The Lone Star State has a rich, five-hundred-year history. Since 1519, Texas has been the property of Spain, France, Mexico, and eventually, the United States. For a time it was even a sovereign nation. With generations of German and Czech immigrants as well, this state has a unique history. As such, it’s not hard to believe that Texas boasts some of the best tourist attractions in the continental United States.
Whether your family is interested in urban exploration, river rafting, wine tasting, cavern spelunking, or museum hopping, there’s something for everyone to appreciate. Here are just a few of the best sights in the great state of Texas.
Blanton Museum of Art
Located in Austin, The Blanton Museum of Art is a world-class museum that hosts works by Rothko, Benton, Bearden, and Rubens. And that’s just the permanent collection! If you’re bringing the whole family, take note of the fact that admission is free on Thursdays. There are also family programs available that help to inspire creativity and curiosity.
The thirteen-day Battle of the Alamo during Texas’ battle of independence with Mexico has become a symbol of heroism. The cry “Remember the Alamo” has taken on a life of its own. Visit The Alamo and take a guided tour with one of the custodians of this important historic site.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park consists of 800,000 acres of public land on which you and your family can hike, camp, horseback ride, mountain bike, and more. Big Bend features a one-of-a-kind combination of desert, mountains, and river habitats. If hiking or camping isn’t your idea of fun, check out the park’s Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. From your car, you can explore the western side of the Chisos Mountains, take in the views at the Sotol Vista, and visit Blue Creek Ranch, a ranch house made out of native rock.
The Fort Worth Stockyards
Fort Worth, Texas is the home of a 200-acre stockyard that was founded in 1890. Every day you can witness a piece of history come to life during the daily cattle drive and rodeo. Walk past the wooden corrals and explore the Cowboy Museum. Pick up some cowboy boots with spurs, and even witness some bull riding. The Stockyards is the place to visit if you want to get a feel for the real cowboy days of Texas.
Twenty-six miles north of the city of Marfa, Texas there lies a strange and delightful art installation by the artists Elmgren and Dragset. Prada Marfa is a Prada store that is never open for business and never will be. Though the store is fully stocked and ready to be shopped, nary a customer will ever set foot within its doors. Miuccia Prada was consulted in the building’s design and in the products’ selection. The structure itself is meant to eventually degrade and fall back into the Earth, so plan your visit sometime soon!
While you’re taking the road less traveled, check out Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo, Texas. A collaboration between The Ant Farm and millionaire Stanley Marsh III, Cadillac Ranch is an art installation featuring graffitied, old Cadillacs buried in the desert. An amazing Instagram opportunity and a chance to see some art history in real life, be sure to see the Cadillac Ranch.
With its incredibly diverse landscapes, multicultural heritage, and plenty of exciting cities to explore, there’s never a lack of things to do in Texas. Take a trip down the coast and plan a day at the beach. Take a walk on the wild side and visit a functioning dude ranch. Or, take in the incredible art available. Whatever you choose, Texas should be next on your list of vacation spots.