Ask any Texan, and they will tell you loud and proud that Texas is the best state in the United States. I mean, Texas is larger than a lot of countries in the world!
Let us help you get the most out of your time in the Lone Star State by providing you with some awesome experiences to start checking off of your Texas bucket list!
So grab your road trip essentials and head out to start exploring all that the great state of Texas has to offer!
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Awesome Texas Bucket List Experiences
Meet Big Tex at the Texas State Fair
Here you can view lots of livestock, get your adrenaline rush on the rides, or try your hand at the midway games.
Once you have worked up an appetite, then you have to sink your teeth into some of the amazing fried delicacies that the state fair is famous for. While here, be sure and take a picture of iconic Big Tex as well.
Tour Palo Duro Canyon
Taking a tour of Palo Duro Canyon should definitely be on your list of experiences in Texas. Palo Duro Texas State Park is the nation’s second-largest canyon, second only to the Grand Canyon.
Palo Duro Canyon covers 30,000 acres with over 15,000 acres of trails for you to explore (I guess that’s why it is the second-largest canyon in the U.S.A). Located in West Texas about 30 minutes outside of Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon is beautiful but its environment can be harsh.
See the Marfa Lights
While you’re in west Texas, take a quirky trip and see the Marfa Lights….or try at least.
What are the Marfa Lights you ask? Well, the Marfa Lights are mysterious glowing orbs that appear in the desert outside of the small town of Marfa. Witnesses say that the orbs are colored.
Hike Big Bend National Park
The beautiful Texas terrain continues when you visit Big Bend National Park. With beautiful limestone cliffs, an entire mountain range, and the slow-running Rio Grande river, Big Bend is a great place to spend some time outdoors.
With more than 800,000 acres of desert and mountain terrain, Big Bend can be a harsh and unforgiving environment. Maybe that is why it is one of the least visited U.S. National Parks?
Nonetheless, Big Bend is a place that you must visit at least once and has to be on anyone’s Texas bucket list.
See a Rodeo
When you mention Texas, most people immediately think of cowboys and horses. Why not get a taste of the cowboy culture and see a rodeo in Texas.
Fans come from far and wide to see barrel racing, bull riding, and bronco busting. One of the largest in Texas is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Of course, I have to mention my hometown of Fort Worth also. The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo and the weekly rodeo at Billy Bob’s make the list of things to do in Fort Worth that we love.
This makes for a great Date Night in Fort Worth.
Remember The Alamo
You can’t have a Texas list of experiences without The Alamo. If you are interested in history at all, then you have probably heard of the battle of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas when a few tough Texans took on the Mexican army.
The Alamo isn’t the only mission in San Antonio. There are actually four other missions that make up Mission National Historic Park, all of which are open year-round and well worth a visit.
While there are several great festivals in Texas, none compare to the epic South by Southwest (SXSW) held annually in Austin. Boasting numerous concerts, film features, and cutting-edge interactive media, SXSW is a must-visit at least once.
Every March, thousands of people from all over the world descend upon Austin, Texas to participate in this event. Spread out to over 50 venues throughout the city, SXSW has numerous hosted events for guests to participate in.
Float the River
Let’s face it, the Texas heat can be unbearable. One of the many ways to beat the Texas heat and a great addition to your Texas bucket list is to float the river.
When choosing where to float, keep in mind that no two places are the same. Floating the river in Texas can range from calm and serene to a full-on party that is just so much fun.
One of the most popular floats in Texas is to float the Guadalupe River. The Guadalupe River is a great place if you are looking for a little bit of a party.
If you are looking for a calm float, then head to the Comal River in New Braunfels, Texas. Take note, the Comal River in New Braunfels is cold year-round!
This area is a popular spot to do some Texas glamping!
Explore the San Antonio River Walk
The San Antonio Riverwalk is one of the many free things to do in San Antonio and a great addition to your bucket list experiences.
The San Antonio Riverwalk is boasting with things to do. Visitors can enjoy a great meal while listening to the sounds of a mariachi band, before taking a boat tour to learn more about the history of the river.
Make a Soda in Dublin
One of the favorite soft drinks in Texas is definitely Dr. Pepper. Originally bottled by Dublin Bottling Company in Dublin, Texas, Dr. Pepper quickly became a Texas favorite.
While you can’t get “Dublin Dr. Pepper” anymore, you can still enjoy a visit to the fun soda plant where it all started. Take a tour and make your own pure cane sugar soda before bullying up to the 1950’s style soda shop for custom creation and a delicious hamburger.
Eat Kolaches in West
The small town of West, Texas is known as the “Czech Heritage Capital of Texas”, meaning they have some delicious Czech food just waiting to be explored!
Located right off of Interstate 35, the Czech Stop has been serving up delicious kolaches, sandwiches, and specialty bread for years.
Hike Enchanted Rock
This pink granite rock has been mesmerizing visitors for years. The area was believed to be the site of a historic Indian fight where many Native American Indians lost their lives. This is why many people believe that the area is haunted as well.
Camping is allowed at Enchanted Rock State Park, but note that the area is pretty remote and the campsites are primitive.
Jump Into Jacob’s Well
Another cool place to find some relief from the Texas heat is Jacob’s Well. Jacob’s Well is an artesian spring located in the Texas Hill Country.
What makes Jacob’s Well so unique is that it is a fully submerged cave, with the deepest part of the cave measuring 140-feet deep. Here, the water temperature stays a constant 68 degrees Fahrenheit, making it cool and refreshing on a hot Texas day. You can hike Jacob’s Well natural area without a reservation, but reservations are required to swim.
Learn to Two-Step
The popular country and western dance, the two-step, is most commonly called the “Texas two-step” is a dance hall favorite around here. That is because it was made popular in the many dance halls throughout Texas.
The dance is pretty easy once you learn the basic steps. You can follow a YouTube video to teach yourself, or head out to most any Texas dance hall to learn to check this off of your list of awesome Texas vacation experiences.
Spray Paint a Cadillac at Cadillac Ranch
Cadillac Ranch is a roadside attraction that has been welcoming visitors for years. You have probably seen the quirky Cadillacs standing on end in the middle of nowhere.
You are welcome to bring a can of spray paint and leave your make at the ranch if you would like to check this off of your Texas bucket list.
Kayak at Caddo Lake
Caddo Lake is a state park located on the border of Texas and Louisiana. Known for its mysterious beauty, Caddo Lake State Park is the perfect place to add to your Texas bucket list if you are a nature lover.
Encompassing over 225,000 acres of Cypress swamps, Caddo Lake State Park offers many bayous and channels for you to explore.
Try Out the Many Distilleries in Texas
Craft distilleries are a large and growing trend in the United States and Texas is definitely in on the trend. Texas is home to many distilleries including national brands and small mom and pop crafters.
Swim at Hamilton Pool
A true Texas treasure, Hamilton Pool Preserve is a favorite among all Texans. This natural pool was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed years ago.
Today, this is a popular hot spot to cool off from the Texas sun. You will find Hamilton Pool about 23 miles west of Austin.
Take a Picture in the Bluebonnets
Every spring, people all over the state look forward to the fields coming alive with the beautiful blue color of the Texas state flower. While the bluebonnets only last for a couple of months in the spring, you have to seize the moment while they are here.
There are so many great places to see bluebonnets in Texas!
Attend a Friday Night Football Game
Friday night lights, aka high school football, are like a religion in Texas. People all over the state flock to the stadiums to watch the Friday night games.
If you aren’t from Texas, then just pick a local small town and go enjoy the game!
Eat Some Tex-Mex
Texas is known for having fabulous food! One of the favorite local cuisines is Tex-Mex. This Texas spin on Mexican cuisine can be found all over the state.
Things like beef in enchiladas, burritos, cheese-covered nachos, etc. Needless to say, it is a regional cuisine that is delicious and has to be included on your Texas bucket list!
Drink a Frozen Margarita
You can thank Texas for this great invention. Don’t believe me, it’s true. Read all about it this and more in the facts about Texas post that we created.
Catch Some Live Music in Austin
Austin, Texas is known as The Live Music Capital of the World so you have to add this to your Texas bucket list!
There are so many live venues in Austin that you are sure to find one that suits your music style. That is why we have also added this to our list of free things to do in Austin.
Eat at Whataburger
Whataburger is a Texas icon. This fast-food burger joint has been serving up hamburgers for generations.
Since the opening of the first Whataburger in Corpus Christi in 1950, the chain has become a Texas legend. The joy of Whataburger is that each burger is made to order and is fully customizable to your liking.
Buy a Pair of Boots
People far and wide love the cowboy culture of Texas, and nothing screams cowboy more than a good pair of boots.Head to a good Texas bootmaker to find your perfect pair of boots or to get yourself a pair custom made!
Learn to Ride a Horse
Once you have the perfect pair of boots, continue to enjoy the cowboy culture in Texas by learning to ride a horse.
There are several places throughout the state where you can accomplish this task. You never know, you might find yourself a new passion!
Make a Stop at Buccee’s
Every Texan will tell you that you have to take a road trip in Texas at least once in your life, and no Texas road trip is complete without a stop at Buccee’s.
Buccee’s is a Texas chain of convenience stores that are much more than your average convenience store!
Eat Some Texas BBQ
Texas is known far and wide for its fabulous BBQ. BBQ traditions run deep here in The Lone Star State.
Here in Texas, beef is the king when it comes to BBQ. We love our brisket! Not only that, our BBQ is always cooked over wood never charcoal.
Keeping the fires low and slow allows the BBQ to become moist and tender.
Celebrate the Day of the Dead in San Antonio
San Antonio is rich in Mexican heritage and culture that we love to celebrate. Visit in November and join in San Antonio’s Day of the Dead celebration.
People dress up as skeletons in brightly colored clothes to welcome their loved ones. The day consists of various festivities including performances, art and crafts stations, and a 5K run.
Head to Space at NASA
The NASA Space Center in Houston, Texas is an awesome way to learn about space explorations. At NASA Space Center you can explore hands-on exhibits that showcase the journey we have undergone to learn more about space.
Exhibits include a rocket, starship gallery, astronaut gallery, and a Mission to Mars. You can also take a tram tour that allows you to see behind-the-scenes at Johnson Space Center touring the astronaut facilities, Mission Control, and so much more!
There are so many great things to do in and near Houston that you could spend tons of time in this area!
Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas
A piece of Texas history known worldwide was the unfortunate assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This unfortunate incident took place in Dallas, Texas and must be part of your Texas bucket list if you are a history buff.
Visitors today can visit Dealey Plaza, the site of the shooting before going to the Sixth Floor Museum includes information not only about the assassination of President Kennedy, but also many artifacts from his life.
While here you can also explore the Zapruder Films, and the Jack Ruby Collection to try and determine for yourself what happened on that tragic day in history.
Try Out One of the Many Craft Breweries
Craft breweries have also seen a recent spike in popularity in The Lone Star State.
Of course, the trend might have started years ago at Spoetzl Brewery when they started making the Texas legend, Shiner Boch beer. Today you can find craft breweries all over the start pumping out some awesome brews.
See a Cattle Drive on Main Street
Where in the world can you watch a cattle drive down Main Street? Well, in the Fort Worth Stockyards, of course.
The Fort Worth herd is one of the many free things to do in Dallas-Fort Worth that visitors love! Every day in the Fort Worth Stockyards Station, visitors line the streets to see the cowboys drive the herd down Main Street.
Hike to Gorman Falls
Located in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Colorado Bend State Park is a great place to go hiking for the day. Once arriving at Colorado Bend State Park, follow the trail to Gorman Falls for an extra special treat.
Gorman Falls looks like a waterfall that you would find in Costa Rica, not Texas. This gorgeous area is a great place to relax with an afternoon picnic.
See a Castle in Texas
Yes, you read that correctly, there are castles in Texas. Several of them actually!
There is a castle in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, called Lake Worth Castle. It is said that there is even a spirit that haunts this castle. It is privately owned though, so while you can drive by, you can’t do much else.
Just outside of Fredericksburg, you can enjoy a castle and wine tasting at 290 Wine Castle. This fun place even offers a “Dungeon Experience” where you can do a food and wine pairing in their dimly lit dungeon.
Drink Some Texas Wine
Did you know that Texas is the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the United States? It’s true! Texas boasts over 400 wineries and over 5,000 acres of wine grapes are in Texas.
While you can find wineries all over the great state of Texas, there is a large concentration of wineries in central Texas and specifically some great wineries in Fredericksburg, TX.
Conquer the Texas King
Head out to Amarillo to find the legendary Big Texan Steak Ranch located on historic Route 66 and see if you have it in you to conquer the Texas King.
What is the Texas King? This is the food challenge to top all food challenges and a great addition to your Texas bucket list. This challenge consists of you eating 72 oz steak and all the sides. If you can eat all of that in one hour, then you get the meal for free.
Cruise Route 66
Granted Route 66 is not what it was in its heyday, but it is still an iconic part of American history. You can experience the approximate 180 miles of the famous highway that runs through the Texas Panhandle between Shamrock and Adrian. I mean, cruising Route 66 is probably already on everyone’s USA bucketlist!
Watch Bats Emerge in the City
That’s right, you can watch bats emerge for their nightly feeding in one of the largest cities in Texas, Austin. Head down to the Congress Street Bridge just before sunset to see this awesome spectacle take place. This has become a huge tourist attraction for kids and adults here in Austin, Texas.
See an Alien Gravesite
The small town of Aurora, Texas is home to an extra-terrestrial encounter. For it is said that it is in Aurora that a UFO pilot crashed in the 1800s.
You can head to the local cemetery to see where that alien pilot is buried. It’s up to you to decide if you believe it or not.
Hang Out at Pleasure Pier in Galveston
One of the highlights of the Texas coastline is the charming town of Galveston, Texas. Galveston is a laid-back seaside community that is big on family fun.
One of the highlights of Galveston is the Pleasure Pier. Here you can play carnival-style games and ride rides until your heart is content.
After you get your fill of Pleasure Pier, be sure to explore the historic Strand area of Galveston and discover some of the great places to eat in Galveston.
Go Underground at the Natural Bridge Caverns
Leave it to Texas to have the largest known commercial caverns in the United States. Located just outside of San Antonio, the Natural Bridge Caverns got its name from the 60-foot natural limestone bridge that spans the cavern’s entrance.
Taste Whiskey on the Texas Whiskey Trail
Like we mentioned above, distilleries in Texas have become very popular. So popular that Texas even has its own whiskey trail now. The Texas Whiskey Trail consists of several distilleries that honor whiskey-making in Texas.
They invite you to come taste and learn all about this awesome distilling process.
Experience Oktoberfest in a German Town
Granted, all of us can’t make the trip to Germany to experience Oktoberfest. What if I told you that you could experience Oktoberfest right here in The Lone Star state?
One of the largest and most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations is held right here in Addison, Texas. Addison welcomes over 45,000 fans a year to celebrate the German culture. Here you can enjoy all things German including some great polka bands, German food, and the sam Paulaner beer that is served in Germany.
Eat Some Blue Bell
Blue Bell Ice Cream is a Texas favorite. You see, it all started back in 1907 when Brenham Creamery Company was started to churn out butter. A few years later, the creamery expanded and started producing ice cream.
Today Blue Bell is legendary in Texas. We love our Blue Bell Ice Cream so much that you will see it advertised everywhere in The Lone Star State.
So grab your favorite flavor and try it out. One more thing to mark off of your bucket list!
Get Your Adrenaline Rush at Six Flags
Six Flags Over Texas is a must-do if you are an adrenaline junkie. While this amusement park originated right here in Texas, the Six Flags brand has expanded all over the country. But in our humble opinion, the Texas park that is located just outside of Fort Worth, in Arlington, TX is the best!
The Texas theme park is over 212-acres and includes entertainment for all ages. There are some amazing world-class roller coasters like the Texas Giant and The Titan in this park.
Visit a Texas GhostTown
Home of the historic Chisos Mining Company, the ghost town of Terlingua has been attracting visitors for generations. With a population of a few dozen, Terlingua is a great place to visit while touring Big Bend as well.
There are also many quirky roadside attractions including a pirate ship and the Statue of Liberty.
Tour the Painted Churches
The Painted Churches in Texas are a hidden gem in the Texas. While they might look simple outside, they are a beautiful surprise on the inside.
Each is decorated with bright colors and ornate designs celebrating the heritage of those that settled in this area of Texas from Europe.
You can find the churches sprinkled all over the Texas Hill Country including the towns of Fredericksburg, Giddings, La Grange, Flatonia, and Schulenburg just to name a few.
See the Eiffel Tower
Yep, you can see the Eiffel Tower right here in Texas. Well, a replica that is, and what makes this even better? The tower is wearing a red cowboy hat!
You can find this beauty located appropriately in Paris, Texas!
Final Thoughts on Texas Bucket List
As you can see The Lone Star state is full of fun, awesome, and even quirky things to see and do. While our list isn’t ALL of the things you can do in Texas, hopefully, it has given you a good start as to the type of items you can start checking off of your own Texas bucket list!
We would love to hear from you. What would you like to add to the bucket list? Comment below and let us know. Until then…..happy travels, friends!!!
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Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight:
We love using CheapOAir, Kayak, and Kiwi to search for the best prices on flights. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines all over the world to ensure you get the best deal! In addition to flights, you can also find great hotel prices on Kayak and Kiwi.
Book Your Vacation Package:
If you want to book an entire vacation package, then we suggest using Expedia. We love how easy Expedia is to use and we always find good deals on entire vacation packages on their site.
Another great site for vacation packages is BookVIP. BookVIP offers super cheap vacation packages to incredible destinations. You are sure to save money using their site!
For full guided vacations including hotels, some meals, transportation, and guides, then we book with Trafalgar. Trafalgar is a trusted tour company that will meet all of your needs while ensuring that you have a great experience.
Trip.com allows you to book flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, airport transfers, tours, and more all on one site. Owned by the parent company that also owns Skyscanner, this is a trusted resource for travel booking and a great “one-stop-shop.”
Book Your Accommodations:
We always begin our search by checking out the honest review on hotels at TripAdvisor. This allows us to narrow our search for specific properties once we are ready to book. Of course, you can also book directly on the TripAdvisor site as well!
There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it gives you a wide variety of hotels and guesthouses at a good price.
Another “go-to” hotel booking site for us is Hotels.com. We love their loyalty program that allows you to earn free nights, and their “secret prices” for members are fabulous deals!
If you are looking for a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, then consider checking out the Sandals/Beaches properties. Sandals properties are for couples only and Beaches are for families. We have visited Sandals in the past and absolutely love the attention to detail and the service they provide.
Tour Companies We Trust:
We love taking guided tours when visiting new places. Our go-to tour companies are Viator.com and Get Your Guide. Both of these companies have been in business for years and provide excellent customer service. You can trust booking tours from their sites for sure!
CityPass is a great way to save money when visiting large cities. CityPass allows you to get free admission to major attractions once you buy their pass. The savings add up quickly with this pass, often saving 50% with combined admissions.
Another great pass to save money in larger cities is the Sightseeing Pass. This pass allows you to save valuable time and money by combining admissions to major attractions. They also have a handy app that keeps everything you need at your fingertips.
Looking to Save Time and Money?
Check out our resource page for all of our favorite vendors. These companies help us to save time and money on our travels!
About The Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.