Texas is known for many things, but it might not be the first place that comes to mind when you’re thinking about taking a vacation. Yet, Texas has many of the things that the average vacationer is looking for. Sandy beaches? Check. World-class restaurants? Check. Amusement parks? Check. And with a good mix of bustling urban areas and quaint small towns, there’s a little something for everyone.
Big Bend National Park
Located in southwest Texas, Big Bend might be one of those national parks that you’ve never heard of. But the park is truly impressive, with more than 800,000 acres of rivers, deserts, and mountains. Still, Big Bend is one of the least visited national parks. The remoteness of the location probably has a lot to do with this, but the park itself is no less majestic than its better-known rivals.
The Chisos Mountains are arguably the biggest draw of Big Bend National Park. And it’s the only mountain range contained in a U.S. national park. Stay at a local lodge to enhance your visit, and enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, and a number of other activities.
The Alamo (San Antonio)
You may have heard of the Alamo, but you may not know much about its significance in Texas’ history. Back in the early 1800s, Texas was actually a part of Mexico. And many would say the most important conflict that led to the independence of Texas occurred at the Spanish mission known as the Alamo. Even though the battle was lost, it helped to foster Texas’ independent spirit.
San Antonio, on its own, is also a great city to visit with its Spanish architecture and Mexican cultural heritage. Other popular places to visit in San Antonio are Sea World, the River Walk, and the San Antonio Botanical Garden.
JFK Assassination Site (Dallas)
Don’t think of this as morbid but as a fascinating part of American history. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 as he rode through Downtown Dallas. Today, the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza chronicles the story of Kennedy’s presidency and his assassination.
There are also many other interesting places to visit in Dallas, such as Reunion Tower, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, and the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Although Dallas has a lot going for it, the average home price is still around $300,000, making the city a good choice for real estate investment.
Space Center Houston
As home to NASA’s astronaut corps and a training ground for astronauts around the world, Houston doesn’t disappoint. The Johnson Space Center, also known as Space City, has over 100 buildings in the Clear Lake area of Houston. And although NASA does not currently operate shuttles, the agency currently leads International Space Station operations and missions.
Space Center Houston is the official visitor center of Johnson Space Center and consists of a museum and exhibits that are fun for kids and adults alike. Houston is also home to world-class museums, parks, and several Michelin-rated restaurants.
Galveston is actually an island city on Texas’ Gulf Coast about 50 miles from Houston. With a population of about 50,000, Galveston is known for its beaches and laid-back atmosphere. Visit the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier with its numerous rides and attractions, or catch a show at Moody Gardens, a one-stop hotel, and entertainment complex.
The island is also a destination for cruise ships. Although the pandemic affected travel by sea over the past year or so, cruise lines are slowly returning to the Port of Galveston. Galveston is the fourth most popular cruise port in North America.
Although it might not immediately come to mind, Texas is a great place to enjoy a vacation. Cities such as San Antonio, Dallas, and Galveston each offer something unique and interesting for the traveler who might be looking for a vacation that doesn’t break the bank. And if you’re looking for something more remote and quiet, there’s Big Bend National Park. They don’t say everything’s bigger and better in Texas for nothing.