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Things to do in Gulf Coast

From classic must-see sights to insider hot spots and local haunts, there are countless things to do in Gulf Coast. How do you decide? Start with our travel guide and get our favorite Gulf Coast attractions and activities—shops, museums, parks, nightclubs, coffee shops, tours, and more.

Our international team of editors and writers handpick the best things to do in Gulf Coast to help travelers discover authentic, local experiences. Whether a hidden boutique with handcrafted products, a popular local festival, a bakery with a cult following, or a picnic-worthy park, Travel + Leisure guides the way, providing information and inspiration. From beaches and bars to cultural attractions and up-and-coming neighborhoods, our list will help you make the most of your romantic getaway, family vacation, or trip with friends. Below find Travel + Leisure’s top picks for what to do in Gulf Coast.

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  • Amarillo Livestock Auction

    Every Tuesday year-round, you can also watch cattlemen ply their trade More
  • American Diving

    SCUBA-certified divers can explore sunken ships and artificial reefs off of South Padre’s shore. Look out for lionfish, barracuda, and octopus, amo... More
  • Burgundy Boucherie

  • Cadillac Ranch

    A truly American art installation, the ranch consists of ten grafitti-covered Cadillacs buried halfway in the ground. More
  • Dolphin Watching Boat

    Opt for the Ecology Tour to get schooled on the area’s diverse marine life like starfish and stingrays; you’ll also follow dolphin pods jumping thr... More
  • Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

    This multi-million dollar entertainment zone is loaded with amusements and rides such as the Iron Shark Rollercoaster, Texas Teacups, and Pier Pile... More
  • Green Boutique

    Stop in for distinct and eco-friendly gifts such as silky pajamas made from bamboo fibers, copper bells hailing from India, and bath salts and scru... More
  • La King's Confectionery

    Meet Ernest Torres, a master candy maker, as he pulls saltwater taffy—and if you’re luck, he’ll throw you a treat. House-made fudge and malts from ... More
  • Little Bay

    This tranquil inlet is lined with marinas and boat rental shops. Choose a power cruiser— Little Bay Marine has a great selection—and get out on the... More
  • Mission Hike and Bike Trail

    A well-paved five-mile path from the edge of town leads to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. Mountain bikers can also off-road on trails throug... More
  • Museum of North Texas History

    Learn about Texas’ oil and gas history and cowboy roots at this regional museum, where top exhibits include a collection of 500-plus cowboy hats an... More
  • Mustang Island State Park

    You won’t find any of the horses for which this Gulf-front stretch was originally named (they escaped their Spanish explorers) but this 18-mile bar... More
  • National Butterfly Center

    Over 40 percent of the country’s 700 butterfly species live in or pass through Texas’ Rio Grand Valley. You’ll spot plenty of the beautiful insects... More
  • Oliver Saddle Shop

    Cowboy history comes alive at the state’s oldest saddle shop, where beautiful hand-tooled leather works are on display. More
  • Padre Island National Seashore

    This 70-mile stretch is the longest expanse of undeveloped barrier island in the world, home to endangered crabs, sea turtles (nesting season is fr... More

Explore things to do in Gulf Coast for more options.

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