Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier in Texas

9 Best Towns in Texas for a Winter Getaway

From the gorgeous Hill Country and the scenic Gulf Coast to the secluded Panhandle, the Lone Star State is a vast territory with endless options for a winter vacation. Riddled with diverse landscapes, sprawling parks, and unique outdoor experiences, it has all the hallmarks of a remarkable cold-season escape. And it doesn’t get better than the small towns, where the pace of life is slower, and the communities are friendlier and more welcoming. While there are plenty of options for a travel destination, here are the best towns in Texas for a winter getaway.


The Main Street in Fredericksburg, Texas.
The Main Street in Fredericksburg, Texas. Image credit ShengYing Lin via

Fredericksburg is a delightful destination all year round, but there is something special about this beautiful Hill Country town during the cold season. Home to just over 11,000 residents, the quaint community stands out for its unique German heritage. You can explore this at the Pioneer Museum, which houses historical and cultural artifacts chronicling the town’s past. Winemaking is a big part of the culture in Fredericksburg, situated at the end of the 290 Wine Trail. The town offers endless options for a fresh glass of wine to stave off the winter chill, including at Grape Creek Vineyards, where you can sample Italian and French wines. The open spaces in Fredericksburg are pleasant, surrounded by picturesque Hill Country views. One of the best places to explore the outdoors is Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, featuring 1644 acres of raw wilderness with over 8 miles of isolated nature trails, quiet picnic spots, mystic caves to explore, and wildlife-watching opportunities. For your lodging, Fredericksburg Inn & Suites offers an affordable yet cozy place to lay your head.

Galveston Island

View of the Pleasure Pier amusement park in Galveston Island, Texas.
View of the Pleasure Pier amusement park in Galveston Island, Texas.

A sweet escape on the Gulf of Mexico, Galveston Island offers a delightful alternative to the urban environment of nearby Houston. This charming beach town is known for housing several seaside attractions, and the Galveston Island State Park is right at the top. Besides a spectacular setting, the park offers various recreational opportunities, including picnicking, fishing, bird watching, and swimming if you can brave the chill. You can’t miss the historic Pleasure Pier, a family-friendly venue with rental shops, restaurants, amusement rides, and carnival games.

There is a lot of history to uncover in Galveston, with multiple museums providing guests with an eye-opening retro experience. At Galveston Historic Seaport, you can explore local maritime heritage, and the Galveston Naval Museum will leave you in awe of an authentic WWII submarine and destroyer. Although there are numerous B&Bs in the town, for a unique experience, consider staying near attractions like Moody Gardens, which hosts a unique cluster of glass pyramids with live animal exhibits, including a shark aquarium.


Downtown street in Marfa, Texas.
Downtown street in Marfa, Texas. Image credit jmanaugh3 via Shutterstock

If you have a penchant for off-the-beaten-path experiences, consider a trip to Marfa. This small desert town, with a whimsical, artsy vibe, charms visitors with its remote setting and overall ambiance. For a community of just about 1,800 residents, you’ll be stunned by the sheer number of museums and art galleries it houses. You can check out this artistic culture at Ballroom Marfa before touring Marfa Art Supply to hunt for a cool souvenir. Meanwhile, you can explore the area’s past at the Marfa and Presidio County Museum, which displays interesting exhibits, such as Native American artifacts and pioneer equipment.

Among the quirkier attractions near the town is Prada Marfa, an art installation resembling a Prada storefront in the middle of the desert, located a short drive from Marfa. Not far from Marfa, you will encounter Big Bend National Park, making for a worthy outdoor escape. Meanwhile, you can spend the nights at Hotel Paisano, a charming boutique hotel in Marfa.


Colorful shop with artwork on display at Wimberley, Texas.
Colorful shop with artwork on display at Wimberley, Texas. Editorial credit: Fotoluminate LLC /

Despite its small profile and population of about 2,900, Wimberley is jam-packed with touristy delights, making for unforgettable winter getaways. This Hill Country village boasts gorgeous open spaces with remarkable natural wonders worth experiencing. Wimberley is synonymous with natural swimming holes. Blue Hole Regional Park has a storybook setting with towering cypress trees encircling a spring-fed, inviting swimming hole. Jacob's Well Natural Area is another exquisite site you’ll want to check out. Besides being an idyllic swimming spot, it wows visitors with its mysterious underwater caves.

One of the best experiences in the town involves taking the Wimberley Zipline Adventures. If you aren’t faint of heart, you can enjoy a thrilling ride above the Texas Hill Country wilderness. Downtown Wimberley also comes to life during the festive Christmas celebration with many lights and decorations. The town also hosts several hotels where you can rest your head, including the popular Blair House Inn.


The downtown of historic Marshall, Texas
The downtown of historic Marshall, Texas, via LivCaptures /

Marshall, a small town in northeastern Texas, serves as the seat of Harrison County. It boasts a rich history, evident in the many old buildings in its town center, some of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A prime example is the Starr Family Home State Historic Site, a 19th-century mansion showcasing artifacts, original books, and other memorabilia. Another noteworthy landmark is the Michelson Museum of Art, where art enthusiasts can explore a collection of intricate pieces from the Russian-American artist.

But it's the outdoors that's even more captivating in Marshall. At the Wonderland of Lights, both kids and adults converge to enjoy holiday festivities and mark the season. This holiday event delights with family-friendly activities like light displays and themed tours. Alternatively, you can enjoy a leisurely horseback ride at Karma Farms, surrounded by picturesque scenery and the crisp winter air. After a day of exploration, you can look forward to a restful night at the Hampton Inn Marshall.

Port Aransas

Sunset over Port Aransas, Texas
Sunset over Port Aransas, Texas.

This quaint town on the Gulf of Mexico strikes a balance between outdoor and indoor attractions, making it an ideal destination for travelers seeking mild winters. Port Aransas is famous for its pristine beaches, offering tourists enchanting views of the Gulf. At Robert Points Park, you can explore 50 acres of natural space in a serene environment. The park also features an observation tower for spotting dolphins. For birdwatchers, the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center offers prime vantage points to observe species like roseate spoonbills, as well as alligators and fish.

The site includes a long boardwalk, providing a perfect spot for bird observation. If you're interested in a unique maritime experience, Red Dragon Pirate Cruises offers engaging sea adventures, including a pirate-themed cruise with actors performing sword fights on deck. After a day full of activities, you can relax and rejuvenate at the Best Western Port Aransas.

Johnson City

Street view in Johnson City, Texas
Street view in Johnson City, Texas, via Philip Arno Photography /

If you're looking to spend the winter experiencing unique historical landmarks and engaging in outdoor adventures, Johnson City is one of the best towns in Texas to visit. Founded in 1879, this small village is rich in history and is best known as President Lyndon B. Johnson’s hometown. Explore his legacy at the Boyhood Home of LBJ before visiting the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. Here, you’ll gain an immersive perspective of the 36th American president’s life, with tours of his birth home, family cemetery, and ranch.

But Johnson City offers more than just historical insights. Its mild conditions are perfect for exploring the great outdoors, and there's no better place for this than Pedernales Falls State Park. The park's 5,200+ acres offer a variety of activities, including hiking, camping, bird watching, and horse riding. When the day ends, you can find cozy accommodation at the Crossroads Inn.


City marker of Uncertain, Texas
City marker of Uncertain, Texas, By Adam Moss from Macomb, IL, United States - Texas Farm to Market Road 2198, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Despite its name, Uncertain offers a certain promise of a remarkable winter experience! This secluded gem in Harrison County, with an estimated population of about 100 residents, offers ample space to enjoy its cold-season attractions. Spend quality time at Caddo Lake State Park, a natural haven spanning over 28,000 acres. One of the best ways to experience the wonders of Caddo Lake is through guided tours, offering an intimate look at this unique ecosystem.

Additionally, the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge provides an ideal setting for wildlife enthusiasts to observe a variety of native species. This rich ecosystem is home to diverse migratory birds, snakes, fish, and other wildlife. For convenient access to the town's attractions, consider staying at the Uncertain Inn Motel.


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

Terlingua, located in the remote western reaches of Texas, offers a tranquil retreat for those seeking secluded getaways. This small village lies in a picturesque desert landscape, ripe for exploration. For those with a taste for adventure, the Santa Elena Canyon Trailhead awaits, featuring a mix of challenging climbs and manageable sections suitable for all skill levels. If you prefer a water-based adventure, Big Bend River Tours provides exhilarating rafting, canoeing, and kayaking experiences down the Rio Grande.

For a more leisurely exploration of the desert, you can embark on a horseback ride through the wilderness with Big Bend Stables. After your day of adventure, unwind with a refreshing cup of coffee at Espresso Y Poco Mas, and then settle in for the night at the comfortable Basecamp Terlingua.

In Conclusion

The vast expanse of the Lone Star State means an endless array of sights and activities. Winter brings milder conditions, making it an ideal season for travelers to explore and enjoy the diverse landscapes and unique experiences each small town in Texas has to offer. These towns exemplify the variety and excitement of a Texas winter, each with its own unique charm and attractions.

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