The Most Beautiful Towns in Texas

Jefferson is one of the historic towns in Texas that are rich in charm and definitely worth a visit
Jefferson is one of the historic towns in Texas that are rich in charm and definitely worth a visit | © robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo
Rachel Nipper

Texas, the second-largest state in America, is home to many charming towns, exciting cities and beautiful landscapes. Each region possesses a unique economy, geography and culture. Here’s the quintessential guide to 10 must-see spots in Texas and top tips for places to stay.

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Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg is a tourist hotspot in the Texas Hill Country. Founded in 1846 by Prince Frederick of Prussia, it is the sister city of Montabaur, Germany, and much of the quaint town shows strong German influences. Since 1970, the district has featured on the National Register of Historic Places in Texas. You’ll discover eclectic shops, antique stores and museums such as the Pioneer Museum and the National Museum of the Pacific War. After your sightseeing, make sure you dine in one of the many restaurants and relax in a quaint bed and breakfast. If you want to venture further afield, visit Enchanted Rock: a large, pink, granite pluton formation less than 20 miles north of the town.

Jefferson

Jefferson is located in between Caddo Lake and Lake o’ the Pines. The local economy thrives on tourists, who visit for the outdoor recreational activities and history. Jefferson also hosts several fun events ever year, like the Holiday Trail of Lights and the Barbecue Cook-Off. Activities to take in the landscape include paddle steamer trips and lake tours. There are also horse-drawn carriage rides, antique shops, and ghost tours.

Marfa

Marfa, a small city in West Texas, is known for the legendary Marfa Lights. They’re a nightly display of bright lights, a gorgeous phenomenon that’s remained unexplained since 1883. The tiny town also hosts a variety of museums, wineries and art galleries. Prada Marfa, a one-room replica of a Prada store, is a permanent art installation roughly 26 miles from the city. Marfa is also near to Big Bend National Park, home to more than a thousand plant species, including a staggering 60 types of cactus. Big Bend is also popular for hiking trails, birdwatching and backpacking tours.

Hunt

Hunt is located in the center of the Texas Hill Country – a beautiful grouping of limestone peaks – and has outstanding lakes, rivers and rolling hills. An array of private camps built along the Guadalupe River have been running here since the 1920s. The north and south forks of the river converge here, creating beautiful natural scenery and the perfect place for outdoor recreation. Rent a home along the river, visit the Kerr Wildlife Management Area, build a campfire or stay at one of the many resorts that the small, historic town offers. Alternatively, you could take a trip to the Rodeo and Dance Hall in Crider, where a rodeo is held during summer evenings.

Wimberley

Just an hour outside of Austin, the city of Wimberley is the perfect spot for a peaceful escape and beautiful sightseeing. It’s home to a large number of shops, with Wimberley Square being the hotspot for antique and speciality shoppers. You will also find a variety of cabins, bed and breakfasts, inns and cottages, as well as artists’ galleries. The location of the city at the meeting point of the Blanco River and Cypress Creek supports a vast array of outdoor recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, camping, hiking, walks and horseback riding. Many tourists arrive in Wimberley on the first Saturday of every month, when Market Days are held.

Salado

Salado is a small village in central Bell County, Texas, and home to the oldest hotel to be kept continuously operating in the state, Stagecoach Inn. Salado is rich in Texas history, with just fewer than 20 of the locations there listed on the National Register of Historical Places; it’s also known for a great many bed and breakfasts. Main Street offers a large number of charming shops, as well as delicious cafes and restaurants. Here, you can take a carriage tour, visit a winery or sculpture garden, or peruse myriad art, clothing, furniture or candy stores.

Port Isabel

Port Isabel is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state, and offers beautiful views and convenient access to local beaches and water. Located on Laguna Madre Bay, Port Isabel offers great sports fishing, kayaking, parasailing, boating tours, and dolphin watching. If you’re going to stay in a port town then you may as well find a place which looks out over the sea.

Canyon

Canyon is a small town in the Texas Panhandle that eventually turns into the Palo Duro Canyon, the second-largest canyon in the United States. Other visitor attractions include the Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum and tours of working ranches.

Gonzales

Gonzales is a charming and historic small town in the southeast region of the state. Gonzales offers a variety of enchanting bed and breakfasts and inns, as well as a selection of museums, including the Old Jail Museum and the Pioneer Village Living History Center. Other popular attractions include antique and specialty shops, paddling trails down the Guadalupe River, and the Palmetto State Park. The park contains a small lake, picnic locations and barbecue pits, while the San Marcos River runs through it. Every October, the town holds the Come and Take It Festival, celebrating the Texan fight for independence.

Fort Stockton

Fort Stockton is named after Robert F. Stockton, a United States commodore who, in the Mexican-American War, aided the capture of California. It’s a town built around Comanche Springs, one of the greatest sources of spring water in the state. Today, it’s also home to several historic museums, fort tours, and quaint coffee and wine-tasting shops.

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