These are the top tourist attractions in Texas TODAY!
There’s no doubt Texas is a great place to live. We have so much to see and do. I sometimes think I won’t be able to see it all in my lifetime. The Lone Star State, the second-largest state in the United States, can overwhelm a person, especially a native like me. I hope to see it all, but if I don’t get to, I can at least write about it and share it with you all. Here are the top tourist attractions in Texas to put on your to-do list. And don’t wait too long!
Top Tourist Attractions In Texas
From the massive amusement parks in Texas to our wonderful national parks, historical sites, world-class museums, and beautiful beaches in the south (we think so), you’ll need to make several trips here to see all these top attractions below.
Dallas World Aquarium
One of Texas’s most popular tourist attractions is the Dallas World Aquarium. The aquarium features an impressive collection of plants and animals worldwide. Some say it’s a zoo, too. Visitors can see many different animal species on land, including snakes, lizards, and many more.
You can also find a variety of marine life, such as sea turtles, seahorses, and jellyfish that live in the aquarium’s massive ocean tank. Several exhibits feature plants and other wildlife native to North Texas. In addition to its exhibits, the aquarium offers educational programs for schoolchildren and families.
The Dallas World Aquarium is located in downtown Dallas’s West End Historic District—admission charge.
Dallas Arboretum And Botanical Garden
The Dallas Arboretum features many acres of beautiful gardens full of various flowers and plants within its season. It holds special events throughout the year, including its top two – one in spring and the other in fall. Don’t miss the two historical mansions filled with art and furniture from days gone by—admission charge.
The Sixth Floor Museum
A museum dedicated to the events surrounding President John F. Kennedy’s life, assassination, and the legacy he left behind.
Here, Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President John F. Kennedy. This museum is dedicated to preserving history and educating visitors about the incident.
The Sixth Floor Museum is on the sixth floor of the old Texas School Book Depository building at the Dealey Plaza and is one of the most popular attractions in Dallas—admission charge.
According to Viator, the Sixth Floor Museum is one of the top tourist attractions in Texas.
Fort Worth Botanical Garden
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is an award-winning public garden boasting over 13,000 plants worldwide and is open year-round. If you want to see it all, you’ll spend a long time here. The gardens included are a Japanese Garden, a Desert Bonsai Display, a rose garden, and a few more. It’s large, and you’ll do a lot of walking. We saw one restaurant, and it didn’t open until 11 am. Visitors can also participate in several events throughout the year, such as Holiday Lights.
Fort Worth Zoo
The Fort Worth Zoo is one of Texas’ best zoos, with over 500 animal species, including birds, mammals, and reptiles that can be seen up close …and it’s airconditioning. When the weather is almost unbearable in the summer, we go inside to cool off, but we are always amazed at the chimpanzees and other outdoor animals. Our favorite is the bears.
Fort Worth Stockyards
Fort Worth is known as the “City of Cowboys and Culture,” and it’s easy to see why. The city’s historic stockyards are home to shops, restaurants, bars, museums, and even a working cattle drive …and real cowboys! At the center of it is the Livestock Exchange Building, so don’t miss that.
Six Flags Over Texas
An amusement park in Texas that many states north of Texas visit. Fun things happen here all day and into the night. I can’t count how many times I went as a kid and the times I took my kid and grandkids. I am due to take my youngest and his friends, but waiting until they are old enough to want to ride all the roller coasters. Please save your money, because it’s not cheap! But it is the perfect place to have happy kids all day long. Go as soon as it opens in the season and early for shorter lines and better parking spaces.
Texas State Capitol
The Texas State Capitol is located in downtown Austin and is one of Texas’ most iconic buildings and one of the most impressive state capitols in the country.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the building or stroll around leisurely. Touring the State Capitol Building is a must, especially if you’re a Texan. I think I’ve only visited three times in my life. I’m due to take my grandson for sure.
Make a weekend out of your visit.
Austin is known as one of the most beautiful cities in Texas, with its iconic skyline and famous music scene. Having the title Live Music Capital of the World, you can definitely do more there besides touring the Capitol. Making a weekend out of your visit is easy, with live entertainment on every corner. It is an outdoor lover’s paradise with many opportunities to hike, bike, camp, and kayak.
Texas Hill Country
If you’re a fan of the outdoors, you’ll love the Texas Hill Country. It’s a haven for outdoor adventure, known for its natural beauty and scenic views. This region in Central Texas is known for its rolling hills, rivers, and lakes. The Hill Country is also home to several state parks that offer camping and hiking trails. The scenic drive along is enough for me. The area also has many wineries, breweries, and distilleries open to the public.
In the small town of Dripping Springs, you’ll find Hamilton Pool, with daring limestone cliffs and beautiful waterfalls. It was once a popular swimming hole, but swimming is no longer allowed. Jacob’s Well in Wimberley offers swimming and is worth a trip (I hear).
While in Dripping Springs, visit the visitor center and ask about the true dripping springs. Ask if they have time to tell how the town got its name. The springs are on private property and across the street from the visitor center.
The Gruene Historic District in New Braunfels features several shops, boutiques, and restaurants, including the Gruene Hall, one of Austin’s oldest dance halls. The banks of the Guadalupe River adorn the town. You can also rent inner tubes to float the river. There is a company around the corner from the town –ask someone where it is if you can’t find it.
The Alamo is the top national historic landmark in Texas, where visitors spend much of their vacations. San Antonio gets lots of visitors because of the Alamo. This historic site was built as a mission and turned into a frontier outpost. Now it’s where we all convene to learn about our Texas history. The gift shop has a wide variety of Texas souvenirs, including books about the Alamo.
San Antonio Riverwalk
The San Antonio River Walk is probably the most popular attraction in Texas. It spans 10 miles between downtown San Antonio and Mission Reach Park at its northernmost point. The riverwalk offers over 20 restaurants, hotels, and shopping. If anything, you can enjoy strolling 0n the cobbled walkways along the river banks, viewing all the beautiful buildings and the landscape, and watching the riverboats full of people go by.
The riverboat cruises are fun as well. The tour guide tells the story of the buildings and the history of San Antonio, and I bet they will display information you never knew about. I think you’ll be in awe of it.
Natural Bridge Caverns
Texas’ largest cavern with awe-inspiring cavities and great guided tours. Hidden Wonders is the newest and biggest cave tour at Natural Bridge Caverns.
If you’re feeling it, the zip line course out there now is fun. But I have not been since it’s been added.
The Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch next door is a drive-through ranch with over 45 animals. Has a separate admission charge.
South Padre Island
South Padre Island (SPI) is a haven for Texans and out-of-state travelers. Popular activities and attractions in SPI include:
- Padre Island National Seashore
- Dolphin Tours
- Isla Blanca Park
- Visit the SPI birding and alligator sanctuary
- Sea Turtle Rehab and Rescue Center
- Build a Sandcastle
- Adventure Park
- Horseback riding on the beach
Space Center Houston
FYI. Space Center Houston is the official museum and Visitor Center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
It is a great place to learn about the history of space exploration and get hands-on with some exciting exhibits. From seeing the real Apollo 11 capsule, Apollo 12 Lunar Module Simulator, and the Mission Control Center to learning how astronauts eat in space, there are plenty of exciting things to see and do here. It also has an IMAX theater, which shows various films throughout the year.
Houston Museum Of Natural Science
A unique experience learning about education with interactive exhibits: if it’s anything link the one in Fort Worth, you and your children will be amazed. See the planetarium and butterfly exhibit, and if it’s still there, check out the shark tank. Sharks have always fascinated me, but I wouldn’t want to get up close to one!!
Museum Of Fine Arts, Houston
The Museum District of Houston houses many museums, including this one, and showcases many local artists.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park, a West Texas treasure, is a natural area that covers many square miles along the Rio Grande River. The park contains mountains, desert lands, and acres of land untouched by man. Various wildlife is made up of bobcats, coyotes, javelinas, and many more that are hidden from visitors.
Several hiking trails, biking trails, and kayaking opportunities are available along the riverbanks. No matter what season you visit Big Bend National Park, you will find something new each time you visit. This park is excellent for nature lovers and adventurers of all levels.
It amazes me why this national park is on every list I research. It’s one of Texas’s top tourist attractions, yet no one visits it. That’s right, Big Bend National Park doesn’t get that many visitors because it’s so far from everyone. Heck, I have yet to go. My parents took us on many road trips, but not this one – they went alone. My mom still reminds me that she and my dad rode a donkey in Mexico for only $5.
Just outside Amarillo lies Cadillac Ranch — a roadside attraction consisting of 10 Cadillacs buried nose-first into an earthwork sculpture stretching across two miles of Texas highway I-40 near Amarillo in the state’s Panhandle region.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located in southwestern Texas and continues into New Mexico. The park includes a 24-mile stretch of mountains, several high plateaus, and desert valleys between El Paso, Texas, and Carlsbad, New Mexico.
It offers camping facilities and hiking trails that will appeal to all levels of hikers, from beginners to experts.
Palo Duro Canyon
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is a beautiful destination only 15 miles from downtown Amarillo, Texas. in West Texas.
The Palo Duro Canyon State Park has many different trails for visitors to explore, including those that lead to overlooks with incredible views of the canyon floor below.
We can forget about beautiful East Texas. I didn’t find any top tourist attractions in my research, but I want to add my own because there is so much to see in the piney woods.
What about Nacogdoches? It’s the oldest town in Texas.
Caddo Lake State Park, where you can see large cypress trees.
Or what about all the other beautiful state parks? Go explore!
And you may find this article interesting too – Top Attractions In The Texas Panhandle.