The 27 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Texas

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You know what they say: everything is bigger in Texas. You’ve heard it countless times, but that’s because it’s true! The largest state in the contiguous United States serves up a veritable tableau of mountains, deserts, rivers, meadows and sand dunes worthy of any Impressionist painter’s study, not to mention incredible state parks and two national parks. That translates to endless opportunities for adventure, awesome camping, relaxing resorts and photogenic sights. From the Chisos mountain range to the whimsical waters of the Rio Grande and charming landscapes of Hill Country, here are 27 beautiful places in Texas to visit on your upcoming trips to the Lone Star State.

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most beautiful places in texas: big bend national park
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1. Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is jam-packed with natural beauty that truly looks untouched by the outside world. This Texas-size expanse in Brewster County covers the entire Chisos mountain range, a huge portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, Santa Elena Canyon and natural hot springs. It’s also home to a fascinating array of wildlife and world-class stargazing.

most beautiful places in texas guadalupe mountains
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2. Guadalupe Mountains National Park

We really don’t need to sell you on Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Salt Basin Dunes and the sprawling Chihuahuan Desert are reason enough to visit. Plus, it’s got the largest wilderness area in the state and tons of scenic hiking trails.

most beautiful places in texas enchanted rock
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3. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

There are many enchanting rocks in Texas, however, the towering 425-foot pink granite dome that’s the crown jewel of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area really takes the cake. Sure, seeing (and, of course, snapping pics of) the famously beautiful batholith is the main attraction, but it’s also deeply fascinating to learn about the mystical legends that swirl around the site (at least, we think so).

most beautiful places in texas monahands sandhills
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4. Monahans Sandhills State Park

It seems almost like torture for beach lovers living in the Lone Star State to look at Monahans Sandhills State Park only to realize the ocean is nowhere in sight. A lack of waves certainly shouldn’t turn you off from this stunning act of nature. While many travel here to take in the beauty of the scene as a whole, those brave enough to surf the dunes will surely leave with the best stories (and videos).

most beautiful places in texas: dallas arboretum
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5. Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is acclaimed for its floral displays, sculptures, seasonal events and education programs. The 66-acre horticulture haven hugs the shores of White Rock Lake for blooms with a beautiful waterfront view. While walking around, it’s easy to forget you’re in a major city.

most beautiful places in texas: franklin mountains state park
Travel Texas

6. Franklin Mountains State Park

Franklin Mountains State Park sits there in a sneakily unassuming way, waiting to entice visitors with its 100 miles of mixed-use trails, scenic picnic spots overlooking dreamy desert terrain and the heart-racing thrill of scaling McKelligon Canyon. (The last is for experienced rock climbers only. The rest of us should probably just watch in amazement from a safe distance.)

most beautiful places in texas: palo duro canyon lighthouse rock formation
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7. Palo Duro Canyon

If you had a blast ticking the Grand Canyon off your bucket list, it might be time to visit the second-largest canyon in the United States. Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle is absolutely massive—120 miles long and with a width of 20 miles in some places. (Do we need to say it again? Everything is bigger in Texas.)

most beautiful places in texas: longhorn cavern state park
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8. Longhorn Cavern State Park

An ancient cavern that dates back to prehistoric times, Longhorn Cavern is rife with carvings and sinkholes, plus the stealthy history of a gunpowder manufacturing facility during the Civil War. While it sounds like the setting for an Indiana Jones flick, that’s just a few of the subterranean thrills waiting to be discovered at Longhorn Cavern State Park.

most beautiful places in texas: lake austin aerial view
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9. Lake Austin

Austin gets more than 300 days of sunshine each year. That translates to pretty good odds of picture-perfect weather for a day of outdoor recreation—boating, fishing, swimming and water skiing—on beautiful Lake Austin. We should mention that it’s also a particularly great place to cool down when the thermometer reaches 100 degrees, as it’s known to do in the summertime.

most beautiful places in texas gorman falls
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10. Gorman Falls

A major highlight of Colorado Bend State Park (though truly the entire park deserves to be explored), Gorman Falls is an enchanting 70-foot waterfall. Not to be overlooked, the 1.5-mile hike to the cascade passes beautiful scenery. (Pro tip: it gets pretty steep towards the end, so many trekkers recommend bringing hiking poles.)

most beautiful places in texas lost maples state park
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11. Lost Maples State Park

Most people associate striking fall foliage with places like Vermont and Connecticut (OK, basically all of New England) and New York, but locals and in-the-know travelers know Lost Maples State Park, located two hours northwest of San Antonio, is the best spot in the Lone Star State to peep fiery leaves.

most beautiful places in texas: caddo lake
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12. Caddo Lake

Yes, we’ve mentioned that everything is bigger in Texas about a billion times. Want yet another prime example of that fact? Feast your eyes upon 25,400-acre Caddo Lake, an East Texas treasure distinguished by its labyrinth of bayous and Span­ish moss-draped Cyprus trees. It’s the perfect spot to go boating, fishing, paddling or post up in a tent on the shorefront.

most beautiful places in texas: caverns of sonora
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13. Caverns of Sonora

While the Caverns of Sonora have been touted as one of the most beautiful snow caves on the planet, it’s also not a place that many people outside of Texas know about. That means lots of folks are missing out on the chance to navigate to subterranean limestone lairs, peep calcite crystal formations and even pan for gemstones.

msot beautiful places in texas: fort worth botanic garden
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14. Fort Worth Botanic Garden

The Fort Worth Botanic Garden spans a whopping 109 acres and includes the famous rose gardens, rainforest conservancy Japanese garden, an orchard collection and the Native Texas Boardwalk, which is basically a living outdoor classroom with plants and educational stations.

most beautiful places in texas rockport beach
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15. Rockport Beach

Remember when we lamented for beach-loving residents of the Lone Star State? Don’t feel too sorry for folks on the coast because they do have access to beautiful Rockport Beach. The first Blue Wave Certified beach, it’s a mile-long playground of sand, sunshine and turquoise tides.

most beautiful places in texas: south llano river
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

16. South Llano River State Park

South Llano River State Park is a little-known gem in Texas Hill Country. Most people who visit (which honestly isn’t that many) go to swim or float on the spring-fed river. Wander around for a while, you’ll surely stumble on wildlife and babbling brooks, too. It’s also an epic spot to go hiking and biking or catch the sunset.

most beautiful places in texas mount bonnell
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17. Mount Bonnell

Towering 781 feet above Austin, Mount Bonnel, also known as Covert Park, is one of the highest points in the area. Climbing to the summit will test your endurance, but the pay of commanding views of the city and Lake Austin feels like a proportionate award for all that effort.

most beautiful places in texas: Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir of Houston
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18. Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir of Houston

Few places truly have the power to transport onlookers. The glimmering BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir of Houston, a traditional Hindu temple in Fort Bend County, causes many visitors to do a double take. Besides beautiful architecture, there are unique cultural exhibitions showcasing paintings, tableaux and traditional crafts.

most beautiful places in texas: san antonio river walk
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19. San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio has a little, er-—a lot—of everything. If you ask us, the city’s best (and most beautiful) asset is the San Antonio River Walk. A park and pedestrian pathway that loops around the water, it’s the perfect place to go for a stroll and soak in the scenery or hit up one of the many restaurants for a meal with a mesmerizing view.

most beautiful places in texas: medina river
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20. Medina River

The Medina River ranks among the most peaceful places to put your kayak in the water and float through Texas. It's also close to a couple of sizable cities to stay at a swanky hotel, play and eat chef-crafted meals if you so choose. Though, we'd recommend an overnight stay to really immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. (Franks and beans can be gourmet, right?)

most beautiful places in texas: the alamo
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21. The Alamo

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about what actually happened at the Alamo. But what’s not up for debate is that the 18th-century Spanish mission and fortress lives up to the hype as both a photogenic and historic landmark. Once you’ve visited the Alamo, it’s a pretty hard place to forget.

most beautiful places in texas marfa
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22. Marfa

An artsy and photogenic little dot on the map in west Texas, Marfa draws creative types (and, yes, many social media content creators) with its giant indoor and outdoor art installations, exhibitions at Ballroom Marfa, breathtaking arid scenery and, of course, the phenomenon known as the Marfa Lights. In Marfa, it’s almost like you’re not sure if a tumbleweed or an Insta influencer will blow past next.

most beautiful places in texas bayou bend collection
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23. Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

Touring the gorgeously groomed historic gardens of Bayou Bend, the former home of Houston philanthropist Ima Hogg, feels like stepping back in time to a regal and refined era. It’s not just the impeccably manicured hedges, flower beds and fountains that are impressive. Inside, you’ll find an incredible collection of decorative art, paintings and furniture.

most beautiful places in texas south padre island
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24. South Padre Island

Remember when we said Texas was big? Well, it’s so huge that the drive from Dallas to South Padre Island takes over eight hours (FYI you can also fly). Don’t let the distance deter you. Not when some of the best white sand beaches in the state, dolphin watching and the Gulf of Mexico await.

most beautiful places in texas black jacks crossing
Lajitas Golf Resort

25. Black Jack’s Crossing Golf Course

Even if you aren’t a particularly skilled driver or putter, it’s worth booking a tee time at the Lanny Wadkins-designed Black Jack’s Crossing Golf Course. Bordering Big Bend National Park and situated along the Rio Grande, it offers spellbinding west Texas scenery. With views so good, you won’t even care if you go a few strokes above par.

most beautiful places in texas: fredericksburg in hill country. vintage pickup truck sitting in an open field
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26. Fredericksburg

Welcome to the mythical, legendary Texas Hill Country. Fredericksburg is one of a slew of charming towns in the region with rich German heritage—not to mention a wine country. Spend a morning strolling down the charming Main Street, filled with shops and restaurants, and then the afternoon at a wine tasting whiling away the afternoon sipping a crisp white among the vines, and then drive over to the towns of Gruene or Luckenbach for great live music in historic dance halls. And before you leave, you’ll want to pit stop in Lockhart for what is said to be some of the best barbecue in the state.

most beautiful places in texas brenham
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27. Brenham

Nestled between Houston and Austin on Highway 290, Brenham is a town where bluebonnets abound in the spring. That’s why it’s a top destination for spotting the cheerful blue bloom—just drive around, and you can’t miss them. Of course, there’s also plenty to see and do year-round, from the Blue Bell Ice Cream factory to the quaint downtown area. Lovers of vintage wares will appreciate the antique shops, and flower connoisseurs will want to stop in at the Antique Rose Emporium, whose beautiful, landscaped gardens are filled with dazzling varieties.

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