Wimberley, Texas: The small shops at Wimberley Square

The Best Small Towns in Texas for a Weekend Retreat

Texas is a great vacation destination, offering barbecues, endless landscapes, and amazing music, especially in big cities like Austin. You can find coastal towns, prairies, big cities, and small towns in Texas. If you are looking for a small town for a weekend retreat, these towns are ideal.

The Lone Star State is also home to beautiful architecture and history. Many historic structures have been preserved, while others have been converted into museums. Texas has it all, whether you are looking for a beach vacation, a country hideaway, or a historical treasure hunt.


Admiral Nimitz National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas
Admiral Nimitz National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas, via ShengYing Lin / Shutterstock.com

Located in central Texas, Fredericksburg is known for its German heritage and wineries. The Pioneer Museum and the Marketplatz, the town square, display this German heritage. In the Marketplatz, you can visit the Vereins Kirche, a replica of a 19th-century church.

There are over 700 historic structures downtown, which can be seen on a self-guided walking tour. Some structures remain residences, while others have been converted into shops and museums. With over 175 years of history, even the roads are wider than usual, constructed to allow horse-drawn buggies to U-turn. This quiet and historic town offers plenty of history and amenities for a weekend retreat.

Padre Island

Aerial view of South Padre Island, across the Laguna Madre, from Port Isabel.
Aerial view of South Padre Island, across the Laguna Madre, from Port Isabel. Image credit Roberto Galan via Shutterstock.

Padre Island is a coastal area in southern Texas, divided into North Padre and South Padre Island. South Padre is a popular Spring Break destination, while the less crowded North Padre is known for its nature preserves and rocky inlets. Its Bob Hall Pier, extending into the Gulf of Mexico, is popular with coastal anglers and sundowners.

While North Padre Island is known for its nature sanctuaries, South Padre Island is full of seaside activities for beach lovers. There is an Adventure Park for families, Isla Tours for dolphin watching, and even sandcastle building instructions. Several lodging options, such as the La Copa Inn, a beachfront hotel, are available.


Colorful shop with artwork and vintage items on display in the small Texas Hill Country town of Wimberley
Colorful shop with artwork and vintage items on display in the small Texas Hill Country town of Wimberley, via Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock.com

Wimberley is a small village comprised mostly of ranches and is an outdoor lover's dream. Blue Hole Park is one of the biggest attractions. Blue Hole is a natural swimming area fed by the clear waters of Cypress Creek, and hiking and biking trails are available at the park.

Jacob's Well Natural Area is a nature preserve, and Jacob's Well is a famous artesian spring. Another ideal outdoor area is the EmilyAnn Theatre. It is a performing arts venue with a life-size chess board and picnic areas. Booking a room at the 7A Ranch provides an authentic Texas experience.

Dripping Springs

Aerial Drone View of Suburban Houses and Modern Development Layout in Dripping Springs, Texas
Aerial Drone View of Suburban Houses and Modern Development Layout in Dripping Springs, Texas

The town of Dripping Springs is named for its natural pools and limestone cliffs that drip water. Hamilton Pool Preserve is the village's natural highlight. The 200-acre preserve has lush plants, various kinds of wildlife, and limestone outcroppings with a 50-foot waterfall. Dripping Springs is in the Texas Hill Country, known for its abundance of wineries, and this quaint village is no exception.

Bell Springs is a cozy winery with a tasting room and chef-prepared fare. There are breweries like Twisted X and distilleries like Deep Eddy Vodka. Texas Hill Country Olive Company is a 15-acre olive grove with a Tuscan-inspired villa. Orchard and mill tours are available on Fridays and Saturdays. Dripping Springs is a great weekend retreat because of the natural attractions and the downtown area brimming with restaurants and pubs.


Main Street in historic downtown Grapevine, Texas
Main Street in historic downtown Grapevine, Texas, via K I Photography / Shutterstock.com

Grapevine is a charming town known for its 19th and 20th-century architecture. Most historic structures, restaurants, and boutiques are located on historic Main Street downtown. A highlight architectural structure is the Glockenspiel Clock Tower. If you visit downtown at the right time, you can see two nine-foot-tall bank robbers at the top of the tower in a fistfight.

The Cotton Belt Railroad District is also home to various galleries and shops, including a glass-blowing shop and a blacksmith. The Grapevine Vintage Railroad starts at the Cotton Belt Railroad Depot, built in 1888, and is a must-see when you visit. Grapevine is a unique town with Texas charm and plenty of attractions to enjoy over a fun weekend.

Port Isabel

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

Port Isabel is a coastal town in southern Texas near Brownsville. Though there are plenty of sites to visit, the solid white Port Isabel Lighthouse is a top attraction. The historic lighthouse has stood since the early 19th century and has a Third Order Fresnel lens.

The Port Isabel Historical Museum is a great place to learn about local history. It houses artifacts from the Mexican-American War and an iconic fish mural from 1906. Several sightseeing and dolphin encounter tours, such as Dolphin Docks, are available. Port Isabel is charming and historical, making it ideal for a serene weekend with nature.


Courthouse building, Marfa, Texas
Courthouse building, Marfa, Texas. Image credit jmanaugh3 via Shutterstock.com

Marfa is a desert town in western Texas that is a major attraction for artists. The vibrant art scene includes The Chinati Foundation, which offers large indoor and outdoor displays, and The Ballroom Marfa art center, which offers festivals, exhibits, and concerts. The town is also famous for the "Marfa lights," visible on clear nights facing southwest.

There are also historical sites to explore, like the Blackwell School Alliance. Blackwell was the lone school for Mexican-American children between 1909 and 1965 and now serves as a museum celebrating Hispanic culture. The Marfa Maid Dairy is a cute attraction, especially for children. This "little dairy on the prairie" offers visitors an inside look at goat milk and cheese making.

Port Aransas

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

Port Aransas is a small coastal town on Mustang Island on the Texas coast. It's known for its gorgeous beaches and natural beauty. Roberts Point Park has an observation deck for dolphin and sunset viewing. Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center has a boardwalk over wetlands and offers views of spoonbills and other wildlife.

Port Aransas Beach has eighteen miles of coastline where vehicles are allowed, which adds to the charm. Many cultural attractions on the island, like the Port Aransas Museum, showcase early island life. Be sure to visit the Chapel on the Dunes, the oldest consecrated church on the island.


The downtown of historic Marshall, Texas
The downtown of historic Marshall, Texas, via LivCaptures / Shutterstock.com

Marshall is considered the "birthplace of boogie-woogie" music and has several museums and historical structures. Two notable structures are the Harrison County Courthouse and the Harrison County Historical Museum. The courthouse, topped with an opulent dome, is a shining example of Renaissance Revival, Beaux Arts, and Classical architectural styles.

The restaurant Ginocchio, transplanted from Shreveport, Louisiana, is in the historic Ginocchio Hotel and has an elegant brick and dark cloth atmosphere. Hotel Marshall is another vintage hotel worth considering for lodging. Built in 1929, the Art Deco hotel was a major attraction in East Texas during the 20th century.

Texas is ideal for weekend retreats. These nine small towns are big on Texas charm, elegant architecture, and historical sites. Whether you want a perfect beach getaway in Port Aransas or a desert destination like Marfa, Texas has it all. Texas is also perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

Dripping Springs has beautiful limestone cliffs and a waterfall that makes for a memorable trip. Port Isabel has a historic lighthouse that is open for self-guided tours. The Texas Hill Country is known for its wineries and sophisticated dining, while Marshall has chef-inspired dining and vintage hotels. The Lone Star State is truly unique in geography and attractions and should be on your bucket list for a quick weekend retreat.

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