These 15 Texas small towns were voted as being the most picturesque small towns in America, AND #1 is in Texas!
There is no shortage of Texas small towns. It is lovely that fifteen small towns in Texas made the list of 120 Most Picturesque Small Towns in America. And the #1 Most Picturesque Small Town in America is in Texas! Yep, according to a recent poll (2023), of the 120 picturesque small towns in America, 15 are in Texas. I bet you’re not surprised by the small town that got number one! But don’t skip the other ones!
Travel experts with North Carolina Travel Guides compared 500 small towns in the United States by studying search trends, photographer’s photos most shared, and photos posted by the general public. I put the list in reversed order. No skipping down to #1!
So, if you’re looking to take a vacation to or in Texas and love small towns, you may want to consider one of these Texas destinations. I have to agree with most. And there’s one small town I’ve never heard of.
Fifteen Most Picturesque Texas Small Towns
Travelers wanting to come to Texas for a weekend getaway or a vacation need to take note of these small towns – as they are pretty special to Texas Travel Talk …and, I guess, to America, too!
An editor once told me that a town with a population of 25,000 or less is considered small. Well, you’ll see a few small towns here having more. I believe we will see a rise in small-town populations very soon as more people find them to offer so much that the “big cities” don’t.
15. Port Aransas (3,478)
Known for its beautiful beaches, Port Aransas is a coastal town at the tip of Mustang Island on the Texas Gulf Coast. It is also known as the “Fishing Capital of Texas.” I highly recommend vacationing here if catching a “big one” is your goal! Several shops, boutiques, and studios line the streets of downtown Port Aransas.
Port Aransas is also a popular spring break destination. Most Texas spring breakers go around early March to the end of March – FYI.
14. Driftwood (87)
Is Driftwood part of Dripping Springs? Well, I heard it was, then now I’m reading it’s not and that it’s its own town with a different zip code. Either way, Driftwood is a very quaint and tiny town to visit with much charm. Driftwood in the heart of the Hill Country is 40 minutes from Austin, under two hours from San Antonio, and a hop, skip, and a jump from Dripping Springs.
This small town houses two places I’m very fond of: Fall Creek Vineyards and Salt Lick BBQ. Both sites are across the street from one another and are must-visits when in the area. If going to Salt Lick for dinner – get there early or wait in a long line – it’s that good, and the place inside and out is even more quaint. You can watch them make the barbeque – it’s a great Insta-worthy photo op.
13. Round Top (99)
Round Top, Texas, is a charming little town located just an hour southeast of Austin. The city is known for its historic downtown area and annual Round Top Antiques Festival three times a year, which draws visitors from all over to see the latest vintage decor, fine antiques, collectibles, and people’s treasures and junk! I can already tell you that there are more antiques in this small town than there are people – so you probably should love antiques if you want to visit here!
12. Granbury (12,884)
Granbury is a lovely small town to visit, and its town square is in the center of it all. Many things happen on the square, providing locals and visitors places to eat, shop, and gather. If you like lake water and a sandy beach, Lake Granbury is accessible from the square. Granbury has many BnBs, lakefront homes for rent, and more special places to stay.
NEW: Granbury is now the “Celebration Capital of Texas.” It also won Best Historic Small Town In America by USA Today in 2019, 2020 & 2021.
11. Wimberley (2,881)
Wimberley is a small town near the bottom of the Texas Hill Country off I-35 past Austin. It’s best known for its picturesque setting and outdoor activities. The town is located along the Blanco River, which offers plenty of opportunities to go rafting or kayaking in the summer months. It’s also home to several wineries and breweries where you can enjoy wine tastings or beer sampling. For an outdoor experience, try bike riding the many trails – you’ll have your choice because there are so many.
Stay tuned as I write a full article on Wimberley, Texas, and everything you can do outside.
10. Gruene (part of New Braunfels)
Gruene (pronounced ‘green’) is a small New Braunfels, Texas town. It’s known for its historic district, unique shops, Gruene Hall, and German heritage from the original settlers who came from Germany in the 1840s. Though Gruene should be its own tiny town (in my opinion), I’m not sure anyone lives there. But the Guadalupe River’s views are worth taking that short drive to see. So are the many upscale restaurants. The whole town is walking distance –park, walk, shop, eat, drink, then do it all over again.
9. Brenham (19,477)
Brenham is a charming small town in Washington County, Texas. The town is known for its annual Texas Bluebonnet Festival, held every April since 1954 and named after the state flower that blooms throughout central Texas during this time of year.
Blue Bell Creamery is in Brenham, too. It’s a huge draw to the town with its $1 scoop of ice cream. Open during the week only.
8. Rockport (11,092)
Rockport is a small town on the Texas Coast that offers unmatched beach beauty and fun things to do year-round. The heart of this charming coastal community is its waterfront district, where visitors can enjoy shopping in boutiques, dining at fine restaurants, or watching live music at one of several outdoor cafés.
The Rockport/Fulton area offers excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation, including kayaking and bird-watching. In addition to its many natural attractions, Rockport has become known for its art scene: The Arthouse at Rockport Center for the Arts houses more than 200 works by local artists each year; you’ll also find galleries featuring paintings from around the world as well as sculptures crafted from everything from driftwood to chandeliers made from antlers!
7. Bandera (876)
Bandera is a small town in Texas known for its cowboy culture. In fact, Bandera is the “Cowboy Capital of the World’ (not just Texas).
Today, Bandera is known as one of the top destinations in Texas for family vacations, dude ranches, guest ranches, and outdoor adventures like riding horses!
6. San Elizario (10,067)
San Elizario is less than an hour from El Paso but it feels like another world. For most of us who haven’t heard of this small town, it’s a hidden gem with unique and beautiful architecture dating back to the 1800s. San Elizario is also one of the oldest towns in Texas.
I read that the food is terrific, but I wouldn’t know because this is a town I’ve never heard of. But for it to be on the list, it’s worth a visit, especially if you’re in the El Paso area.
5. Dripping Springs (8,253)
This town houses plenty. It’s a nature lover’s dream. Hamilton Pool Preserve, Westcave Discovery Center, and the Texas Hill Country Olive Co. are just three of the places I recommend. And, if you like to drink, there are wineries, breweries, and distillers in town – plenty to keep you happy! (Don’t drink buzzed).
Dripping Springs is known as the Gateway to the Hill Country from Austin, Texas, and the scenic drive pays off. There are also plenty of live music venues all over town. Camp Lucy is one of my favorite places to stay. It is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a nice dinner in its on-site restaurant.
4. West (2,618)
West, Texas, is located near Waco off I-35 (north of Austin). It’s known for its strong sense of community and tight-knit neighborhoods. Look for the Slovacek’s sign off the highway, and you’ll know you’re there.
The town has small businesses, including restaurants and coffee shops. Locals love their town. Here is what they had to say. “It’s not just our weather and water, nor our friendly neighbors and good schools. It’s not even just our strong sense of community (we’ve got a saying around here: ‘This town looks out for its own’). No, I think what really makes West so special is something more intangible: it feels like home.”
3. Boerne (21,966)
If you’re looking for a fantastic day trip from San Antonio, look no further than Boerne, Texas. This small-town charmer is south of Kerrville and Comfort on Hwy 10 and only a 25-minute drive north of the big city. It’s also 4 hours from the Fort Worth/Dallas area, making it a perfect weekend trip.
The Cibolo Creek is a true Hill Country experience and one of my favorite places to visit. Bring a picnic or hang out on one of the benches and watch the ducks paddle their way down the creek. Walk around the creek to enjoy the view of trees, shops, flowers, and more.
Shop the Hill Country Mile, aka Main Street, for everything under the sun. It may take more than one day to see everything – just FYI.
2. Nacogdoches (31,992)
This small town in East Texas has a lot to offer, from historic buildings to its picturesque downtown area to being the oldest town in Texas with a rich Texas history. There are many great shops and restaurants to explore and some historical buildings that date back to the early 1900s. Be sure to visit the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University for photo ops and the many parks and gardens around town.
This small Texas town is the most picturesque destination in America.
1. Fredericksburg (11,631)
Have you ever heard of Fredericksburg, Texas? If not, it’s time to get acquainted. There’s a reason Fredericksburg has been voted #1 most picturesque small town in America. And it’s hard not to fall in love with this charming town as soon as you arrive.
One of the most popular things and the primary reason many flock to Fredericksburg is to stroll through its charming downtown area filled with shops, boutiques, restaurants, antique stores, wine-tasting rooms, and more! Fredericksburg, TX, also made our list of the 12 most charming Christmas towns in Texas.
Fredericksburg is located in the Texas Hill Country and is known for its German heritage, architectural style, and vineyards. It’s also home to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, a beautiful granite mountain that offers views of the surrounding natural landscape. I’ll be going there soon (for the first time).
P.S. I’ll be on my way to Fredericksburg later this month (September 2023) and will have so many photos and more information about this precious town, so stay tuned for my article sometime first of October.
Now, it’s your turn. If you’ve lived in or visited one of these towns, please take a minute to rate it on a scale of 1-10 (one being the least picturesque and 10 being the most dramatic), just like it’s been done here. If you think a small town in Texas should be on this list, let us know that, too!
Source: North Carolina Travel Guides