Experience the big city lights of Dallas, immerse yourself in cowboy culture in Fort Worth, explore the lively Riverwalk in San Antonio then hop on a short flight to end your stay relaxing on the white sandy beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
Top 10 things to do in Texas
Almost three times larger than the United Kingdom and the USA’s second largest state, Texas is an amazingly diverse destination and we believe it’s often undersold. Packed with national parks, ranches and miles of untouched coastline, a holiday to Texas lets you escape the crowds that pervade many American holiday destinations, and lose yourself a million miles from nowhere. With so many unique experiences on offer in Texas, here’s our lowdown on the top ten things to do in this diverse state…
1. Wander the historic Fort Worth Stockyards
Quintessentially Texan, the Fort Worth Stockyards is a former livestock market that now houses a number of shops, bars, restaurants and other entertainment venues, almost all of which pay tribute in some way to Fort Worth's long tradition as a part of the cattle industry. Get yourself kitted out to look like a local at one of the Western-wear stores and go for a drink in a traditional saloon bar – you’ll feel like something out of a Western movie! Time it right and you can pop out onto Exchange Avenue to witness a longhorn cattle drive, which takes place twice daily in honour of a tradition that dates back to the late 19th century and is an iconic image of the American West.
2. Dance the night away at a honky-tonk
Nothing says Texas like a night spent dancing at a classic honky-tonk! Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth is one of the largest honky-tonks in the world, and has been pulling in the crowds with its colourful country music and authentic stockyard setting since it opened in 1981. So free up an evening and head to Billy Bob’s to master the two-step!
3. Visit the site of JFK’s assassination in Dallas
In the historic West End district of downtown Dallas is Dealey Plaza – the location where JFK was famously assassinated in 1963. The area has been recognised as a National Historic Landmark District by the National Park Service, and has been preserved to keep its appearance as it was on the day of the assassination. This in itself makes it worthy of a visit, as it poses a striking contrast with the ultra-modern city skyline that rises behind it. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza provides visitors with more information regarding the assassination and life of JFK.
4. Check out the Space Centre in Houston
If you only do one thing while in Houston make sure you visit the Space Centre. Take a tour around the museum to see Mission Control, try your hand at landing a space shuttle, experience 3Gs in a gyroscope and even have lunch with an astronaut! It’s a truly immersive experience and it’s a lot of fun and educational too!
5. Attend a rodeo
American rodeo is the official state sport in Texas, and needless to say, they’re seen as a pretty big deal! Every season in Texas is rodeo season, but if you are traveling in February or March (the peak of the season) make sure you visit one of the large rodeos which are normally followed by big-name concerts. Events range from bronco busting and bull riding to team roping, with contestants competing for some pretty big bucks.
6. Soak up some of the 367 miles of coastline
When we picture Texas we normally think of rugged wilderness and dusty ranches, but often overlooked is the beautiful coastline which stretches for over 300 miles. The Corpus Christi area is home to miles of beaches, some perfect for sun worshippers and others for surfers and wake-boarders. Or if you want to coo at small animals, head to Padre Island National Seashore to watch baby turtles find their way to the sea.
7. Stroll along the lively Riverwalk in San Antonio
Experience a little piece of Europe on San Antonio’s colourful Riverwalk. Sample some of the many bars, restaurants and cafes, take a cruise along the canal and explore the markets.
8. Experience the true cowboy lifestyle on a dude ranch
No trip to Texas is complete without a stay at a dude ranch in the Texas Hill Country, where you can explore the surrounding stunning scenery on horseback and find your inner cowboy. Bandera is recognised as the ‘cowboy capital of the world’ and looks to have been plucked straight out of an old Western movie. A stay on a dude ranch in Bandera gives you an authentic taste of the American West – the city is something of a relic of a bygone era. When you’re not patrolling the countryside on horseback, you can spend your time watching wildlife, listening to birds and gazing at the stars.
9. Listen to live music in Austin
Described as the ‘live music capital of the world’, laid-back Austin hosts live music all over the city any night of the week. It is believed on any night there are over 100 venues staging live music, so you really are spoilt for choice! Austin’s music scene spans all genres and the list of famous musicians to have come out of Austin is endless. If you happen to be heading to Austin in March, you should consider getting a ticket for South by Southwest festival, or simply soaking up some of the fringe events that take place during the festival at venues all over town.
10. Have a big adventure in Big Bend National Park
Texas isn’t just about cowboys and saloon bars, there’s also some seriously stunning scenery to behold. Big Bend is a wildly beautiful 800,000 acre national park and contains an entire mountain range! If you’re looking for a big adventure, a few days in Big Bend National Park is a must, offering abundant sightseeing opportunities as well as hiking, horse riding, mountain biking and jeep touring.
Want to beat the crowds and head to Texas now?
Want to beat the crowds and head to Texas now? Our Cowboys and Culture itinerary can be tailored into your perfect trip. Prices start from £2,650pp for 11 nights.