Headed south, way down Texas way? There are plenty of attractions to entertain and delight travelers of all ages. Gregory Steinberg of Austin Texas explores some popular tourist destinations, hidden gems, and travel tips for exploring the Lone Star State.
Texas is well-known and loved for its combination of Southern hospitality and Wild West spirit combined with a rich history and vibrant cultural fabric. The following are some of the most popular Texas tourist destinations that you won’t want to miss:
- The Alamo: Always remember this one! Texas history is brought to life in this epically famous battle site.
- San Antonio River Walk: Hailed by many as the #1 attraction in Texas, this scenic walk offers arts shows, shopping, dining, and festive river parades tied to a wide range of holidays, including the Day of the Dead.
- Space Center Houston: Children and adults alike an learn everything there is to know about space exploration at this immersive museum experience.
- The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden: This is one of the top botanical gardens in the world, with 1.4 million plants trailed over its 66 beautifully landscaped acres.
- The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza: This fascinating museum is located in the building of the former Texas Book Depository and chronicles the presidential legacy – and heartbreaking assassination – of President John F. Kennedy.
Hidden Gems in the Lone Star State
Want to explore Texas off the beaten path? Consider visiting one of these hidden gems:
- Mission San Jose: A great alternative to The Alamo, this Spanish frontier mission in San Antonio offers a mariachi mass.
- Japanese Tea Gardens: This stunning beautiful garden in San Antonio started as a rock quarry and grew into one of the most gorgeous sites in the city. It’s now on the National Register of Historic Places!
- Enchanted Rock State National Area: This is a magical natural area for hiking and exploring, featuring a 325-foot-high pink rock dome above a flowing stream.
- Waco Mammoth National Monument: Dino lovers will dig this paleontological museum where they can see the eponymous fossils!
Here are a few tips as you plan your adventure in the Lone Star State:
- Check the weather and pack accordingly – The weather can vary widely, so check the weather forecast and bring lots of layers and temperatures can dip in the evenings. If you’re going to be outdoors, bring your walking shoes!
- Enjoy the local cuisine – Be sure to enjoy the state’s classic meals, like authentic Tex-Mex, Texas chili, chicken fried steak, and Texas-style barbecue!
- Transportation – Texas is a very large state, so make sure you choose an airport that is closest to where you’ll be spending your time (Houston, Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth). If driving, make sure you have enough gas and be prepared to spend a lot of time in the car – which will allow for sightseeing side trips!
- Mexico – Our neighboring country borders Texas, so if you plan to pop over the border, have your passport handy, get whatever vehicle entry permits are needed, and understand the rules about item restrictions and customs declarations.
Texas has a wide variety of historical, natural, and entertaining attractions to choose from, making it a wonderful travel destination for the whole family!