Texas is a state with countless attractions, making it difficult to decide where to spend your time.
However, we have selected the top highlights of this destination known as “GEMs” (Great Experiences for Members). These GEMs are some of the best attractions in Texas.
Top 10 Best Attractions In Texas
1. Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is the first on our list of best attractions in texas. It is located in West Texas and offers spectacular scenery, including mountains, canyons, and the Rio Grande River, which forms the border between the US and Mexico. The park, located in the Chihuahuan Desert, offers a variety of recreational and sightseeing opportunities for visitors.
The park offers a variety of activities for all types of visitors. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the extensive network of hiking trails and camp in beautiful campgrounds. Paddling on the Rio Grande or enjoying a picnic and wading in the water are popular activities on warm days. With over 400 species of birds, birdwatching is a popular activity, but visitors may also spot roadrunners darting across roads or trails.
2. The Texas State Capitol in Austin
The Texas State Capitol, a National Historic Landmark located in Austin’s downtown, is renowned as one of the best state legislatures in the US. Built in 1888, the building stands 308 feet tall and features monuments to the Alamo defenders and Vietnam War veterans in its 22-acre park.
Visitors can take guided tours of the interior starting from the visitor center, which has many displays. For a unique experience, head to the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to watch the spectacle of over a million Mexican free-tailed bats departing and returning to their perches under the bridge.
3. The Fort Worth Stockyards
Fort Worth’s Stockyards National Historic District is a top attraction, known for its rich history in the cattle industry dating back to 1866. Visitors can experience the last remaining facilities of its kind in the US, now transformed into a fun-filled destination with activities such as rodeos, concerts, performances, and western-themed shopping. Notable highlights include cattle driving demonstrations and trail riding opportunities.
Check out the Stockyards Visitor Center and Stockyards Museum for information on current events and the history of Fort Worth’s entertaining Stockyards area.
4. Galveston’s Beaches & Strand Historic District
Galveston, located on the Texas Gulf Coast, boasts picturesque beaches that extend for miles. The calm and shallow waters make it a favorite spot for families and beach enthusiasts. During the summer, visitors can relax under beach umbrellas on the Seawall or have a blast at the Pleasure Pier.
Galveston is not just a beach town, it offers a variety of activities throughout the year. Visitors can explore the Strand Historic District, a National Historic Landmark, and admire the grand Victorian mansions. Families can also visit Moody Gardens and Aquarium, a large complex with glass pyramids housing an aquarium, rainforest, and amusement park.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Galveston offers great deep-sea fishing opportunities year-round, with peak season in the summer. Located less than an hour from Houston and 45 minutes from Space Center Houston, Galveston is a convenient destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.
5. Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo
Cadillac Ranch, an iconic West Texas site, features cars buried nose-first in the ground and attracts many visitors who come to take a picture and leave their mark on the colorful display.
The vehicles feature constantly evolving artwork, with many individuals adding their town’s unique touches to the Cadillacs. Visitors are encouraged to add their designs using spray paint, which can be found on the ground outside the gate. The history of the layers of paint on the cars is hard to discern, but vendors outside the gate sell jewelry made from paint chips taken from the cars.
6. The River Walk
The River Walk offers a variety of activities for visitors, including walking, jogging, cycling, and hiking. Spanning 15 miles, the River Walk is lined with biking and hiking paths, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
It also runs downtown, where visitors can find restaurants, clubs, and shops. For those looking to take in all the sights, a boat ride down the River Walk is a must-see. It runs past the San Antonio Missions, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and various parks.
7. San Antonio Zoo
The San Antonio Zoo has its roots in 1914 when Colonel George W. Brackenridge gave the city land that was home to monkeys, lions, bears, and buffalo. Today, the zoo covers 56 acres and features 750 different species of animals. Visitors can take in one of the world’s largest bird collections, see hippos and crocodiles underwater, watch lions play in Big Cat Valley, and even feed the giraffes. Bring your family and don’t forget your camera when coming.
8. El Mercado
Check out El Mercado, America’s largest Mexican market, for a delicious margarita. This historic three-block market features over 100 local shops selling a variety of items such as Talavera pottery, handcrafted Mexican art, and mouth-watering Mexican pastries. Enjoy live music in the square and the 24-hour Mi Tierra Restaurant, which keeps the Tejano and Mexican cultures alive around the clock.
9. Spanish Governor’s Palace
The Spanish Governor’s Palace, a National Historic Landmark and 18th-century adobe building, transports visitors to a time when the Spanish controlled Texas.
Formerly the home of Spanish captains of the Presidio San Antonio de Berar, the palace offers guided tours through its landscaped gardens and ten rooms filled with Spanish Colonial furniture, providing a glimpse into the state’s past.
10. Natural Bridge Caverns
Experience the thrill of Indiana Jones as you cross the 60-foot limestone slab bridge at the entrance of the Natural Bridge Caverns. This natural wonder has much more to offer beyond this small taste.
As the largest commercial cavern in Texas, the Natural Bridge Caverns offers visitors an epic journey through ancient formations 180 feet below the earth. But the caverns are not only underground, they also have surface attractions such as an adventure ropes course and gem and fossil mining.
No doubt, we know that Texas is a state rich in history, with many sites that showcase its colonial, Mexican, and western heritage engagingly and entertainingly for visitors of all ages.
In addition to historical attractions, the state also offers a variety of outdoor recreational spaces, contemporary exhibits, and a diverse dining scene. To help you make the most of your visit, we’ve curated a list of the top best attractions to prioritize while in Texas, so you can spend less time planning and more time exploring.