Make your move and check out these top things to do in Texas at least once!
Everything is bigger in Texas, and so is our list of things to do in Texas at least once. The Lone Star State, the second-largest state in the United States after Alaska, is a great place to explore!
17 Things To Do In Texas At Least Once
This list is long, so grab your favorite drink, get comfy, and choose the things you want to do …at least once!
Whether you like them or not, we are home to the Dallas Cowboys, and Jerry Jones promises to make them a great team again. It’s been too long since we’ve won a Super Bowl.
1. Experience Our Two Texas National Parks
The best things happen in the great outdoors, and some of the best spots to experience it are Big Bend National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Nature lovers love these areas. Big Bend is on almost every list I have come across. Both of these national parks are on my Texas Bucket List.
2. Explore The Texas Wine Country
Take a long weekend to visit the Texas Hill Country. If you can, travel the scenic highway and not I35. Visit the wineries on Hwy 290 (aka Wine Road) and stop in Dripping Springs to visit the beautiful Hamilton Pool Preserve. Though its natural swimming hole is closed indefinitely, it’s still a gorgeous area to explore. There are other swimming holes in the hill country – small town Wimberley has one.
A road trip to small towns in the Texas Hill Country is one of my favorite things to do to enjoy the outdoors and nature.
3. Visit The Dallas Arboretum During Fall
At least once, you’ll want to visit the Dallas Arboretum during the fall season to see all the pumpkins out there. There is an entire garden full of all sizes of pumpkins, and it’s a sight to see. Bring your camera for family photos.
While you’re there, and if time permits, you might want to check out the following:
- Perot Museum Of Nature
- Dallas Museum Of Art
- Dallas World Aquarium
- Downtown Dallas
- Sixth Floor Museum At Dealey Plaza to check out the President John F. Kennedy legacy and the history of Lee Harvey Oswald.
4. Camp Under The Stars At A Beautiful Texas State Park
Below are some of the most beautiful state parks in Texas. Have I been to them all? No, but I’ve been to two of them! Most state parks are $5-$8 to enter unless you have a Texas State Park pass, then admission is free.
Colorado Bend State Park
I hear so many good things about this state park and its area. This one would be my number one choice if I were to travel to a state park for the first time. Go on a cave tour, visit Gorman Falls and camp in the beautiful outdoors. CBSP. I’ve almost talked myself into going here in October!!
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
The Texas Panhandle has a gorgeous state park, and I’ve been!! The Grand Canyon of Texas is what this state park is referred to. And I can attest. It’s also where I zipped my first zip line. Zipping over the canyon was surreal!
Caddo Lake State Park
This is a great place to take a boat tour of Caddo Lake to see the Cypress Trees and maybe an alligator, but don’t hold your breath – they are hard to spot during the day. I took the boat tour and heard the history of Caddo Lake. Worth every penny!
Dangerfield State Park
This is another state park I’ve read a lot about, especially during the fall. But if you go during the fall, wait until the end of October or the first of November to witness the orange, yellow, and red leaves on the ground.
5. Visit The Live Music Capital of the World
Even if you might think Austin is a little weird, go anyway. If you’re young, you’ll love the music that can be heard nightly in downtown Austin, especially on 6th Street and South Congress. If you’re family-oriented and your kids are with you, you’ll want to visit the Texas State Capitol Building. There are tours all the time there.
6. Float A River
It’s no secret that it gets hot in Texas during the summer, and unless you’re on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll be desperate for a dip. Floating the river (people take their tubes to almost every river in the state) has become a strong tradition. Another way to cool off is to visit Schlitterbahn. It’s one of the most fun waterparks in the world.
There are many rivers to float in Texas. I can think of two I’ve been to – the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels and the Frio River. These rivers are very popular and often crowded. If you don’t mind the crowds, go in the summer, but if you do, try going in September or October. That water will be cold no matter when you go! The Comal and Brazos Rivers are also great rivers to float on.
7. Space Center Houston
If you’re in the big city of Houston and want to explore, go to the moon on space exploration at the Space Center Houston for education, camps, and overnight experiences – the kids will love it!
If time is on your hands, visit the Houston Museum Of Natural Science if there’s time.
8. Drive Route 66 From Amarillo
Head to West Texas to visit the Cadillac Ranch on Route 66 and all the other attractions on this famous route. If you want to drive the entire Route 66 – give yourself three weeks.
The above photo is from a video I took from a display I saw in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Isn’t it cool? The entire display went from room to room. Route 66 starts in Chicago, IL, and ends in CA.
9. Visit A Buc-ee’s
If you’re not from Texas, chances are you’ve never been to a Buc-ee’s. But this is a must-do in Texas at least once. Those who know, know. Buc-ee’s is an impressive staple of Texas culture. It is the largest gas station and rest stop in the world and has the cheapest gas of its competitors. And, of course, you’ll want to pick up some beaver nuggets and maybe a t-shirt with the beaver on it – he is super cute! And now, they are everywhere in Texas. Heck, I live 5 minutes from one.
10. Surf South Padre Island
South Padre Island, off the south coast of Texas, is known for its beauty and pretty beaches. It’s always nice to visit here, and one of the things to do in Texas at least once! The article Best Of South Padre Island: Where to eat, sleep & play gets a lot of tractions.
11. State Fair Of Texas
The State Fair of Texas is always at the end of September and lasts until the 2nd week in October. If you go, eat a State Fair Fletcher’s corny dog for me – those are the best!
Besides all the abnormal fried foods and great food at the fair, expect live music, carnival rides, games, and lots of walking!!
12. Natural Bridge Caverns
If you’re a Texan, chances are you’ve been to the Natural Bridge Caverns. It’s a popular tourist attraction, but so are the other caves in Texas. We love caving, so we’ve been to a few. Here are 8 cave tours to take in TX that might be interesting.
13. See The Cattle Drive At The Fort Worth Stockyards
Stick around for the cattle drive either at 11:30 am or 4 p.m. This is your chance if you’ve never seen Cowboys ride steers on the road. Get your cameras ready. Save your cash for a photo on a steer’s back. The last time I was there, it cost five bucks.
You might also want to plan to visit the Botanical Gardens and the Fort Worth Zoo. These attractions are only a short drive from one another, and both would make an excellent day in the city.
14. Be A Cowboy In Bandera
Bandera, the Cowboy Captial of Texas, has some cool things going on there. Plus, the road trip down that way (from me) is scenic – well, once you get into the hill country. Plan to attend a dude ranch for family fun on horseback, explore nature, and perhaps sign up for a cowboy cookout.
15. Eat Texas BBQ
Texas has some mean BBQ all over the state. The Lone Star State knows how to cook it, but I hear it’s all in the marinating aspect of cooking barbeque. Many say the world’s best BBQ is down south, but I can think of many places in North Texas with some of the best around.
Did you know that small town Lockhart has been dubbed the Official Barbecue Capital of Texas? If you’re new to Texas, we love our BBQ! So, go find yourself some and knock it off your list of things to do in Texas at least once! I wrote an article on The Most Talked About BBQ Joints In Texas if you’d like to take a look.
16. Remember The Alamo
One of the most iconic landmarks in the country is the Alamo. Many tour options are available, and it’s a history lesson to be told. If you have or had a kid or grandkid in a Texas elementary school – 5th grade maybe, have them tell you all about it.
17. San Antonio River Walk
The Riverwalk is surrounded by restaurants serving some of the best Mexican food in the city and various cuisines. Walk around, then take a boat tour to see the rest. Listen to the tour guide tell the story of the history of San Antonio, and if you’re lucky, your tour guide will make you chuckle. I hardly ever go to the city and do not visit the riverwalk.
San Antonio is also home to one of the largest Dia de Los Muertos celebrations outside of Mexico and the Day Of The Dead Celebration each year.
Enjoy all these Texas things to do!