Standing as the second largest state both in terms of area and population, Texas offers countless opportunities for fun and adventure, rest and relaxation. With its rich history and cultural diversity, the Lone Star state is filled with sightseeing spots for everyone to enjoy.
1. The Alamo
One of the most scenic and famous spots, almost synonymous with bold last stands, is The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. The historic church was established in 1718 as a part of a mission station and by 1836, it had been converted into a fort. However, it had become witness and a longstanding monument to the Texas Revolution when a small force of U. S. Soldiers, including figures such as James Bowie and Davie Crockett. The 187 defenders barricaded themselves and made their last stand against some 3,000 Mexican soldiers. After the 13- day siege, the defenders were overrun but not before inspiring the state to eventually drive the Mexicans from Texas.
The landmark still stands in its restored glory, now accompanied by a museum filled with artifacts both from the history of the mission including the famed battle. Also available is the Alamo Cenotaph, or better known as the Spirit of Sacrifice. The monument was built during the centennial celebration of the event and lists down the names of the Texans who fought in the war.
2. Space Center Houston
This Space Center, only 30 minutes away from the heart of the city, is a must-see science and space learning center and is one of the best attractions to visit in Texas. Prepare for a day of exploring the center, which includes visiting the Starship Gallery, the Moon Rock Vault, or see the space shuttle replica on a shuttle carrier.
It is also worth noting that Space Center Houston is the official Visitor Center of NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC). The JSC is the space administration’s manned spacecraft research and training facility. The fairly large complex also serves as the ground control for space launches. You can take a Tram Tour around the complex.
3. Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo
As it continuously gains traction as one of Texas’s most famous contemporary landmarks, the Cadillac Ranch in West Texas is now nothing short of iconic. The rather surprising line of old Cadillacs half- buried face- down is actually a public art installation created by members of an art group named Ant Farm.
What makes it worthwhile is that the Cadillac Ranch is an interactive, ever-changing piece of work. Visitors go in droves not just to sightsee, but also to add their own impressions upon the pile of Cadillacs, if only for a short period of time. Visitors can spray paint their designs on the cars. This creates increasing layers of paint on the cars, some of which eventually chip off and are even sold as trinkets outside the gate.
4. Museum District, Houston
The Museum District, sitting right in the heart of Houston, is actually an association of 19 museums, art galleries, cultural hubs, and community organizations – some of which are free and mostly within walking distance of each other.
All of its museums are free at certain days or times in a year, while 11 of them are free all year round. One of the highlights in the Museum District is the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. It houses more than 62,000 art pieces in its halls, the largest and most diverse in the US Southwest. Another is the Houston Museum of Natural Science, four floors of natural science halls and exhibits branching out from a central facility.
5. USS Lexington, Corpus Christi
Docked in the shores of the coastal town of Corpus Christi is the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Lexington. Nicknamed “The Blue Ghost,” this warship served in WWII and has struck fear in its Japanese opponents for its blue camouflage and its supposed reappearances after being sunk.
Once an active carrier, it is now a naval museum with most of its wartime features restored and opened to the public. The USS Lexington displays on board its collection of vintage aircraft. Visitors can also check out the bridge, the crew quarters, and even the catapult room which was previously off limits. Kids and kids-at-heart can enjoy the flight and navigation simulator, as well as an on board 3D movie giving you that first-person cockpit experience.
6. Stockyards National Historic District, Fort Worth
The Stockyards in Fort Worth, Texas, is the last surviving facility of its kind in the United States. These stockyards were integral in the cattle industry, where millions of these cattle were bred, driven, and transported to other parts of the country.
No visit to the stockyards is complete without watching an actual cattle drive. Also, visitors can enjoy a multitude of fun activities such as rodeos, concerts, theater plays, and museums. Located in this historic district is the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, a western-styled museum which pays tribute to more than 125 cowboys and cowgirls. Each inductee to the hall of fame has their own booth filled with memorabilia. The museum also has interactive exhibits kids can have fun with.
7. Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Known for the sprawling mountain ranges including the four highest mountain peaks in Texas, the Guadalupe Mountain National Park is a perfect spot for those who are more interested in taking in the natural landscape. It sits on the northwestern corner of the state, some 100 miles east of El Paso, Texas.
Admire the landscape, starting with El Capitan and its great height and imposing outline, making it a natural landmark and an iconic image for travelers. The highest peak in Texas is the Guadalupe Peak, also known as Signal Peak, which can be climbed by a steep stony trail about 5 miles in length.
8. River Walk, San Antonio
A visit to the Lone Star State must and will always include a stop at one of the several must-see landmarks in San Antonio, Texas. And there is just no better way to cap off your San Antonio visit than the chance to rest and recuperate at the River Walk along the San Antonio River. This Paseo del Rio is a city park filled with restaurants and lovely outdoor patios, allowing tourists to enjoy the serene ambience of the river paired with good food.
Aside from simply strolling along the banks of the river, you can better enjoy the length of the San Antonio River through a river boat cruise. This is available all year round and is available from sightseeing trips to exclusive dinner cruises.
While there are limitless possibilities for fun and adventure in Texas, it certainly would make your next visit a story to tell by stopping by these must- see destinations.