With a nickname like 'The Friendly State', it's not surprising that small towns in Texas are often extremely charming, welcoming tourists with love and hospitality.
Many of them are nestled in remote areas among wild, arid deserts, verdant forests, or brilliant coastlines, making for delightful breaks from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Many of the Texas small towns thrive on tourism, with rich, diverse history and heritage, thriving art and cultural scenes, and a lot of unique attractions.
If you're looking for a charming small town to visit in Texas, you'll have plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of the best small towns in Texas, offering a variety of experiences.
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When it comes to small towns in Texas, few could ever beat the beautiful city of Jefferson.
Packed with historic buildings and a relaxing atmosphere, this East Texas location has grown dramatically since its time as a river port in the 19th century.
It's also known as the most haunted small town in the state, so fans of the eerie are sure to enjoy its spooky offerings.
At Jefferson, history buffs will love visiting the Excelsior House, Old Post Office, Jefferson Historical Society Museum, and Jefferson Carnegie Library.
Lovers of the outdoors will like trips through Caddo State Park and cruising up Big Cypress Bayou.
While Jefferson focuses a lot on charming, laid-back enjoyment, it's still an exciting place for tourists - especially couples seeking some romance.
Fredericksburg is a German enclave in the heart of Wine Country, boasting a rich history since German immigrants founded the settlement in 1846.
A little over 10,000 people live here in this historic location, which has multiple attractions on the National Register of Historic Places.
Fredericksburg is also well-known for its agritourism as part of the Peach Capital of Texas in conjunction with Stonewall.
Lavender, herbs, wildflowers, and grapes are grown at jaw-dropping rates, making for gorgeous farms and gardens to explore when open and available.
With a rich history, unique architectural features, and tons of heritage to learn about, Fredericksburg is one of the most loved small cities in Texas. There's a lot to eat, a lot to drink, and a lot more to explore!
Address: Fredericksburg, TX
Hunt is situated in the middle of the Texas Hill Country, built in an environment surrounded by stunning limestone hills.
Among small towns in Texas, it is known for its outdoor recreation opportunities. Technically, this is an unincorporated community with less than 1,500 official residents.
But its small size is no match for its guests: there are more than double that amount of camping tourists.
Hunt is very much a tourist town, with many accommodation options. You can rent a house along the gorgeous Guadalupe River near Hunt, camp on campgrounds, or stay at a resort.
You can also visit the Kerr Wildlife Management Area or nearby attractions, like Crider's Rodeo and Dance Hall, which hosts nightly rodeos in the summer.
Address: Hunt, TX
Situated in the Trans-Pecos desert, Marfa can be found close to the Mexican border on the edge of West Texas.
The desert town, with a population of less than 2,000, is packed with tall tales, myths, and legends, with various strange attractions and unusual stories to hear from locals.
The remote land is minimalist but welcoming, a mix of vibrancy and Southern simplicity.
Since the 19th century, guests and residents alike have reported the existence of the Marfa Lights, a bunch of strange dancing lights visible on the horizon.
The phenomenon is currently unexplained, but the Marfa Lights Festival held once a year is a great opportunity to learn about its lore and surrounding theories and catch a glimpse of the lights yourself.
For fans of the strange or unusual, this is one of the best small towns in Texas!
Wimberley is a village, so it's one of the smaller offerings among small Texas towns and is perfect for remote retreats.
For the most part, it is a ranching area and boasts a population of less than 3,000. The Hays County settlement has wonderful examples of natural beauty in its lovely environment.
From Wimberley, you can visit the Blue Hole Regional Park or drive down Devil's Backbone, both of which will provide scenic views and exploration.
The Blue Hole is especially noteworthy as one of Texas' most delightful swimming holes, a perfect cerulean blue. You can also climb Prayer Mountain, which has 218 steps to the top.
But even within the village, there's plenty to do. Local bluegrass musicians gather in frequent Bluegrass Jams, and local galleries offer lovely glimpses into the art scene.
There are also Market Days held on each month's first Saturday, drawing in loads of tourists.
The town is named after the Palo Duro Canyon, commonly referred to as Texas' Grand Canyon.
It is the nation's second-biggest canyon and offers a wide range of adventures and activities in its state park, ranging from horse-riding to hiking.
With just about 15,000 or so inhabitants, it's a county seat and tourist destination all in one.
Canyon has quite a storied past, as do many places in this part of Texas. That's why a trip to the state's biggest history museum, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, is undoubtedly in order.
You can then head to the Historic Downtown Square to peruse specialty stores and lovely buildings or head into the canyon to watch the incredible musical drama TEXAS, a famous outdoor show.
Address: Canyon, TX
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Texas
The beautiful town of Port Isabel is one of the best small towns in Texas that isn't tucked deep inland, offering instead gorgeous white sand, a long coastal history, and a reclusive, far-away location from major cities.
Port Isabel's past can be traced back to 1519, when Alonzo de Pineda, a Spanish explorer, landed in southern Texas.
The haven of Port Isabel boasts fewer than 7,000 inhabitants, providing a sleepy seaside getaway far off from bustling crowds.
There are wetlands teeming with wildlife, piers perfect for fishing, flea markets to satisfy shopping burgers, and many museums for history buffs.
You mustn't forget Port Isabel Lighthouse, the oldest continually working lighthouse in Texas or its Keeper's Cottage!
If you're an aspiring angler, you can also participate in the annual Texas International Fishing Tournament, held here annually.
If you're not competitive, you can head out onto the water to fish or even go kayaking or dolphin-watching.
Address: Port Isabel, TX
With just over 10,000 residents, Granbury has twice won the USA Today award for Best Historic Small Town in America.
It makes sense, then, that it's one of the most beautiful small towns in Texas!
With history, hospitality, culture, dining, and shopping experience to its name, Granbury is a fantastic tourist hotspot.
Situated in northern Texas, Granbury still has many of its old historic structures.
This includes the 1800s Hood County Courthouse, complete with its original hand-wound clock, the Ashton House, the Daniel-Harris Home, and many more 19th-century buildings. There's also the fascinating Hood County Jail Museum to tour.
You can then go even further back in time to the 20-acre Dinosaur World attraction, featuring life-size models of various dinosaurs.
Don't forget to visit Texas' fastest-growing microbrewery, the Revolver Brewing Company, too. For some relaxation, stroll by Lake Granbury.
Address: Granbury, TX
The coastal town of Rockport is precisely everything you'd want from Texas small towns with proximity to water.
The Arkansas County location, with about 10,000 residents, offers a clear, azure sea perfect for swimming, boating, watersports, and seafood consumption! This is the ideal beach getaway.
Of course, there's more to Rockport than just the water, though that is its main attraction.
Buildings in the heritage district, built in the Queen Anne style, are worth sightseeing, especially the likes of Fulton Mansion and Hoopes-Smith House.
Colorful, vibrant eateries, shops, and galleries add to the experience, creating a relaxing art town vibe.
You can also head to Goose Island State Park, home to the millennium-old Big Tree, one of America's biggest and tallest living oak trees. For sun and surf, lounge at Rockport Beach Park or The Big Blue Crab!
Address: Rockport, TX
Salado is a Bell Country town that was originally incorporated for the sake of building a bridge that allowed people to cross Salado Creek.
Today, it's well-known for its lengthy history, its many locations on the National Register of Historic Places, and its welcoming atmosphere for creative types and artists.
Salado is one of the most charming small towns in Texas. It has the state's oldest hotel, Stagecoach Inn, offers a picturesque walk at the Salado Gardens, and welcomes picnics at Pace Park.
There are coffee shops, vineyards, bookstores, art galleries, handcrafted gift shops, and various festivals focused on the arts.
Address: Salado, TX
Dripping Springs is situated just 30 minutes away from the bigger city of Austin.
With just under 5,000 people in residence, it's a haven of whimsical natural sites, from natural swimming pools to gorgeous hills. Many hiking trails surround the area, and it's one of the smallest Texas towns.
Dripping Springs' most popular destination is Hamilton Pool Preserve, which boasts a beach, canyon, and delightful 50-foot waterfall cascading down.
For a more historic vacation, head to Mercer Street and view all the 19th-century buildings, quaint housing stores, lively bars, and music venues.
Wine-lovers will also appreciate that Dripping Springs is in the center of Wine Country in Texas, so you'll be able to sample all sorts of delights here.
The little town is also well-known for its fantastic vodka, especially the Deep Eddy brand, which has its own tasting room and tours.
If it's a beer you seek, check out Jester King Brewery. If you're more of an olive oil taster, head to Texas Hill Country Olive Oil Co.!
Address: Dripping Springs, TX
Part of the German-Texas belt and the 290 Texas Wine Trail, Johnson City, is one of the loveliest Texas small towns.
It's a great mix of culture and history, boasting monthly Art Walks, numerous galleries, and a Sculpture Ranch to immerse you in the arts.
Johnson City, as its name might suggest, is the hometown of President Lyndon B. Johnson. You can visit the old LBJ Ranch or the Texas White House, the president's childhood home.
You'll find Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park to the west, perfect for exploration. For a non-president-related outdoor activity, head east to Pedernales Falls State Park instead!
Johnson City is also known as the twinkliest town in Texas thanks to its incredible Christmas light show, which NASA claimed to have seen from space! If you're here during the festive season, the show is not one to miss.
Address: Johnson City, TX
When it comes to German heritage, few small towns in Texas surpass Boerne. It's often ignored in favor of Fredericksburg, but it deserves much more attention.
The picturesque location, home to just over 18,000 people, is a charming spot with a gorgeous downtown area and lots of local shopping opportunities.
Natural wonders are especially a delight in Boerne. The 1.1-mile Hill Country Mile brings you around the historic stretch of Main Street and through River Road Park.
There's also the non-profit, 100-acre Cibolo Nature Center, the stunning and intriguing Cascade Caverns, and the 100-acre Boerne City Lake Park.
Loads of festivals are held throughout the year at Boerne, all with a mix of European and Southern American influences.
If you're getting a little tired of small-town life, you can also travel from Boerne to San Antonio, just half an hour away.
Address: Boerne, TX
Grapevine is the epitome of a holiday location, with festive traditions that make it one of the best Christmas towns in Texas.
It is a suburb of Fort Worth and Dallas, situated in Tarrant County and extending slightly into neighboring counties.
It is located next to the huge reservoir of Grapevine Lake, which has a double purpose as a recreational hotspot and a water source.
More than 18,000 people call Grapevine their home. As the Christmas Capital of Texas, there's a long schedule of events that happen during each festive season for people of all ages.
Those seeking a charming small town for their year-end holidays will surely enjoy what Grapevine has to offer.
Address: Grapevine, TX
Gruene isn't really one of the small towns in Texas, as it's a historic district within New Braunfels.
Once upon a time, it was its own independent settlement, and as such, it is continually referred to as a town within a city.
Most of the location, pronounced "green", is a part of the National Register of Historic Places, boasting stunning late Victorian architecture.
The charming town of Gruene is set on the Guadalupe River and is a mecca for live musical performances. All sorts of artists stop by to perform and are a real treat to watch.
As you explore, check out one of the state's oldest open-air dance halls at Gruene Hall or visit the 1872 building of the Gruene Family Home. Antique shops are everywhere, in case you want a quaint, quirky souvenir!
Address: Gruene, TX
Marble Falls is a town in central Texas that is an opportune spot for visitors. Around it are five gorgeous lakes, tons of wineries, and a fair few exciting attractions.
Lake Marble Falls, Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, and the limestone cliffs of the titular waterfall are all great places to explore.
For the most part, this is one of the best small towns in Texas for outdoor enthusiasts.
It's a haven of wonders like the rugged terrain of Hidden Falls Adventure Park, the clear waters for swimming at Krause Springs, and the biking and hiking opportunities of Pace Bend Park.
Just over 6,000 or so people live here, so it feels like a relaxing world away from the hustle and bustle.
Those preferring less outdoorsy adventures can peruse downtown galleries. Don't forget to visit Blue Bonnet Cafe, famous across the state for serving what many people call the best pies in Texas.
Address: Marble Falls, TX
Luckenbach is a tiny unincorporated community that has made a name for itself thanks to its German-Texan heritage.
With just three official residents to its name as of a 2006 census, the Gillespie County settlement manages to be a quintessential Texas destination, at least when it comes to Texas small towns.
Modern Luckenbach appears like a ghost town, with a Western aesthetic and only two main buildings and a single general store for souvenirs. To stay here, you have to rest in one of three lodges across from the town's creek.
But what Luckenbach lacks in size, it makes up for in renown. This famed country music venue hosts live events every weekend with burgers and beer on the side.
Regional and local celebrities even stop by every now and then to perform, and visitors are welcome to perform informally, too.
Address: Luckenbach, TX
New Braunfels is among the small Texas towns that are no stranger to tourists, boasting a mix of natural wonders, 19th-century structures, and home to the renowned Schlitterbahn WaterPark Resort.
There are all sorts of curious attractions here, including Buc-ee's gas station, which is the world's largest gas station, the state's oldest hardware store, and the state's oldest bakery.
Fans of nature will enjoy the relaxing float of the Guadalupe River or may choose to travel 25 minutes to the stunning Natural Bridge Caverns.
Also worth noting is the annual German-style sausage festival held here every November, Wurstfest. December also brings a fantastic celebration in the form of Wassailfest, a Christmas festival that's a lot of fun to be a part of.
Address: New Braunfels, TX
The small city of Nacogdoches is the county seat of its namesake county and also the sister city of a smaller namesake town in Louisiana.
With a population of more than 32,000, it's one of the small cities in Texas that is often overlooked, despite being the third biggest in Ark-La-Tex's south.
Nacogdoches is often described as Texas' oldest city, with evidence of Caddo Indian peoples living here as far as 10,000 years ago.
Naturally, this means the town has its fair share of historical sites. Of note is the Recorded Texas Historic Landmark of the Millard's Crossing Historic Village and the Old Stone Fort Museum, a replica of a structure from 1779.
There's also the 10-acre Mast Arboretum, boasting 20 gardens and more than 3,000 flora species.
Address: Nacogdoches, TX
Terlingua is one of the most unique small towns in Texas. It is technically a census-designated place, or CDP, and boasts stunning landscapes and gorgeous scenery.
Just about a hundred people officially live here, and it's far in the distant reaches of West Texas, just 15 minutes from the border of Mexico.
This desert settlement is also called Terlingua Ghost Town. Once upon a time, it was a teeming mining district, and this is where it got its name: from the mineral terlinguaite, first discovered here.
Now, those homes that once held 2,000 or so people lie abandoned, leaving behind eclectic bits and pieces of history, stunning views of the mountains, and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.
You'll also find that Big Bend National Park is quite literally next door to the town, so hikers and similar outdoor enthusiast tourists often choose Terlingua as their base before their expeditions.
Try to visit in November on the first Saturday of the month, where chefs from across the planet flock to Terlingua for an annual chili cook-off competition.
Address: Terlingua, TX
As its name suggests, Dublin is famously known as Texas' Irish capital. With a population of just over 3,500, it's a relatively remote location, about two and a half hours away from bigger cities like Dallas and Austin.
It's a tiny place with many characters, known for its mix of historic attractions and modern production and manufacturing.
Dublin is home to one of the country's oldest bottled soda distributors, Dublin Bottling Works.
The factory offers tours that include samples of the original Dr. Pepper recipe, though the plant no longer bottles the drink.
Address: Dublin, TX
The city of Georgetown isn't exactly a small town, as it's one of America's fastest-growing cities and boasts a population of almost 70,000 people.
This is the home of the most beautiful town square in the state, which you'll find in a cozy, Victorian-style downtown space filled with charming streets and historic buildings. The city is also the site of Texas' oldest university, Southwestern University.
Georgetown is the epitome of quaint and charming, with wineries, theaters, antique stores, galleries, and more to peruse.
Wonders like the 20 million-year-old Inner Space Cavern and the gorgeous Blue Hole Regional Park bring you close to whimsical nature.
Meanwhile, historic sites like the 1911 Courthouse, Old Williamson County Jail, and Palace Theatre make a fascinating step back in time.
After exploring Georgetown, if you're hankering for some bigger city life, you only need to travel for about 30 minutes to get to Austin.
But before that, be sure to explore its three historic districts: Williamson County Courthouse Historic District, Belford National District, and The University Avenue/Elm Street District.
Address: Georgetown, TX
The city of Brenham is the county seat for Washington County, boasting a whopping 17,000 residents, approximately.
This is the home of the immensely popular Blue Bell Creameries, which has a tourable factory where you can see the makings of one of the country's best ice cream brands.
The city also has a 140-year history as home to one of the first Orthodox Jewish communities in the state.
Brenham was established in 1844, and that means it has a fair bit of history to its development.
Numerous sites on the National Historic Registry can be found throughout its expanse, making it one of the loveliest small cities in Texas for history buffs.
Among them, you'll find Old Baylor Park, Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, Barrington Plantation State Historic Site, Giddings Stone Mansion, the Historic Masonic Cemetery, and a genuine working antique carousel.
Address: Brenham, TX
Shiner is relatively well known by locals when it comes to small towns in Texas, as it's the home of Shiner Beer and Spoetzl Brewery, the oldest of Texas' independent breweries.
Founded by immigrants from the Czech Republic and Germany, it has just over 2,000 residents and began growing when a post office was built here in 1885.
Situated in Lavaca County, Shiner is mainly known for its production, so its factories - notably Spoetzl Brewery - are tourist hotspots.
After exploring the brewery, head to Shiner's downtown to immerse yourself in the local culture.
Address: Shiner, TX
Alpine is a relatively big town, as far as towns are concerned! With a population of about 6,000, it's filled with many attractions for a city of its size, offering a mix of city tourism and remote West Texan charm.
Its historic downtown area is fascinating, with lots of street art scattered about.
Alpine is an integral part of Texas' Big Bend and is the site of the informative, world-class Museum of the Big Bend.
The museum showcases various artifacts and pieces of information related to Native American and Western culture and the history of the reason.
Other notable sites are the Brewster County Courthouse and Jail, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Turner Range and Animal Science Center.
The city of Alpine is also a great gateway to natural attractions like Hancock Hill, Paisano Pass Volcano, Blue Creek Trail, Big Bend Ranch State Park, and Big Bend National Park. You're never too far away from nature here.
Address: Alpine, TX
Here are the top 3 Texas small towns perfect for living.
There are many great Texas small towns to visit during the winter months. Fredericksburg is a beautiful town located in the Texas Hill Country. During the winter, the town comes alive with Christmas lights and decorations. New Braunfels is another great option for a winter getaway. This German town hosts a number of festive events throughout the winter months.
There are many Texas small towns that offer outdoor enthusiasts a variety of activities to enjoy. Some of these towns include Canyon, New Braunfels, and Fredericksburg. Each town offers something unique for those who love spending time outdoors.
Texas small towns are havens of nature, history, architecture, and culture, making them attract just as many tourists as people who live permanently within them.
Some are a little more lively, and some border on ghost towns. Some are surrounded by woods, others are wrapped by desert, and others boast white sand stretches across beautiful coast.
This list of the most beautiful small towns in Texas should help you choose your favorites depending on your interests.