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Texas Travel Guide: Travel Tips for Visiting

Texas is a big state with lots to explore and discover! From the sprawling cities of Austin and Houston to the beautiful beaches of South Padre Island and Galveston, you will surely find something that piques your interest in the “Lone Star State.”

In this Texas travel guide, I’ll give you an overview of the best places to visit in Texas, as well as some tips on getting around and what to do while you’re traveling. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a long road trip, use this Texas travel guide to make your adventure a success.

Best Things to Do in Texas

1. Austin

View of Austin, Texas Skyline from River
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Austin is a large city in Central Texas that has a number of attractions to offer. For history lovers, there is the State Capitol, which was built in the Victorian Neo-Classical style.

The Capitol building houses the Texas State Archives, the country’s oldest state archive. The Capitol also has the Old Prison Museum, which has a number of interesting artifacts from the prison’s past.

For those interested in music, the Austin City Limits Festival, held every October, has been going for over 40 years. The festival is one of the world’s most famous and has seen a number of famous musicians perform over the years.

See Related: Best Breweries in Austin, Texas

2. Dallas

Dallas Skyline Reflecting Over the Trinity River
mandritoiu / Adobe Stock

Dallas is one of the largest cities in the United States. The city’s population of over one million people means plenty of choice for accommodation, food, and entertainment.

The city is the capital of Texas and is located on the banks of the Trinity River. It is home to the American Airlines Center, where the Dallas Cowboys play football, and the AT&T Stadium, home to the Dallas Cowboys and the National Football League.

3. San Antonio

View of Downtown San Antonio, Texas
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

When you set foot in San Antonio, you’re not just visiting Texas; you’re immersing yourself in a melting pot of culture and history. Here’s your quick guide to making the most out of your visit!

Let’s talk about the heart and soul of San Antonio – its culture. Every April, the city is abuzz with Fiesta San Antonio, a 10-day festival brimming with color and life that honors the historical battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto. Prepare to be swept away by the parades, food, and music; it’s a Texan revelry you can’t miss!

Top Landmarks:

  • The Alamo: Remember to visit the Alamo for a stirring glimpse into Texas’ fight for independence.
  • San Antonio Missions: Explore these UNESCO World Heritage Sites encapsulating centuries of heritage.

Local Tip: Duck into a local eatery and ask for “puffy tacos,” a San Antonio delicacy that’s as fun to say as they eat. Trust us, your taste buds will thank you!

Sightseeing Must-Dos:

  1. Saunter down the San Antonio River Walk.
  2. Get your thrills at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
  3. Unwind at the enchanting San Antonio Botanical Garden.

Did You Know? San Antonio is home to the first-ever air-conditioned hotel, The St. Anthony Hotel, which opened in 1909. So even when you step indoors, San Antonio keeps you cool!

4. Visit The Natural Wonders Of Texas

Lighthouse Trail in Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
Alisha / Adobe Stock

Texas, the Lone Star State, is more than just cowboy culture and delicious barbecue. Texas is home to over 100 state parks, providing outdoor recreational opportunities for millions of visitors each year.

Your journey through Texas will reveal an array of splendors in its diverse landscapes—there’s something naturally beautiful at every turn!

Palo Duro Canyon State Park: Start your expedition in the heart of the Texas Panhandle with the second-largest canyon in the United States. Fun fact: The canyon is known as “The Grand Canyon of Texas,” and its colorful geological formations could be the backdrop to your awe-inspiring hike or memorable camping trip.

Enchanted Rock: Venture to the Texas Hill Country, where Enchanted Rock’s massive pink granite dome awaits. This natural marvel rises 425 feet above ground, offering you panoramic views. Give rock climbing a go, or enjoy a picnic with a view.

Big Bend National Park: For an unforgettable experience, visit Big Bend National Park. Its dramatic mountain ranges and part of the Chihuahuan Desert make for stunning scenery and prime wildlife spotting opportunities. Local tip: Time your visit during one of the park’s festivals for a unique blend of nature and culture.

Hill Country Wildflowers: Springtime travelers, prepare your cameras for the Hill Country’s vibrant wildflower displays. This natural phenomenon turns the landscape into a painter’s palette of colors.

Corpus Christi: Although not a natural wonder in the typical sense, the seaside preserves near Corpus Christi offer tranquil beauty and bird-watching opportunities. Bonus tip: Combine your visit with a classic Texas barbecue by the beach for an unforgettable fusion of flavors and seaside serenity.

5. Corpus Christi

Sunset view in Downtown Corpus Christi, Texas
SeanPavonePhoto / Adobe Stock

If you’re plotting a trip to the Texas Gulf Coast, you can’t miss the allure of Corpus Christi. It’s a place where you can soak up the sun and bask in coastal vibes. Known as the “Gulf Coast Capital,” this city offers a plethora of activities along with serene seaside relaxation.

Take a walk down to Water Street Market for some unique shopping opportunities, or immerse yourself in nature at the nearby beaches and parks. Mustang Island awaits with its promise of water sports fun—from surfing to kiteboarding.

Must-See AttractionsActivities
USS LexingtonSurfing, Windsurfing
Texas State AquariumSailing
Padre IslandVolleyball
Selena MuseumNature Trails

Fun Fact: Did you know the USS Lexington served in World War II and now rests permanently in Corpus Christi as a naval museum?

Local Tip: If you’re after a more laid-back vibe, avoid spring break season when the city becomes a hub for party-goers and opt for a quieter time to truly enjoy the coastal serenity.

Remember, your sunscreen is your best friend here, and your camera will thank you for all the picturesque sunsets it’ll capture. Enjoy your trip, and don’t forget to try some of the best tacos in Texas – rumor has it, they’re a game-changer!

6. Houston

Sunset Over the Houston, Texas Skyline
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Ah, Houston, the gem of Texas where cosmopolitan vibes meet Southern hospitality. As America’s fourth-largest city, there’s no shortage of sights to see and things to do that reflect the city’s diverse culture and history.

Houston thrives with live music venues and theater productions. Check out the Theater District, a 17-block area that houses nine performing arts organizations.

Sightseeing & Landmarks

  • Space Center Houston: As the gateway to the stars, a trip here lets you touch moon rocks!
  • Historic Heights: For a blast from the past, wander through this area’s charming architecture.
  • Museum District: Indulge your inner art connoisseur with 19 museums, many offering free admission days.

Houston’s dining scene is a melting pot of flavors. From finger-licking Texas BBQ to authentic Vietnamese pho, your taste buds are in for a thrill.

Fun Fact: Houston is known for its food truck culture, so don’t be surprised if some of your best meals are served on wheels!

Shopaholics can revel in Houston’s retail offerings, from quirky boutiques in Montrose to high-end labels in the Galleria. As the sun sets, the nightlife sizzles. Whether you’re up for a laid-back evening or a night of dancing, you’ll find your spot here.

7. Take In The Historical Sites And Attractions

Front of the Alamo at Night with a Full Moon
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

When traveling across Texas, you’re stepping into a land brimming with stories from the past. As you plan your itinerary, include some of the state’s most treasured historical sites.

  • The Alamo: No trip to Texas is complete without a visit to this San Antonio landmark. The pivotal 1836 battle screamed valor and shaped a nation. Tour guides in period attire will take you back in time as they narrate tales of bravery. Fun Fact: The Alamo is originally named Misión San Antonio de Valero and has a church that’s survived many battles.
  • Gonzales Pioneer Village: For a dose of late 1800s culture, head to Gonzales to explore authentic houses and a charming chapel. This living history museum gives you a rare peek into pioneer life. Local Tip: Check their calendar for live reenactments – it’s history brought to life!
  • Kennedy Space Center: Not all historic attractions are from the Old West. Near Houston, you can relive the triumph of the Apollo missions. The control center is a national historic landmark and a not-to-be-missed sightseeing spot for space enthusiasts. Did You Know?: Houston was the first word heard from the moon – talk about long-distance calls!
  • Washington-on-the-Brazos: Dubbed the “birthplace of Texas,” this site near Navasota lets you walk through history where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed, surrounded by beautiful parkland.Local Tip: Don’t miss the Star of the Republic Museum here; it’s a treasure trove of Texan heritage!

Where to stay in Texas

Hotel Emma in the Peal District of San Antonio, Texas
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Texas is a large and diverse state, with many great places to stay in varying cities and towns; for those looking for the most exciting and iconic locations, the top cities to explore include Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Fort Worth.

All five have many lodging options, from cozy bed & breakfasts to luxurious hotels. Houston is the largest city in Texas and features many activities like the Space Center Houston or shopping on Main Street.

The city also has a lively nightlife with plenty of bars and clubs. There are numerous hotels located throughout Houston offering different levels of luxury.

Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World” because it offers some of Texas’s best live music venues. It also has popular attractions such as Zilker Park, Barton Springs Pool, and Lady Bird Lake. Visitors can find a variety of accommodations, from budget-friendly motels to high-end resorts.

San Antonio offers various activities, including The River Walk, SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas amusement park, Natural Bridge Caverns, and more. Accommodations here range from budget-friendly motels to luxury suites at hotels like Hyatt Regency Riverwalk or The Westin Riverwalk San Antonio.

Dallas boasts a variety of attractions, from fine dining establishments to museums like The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, which commemorates President John F Kennedy’s assassination site. Accommodation options here range from budget-friendly motels to luxury resort hotels such as W Dallas Victory Hotel & Residences or Hotel Crescent Court Uptown Dallas.

Last but not least is Fort Worth, which offers its unique mix of attractions, including Sundance Square Plaza, full of colorful shops and restaurants, and modern art galleries like Fort Works Art Gallery or Cultural District Museum.

Accommodations in Fort Worth provide travelers with a wide range of choices, from budget-friendly motels to luxury chain hotels such as Omni Fort Worth Hotel or Embassy Suites by Hilton Fort Worth Downtown Convention Center Hotel.

See Related: Where To Stay In Austin, Texas: Best Areas & Districts

Best Times To Visit Texas

Crowd swimming in Barton Springs in downtown in Austin Texas
Tierney / Adobe Stock

When planning your trip to the Lone Star State, timing is key to making the most of your visit. Texas is vast, and its weather can be as variable as its landscapes.

Spring (March to early June)
Spring in Texas is a delight. Your jacket can usually stay at home as you’ll enjoy pleasant weather, perfect for outdoor events like the famous Texas International Fishing Tournament.

Late Fall (October to November)
For a comfortably cool experience, consider late fall. Not only is the climate agreeable, but you’ll also avoid the heavy tourist traffic of summer. Don’t miss the festivities of the State Fair of Texas!

April and September
These shoulder months bring wildflower blooms and ideal conditions for the great outdoors. Fewer tourists mean more room for you to explore at your leisure.

Monthly Breakdown

Texas meadow with bluebonnet flowers
Nicholas & Geraldine / Adobe Stock
  • March to April: Enjoy the colorful explosion of Texas wildflowers, including the iconic bluebonnet.
  • October to November: Take part in harvest festivals and witness the stunning foliage.

Weather Watch

Sunny day at the Port in Galveston, Texas
Natalia / Adobe Stock

Keep in mind that summers can be scorching, with temperatures soaring, making activities like hiking a bit more challenging. Winters can surprise with a sudden cold snap, so check the forecast!

Fun Fact: Texas is home to some quirky events such as the Hotter’N Hell 100 bike race. Imagine cycling so far in the heat that the name is a literal warning!

How to Get Around in Texas

Boats by the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas
f11photo / Adobe Stock

Traveling around Texas can be a great experience for visitors. There are a variety of transportation options available, depending on the traveler’s preference.

For those wishing to explore the state via road, there are several major highways and scenic routes. Interstate 10, which runs east-west across Texas, is perhaps the most well-known route and offers easy access to many popular cities, including Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso.

Several interstate highways run north-south, including I-35, I-45 and I-20. For travelers looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience, the historic U.S. Route 66 also runs through parts of Texas, offering plenty of opportunities to explore small towns and other points of interest.

Texas is also well connected by air, thanks to its numerous airports. The largest airport in Texas is Dallas/Ft Worth International Airport (DFW), located between Fort Worth and Dallas in northern Texas.

However, there are several other medium and small airports operating throughout Texas that offer both domestic and international flights.

Finally, for those who want a more relaxed form of transportation, there are several railway networks operating in major cities such as Austin, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

Amtrak offers service on their Southwest Chief route, which operates from Los Angeles to Chicago with stops in many cities, including Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso.

Here is a summary of the different transportation options in Texas:

Mode of TransportationDescriptionAvailabilityBest For
By PlaneMajor U.S. and European carriers offer APEX discounts; Visit USA tickets for economical one-way travel.Available at major airports across Texas.Quick travel between cities; overseas visitors.
By CarRental cars for flexibility; foreign licenses usually recognized; international license recommended if not in English.Rental services widely available: RentalCars.com and Priceline.com for bookings.Exploring Texas, especially beyond cities.
By TrainAmtrak services connect over a dozen towns and cities in Texas.Daily service in most connected areas.Long-distance travel; international visitors can use USA Rail Pass.
By BusGreyhound offers nationwide bus service; economical for short hops.Extensive network within Texas and beyond.Budget travel; short distances between cities.

See Related: Best States To Live In

Travel Tips for Visiting Texas

Visiting Texas is an opportunity for you to experience a diverse and vibrant culture. From sampling the renowned cuisine to joining in on the local festivities, each corner of the Lone Star State offers a unique slice of Americana. Here are some tips for travelers planning on visiting Texas:

1. Prepare for all kinds of weather

Packing suitcase with different travel gear and clothes
nikkimeel / Adobe Stock

Texas weather can be unpredictable, and you should always be prepared for hot sunny days, heavy rainfall, or even snow. Make sure to pack plenty of layers so that you can adjust as needed.

2. Enjoy The Local Texas Cuisine And Food Specialties

Sign and exterior of Franklin Barbecue in  Austin, Texas
Franklin Barbecue / Facebook

Texas is famous for its barbecue, and you haven’t truly visited Texas until you’ve had a taste of the tender brisket that falls right off the bone. Check out Franklin Barbecue in Austin for a mouth-watering experience but be prepared to wait in line – it’s a badge of honor here! Don’t miss other local specialties like chicken-fried steak, kolaches, and Tex-Mex dishes that are to die for.

3. Plan Around Seasonal Events And Festivals

Bright colorful lights and rides in Texas State Fair in Dallas
Samuel / Adobe Stock

Every season in Texas brings a variety of events and festivals worth planning your trip around. Rodeos, music festivals, and cultural celebrations provide insight into Texas’s rich history and vibrant community life. The Texas State Fair in Dallas is an autumn highlight, while SXSW in Austin is a must in spring for music, film, and tech aficionados. Always keep an updated festival calendar and map on hand!

  • Festivals Not to Miss:
    • Texas State Fair, Dallas (Fall)
    • South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin (Spring)
    • Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Houston (Winter)

Local Tip: Many festivals offer early bird tickets at a discount, so plan ahead and snatch them up before they’re gone!

4. Plan ahead and pack appropriately

Diverse people wearing running shoes
Flamingo Images / Adobe Stock

Before you leave, research the places you plan on visiting to know what to expect, how to get there, and how long it might take to get around. This will help make your trip more efficient.

Texas is a big state with big cities, and you’ll want to ensure you have comfortable shoes to help you through long days spent exploring. In addition, the sun in Texas can be intense, so bring sunscreen and wear it often while exploring outdoors.

5. Take a road trip

Wilco the Dog on a road trip in a red jeep renegade
Kim Magaraci / ViaTravelers

Texas has unique attractions and hidden gems in different areas of the state; don’t limit yourself! Consider taking a road trip and seeing what each region has to offer.

When you hit the road, remember that Texas highways are long and enchanting. Keep a map or GPS handy as cell service can be spotty, and always keep your eyes peeled for hole-in-the-wall eateries – they might just offer the best meals and memories of your trip.

Related Resources

Overview and Travel Essentials
Overview
Location
Texas
Time Zone
CST (UTC-6)/CDT (UTC-5)/MST (UTC-7)/MDT (UTC-6)
Driving Side
Right
Measurement System
Imperial
Internet TLD
.us
Travel Essentials
Currency
USD $
Electrical Standards
Type A & B, 120V, 60Hz
Emergency Numbers
945
Language Codes
EN
Mobile Country Code
1
UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Map

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