There is no shortage of prime vacation spots in Texas. The only problem you may encounter is trying to visit them all in one trip.
The Great State of Texas
Texas is the largest state in the continental U.S. and home to some of the most populated cities in the nation. The southern state's warm, dry weather, spectacular scenery and close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico's open waters make it a popular tourist destination. The grand state also features an unlimited number of family-friendly activities, from amusement parks and museums to acres of outdoor recreational areas and dozens of historical sites. With all the state has to offer, choosing just a few vacation spots in Texas to tour can be a challenge to first time visitors.
Popular Vacation Spots in Texas
A vacation in Texas will bring a smile as large as the state itself. The great weather, welcoming residents, and cultural diversity are just part of what makes the "Lone Star State" so popular. While it is physically impossible to tour all of Texas in a single day, there are a host of vacation spots that should not be missed, including:
No trip to Texas is complete without a stop in Dallas. The "Big D" is home to several popular vacation spots in Texas, such as:
- Southfork: The Ewings' fictional home, Southfork Ranch, is a huge tourist attraction in Texas. It is located just 40 minutes north of downtown Dallas. You can tour the property and see memorabilia from the hit TV drama that pays homage oil rich families. The site is also home to a museum, gift shop and deli.
- The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza: The Sixth Floor Museum of the old Texas School Book Depository is a must see attraction in Dallas. Even if you were not alive to remember what took place there on November 22, 1963, the site will still move you. The official timeline of events that led up to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is displayed there along with other interesting facts about how historians say Lee Harvey Oswald was able to fire the fatal shot from a sixth-floor corner window of the building. The museum also includes exhibits detailing Kennedy's life, along with mementos of his visit to Dallas that deadly day.
- Cowboys Stadium: Located just outside of Dallas in Arlington, Texas, the new $1.15 billion stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play football offers daily tours to sports fans from around the world. The shiny new structure features a retractable-roof and a host of gift shops and eateries.
The city of Houston is another popular vacation spot in the state of Texas. It boasts dozens of family-friendly and education attractions, such as:
- Water Wall: The 64-foot u-shaped fountain is Houston's most photographed site and sits on three acres shaded by 180 oak trees. The family-friendly area is a great place to picnic, nap or simply let the kids run off some steam.
- The Buffalo Bayou: This popular and very photo-friendly free Houston attraction is a hit with outdoor enthusiasts. The area boasts a waterway with bridges, parks, walkways, views of the city skyline, and trails for canoeing, kayaking, hiking and biking.
- Holocaust Museum: This museum pays tribute to Houston-area Holocaust survivors. Their heart-wrenching stories are told through exhibits that display personal belongings, writings and photographs. Recently, the museum added a 1942 German-built rail car--the same kind that transported European Jews from ghettos to concentration camps. The addition allows visitors to peer into the 26.5-foot-long car and visualize what it looked like with hundreds of poor souls crammed into it headed to the unthinkable.
The city of San Antonio features an eclectic blend of historic sites and modern entertainment venues. You can tour the world-famous Alamo mission, which has become a symbol of Texas. The site hosted one of the most important battles during the Texas Revolution. The 19th century building is beautifully preserved and offers free daily tours.San Antonio is also home to the legendary River Walk, which features dozens restaurants, hotels, and shops along the San Antonio River. Flatbed barges and gondolas transport visitors more than two miles down the Paseo del Rio to various attractions.
Austin is Texas's state capital city and one of the most famous live music capitals in the country. Some of the largest music festivals in the nation take place in Austin each year, including South by Southwest and the City Limits Festival. The city is also home to a number of awe-inspiring historical sites and a rich medley of geological wonders, such as Barton Springs, a series of natural springs that flow into man-made pools.
South Padre Island
The powder soft white sand on Texas's South Padre Island is a big draw for visitors. This vacation hot spot has everything you could ask for in a beach resort. From the spectacular sunny shores to the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, South Padre Island is a haven for beach lovers. When you aren't surfing, parasailing or simply relaxing on the beach, you can take part in deep sea fishing expeditions where you can try to catch Red Snapper, Grouper, Kingfish, or sharks.
With so many incredible places to visit in the "Lone Star State," you might consider getting help from the Texas Tourism Commission. The group provides a litany of maps, brochures and other online resources to help make your trip to Texas one you will remember forever