Texas is one of America’s biggest states, often referred to as the Lone Star State.
A south-central location bordering some parts of Mexico, it’s known for its hot temperatures, delicious barbecue foods, and certain significant historical sites related to the core of United States history.
It’s also renowned for being the world’s Live Music Capital, boasting over 200 venues for live entertainment throughout its many portions.
Those who aren’t as familiar with America may recognize the state for its cowboy aesthetic, and it continues to be known for ranching, cattle, and livestock till this day.
Because of its size, Texas has no shortage of must-do spots and attractions.
Historic buildings, museums, gardens, national parks, unique geological features, and more pepper the Lone Star State with intriguing sites and locations.
Not sure what to visit?
To help you out, here is our travel guide for the 50 best things to do and places to visit in Texas!
1. The Alamo
The Alamo is one of America’s most significant historical structures, and so it’s one of the must-see Texas attractions to visit.
It is located in downtown San Antonio and was built in the year 1744 by Franciscans as a mission.
By the time the year turned 1834, however, the Alamo was a functional fort.
In 1836, a small force of a mere 187 soldiers barricaded themselves inside the Alamo, including the likes of Daniel Boone, Jim Bowie, and Davie Crockett.
They were part of a group of men taking a stand in the Texan War of Independence against an army of 3,000 Mexican soldiers.
All the soldiers within the Alamo were killed in the battle, prompting Texan forces to use the battle cry “Remember the Alamo!”
The cry rallied the spirits of the state’s soldiers, eventually leading to their victory over Mexico as they earned their independence from them.
Today, the Alamo is the most visited landmark in the whole state of Texas.
Over two million visitors come to see it annually to explore the exterior and check out the features inside.
A trip here lets you see the fort, long barrack, church, and arcade, and there is also a museum and gift shop where you can learn more about the Alamo.
Address: 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, United States
2. Space Centre Houston
Space Centre Houston is another one of Texas’ most popular tourist draws and it’s one of the coolest places to check out, whether you’re interested in space or not!
It is a Smithsonian Affiliate designed for people of all ages, aiming to promote a love of the STEM fields – that is, the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
There are many exhibits at Space Centre Houston that absolutely spoil you for choice.
Moon rocks, artifacts from missions to Mercury and Apollo, and informational tidbits tell you all about NASA’s projects and missions, as well as the history and purpose of space exploration.
You can see a genuine Saturn V rocket, learn about life in space, dress up as an astronaut, and watch shows, too!
Most importantly, though, Space Centre Houston is the home of NASA’s very own Mission Control.
This is where NASA keeps an eye on its space exploration and flights.
Getting the chance to tour Mission Control – as well as potentially meet astronauts and tour the Johnson Space Center – is certainly one of the most fun things to do in Texas!
Address: 1601 E NASA Pkwy, Houston, TX 77058, United States
3. The Sixth Floor Museum
The Sixth Floor Museum is a sobering location that sits, as its name suggests, on the sixth floor (and seventh) of the former Texas School Book Depository, which is now the Dallas County Administration Building.
It is from this location on the sixth floor that Lee Harvey Oswald fired three gunshots on the 22nd of November, 1963 in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The Sixth Floor Museum is an honorary museum that chronicles the life, times, and death of President JFK, framing it within the cultural context of 1960s America.
You’ll see accounts of his presidential campaign and term, artifacts, footage, photographs, and more.
Detailed records of the assassination and tales of the president’s legacy are also highlighted.
Above the Sixth Floor Museum, the seventh floor of the red brick building is home to a space for programs and exhibits related to the museum.
Aside from that, you can also check out the onsite bookstore, gift shop, and cafe.
The total collection of the Sixth Floor Museum totals 45,000 items.
For anyone, whether you’re a history buff or just a curious tourist, it is a must-do as it provides information about an event that changed the course of the nation’s history forever.
It’s certainly in the top 5 of any trip to this state.
Address: 411 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75202, United States
4. Big Bend National Park
Looking for some of the best vacation spots?
Big Bend National Park is located in West Texas in the Chihuahuan Desert.
It is one of the most scenic places in Texas and is a great place to spend some time this weekend.
It is named after a portion of the Rio Grande river, where it is located, that forms a large bending shape.
One of the reasons that Big Bend National Park is one of the state’s tourist attractions is its unique and highly varied terrain, offering dramatic and gorgeous scenery at many altitudes.
There are points from 1,870 feet above sea level all the way up to 7,875 feet above sea level!
This also provides a lot of space for flora and fauna to call it their home; more than 1,000 plant types can be found here, as well as animals like bald eagles.
You can have fun in many different ways at Big Bend National Park.
More than 200 miles’ worth of trails to hike are ready to use.
There are three large canyons to visit and take photographs at, namely Boquillas, Mariscal, and Santa Elena.
You can also do activities like birdwatching with 400 species to look out for, camping on the stunning campgrounds, doing watersports, or having picnics!
Address: Big Bend National Park, TX, United States
5. San Antonio River Walk
The San Antonio River Walk is one of the best places to visit in Texas, known throughout the country for its vibrancy and activities.
The walk spans many miles and is packed with shops, eateries, hotels, and more.
It is situated slightly below street level, providing a unique look into San Antonio’s heart.
Though the walk itself is the most popular, you can also enjoy a riverboat cruise, with themes from general sightseeing excursions to fancier dinner tours.
It’s a different experience at night versus during the day, so you’ll want to walk through the San Antonio River Walk twice!
Address: 849 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205, United States
6. Texas State Capitol
Being one of the most beautiful states in the US, one of the top things to see in Texas is the Texas State Capitol itself!
Located in Austin, it’s more than simply the state’s center of legislation – it’s also one of the most beautiful places in Texas!
Seated on 22 acres of land, it is surrounded by stunning gardens, expertly manicured and maintained, with memorials and monuments scattered about onsite.
The State Capitol building measures 300 feet in height.
It was built in the year 1888 and is an official National Historic Landmark.
Tours are rewarding, telling you all about the many monuments on the property while giving you insight into the legal and government systems of the state and some information about the building’s history.
Among the memorials at the State Capitol is a Vietnam war monument and a monument to the battle of the Alamo.
There is also the Governor’s Mansion, the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, and A Visitor’s Center to view.
From the aforementioned bridge at night, you can watch a huge mass of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Mexican free-tailed bats leaving the bridge’s underside to take off into the night.
Address: 1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, United States
7. Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located in East Dallas, where it takes up a lush 66 acres of space.
It was built in 1984 and has been consistently showcasing, preserving, and educating visitors on the natural life of Texas and its history.
It’s one of the most fun tourist spots for nature-lovers and history buffs alike.
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is home to 16 different gardens – including a children’s garden filled with more than 150 engaging and educational activities – and two historical buildings.
More than 2,400 different kinds of azaleas grow here, alongside many other international trees, ferns, flowers, and shrubs.
The walkways are scattered with sculptures that adorn the garden and provide an artistic flair.
The main historic draw of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is the majestic DeGolyer Mansion, an eye-catching hacienda in Spanish style.
It was commissioned by a local oil baron in 1940.
There is also an 8-acre museum that showcases artifacts, demonstrations, games, and more in a whopping 17 galleries.
Address: 8525 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218, United States
8. Guadalupe Mountains National Park
One of the best things to do in Texas is to explore the impressive and expansive desert terrain of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
Located west of El Paso by about a hundred miles, the barren and hostile-looking land can seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually home to many different kinds of terrain, lots of wildlife, and some lovely bodies of water.
The Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a part of the very large Chihuahuan Desert and has the honor of being home to Texas’ four highest mountain peaks.
This includes its titular Guadalupe Peak, which is extremely popular to hike to for an 8-hour round trip on an 8.5-mile trail.
Despite its harsh environment, the Guadalupe Mountains National Park hosts the world’s most wide-reaching Permian fossil reef, plenty of lush woodlands with 80 miles of hiking trails, and rare animals like golden eagles.
Interesting woodland canyons and relaxing hot springs invite you to visit, and there are so many places to explore that you’ll never run out of things to do!
Address: Salt Flat, TX 79847, United States
9. Fort Worth Stockyards
The Fort Worth Stockyards is the reason that Fort Worth was once known as Cowtown.
From 1866 to 1890, the stockyards were used in the auctioning of cattle, resulting in millions of sales over the years.
It is currently the last stockyard of its kind that remains standing in America, though its function has changed over the years.
As part of the area known as the Old West, the Fort Worth Stockyards were a staple stop for cowboys, specifically those renowned for cattle driving.
Along the long-stretching Chisholm Trail of southern Texas, this was the very last stop with suitable railroads, making it a crucial settlement for the trading of livestock and beef with the rest of the country.
Eventually, the Fort Worth Stockyards transitioned into modernity as interstate highways made railroads less crucial to the business of livestock trading.
Now, the location is filled with places to go such as eateries, shops, and even an indoor rodeo.
Cattle drives are still showcased in the stockyard by professional cowboys for interested guests.
Address: 2501 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, TX 76164, United States
10. Houston Museum of Natural Science
The Houston Museum of Natural Science sits on Hermann Park of Houston’s Museum District, and it’s one of those places where you’ll be spoiled for choice on what to do.
It’s huge in size and full of fun attractions, with different exhibits focusing on various topics like wildlife in North America, local Texas ecology, and even the history and culture of the Native Americans.
16 permanent exhibits are spread out over four stories at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
The most popular is tied between the Morian Hall of Paleontology, packed with two stories fossils and prehistoric replicas, and the Cockrell Butterfly Center, home to three stories of humid tropical “rainforest” and hundreds of fluttering insects.
There is also a planetarium, a showcase of minerals and gems, and a rather delightful Faberge exhibit.
Address: 5555 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030, United States
11. Padre Island National Seashore
Padre Island National Seashore is an extremely crucial conservation location in Texas and is also the longest barrier island in the world.
It measures 70 miles and takes up 130,000 of land, with primarily grassland, dune, and beach habitats for all sorts of unique animals, like rare sea turtles.
It can be found south of Corpus Christi.
For the most part, Padre Island National Seashore is renowned as a birdwatcher’s haven and is certainly one of the best Texas attractions for people with this hobby thanks to its spot on the Central Flyway migratory route.
350 bird species stop here in their journey to and from warmer climates every year.
Relaxing campsites, stunning beaches, and a Junior Ranger Program all add to the draw of the seashore, too.
The Padre Island National Seashore has a visitor center that provides guests with information regarding the seashore and the routes you can take to explore it.
The center also boasts mobility assistance with wheelchairs specially made for beach terrain, as well as guides for activities that can be partaken in, like kayaking and canoeing.
Address: 20301 Park Rd 22, Corpus Christi, TX 78418, United States
12. Six Flags Over Texas
Six Flags Over Texas is a fun, 213-acre theme park in Arlington, where it holds the honor of being the largest park of its kind in the state.
This alone is enough to make it one of the surefire places to visit in Texas, especially if you have kids – though to be honest, it brings in lots of daredevil adults, too!
This Six Flags establishment is home to the Texas SkyScreamer, which, at 400 feet in height, is the second tallest ride of its variety on the planet and delivers a sheet adrenaline rush.
It also has the New Texas Giant, the very infamous Batman The Ride, and many rides themed after the Looney Tunes.
Apart from rides, you can also check out seasonal events hosted throughout the year at this Six Flags branch, including live country music shows!
Address: 2201 E Road to Six Flags St, Arlington, TX 76011, United States
13. Hamilton Pool
Hamilton Pool is one of the state’s most incredible sights to see.
It is an entirely natural spring and serves as a relaxing oasis that you can take a dip into as a break from the local heat.
Its water comes from an underground river that provides freshwater to the plants and tributaries around the main pool.
Hamilton Pool is part of a protected natural preservation area thanks to its waters.
These waters have allowed vegetation and trees of all kinds to thrive in its vicinity.
There is also a large overhang of shade that covers the pool and protects it from the worst of the state’s sweltering sun.
Once upon a time, the pool was hidden in an underground limestone grotto.
Now, it has come free from that dome into a cavern-like space.
From the overhang’s lip, a 50-foot drop of waterfall plunges into the pool, refreshing its contexts and serving as a delightfully cool surprise for visitors.
This is one of those points of interest that you absolutely shouldn’t miss, especially if you’re looking for beautiful places in Texas!
Address: 24300 Hamilton Pool Road, Dripping Springs, TX 78620, United States
14. Mission San Jose
In 1720, Mission San Jose was set up by Fray Antonio Margil de Jesus.
It quickly became the Queen of the Missions and was the largest in the state, sustaining more than 300 individuals in its walls.
The mission is now a National Historic Site and a State Historic Site.
The complex of Mission San Jose was worked on by the mission’s own inhabitants, reaching completion in 1782.
It would go on to baptize more than 2,000 Native Americans until it ceased mission operation in 1824.
Mission San Jose is now one of the state’s best tourist attractions, regardless of your personal faith.
It is an active parish with open Sunday mass and is National Park Service-maintained.
Its excellent preservation makes it closely resemble missions from 250 years ago.
You’ll see a gorgeous Rose Window – widely considered one of America’s finest ornamentations of Spanish Colonial origin – and many genuine carvings on the body of the church.
An interesting part of Mission San Jose is a church bell tower, specifically its stairway, and the choir loft.
Both hold twenty-five steps carved out of one log of live oak without the use of pegs or nails.
There is also a granary, a gristmill (the state’s oldest), defensive walls, and flying buttresses.
Address: 6701 San Jose Dr, San Antonio, TX 78214, United States
15. South Padre Island Dolphin Research and Sealife Nature Center
The South Padre Island Dolphin Research and Sealife Nature Center is a delightful option among places to visit in Texas.
It lets you get up close and personal with their intelligent and friendly titular mammals, with the mission of educating visitors and protecting dolphins via conservation.
There are many touch tanks, aquariums, and interactive portions of the South Padre Island Dolphin Research and Sealife Nature Center.
Hermit crabs, starfish, and other marine creatures are among the center’s most loved attractions, in addition to daily presentations on nature, marine mammals, and more.
You’ll even get to go on dolphin tours, where chartered boats bring you to the Laguna Madre Bay to view live dolphins!
Address: 110 N Garcia St, Port Isabel, TX 78578, United States
16. Texas State Fair
The Texas State Fair was established in 1886 and has been a site for the promotion of community, agriculture, and education in a long-running, entertaining, family-friendly quality event.
It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Fair Park, which is a National Historic Landmark while advocating for its local community.
The fair runs for a whopping 24 days in a row, during which there is no shortage of fun stuff to do with quintessential Lone Star energy.
Exhibits and activities include petting zoos, exhibits on livestock and farming, entry to the many museums on Fair Park, and more!
The fair is also a charity-oriented event.
It doles out scholarships, offers sponsorship, gives back to the community, puts profits into food banks, and provides free entry to educators and students in the state.
All in all, it’s a spectacle not to be missed if you’re in the state at the right time for it!
Address: 1300 Robert B Cullum Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75210, United States
17. Museum of Fine Arts Houston
The Museum of Fine Arts Houston was created in 1900, with expansions and renovations constantly improving it and propelling it forward into the modern area.
It is home to three buildings, a sculpture garden, and a movie theater.
The three buildings are the Caroline Wiess Law Building, Audrey Jones Beck Building, and the latest Nancy and Rich Kinder Building.
Within the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, you’ll find art of all kinds from many different time periods, including photos, drawings, sculptures, paintings, and cultural pieces of Chinese, African-American, and Native American origin.
A range of 64,000 different works of art from six different continents and numerous styles add incredible variety to the experience.
You’ll see mixed media, Italian Renaissance works, mobiles, and French impressionist art.
Some great numbers include Nympheas by Monet and Bacchanale by Picasso.
Outside, the Sculpture Garden is home to some incredible works by the renowned Aniah Kapoor, including the first Bean prototype and the Cloud Column.
Throughout the year, rotating exhibits add some spice to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, so be sure to check them out if you’re looking for where to visit in Texas!
Address: 1001 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005, United States
18. Kimbell Art Museum
The Kimbell Art Museum is a very small museum, but it should be on your Texas bucket list because it’s largely considered among the best of its size internationally.
Set up in 1965, the museum is located in Fort Worth and was commissioned by wealthy art collector Kay Kimbell.
The museum’s goal is simple: it aims to foster a love and appreciation for art via its permanent collections, which showcase art, antiquities, and sculptures from international sources.
You’ll find works by Picasso, El Greco, Matisse, Monet, and Rembrandt, as well as collected artifacts from continents like Africa, Asia, and Europe.
With 350 artworks on display, the Kimbell Art Museum is surprisingly comprehensive for its size.
Most of the collection comes from Europe, specifically of the classical period, but it has much more to offer too – like a library of almost 60,000 different reading materials!
Address: 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107, United States
Looking for more thrill around Texas? Why not check out Austin and Dallas? If you do plan the trip, here are some of the top things to do in Austin and some of the best things to do in Dallas!
19. Fort Worth Zoo
Fort Worth Zoo is Texas’ oldest continuously operating zoo, founded in 1909 and not stopping since.
It began its life with a mere few animals in 1909 and has since grown to be ranked as America’s fifth-best zoo, with 42 animal species.
Fort Worth Zoo aims to provide education and information regarding wildlife conservation as well as the mammals, reptiles, and birds in their care.
As a world-class facility, there are many places to see within the zoo, sectioned off into different species.
More than 68 species here are threatened or endangered, which makes getting to see them up close all the more special.
In addition to all its fun features, Fort Worth Zoo is also the only American zoo that is home to all Great Ape species, namely bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans.
It also has one of the globe’s most well-known and successful colonies for breeding flamingo.
While here, you’ll also see African lions, penguins, hippos, cheetahs, giraffes, meerkats, and so many more.
Address: 1989 Colonial Pkwy, Fort Worth, TX 76110, United States
20. Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake is named after President Lyndon Johnson’s wife and is a portion of the Colorado River.
It flows over 416 acres of land and is a reservoir that has grown into one of Texas’ top hangouts.
Hotels and homes line one side while a wide beach is open to the public on the opposite end, fitted with many different trails for your cycling and hiking needs.
The most commonly walked path at Lady Bird Lake is the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, which leads to Pedestrian Bridge.
From here, you can cross the river into Austin and visit other local parks that are interconnected, as well as some of the many tourist traps along the river’s edge.
Want to do some more involved activities?
Lady Bird Lake allows for the use of boats, including rentable canoes and kayaks or your own decked-out motorized water vehicle.
A boardwalk, stretching 1.1 miles, gives you a panoramic view of the downtown area while you’re at it.
If you’re looking for what to do while in Texas that will unwind you, definitely give Lady Bird Lake a try!
Address: Lady Bird Lake, Austin, TX 78701, United States
21. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is one of the more unique places on our list of Texas attractions.
The rock in question is an igneous rock intrusion, also known as a pluton, made up of a huge pink granite dome measuring 425 feet in height from ground level and spanning over 640 acres.
The monolith, which has been around for a minimum of 11,000 years, gained its name of Enchanted Rock from Anglo and Spanish interpretations of the folklore of the Native Americans.
There are many legends surrounding the centerpiece of the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, with some dating far back into the past and others with more modern connotations involving Anglo-Texans and conquistadors.
One legend that surrounds Enchanted Rock is that the last of a tribe of braves fought to defend themselves from another tribe on the very peak of the batholith.
In a variation of this legend, a princess of the losing tribe threw herself off the mountain when her tribe was killed.
Now, some believe that the monadnock is haunted by the spirits of the fallen tribal warriors and the princess, supported by the Tonkawa natives, who tell tales of ghostly campfires being seen on the rock at night.
One of the best factual features of the Enchanted Rock is that it creaks on cool nights after hot days because of the outer rock’s contraction.
Though the explanation is scientific, it still adds to its lore.
There are also small vernal water pools that appear in the rockface’s depressions, where small little shrimps and marine life begin to take root until the pools dry in the hot months.
This includes a very small quillwort species that is only present here and nowhere else globally.
A final feature worth discussing of the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is its cave, which is one of the planet’s longest granite talus caves.
It is 1,500 feet or so long, packed with spiders, and has tight walls.
If you’re brave, head on in and explore and you’ll find your way out onto the dome.
Artifacts of all sorts have been seen here, as well as plants that thrive on spring water, like prickly pear, persimmons, pecans, and mesquite.
Address: 16710 Ranch Road 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624, United States
Planning to visit Fredericksburg soon? Why not check out some of the fun things to do in Fredericksburg, TX before you go?
22. Dallas World Aquarium
The Dallas World Aquarium is a fantastic way to explore the entire world’s oceans from one little spot in Texas.
To call it an aquarium would be a bit of an understatement.
Not only does it hold all sorts of marine and aquatic creatures, but it is also home to land animals, birds, and plants, hosting many that are native to river and sea areas of the planet.
Different portions of the Dallas World Aquarium have something different to offer.
The 20,000-gallon tunnel hosts octopi, stingrays, eels, and other fish.
The Yucatan Peninsula exhibit shows off different birds.
A South African section brings you closer to amphibians and reptiles.
There is even a living rainforest with monkeys, manatees, toucans, and crocodiles, and a fascinating Mayan section houses ocelots and Jabiru storks.
While you’re at the Dallas World Aquarium, try to catch some live feedings.
You may be able to participate in handing an animal some food, and that’s one of the most fun things to do in Texas, for sure!
Address: 1801 N Griffin St, Dallas, TX 75202, United States
23. Perot Museum of Nature and Science
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is situated in Dallas and claims a floor space of 180,000 square feet.
It first opened its doors in 2012 in order to provide a museum about science for children, providing interactive and hands-on exhibits that are sure to entice your kids.
With 11 halls for exhibits, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is virtually three different museums crammed into one space.
It’s varied with many different fun activities to check out, and it’s designed mindfully with the highest possible score from the Green Building Initiative.
Among the topics that the Perot Museum of Nature and Science covers include human evolution, dinosaur skeletons, earthquakes, bird flight and socialization, and the ecosystems of Texas.
It also has unique exhibits like the T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall, which includes an interactive activity in the form of a scavenger hunt.
If you love science, a visit here is one of the top things to do in Texas, so head on down this weekend whether you have children in tow or not!
Address: 2201 N Field St, Dallas, TX 75201, United States
24. Bullock Texas State History Museum
The Bullock Texas State History Museum is one of the most engaging and accurate ways to learn about the story of the state.
It earned its name from the state’s 38th lieutenant governor and has been chronicling the history of the Lone Star State since its opening in 2001, welcoming a total of over 9 million visitors as one of the state’s most popular tourist attractions.
All sorts of different landmarks of the state’s past are recorded here and exhibited alongside artifacts, information, and galleries.
More than 500 of these artifacts are here at the Bullock State History Museum along with interactive exhibits, the state’s biggest IMAX screen, a 4D theatre, and plenty of audio-visual displays.
You’ll get to see the original statue of the Goddess of Liberty, which once resided on the dome of the State Capitol, and an Apollo 14 mission space suit used by Edgar Mitchell himself.
Some other loved exhibits include a preserved hull from the shipwrecked La Belle of the 17th century, presentations on the Alamo, details of the state’s oil industry, and information on the Tejano native culture.
Address: 1800 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, United States
25. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is one of the most interesting places to visit in Texas, especially if you’re interested in Spanish colonial history or the uptick of Catholicism in the Southwest.
It is here where Mission San Juan, Mission San José, Mission Espada, and Mission Concepción are located – all of the most historic missions in San Antonio.
In the 18th century, Franciscan friars decided to establish all these missions along the San Antonio River, about three miles apart along the way.
All of them are some of the most beautiful places in Texas, with unique features like Mission San Juan’s Romanesque features and the gorgeous frescos that remain untouched at Mission Concepción.
Given how many missions there are in this state, it’s natural that the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is a convenient way to see as many of these early 1700s structures as possible.
They are free to visit and provide some serenity in the hubbub of the city.
Address: 6701 San Jose Dr, San Antonio, TX 78214, United States
26. Natural Bridge Caverns
The Natural Bridge Caverns are nothing short of beautiful and are among the many pretty places in Texas that deserve a spot on your vacation list.
The network is the biggest accessible one of its kind in America, with more than 10,000 formations of stalactite, including a 40-foot-high wall full of them known as King’s Throne.
Fifty years ago, the Natural Bridge Caverns were found by students from St Mary’s University burrowing bravely through a narrow passage.
The caverns were a huge discovery and were named after the giant bridge of limestone, spanning 60 feet, across its entrance.
In 1971, the caverns became a National Natural Landmark.
If you want to witness the many things to see in the Natural Bridge Caverns, you can book your choice of themed tour and be privy to the many individual chambers.
When you’re done exploring the underground, head back up top to check out the extremely large maze of 5,000 square feet, the zip lines, and the opportunity to pan for gems!
Address: 26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd, San Antonio, TX 78266, United States
27. Nasher Sculpture Centre
The Nasher Sculpture Centre is the proud site of a whopping 55,000 square feet of space dedicated entirely to sculptures.
Located opposite the Dallas Museum of Art, it was created by husband and wife team Raymond and Nancy Nasher.
It is widely considered the world’s most incredible collection of contemporary sculptures, making it a great choice for where to go in Texas this weekend, whether or not you’re an art aficionado!
At the Nasher Sculpture Centre, you’ll find more than 300 different artworks from the likes of Rodin, Matisse, and even Picasso.
Different sizes of art pieces, ranging from the tiny to the massive, are scattered about, easy to learn about via docent-led tours.
Don’t forget to check out the garden outside the Nasher Sculpture Centre, which spans 1.4 acres and has 25 more fascinating pieces to witness!
Address: 2001 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201, United States
28. Dallas Zoo
The Dallas Zoo is one of the best things to do in Texas for animal lovers.
It can be found in Marsalis Park, where it takes up 106 acres and has been around since 1888.
This makes it the biggest and also the oldest zoo in Texas.
Better yet, it is run by the Dallas Zoological Society and is a non-profit attraction!
Over 406 species of animals – with more than 2,000 individual creatures – are housed at the Dallas Zoo across a variety of habitats.
The zoo primarily focuses on two themes, seen in its two major exhibit sections.
The first is the Wilds of Africa and the second is ZooNorth, and specific highlights include the Endangered Tiger Habitat, the Otter Outpost, and the Giants of the Savanna.
There is also a fun Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari monorail that lets you see animals from habitats of nations like Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia in the Great Rift Valley.
Address: 650 S R L Thornton Fwy, Dallas, TX 75203, United States
If you’ve got more time and the willingness to explore, do check out El Paso and Fort Worth! If you do plan the trip, here are some cool things to do in El Paso and some of the best things to do in Fort Worth!
29. Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is located in the Texas Gulf Coast and is one of the key places to go if you want to do a lot of touristy activities and find amusement and entertainment galore.
Though high in price, the boardwalk is a great place to check out eateries, amusement rides, shops, games, and more.
Pleasure Pier itself was first built in the 1940s before it was destroyed by Hurricane Carla in 1961.
It was reestablished in 2008, then was damaged by both Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Harvey.
It has since been, once more, rebuilt to continue offering its delightful array of attractions.
Address: 2501 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550, United States
30. Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art is another option for what to do in Dallas, Texas.
It first opened its doors in 1903 and is home to over 24,000 works of art.
It is one of America’s biggest museums and offers tons of art from the country and from international sources, ranging from ancient to contemporary.
At the Dallas Museum of Art’s permanent collection, you’ll see all sorts of art styles, eras, and cultural depictions.
Artifacts from Greece, Rome, and Egypt provide glimpses into classical artistry.
Ancient works from the Mediterranean, Africa, and Asia provide unique insights into global creativity.
The European art gallery boasts big names like Claude Monet and spans the 18th to 20th centuries.
Modern works are done by greats like Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, and Mark Rothko.
It’s an art-lover’s paradise!
Address: 1717 N Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75201, United States
31. Japanese Tea Garden
The Japanese Tea Garden is one of the best Texas attractions for a calm, serene time.
It began its life as a simple quarry until officials of San Antonio, Texas decided to turn it into a thriving, peaceful space.
They turned it into a garden and a lily pond and requested the aid of a knowledgeable Japanese family to transform it into a genuine Japanese space.
Sadly, that family was violently moved away after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the attraction was changed to a Chinese tea garden in order to avoid public backlash.
The war would have to end before it could be returned to its original name and purpose.
In the early 2000s, the city began refurbishing it after years of vandalism and neglect.
It is now a gorgeous space with a pagoda, koi ponds, and waterfalls.
Address: 3853 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212, United States
32. Schlitterbahn Waterpark
Texas attractions are often about beating the powerful heat!
That’s why Schlitterbahn Waterpark located in New Braunfels is so popular as one of the fun things to do in Texas.
It is packed with attractions for people of all ages, including downhill racing slides, fast tube slides, a heated lagoon, a water coaster, a lazy river, splash parks, and child-specific attractions.
Planning to stay in this part of Texas for a while?
Schlitterbahn Waterpark is also a resort, so you can book cabanas or rooms to enjoy the full experience!
Address: 400 N Liberty Ave, New Braunfels, TX 78130, United States
33. Jacob’s Well
Jacob’s Well is a fascinating place and one of the more unique points of interest in Texas.
It rests at the base of a large rock pile and is a round blue pond that has a 30-foot vertical drop on the surface.
Then, beneath that, there are many caverns and caves, arranged in a dangerous network and ready to be explored.
Jacob’s Well is the state’s second-biggest entirely submerged cave.
For adrenaline junkies who like diving and swimming with a little risk, a dip in Jacob’s Well may be one of the most fun things to do in Texas.
Just make sure that you’re experienced, equipped, and aware of the risks before you check out the cave network, as several divers have become trapped there over the years.
Address: 1699 Mt Sharp Rd, Wimberley, TX 78676, United States
34. The Moody Gardens and Aquarium
The Moody Gardens and Aquarium are a theme park comprising 242 acres of excitement and fun, complete with a hotel, a convention center, nine attractions, a beach, lazy river, a rainforest zoo, and even a rope and zip line course!
It’s basically numerous tourist attractions all rolled up into one.
Though the prices are a little steep, most visitors to Texas consider a trip to The Moody Gardens and Aquarium to be very worth it.
There are so many things to try, explore, and experience for those of all ages, so you’ll be spoiled for choice!
Address: 1 Hope Blvd, Galveston, TX 77554, United States
35. Rothko Chapel
Rothko Chapel isn’t just one of the best places to visit in Texas, it’s also one of the world’s most holy locations.
In fact, it is on the list of “Sacred Places of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Peaceful and Powerful Destinations” according to National Geographic.
The chapel is a mix of a simple, serene building of faith and a complete work of art.
14 paintings cover its walls on the interior, made with black-and-color-splashed styles by Mark Rothko himself.
Rothko worked with many great architects to create the windowless structure, but he passed away in 1971, a little while before the chapel could officially open.
More than 80,000 people come to this part of Texas every year in order to visit the majestic brilliance of the Rothko Chapel.
It is meant as a meditative worship space for people of all faiths, so it is free to use by you when you visit.
Address: 3900 Yupon St, Houston, TX 77006, United States
36. Fort Worth Botanic Garden
The oldest botanic garden in Texas is definitely one of the sites to see to add to your list!
Within its bounds, there are more than 1,700 begonia species and 350 orchid species, which are just some of the over 2,500 different plant species that call the Fort Worth Botanic Garden home.
It is dedicated to the preservation of exotic and rare plants.
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is made up of 22 individual gardens that take up a total of 110 acres.
It was first set up in 1934 and has grown to contain a vegetable garden, a conservatory measuring 10,000 square feet, a Zen Garden, the Fort Worth Japanese Garden, and a Lower Rose Garden.
Address: 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107, United States
37. Sea Turtle, Inc.
Sea Turtle, Inc. located in South Padre Island isn’t one of the typical tourist places in Texas, but it’s a lot of fun to visit!
It is a non-profit group focused on rehabilitating sea turtles and releasing them back into the wild.
Its mission also involves the education of the public regarding the plight of sea turtles and current conservation efforts in their favor.
At Sea Turtle, Inc., which was founded in 1977, expect to leave with a lot of new knowledge.
You’ll be privy to educational talks, get to witness sea turtles swimming and recovering in big tanks, and garner access to an outdoor facility tour.
Address: 6617 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597, United States
38. McDonald Observatory
McDonald Observatory is a bit of a niche item to add to a Texas bucket list, but it’s well worth the trip for those who love space and the world beyond our world.
Located on the campus of the University of Texas, it takes advantage of the naturally dark, clear skies above the state.
As an education center, the McDonald Observatory offers a wide range of events and programs.
Nighttime viewing events, sun viewing, and popular star parties are just a few of the ways that it involves the space-loving community in its operations.
Many different large telescopes are present at the McDonald Observatory, which is a research department at its core.
One of the biggest scopes on the planet, called the Hobby-Eberly, is also onsite.
A guided tour will let you see these huge telescopes up close, though you won’t be able to look through the most valuable ones.
Address: 3640 Dark Sky Dr, Fort Davis, TX 79734, United States
Looking for more excitement around Texas? Why not check out Galveston and Houston? If you do plan the trip, here are some top things to do in Galveston and some cool things to do in Houston!
39. SeaWorld San Antonio
If you’ve decided that San Antonio is one of your places to travel to while in Texas, you’ll have a lot of fun visiting SeaWorld San Antonio!
The amusement park is aquatic-themed, allowing you to get up close and personal with all sorts of marine wildlife and animals.
Dolphins, seals, penguins, sharks, orcas, and more make up the different aquatic creatures you’ll be able to witness at SeaWorld San Antonio.
There are also lots of water rides that are perfect for cooling yourself down in the state’s blistering heat as well as normal, adrenaline-pumping dry rides like the hypercoaster of the Steel Eel or the inverted roller coaster of the Great White.
Check out the show schedule this weekend and see if you can watch the killer whales perform!
Address: 10500 Sea World Dr, San Antonio, TX 78251, United States
40. The Frontiers of Flight Museum
The Frontiers of Flight Museum is a prime example of what to do in Texas for aviation enthusiasts.
It was founded in 1988 and has since become the premier museum of aerospace in Dallas and beyond.
Situated on Lemmon Avenue, it takes up around 100,000 square feet of space and is affiliated with the Smithsonian.
Among the coolest artifacts and exhibits at the Frontiers of Flight Museum include 200 or so aircraft from World War II, a full-sized model of the Wright flyer, a preserved Apollo 7 Command module, a Stearman PT-17 Kaydet Biplane, and remnants of the famous Hindenburg airship.
There are a total of 13 galleries to pursue that each discusses different aspects of aviation history.
Address: 6911 Lemmon Ave, Dallas, TX 75209, United States
41. National Museum of the Pacific War
The National Museum of the Pacific War is an educational and engaging offering among Texas attractions.
It is dedicated to the remembrance of World War II’s Pacific theater, with displays and artifacts presented in a glamorous and pizzazz-filled way.
It spans 33,000 square feet across six acres of space.
The museum takes up space in what was once the Nimitz Museum.
It was set up in 2000 and provides visitors with extremely modern amenities and fascinating exhibits that are surprisingly glitzy for a topic this sovereign.
More than 90 display cases, all climate-controlled, showcase artifacts, posters, photographs, and more.
The National Museum of the Pacific War also provides a full theater, 40 audio-visual displays, decommissioned armament and vehicles, and a replica battlefield complete with troop carriers, tanks, and foxholes.
Address: 311 E Austin St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624, United States
42. The Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum
The Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum is a rather interesting choice among places to visit in Texas.
It’s a genuine jack-up drilling rig that was retired and converted into a fun attraction for those curious about the operation of such rigs and what it’s like living on them.
Fittingly, the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum is located close to downtown Houston, Texas, which is the oil capital of the world.
It is run by the Offshore Energy Center and offers a unique look into the 1969 operation of the Ocean Star.
A self-guided tour lets you roam three different levels of the rig, where you’ll see videos on oil exploration and extraction, exhibits, equipment, and even the pipe deck.
Address: 2002 Wharf Rd, Galveston, TX 77550, United States
43. San Jacinto Monument
The San Jacinto Monument is the tallest war monument in the entire world, measuring 570 feet and boasting a wide base of 125 feet squared.
It weighs 220 tons, offers a lift to an observation deck on its peak, and is made of a mix of concrete, stone, and steel.
The San Jacinto Monument is a testament to honor those who fought for the independence of Texas, especially during the Battle of San Jacinto.
The land of that battle led to the beginnings of the monument, which was purchased in the 1890s with the aid of fundraising efforts by Jesse H. Jones, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Republic’s Sons and Daughters group.
Today, the San Jacinto Monument rests in the San Jacinto Battleground Historical State Park, which is also one of the points of interest you should visit.
The structure is also a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark thanks to its incredible Art Deco design.
Address: 1 Monument Cir, La Porte, TX 77571, United States
44. San Antonio Botanical Garden
The San Antonio Botanical Garden is one of the many stunning tourist attractions in Texas, and it’s a lot of fun to walk through its many paths.
It covers 38 acres of ground, is family-friendly, and seeks to increase knowledge of plants through entertainment and education regarding the information on conservation.
The formal gardens boast different blooms every season, providing vibrant hues and lovely scents as they burst forth to show off their colors.
Tropical plants, a Rose Garden, and a country area add variety to the already vast garden.
Indoor displays and the Texas Native Trail all let you check out the many different florae, ranging from local to international and from common to exotic.
Guided tours can help you discover all that San Antonio Botanical Garden has in store.
If you’re interested in creating your own garden back home, the WaterSaver Garden provides information and examples of backyard design, green gardening, and more.
Address: 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209, United States
45. Fort Davis National Historic Site
The Fort Davis National Historic Site is a gorgeous frontier fort that is expertly preserved.
Named after Jefferson Davis, the Secretary of War at the time, Fort Davis was erected in 1854 as a method of protecting travelers from raiders on the San Antonio – El Paso road of Texas.
From 1867 to 1881, it was staffed exclusively by African American and blank soldiers.
During the Civil War, Fort Davis fell into disuse and was eventually abandoned in 1891.
It wasn’t until 1867 that it was reopened.
Today, it contains over 20 well-preserved buildings – a successful amount among the 100 ruins – and five of them are decorated to include furnishings of the period.
One of them is the barracks, which have been refurbished with beds, each one labeled with the name of an actual occupant from 1884.
At Fort Davis National Historic Site, interpreters tell you the story of what life was like on Fort Davis.
Bugle calls sound regularly to emulate the atmosphere of its time.
It’s one of the most fascinating places to visit in Texas, especially for history-lovers.
Address: Fort Davis, TX 79734, United States
46. Caddo Lake
Caddo Lake is a collection of ponds and swamps in a lovely medley that forms a 25,400-acre bayou.
It rose to fame in 1910 after freshwater pearls were found in the mussels of the lake, leading to the three-year “pearl rush” of Texas.
Now, Caddo Lake continues to harbor mussels with pearls, though harvesters no longer frequent its depths.
Instead, it has turned into one of the things to see in the state of Texas.
Bald cypress trees are dropped in Spanish moss and gently grace the surfaces of the stunning waters.
You can fish, birdwatch, examine the flora, or test your luck in spotting some cool places and reptiles as you kayak around!
Address: Anthony Dr, Karnack, TX 75661, United States
47. Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center
The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center is the home stage of the must-see Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Their reputation is tremendous, with acoustics and performances known throughout Texas.
They perform everything from modern pieces from pop culture and movies to classical staples of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart.
The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center itself was finished in 1989 and boasts incredible acoustics thanks to its shoebox shape.
It’s also popular thanks to its clever interior design that allows even the rear seats to get a direct, clear view of the stage.
If you have time this weekend, drop in to see if a show is happening!
Address: 2301 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201, United States
48. Caverns of Sonora
The Caverns of Sonora are among the best things to do in Texas if you like odd but entirely natural formations.
The cave was found in 1905 by sheer accident and, decades later, sparked the interest of professional spelunkers.
When caver Jack Burch noticed some damage to the natural rock formations in 1956 due to all the exploration, he decided to create trails, stairs, and railings that would allow people to explore safely without harming the caverns.
The formations with the Caverns of Sonora have odd, fun names.
The little nodes of minerals along the surfaces of the caves are called popcorn.
The hollow cylindrical mineral pieces are soda straws.
And of course, the layered flowstone made from water flowing through the floor, again and again, is called bacon!
These formations cover every corner and inch of the caves, providing a fascinating spectacle that feels a little like a fantasy world away from Texas!
Address: 1711 Pvt Rd 4468, Sonora, TX 76950, United States
Planning a road trip around Texas? Why not visit Lubbock, San Antonio, and Waco? If you do plan the trip, here are some of the best things to do in Lubbock, some cool things to do in San Antonio, and some top things to do in Waco!
49. Palo Duro Canyon
The Palo Duro Canyon is often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Texas, and with a title like that, it had better be on your list of places to go!
In the center of the Texas Panhandle, the canyon opens up slowly – a mere gap that grows and grows into a plunging schism of vibrant layers of red, tan, and brown.
The Palo Duro Canyon is the second longest and second-largest of American canyons, boasting a 20-mile width at its widest point and a 120-mile length as it rises 3,463 feet above sea level and dives 800 feet down.
It was created by the Red River’s Prairie Dog Town fork and was named after the mesquite and juniper trees around it, with the Spanish word for “hardwood”.
For 12,000 or so years, Folsom and Clovis’s natives have inhabited the area, hunting bison and mammoth.
In more recent times, Kiowa, Apache, and Comanche natives have also used Palo Duro as a home and resource.
Address: 11450 State Hwy Park Rd 5, Canyon, TX 79015, United States
50. Museum of the Weird
The Museum of the Weird is one of the few remaining dime-store museums in America, with most dying out in the 1920s.
This one, located in Austin, Texas, is extremely rare as a result.
It was made by Steve Busti, who runs it out of the rear of his store, which is called the Lucky Lizard.
Many unique and cool pieces decorate the Museum of the Weird.
Among them are a feejee mermaid, a hand of glory that was pickled and dried from a real hanged man, shrunken heads, a chicken with two heads, a cyclops pig, and even mummies.
There is a special Wax Museum portion as well as a unique darkroom called the Minnesota Iceman, which tells the tale of an old, confusing mystery.
The Museum of the Weird also boasts a theatre with a rotating cast of strange performers.
One will hold a live wire, one will hurt themselves, one will perform a traditional sideshow, and one is a three-legged dog.
If nothing else, the museum lives up to its name, so if you love the bizarre, add it to your list of what to do!
Address: 412 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701, United States
Start Planning Your Trip To Texas
Texas is a warm, friendly, and vibrant state, and its size means that depending on where you are, you’ll get to experience a different vibe and atmosphere.
Each one makes up a unique aspect of Texas, and this list can help you figure out what to see that will let you experience the very most of that variety!