When you need a taste of adventure in the Wild West, no place is better than Texas. There are 35 cities in the Lone Star state, which is as big as the UK, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands combined, as well as historic relics, nature parks, and attractions abound. If you are looking for majestic coastlines, canyons, Tex-Mex culture and food, and museums, then Texas has plenty of things to do.
Here are the top 10 best attractions and places to go in Texas to start your journey:
You wouldn't expect to find a museum on the sixth floor of the Dallas County Administration Building at Dealey Plaza, but there is! Hence the name “Sixth Floor Museum,” which pertains to President John F. Kennedy. You can learn all about how he lived up to the point of his assassination. There are a number of artifacts, recordings of eye witness accounts, and photographs. Currently, there are around 45,000 items on display. On the seventh floor, you can also access special programs and exhibits. A gift shop, cafe, and bookstore are also on premises.
There is so much to see and do at the Houston Museum of Natural Science that you could easily spend an entire day perusing the 16 permanent exhibits and special collections. Feast your eyes upon real dinosaur skeletons before wandering halls festooned with gemstones and jewels, Native American history and culture displays. There is also a butterfly center, Giant Screen Theater, and the George Observatory to check out.
When it comes to the name “Six Flags,” you know you are in for a great adventure (pun intended). With 213 acres of land to cover, Six Flags Over Texas happens to be the state's biggest and most popular theme parks. Aside from rides for all ages and interests, there are live country music shows and other entertainments throughout the year. Batman fans will also be satisfied by rides like “The Joker” roller-coaster.
Located about 100 miles west of El Paso is a national park comprised of the most mind-blowing desert scenery you may ever lay your eyes upon. Despite looking like a harsh environment devoid of life, Guadalupe Mountains National Park is home to a spectacular array of wildlife, clusters of woodlands, and natural hot springs. Make your first stop at the Pine Springs visitor center so you can pick up information about the park's extensive hiking and biking trails.
There is much more to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden than trees and flowers. The property spans 66 acres, has two historical houses and sixteen gardens that feature plants from all around the world. For those with little ones in tow will want to visit the Children's Garden. Over 150 activities are available to entertain and educate children. You can even rent the Arboretum and Botanical Garden for corporate retreats, weddings, reunions, and other social events.
In 1965, at the request of a wealthy art collector named Kay Kimbell, the museum was established to encourage imagination and foster art appreciation. Since its opening, the Kimbell Art Museum has gathered works from the greats, such as Monet, Picasso, Rembrandt, Matisse, and more. Paintings, artifacts, and architectural splendors make up the two buildings and the interior displays. With such a spread of artwork, you will truly leave inspired!
Ever dream of getting up close and personal with marine life, such as octopus, starfish, dolphins, and more? Then you need to make your way down to the Dolphin Research and Sea Life Nature Center on South Padre Island. They have “touch tanks”! The center also simultaneously protects marine wildlife while educating and engaging with the community. Another reason why the center is popular would be the dolphin tours. You can ride a boat out into the Laguna Madre Bay to witness dolphins in the wild.
A national historical park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Antonio Missions preserves both wildlife and four out of the five Spanish frontier missions located in San Antonio. Long ago, the outposts were set up by Catholic religious orders to aid in the spread of Christianity then later fit into the colonization system that moved across the Spanish Southwest from the 17th to 19th centuries. The sites are all quite beautiful and make for a great hiking and picnicking spot.
Located 3 miles south of Downtown Dallas, within the beautiful Marsalis Park is the Dallas Zoo. Established in 1888, the Dallas Zoo has 106 acres and loads of history. Currently, there are around 2000 animals from all around the world found within this nonprofit attraction. For those looking for a new way to see a zoo, the monorail that glides over the African themed habitats is definitely one of the best things to do in Texas!
Texans will tell you that on a hot summer day the one thing to do is go to a natural swimming hole. The best is Hamilton Pool, part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, a protected environment. Since the 1960s, the natural pool has been popular with visitors to Austin, Texas and residents alike for both the swimming and the natural beauty of the limestone and stalactites encircling the area. Do keep in mind, however, that the pool is occasionally closed due to inclement weather and/or sanitary issues.