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 our guide to 10 must-see spots in Texas and top tips for places to stay.
Fredericksburg is one of the most popular towns in the Texas Hill Country. Founded in 1846 by Prince Frederick of Prussia, Fredericksburg is the sister city of Montabaur, Germany, and much of the quaint town shows strong German influences. Since 1970, Fredericksburg’s historic district has featured on the National Register of Historic Places in Texas. Here, you will discover eclectic, picturesque shops, antique stores and museums such as the Pioneer Museum and the National Museum of the Pacific War. Stroll along the streets of Fredericksburg’s historic district, dine in one of the town’s many restaurants and relax in one of its quaint bed and breakfasts or inns. Afterwards, visit Enchanted Rock, a large, pink granite pluton formation just less than 20 miles north of the town.
Jump back in time by glamping in a traditional Conestoga wagon on the outskirts of Fredericksburg. These wagons for two, synonymous with 18th and early 19th-century America, have been kitted out with comfy beds, on a site that features communal campfires and a swimming pool.
Jefferson is located in between Caddo Lake and Lake O’ the Pines. Its economy thrives on the tourists who visit for Jefferson’s 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.
You won’t find more authentic accommodation in Jefferson than this French townhouse for up to six people. Built in 1860 by Daniel Alley, one of the town’s founders, this gorgeous white building has been excellently preserved and adapted to modern-day living.
Marfa, a small city of West Texas, is known for its legendary Marfa Lights (a nightly display of bright lights, a phenomenon that is unexplained though documented 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 Texas’ Big Bend National Park, home to more than 1,000 plant species, including a staggering 60 species of cactus. Big Bend is popular for its hiking trails, birdwatching and backpacking tours.
For something a little bit different, slap bang in the middle of Marfa, try staying in this open-plan living space styled like an artist’s workspace. With a pool table, widescreen projector, PS4, record player and room for getting creative, just make sure you don’t spend all your time inside.
Hunt is located in the center of the Texas Hill Country, a beautiful grouping of limestone hills set in central-south Texas, and boasts 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 Crider’s Rodeo and Dance Hall, where a rodeo is held during summer evenings.
Couples in search of a romantic getaway should look no further than this picturesque cabin on the shores of a private lake just outside Hunt. The porch leads right down to its still waters.
Just an hour outside of Austin, the charming city of Wimberley, Texas, is the perfect spot for a peaceful escape and beautiful sightseeing. Wimberley is home to a large number of shops and Wimberley Square is the hotspot for antique and speciality shoppers. Here, tourists will find a variety of cabins, bed and breakfasts, inns and cottages, as well as artists’ galleries. Wimberley’s location 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 Wimberley’s Market Days are held.
Sundown Tiny House is the place to stay for any couples looking for an intimate retreat. Constructed by a local graphic designer, this beautiful little abode is surrounded by a huge, private, fenced yard, with hot tub, barbecue, hammock, picnic table and twinkle lights to add that little extra sparkle of romance.
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 (a former stop on the route of the Chisholm Trail). Salado is rich in Texas history, with just fewer than 20 of its locations listed on the National Register of Historical Places and known for its many bed and breakfasts. Salado’s Main Street offers a large number of charming shops and delicious cafes and restaurants. Here, one can take a carriage tour, visit a winery or sculpture garden or peruse Salado’s myriad art, clothing, furniture or candy stores. Salado is also known for its yearly Christmas Stroll.
Large groups should take note of this six-bedroom house near the centre of town. Perfect for families or a group of friends, there’s plenty of outdoor space, a barbecue, hot tub and scenic views from the porch.
Port Isabel is one of Texas’ oldest coastal towns and home to the Texas International Fishing Tournament. One of the town’s most popular attractions, the Port Isabel Lighthouse was built in 1852 and has important historical significance. 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.
Looking over the Gulf of Mexico, this house for up to eight people sits right on the shoreline and is equipped with a lovely swimming pool and large decking space to help you enjoy the view.
Buffalo Point Hideaway is a homely two-bedroom flat perfectly placed for those looking to try some outdoor Texan activities, with easy access to hiking, zip-lining, horseback riding and more. There’s even a load of college sports in the surrounding area to keep you entertained.
The town of Gonzales is a charming, historic small town in the southeast region of the state. Gonzales offers a variety of picturesque, enchanting bed and breakfasts and inns, as well as a plethora of museums including the Old Jail Museum and the Pioneer Village Living History Center. In the town, 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 and the San Marcos River runs through it. Every October, the town holds the Come and Take It Festival, celebrating Texas’ fight for independence.
If you’re a group of 16 and have always fantasized about living in a mansion, then why not splash out on The Gonzales Mansion? This classic Greek revival mansion can be used for weddings and events as well as for vacations. Surrounded by a pristine lawn and century old oak trees, this place is a huge slice of Gonzales history, filled with antiques and other nods to this historic town’s fascinating story.
Fort Stockton of West Texas developed as a town around Comanche Springs, one of the greatest sources of spring water in the state. The town’s name derives from the nearby military fort named after Robert F Stockton, a United States commodore who, in the Mexican-American War, aided the capture of California. Fort Stockton also offers several historic museums, historic and refurbished fort tours and quaint coffee and wine-tasting shops.
Accommodation that doesn’t involve a camper van can be a little hard to come by in Fort Stockton, so this modern space accommodating up to four is a welcome bit of luxury. With a super comfy bed and 50in TV, you won’t be missing home comforts in this hotel-standard flat.