Texas is an amazing state filled with contrasts. From the beautiful beaches along the gulf coast to the historical Alamo in San Antonio or Dallas World Aquarium for the kids, there's always an abundance of activities and sites to keep visitors entertained.
Whether you're looking for the excitement of big city amenities or you want to relax and unwind in the history and culture of a slower pace of life, there's something for everyone in Texas.
So if you are planning for a vacation in Texas this Year, check out our list of top 10 "Must-See" attractions in Texas.
This tiny, unassuming white stone chapel in south central Texas was once the site of a great battle. The Battle of the Alamo has been immortalized in legend, film and song, as the site of struggle for independence from Mexico.
Today, it welcomes millions of visitors every year. The famous chapel marks the entrance into the site, and visitors can see the Long Barracks and countless artifacts from the compound's storied history. It's an attraction that guests will truly never forget.
The history of this river walk goes all the way back to the 16th century, when the river was first discovered and renamed for St. Anthony. This area has seen a lot of change since then, culminating in a vibrant social and cultural scene that draws locals and visitors in droves.
River boats are available for hire, allowing you to take in the history and scenery from a most unique vantage point. Museums, parks, and restaurants are just a handful of the options awaiting a trip to this gorgeous esplanade.
Once upon a time, when it was first constructed, the Texas State Capitol was billed as the seventh largest building in the world. Located in the hip urban locale of Austin, the Capitol building and its grounds are open to the public.
The rotunda is a "whispering gallery," meaning that its acoustics allow even whispers to carry clear across the room. On the grounds, monuments like Heroes of the Alamo and Terry's Texas Rangers commemorate moments of significance in Texas's history.
Located in Dallas, this aquarium features many species of endangered animals and educates visitors about the importance of conservation. Although it's known as an aquarium, it also features a replica of the Orinoco Rainforest.
Here, toucans and ibises fly around the aviary, and three-toed sloths hang out in the trees. Together with the aquarium simulating the river and its various types of wildlife, including electric eels and crocodiles, visitors get an awe-inspiring sense of the rainforest and its wonders.
This primitive national preserve is a 70-mile stretch of undeveloped coastline on the north side of Padre Island. Windsurfing enthusiasts come to Laguna Madre on the island's west side, and bird watchers thrill at the sight of cormorants, egrets, herons, pelicans, and more.
The park contains dunes, beach scenes, prairies, and tide pools teeming with marine life. You might even catch a glimpse of a sea turtle or two. Because of its undeveloped nature, a visit to this park is a lot like stepping into the past.
The golden age of America's space program is on full display at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Visitors can take in the majesty of a range of spacecrafts and equipment that helped the United States to pull ahead in the famous Space Race.
One of these is the Mercury 9 capsule, which was the final craft in the Mercury program that introduced manned spaceflight, and other crafts from the Gemini and Apollo programs can also be found.
There's even a restored Saturn V rocket, which was used to propel astronauts out of the atmosphere for decades before the Space Shuttle eventually took over.
It gets awfully warm in Texas, so a trip to a waterpark may be just what the doctor ordered. The Schlitterbahn Waterpark invites guests to cool down in a variety of ways: whether by waterslide, floating on an innertube, riding a water coaster, or diving in a wave pool, there's something for everyone with varying degrees of thrill available.
The accompanying resort gives you a luxurious place to relax in between trips to the water park's wide array of attractions.
Big Bend National Park is located along the south-western border of Texas with the Rio Grande River forming an international border between the U.S. and Mexico. Here you will notice dramatic contrasts with dry hot summers at the lower elevations and occasionally, freezing temperatures, in the winter.
Along the 118 mile southern river border, you will find the spectacular canyons of Boquillas, Mariscal and Santa Elena. Visit the park to explore one of the many scenic drives or they enjoy a day hike or a backcountry backpacking adventure.
From bird watching to fishing, horseback riding or river trips, Big Bend National Park has something for everyone to enjoy.
There are 5 visitors' centers located within the park. The visitors' centers offer informative interactive exhibits, maps, river passes, restrooms, groceries, water faucets, bookstores, post office and an extraordinary amount of information regarding park geology, history and culture. Not every visitors' center has the same amenities, so it's important to do your research before heading to Big Bend National Park.
One look at the corpse flower in this Galveston garden will tell you that you're in for something special.
The gardens are separated into three distinct pyramids: the Aquarium Pyramid, which features penguins, sharks, and seals; the Rainforest Pyramid, which highlights the diverse flora and fauna of the rainforest ecosystem while also educating on the importance of rainforest conservation; and the Discovery Pyramid, which hosts a rotating lineup of traveling exhibits.
In addition, visitors can cool down in the Palm Beach water park or chase thrills through the sky with the Moody Gardens zip line and ropes course.
In 1976, the Fort Worth Stockyards Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in addition to 46 contributing buildings and another structure. Today, the Stockyards give a cultural nod to the area's rich cattle history with numerous venues for entertainment, shopping and dining.
When visiting the Fort Worth Stockyards you will have an opportunity to step into the West and get a glimpse of the culture that has made this area so popular.
From wooden corrals and brick walkways to the Stockyards championship rodeo and twice daily cattle drives, you'll be able to embrace the history of the Texas livestock industry.
You'll find a number of excellent dining options, ranging from fast food to Tex Mex, steakhouses, BBQ and more. After a bite to eat, you can take in some action at Billy Bob's Texas with its huge dance floor, indoor rodeo arena, arcade and general store.
Other attractions in the area include Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show, the Cowtown Opry, the Stockyards Saloon or let the kids try their luck with a mechanical bull, located right across the road from the Stockyards Station.