There’s no place like the biggest cities in Texas: from Houston and Austin to San Antonio and Dallas. These TX titans are jam-packed with Lone Star’s signature flair. World-class music scenes coexist with sophisticated artistic communities; culture, history and heritage are proudly revered and celebrated; and traditional Western restaurant favorites and eclectic, modern eateries constantly vie to be the jewel in the state’s culinary crown.
But it’s the small towns and villages dotted across the sprawling Texas landscape that really set the Lone Star State apart and give it that certain I do not know what that makes it special – small towns and country retreats; Hill Country beauties and Gulf Coast gems, all of the following tiny wonders make up for their small size by offering massive, larger-than-life Texas-style fun and adventure.
Cowboy in Bandera
Known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World”, Bandera is the perfect place to go west. Vast scenic landscapes and attractions rich in cowboy culture await visitors who wish to saddle up and head for the beautiful Texas sunset – whether through dude ranch destinations or scenic horseback rides. , vacationers will have fun channeling their inner cowpoke into the beautiful Bandera .
- History, culture and more: Frontier Times Museum; weekly “Cowboys on Main” shootout at Bandera Country Visitors Center, Houston Lightning Ranch Rodeo (Saturdays in the summer); Lone Star Motorcycle Museum; Bandera General Store
- Outdoor adventures: Dixie Dude Ranch; Mayan Dude Ranch; Hill Country State Natural Area; Bandera City Park; Medina River; Lost Maples State Natural Area (45 minutes)
- Where to eat/drink: 11th Street Cowboy Bar; Restaurant OST; Charlie’s chicken barbecue; Kickback Korner Bar and Grill; Bandera Bistro.
- Where to stay: The Vaquero Motel; Flying L Ranch Resort; Antler Oaks Lodge; Rancho Cortez; Dixie Dude Ranch
Wonderful museums in Marfa
Charming, small-town vibe meets big-city art scene in TX’s incredibly hip paradise Marfa. A hip downtown neighborhood full of quirky shops and contemporary art spaces, the cozy West Texas gem is brimming with quirky, quirky neighborhood vibes and attractions that set it apart from many of its smaller towns. neighboring towns.
- History, culture and more: Judd Foundation; Ayn Foundation; Marfa Ballroom; Building 98; Marfa Museum of the Holocaust and Historic Model Ships; Marfa County Museum and Presidio
- Outdoor Adventures: Marfa Mysterious Lights Observation Center; Stardust Motel sign; Marfa gliders; Prada Marfa showcase; Chinati Foundation (outdoor exhibitions)
- Where to eat/drink: Planet Marfa; Lost Horse Fair; Bar Casita (house); the aquatic stop; Cochineal
- Where to stay: El Cosmico; Hotel Paisano; The Lincoln Marfa; Hotel Saint-Georges; thunderbird
Wet and wild in Wimberley
Wimberley is a small town almost in the middle of Texas heavyweights Austin and San Antonio, is a nature lover’s dream with its abundance of outdoor spaces, including one of the best swimming holes in the Lone Star State. Spectacular scenery will love the beautiful drive through Wimberley via the The Devil’s Backbonewhile fans of Main Street Americana will love the eclectic downtown.
- History, culture and more: Wimberley Texas Market Days (first Saturday of each month); Wimberley Glassworks; Wimberley Valley Museum; Wimberley Valley Vineyard; pioneer city
- Outdoor Adventures: Jacob’s Well Natural Area; Blue Hole Regional Park; Prayer Mountain (Old Baldy); Cypress Creek Falls; Rough Creek Lavender Fields (about ten minutes)
- Where to eat/drink: The wooden spoon; The leaning pear; Cypress Creek Reserve (distillery); Chill’s on the Creek; Longleaf Artisan Food and Bar.
- Where to stay: 7A Ranch; Wimberley Inn & Bar; Creekhaven Inn & Spa; Mountain View Lodge; Hotel Flora and Fauna
Step into the spirit(s) in Dripping Springs
Like many small towns on this list, dripping springs is a Hill Country paradise known for its super scenic hills, rivers and streams that are perfect for outdoor activities and adventures. However, the highlight of Dripping Springs is undoubtedly its myriad of distilleries, wineries and breweries that call the charming town their home – here, country charm and great downtown vibes go hand in hand. to create real small town TX magic.
- History, culture and more: Deep Eddy Distillery; Dreamland; Hudson on Mercer; Mercer Street Dance Hall; Historic Dr. Pound Farm and Museum
- Outdoor Adventures: Hamilton Pool Reserve; Reimers Ranch; the shadow of the falcon; Texas Hill Country Olive Company; Pedernales Falls State Park (25 minutes)
- Where to eat/drink: Bell Springs Winery; Twisted X Brewery; treated oak distillery; Get Along Grill; The Salt Lick (ten minutes);
- Where to stay: Lucky Arrow Retreat; Camp Lucy; Hill Country Casitas; TyRosa Ranch; Infinite Ranch
Beach fun in Port Aransas
A Gulf Coast gem that calls Mustang Island home, the scenic Port Aransa is perfect for those looking for beach fun with a side of outdoor recreation, both on and off the water. And while parasailing, kayaking, and surfing are the best watersports around, this seaside retreat is best known as the “Fishing Capital of Texas.” Small-town vibe and big-city fun abound, too, especially in the community’s thriving arts district and hip downtown (especially after dark).
- History, culture and more: Port Aransas Art Center; Port Aransas Community Theater; Farley Boat Works; Port Aransas Museum; Visit of the Chapel on the Dunes
- Outdoor Adventures: Great Texas Birding Trail; Mustang Island State Park; dolphin-watching cruise; Port Aransas Nature Reserve; wetland park
- Where to eat/drink: Grumbles Seafood Co.; Fins Grill and Cooler; Bernie’s Beach House; the Tortuga Saltwater Grill; shells
- Where to stay: Captain’s Quarters Inn; Whatabeach House (Airbnb); Plantation Suites and Conference Center; Seashell Village Resort; Tropic Island Resort
Everyone knows Texas knows how to go big, from its big cities like Austin and Houston to its sizzling steaks; to its sprawling landscapes and quirky roadside attractions. However, for those who want to see a different (smaller) side of the Lone Star State, these smaller towns are the best way to explore. Packed with charm and quaint (yet lively) vibes, these cozy spots are an eclectic mix of scenic outdoor adventures; trendy and high-end artistic enclaves, historical and cultural attractions; and good meals galore that make for unforgettable getaways that are small in size but big on the TX-sized fun.