Things to do in Texas
Those wondering what to do in Texas should head out west. Right outside of Big Bend National Park is the small artsy town of Marfa. It is there that you will find the enchanting Marfa Lights. In order to catch a glimpse, head about eight miles east of Marfa on Highway 90/67 where you will find the viewing area. Don’t be fooled into thinking that these are simply a car’s headlights off in the distance—sightings of these strange lights began as early as 1883, well before man’s use of the automobile.
For a close encounter with Texas wildlife, visit the Padre Island National Seashore south of Corpus Christi. The island is one of the best things to do in Texas. The winds that sweep across the shore are perfect for flying kites, and if you’re lucky, you could catch a glimpse of the endangered Kemp Ridley sea turtle. During late summer, visitors can even take part in a turtle release.
If you’re looking for things to do in Texas’ capital city of Austin, look no further than downtown. The eclectic city is known as the live music capital of the state. Venues such as Stubb’s and the Mohawk offer shows almost nightly.
Head to this 1,700-acre park for hikes and horseback rides along trails flanked by native Texas plants.
Over a million visitors have stopped in to visit exhibits on George Bush Senior’s life in and out of the White House. Among the permanent displays, don’t miss the World War II Avenger Torpedo Bomber, a piece of the Berlin Wall, and the replica of the Oval Office.
The waves along this stretch of beach are consistent, thanks to deep, long jetties, making it ideal for surfers. If you don’t have your own board, rent one from Beachfront RV Rentals; the outfitter also has body boards, bikes, and kayaks. (Surfboard rentals, $30/2 hours)
Victoria is full of historic homes and buildings that have been lauded with historic markers.
The cornerstone of this Texas history museum is a series of eight cannons that were brought over the Atlantic by French explorer La Salle.
There are 27 holes at this Guadalupe River-front campus, so you can golf enthusiasts have three 18-hole combos to choose from. Beginners should opt for the Blue Course—considered the easiest—though you can afford to challenge yourself when green fees start at $25.
Top off your Texas uniform with a cowboy hat from Catalena, which has been hand making felt hats in custom versions—Cattleman, Canadian, Ranger and Old West, among others—for over 30 years. If you’re keeping tabs on your wallet, opt for a less expensive straw version.
Of the area’s 32 miles of beach, this is one of the best for families thanks to picnic tables, lifeguards, public restrooms, volleyball tournaments, and sandcastle building competitions.
Stop by this historic theater (it originally opened in 1910) with exposed brick interiors to see bands ranging from up-and-coming indie groups to country music favorites.
Here, you can come face to face with the original “Come and Take It” cannon—it was originally used during the Battle of Gonzales in 1835 and has since come to symbolize Texas’ independent spirit—as well as uniforms worn by local soldiers during the Texas Revolution.
Set up a picnic blanket for complimentary music performances, ranging from country music bands to sing-a-longs, on Sunday nights (late spring through early fall) at the central Northshore Park on bank of Lake Woodlands.
Locals take water taxis to get around the Woodlands—the 1.4 mile corridor links restaurants, hotels, offices and shops—but it’s also a fun way to explore the area.
This multi-million dollar entertainment zone is loaded with amusements and rides such as the Iron Shark Rollercoaster, Texas Teacups, and Pier Pileup bumper cars.
Learn about life during Texas’ pioneer days at this restored town, minutes from Gonzales’ town square, made up of 13 houses and buildings from the 1800s and early 1900s.