The Main Street in Fredericksburg, Texas. Editorial credit: Moab Republic /

11 Breathtaking Towns to Visit in Texas

There are countless reasons why Texas is among the most visited states in the country. From its delicious cuisine and vibrant culture to its captivating history and picturesque landscapes across its vast territory, the Lone Star State offers diverse attractions. However, travelers would be remiss not to explore some of its smaller incorporated communities, which conceal hidden charms amid even more exquisite scenery.

Scattered across the Hill Country region to the Gulf Coast and Big Bend Country, these under-the-radar towns showcase the natural and architectural beauty defining the often-overlooked Texas backcountry. Set the stage for a riveting rendezvous filled with unforgettable outdoor adventures, unique cultural experiences, and immersive historical journeys with a tour of these breathtaking towns in Texas.


Wimberley, Texas: The small shops at Wimberley Square
Wimberley, Texas: The small shops at Wimberley Square

This tiny village in Hays County embodies the scenic beauty of the Texas Hill Country region. Teeming with awe-inspiring natural swimming holes, it invites outdoor lovers to immerse themselves in unforgettable adventures in the wild. Wimberley is nationally famous for the Jacob's Well Natural Area. This mystical underwater cave and artesian spring continues to draw admirers with its emerald waters and ecological diversity. The town is also home to the Blue Hole Regional Park, a naturally occurring swimming hole amid dense woods where adventurers swing from ropes and plunge into its calm waters for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Beyond its unrivaled natural beauty, Wimberley has an active arts community, evidenced by its multiple galleries and performance venues. The EmilyAnn Theatre is always abuzz with audiences watching enthralling live performances. For the outdoorsy, a hike to the summit of Old Baldy provides the best vantage point to soak in the town's exquisite vistas.


Downtown Bandera in Texas.
Downtown Bandera in Texas. Image credit FiledIMAGE via

Popularly known as the "Cowboy Capital of the World," Bandera is steeped in Western culture, with a reputation for staging cattle drives since the 1800s. Visiting the Frontier Times Museum offers some background on the town, featuring interesting exhibits documenting its Texan history and cowboy culture. Bandera also lies in the heart of the Hill Country, spoiling visitors with unprecedented natural beauty. There is no shortage of outdoor adventure access to the over 5,000-acre sprawl of the Hill Country State Natural Area; over 30 miles of hiking and equestrian trails, scenic vistas, and primitive campsites make for unforgettable moments in the open spaces.

Downtown Bandera is a bustling mix of antique stores, small cafes, and charming restaurants with a socially charged atmosphere. Strolling the corridor reveals gems like the Bandera County Courthouse, a historic government building from 1890 that leaves many in awe of its conspicuous and rustic facade.


Starlight Theatre Restaurant and Bar in Terlingua, Texas
Starlight Theatre Restaurant and Bar in Terlingua, Texas. Editorial credit: xradiophotog /

If you are a fan of off-the-beaten-path adventures, visiting this ghost town in West Texas promises to leave you yearning for more. Terlingua is the ultimate escape from civilization, home to exciting heritage, whimsical roadside attractions, and chilled-out vibes. The town is less than an hour and a half from Big Bend National Park, providing adventurers with non-stop excitement in the wild. It is a remarkable opportunity to witness majestic river canyons, dramatic desert landscapes, and unexplored historical sites while on a relaxed horseback riding tour with Big Bend Stables.

Numerous desert trails in Terlingua invite tourists to grab their hiking poles and venture into the surrounding wilderness. The Dorgan-Sublett Trail is a popular route with rugged terrain that takes hikers past relics of deserted farmhouses from the 1900s.


Downtown street in Nacogdoches.
Downtown street in Nacogdoches.

The Lone Star State's history cannot be written without mentioning Nacogdoches. Founded in 1779, it is considered the state's oldest town and is a rich tapestry of Texas' history. Exploring the town exposes you to a treasure trove of historic sites, offering a window into its formative years. You can start at Millard's Crossing Historic Village, a living history museum complex designated a Texas Historic Landmark. The Sterne-Hoya House Museum is another interesting stop in your Nacogdoches historical journey, taking guests back to the Victorian era with its period artifacts.

But history is just one of the things Nacogdoches is known for. The town has beautiful outdoor scenery, flanked by majestic oak forests and vast floodplain prairies, which you can soak in along the Lanana Creek Trail.


Buildings along a street in downtown Jefferson, Texas
Buildings along a street in downtown Jefferson, Texas. Editorial credit: NicholasGeraldinePhotos /

An immersive trip down memory lane awaits visitors to this quaint town in Marion County. It harbors over 100 historical homes and antique structures, and its abundance of B&B inns once earned it the moniker "Bed and Breakfast Capital of Texas." Highlights include the Jefferson Historical Museum, which offers a broad look into the area's heritage, featuring the lives of prominent figures and average citizens. The Excelsior House Hotel is another must-visit spot in Jefferson. Built in 1858, it is rumored to be haunted, adding to the experience of staying in the state's oldest operating hotel.

With so many sites to see and places to visit, the best way to take advantage of all the spots is to hop aboard the Historic Tours of Jefferson. This exciting narrated tour takes visitors through all the significant points of interest around the downtown historic district.


The Main Street in Fredericksburg, Texas.
The Main Street in Fredericksburg, Texas. Image credit: Travelview -

Unique European flair, remarkable wine-tasting opportunities, and picturesque natural landscapes make this Hill Country gem one of the best towns to visit in Texas. Fredericksburg is rooted in German heritage, comprehensively documented through various artifacts and archival exhibits inside the Pioneer Museum. The town has a charming historic district hosting some of its most celebrated treasures, led by Marktplatz von Fredericksburg, a unique oasis with the perfect environment for a picnic.

Fredericksburg's location in the Texas Hill Country offers some of the best outdoor scenery in the state. Ardent outdoors enthusiasts can lose themselves in the vast wilderness of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area through hiking, camping, rock climbing, and biking adventures. Finally, the town is a recognized wine hub, offering tourists lovely wine-tasting experiences at establishments like Grape Creek Vineyards.


Two people walking along the beach in Rockport, Texas
Two people walking along the beach in Rockport, Texas. Image credit Grossinger via

If you have an affinity for beachside escapades, this idyllic town will charm you with its cozy Gulf Coast scenery, isolated white-sand beaches, and laid-back vibes. Rockport hosts several attractions, including Rockport Beach. This sandy oasis presents the perfect atmosphere to swim, sunbathe, and enjoy relaxing picnics with family. It also boasts several historical treasures, the most notable being the Fulton Mansion State Historic Site. Standing on the scenic Gulf Coast, it dominates the town's skyline with its unique Second Empire architectural style.

Further inland, the town offers multiple opportunities to explore the outdoors, with hikers and bikers gravitating towards the Tule Creek Hike and Bike Trail. This scenic trail stretches around one mile and traverses a peaceful oak tree forest. Finally, do not leave without sampling the local art scene at the Rockport Center for the Arts.


 Hood County Courthouse in Granbury, Texas
Hood County Courthouse in Granbury, Texas, By Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, File:Granbury June 2018 35 (Hood County Courthouse).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

This historic Hood County village sits on the relaxed shores of Lake Granbury and houses about 13,000 residents, delivering a quintessential small-town atmosphere. You can get a feel for this by heading to Granbury City Beach Park, which offers sandy shores for sunbathers, a delightful swimming beach, and various aquatic adventures. Granbury has a vibrant arts community, and one of the town's most imposing buildings is the 1886 Granbury Opera House. Besides enticing visitors with its rustic facade, it hosts entertaining theatrical productions and live performances.

Meanwhile, do not forget to explore the town's history by touring the Hood County Jail Museum, which exhibits artifacts documenting its 19th-century origins. However, you will have a more immersive experience exploring the different businesses along Historic Granbury Square.


Gruene, Texas: Old brick building housing an antique store.
Gruene, Texas: Old brick building housing an antique store. Image credit Roberto Galan via

Discover Texas' German connection in this charming small town along the scenic banks of the Guadalupe River. Like its name, Gruene is rooted in German heritage, which comes to life when you explore its walkable Historic District. The corridor is designated a National Historic District and displays a series of antique structures from bygone eras, including gems like Gruene Hall. With a legacy dating back to 1878, this rustic structure is the state's oldest operating dance hall, where guests can watch exciting country music performances and learn how to two-step.

One of the best ways to interact with townsfolk and experience their culture firsthand is to attend the Old Gruene Market Days, where you can shop for handmade crafts, sample local cuisine, and sip authentic German craft brews.


Schreiner Golf Course Kerrville, Texas
Schreiner Golf Course Kerrville, Texas. Image credit Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Kerrville offers countless outdoor recreational opportunities, fun cultural experiences, and fascinating historical attractions. This small Kerr County town has multiple park spaces to provide outdoor enthusiasts with a great time. Louise Hays Park is one of the many options in town and features lovely fountains and quiet picnic pavilions, inviting guests to revel in its tranquil atmosphere. The local art scene is more vibrant than in some bigger cities in the state, offering a rich mix of art venues worth checking out. If you enjoy stage productions, you will love the electric vibe inside Cailloux Theater, where locals and visitors congregate to enjoy moving live shows.

On the other hand, visual art enthusiasts can browse various contemporary paintings and sculptures at the Museum of Western Art before following up with a tour of Kerr Arts & Cultural Center.

Port Isabel

Aerial view of Port Isabel, Texas
Aerial view of Port Isabel, Texas

This scenic port city in Cameron County never fails to deliver a memorable vacation for travelers. Besides its serene vibe, Port Isabel is known for the Port Isabel Lighthouse, an imposing 1852 landmark overlooking the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. Historically inclined tourists can delve into the town's colorful past inside the Port Isabel Historical Museum, which houses a comprehensive collection of artifacts chronicling past eras, including the Mexican-American War.

Port Isabel offers vacationers fabulous opportunities to get on the open sea and discover the town from the water. This is thanks to numerous local outfitters, including Dolphin Docks, hosting everything from dolphin-watching tours to sunset cruises, fishing excursions, and other tailored trips for your amusement.

Final Thoughts

From the charm of the Hill Country region to the allure of Gulf coastal scenery, these breathtaking towns to visit in Texas deliver low-key yet impactful cultural and natural experiences distinct from major cities. Whether experiencing unique German culture or exploring remote natural beauty, each destination envelops visitors in the Lone Star State's unique regional characters through various unforgettable experiences. Collectively, they prove that getting off beaten paths yields enchanting discoveries that make Texas such an endlessly fascinating place to roam.

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