are worth a trip to experience.
Whether you’re visiting North, South, East or West regions of Texas, there is a perfect tourist destination for everyone. We hope this comprehensive list will help make planning your trip a bit easier. Happy travels!