Texas has always been an attractive travel destination.
And in the age of Covid, the state’s lighter-than-average restrictions make it just that much more appealing.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best places to visit on your next trip to Texas.
If you can only visit one major Texas city during your vacation, San Antonio would be a pretty good bet.
Why? Because there’s such a variety of things to do. Explore history at famous historical landmarks, like the Alamo and the Missions National Historical Park. Soak up some culture at the San Antonio Museum of Art or Witte Museum.
Or just cut loose, whether it’s having drinks on the River Walk, riding roller coasters at Six Flags, or catching an NBA game.
Big Bend National Park
From the big city to Big Bend, we come to one of Texas’ most famous – and rugged – expanses of wilderness.
Located in western Texas, right along the Mexican border, the park contains nearly a million acres of land and over 150 miles of trails. Not only does it have its own mountain range, the Chisos Mountains, there are other stunning natural landmarks to see and explore, like Santa Elena Canyon.
It does get rather hot in the summer, but you can keep cool by visiting in the mornings and evenings then retreating to the river or mountains during midday.
Natural Bridge Caverns
There’s another surefire way to beat the heat – and that’s heading underground.
The Natural Bridge Caverns near San Antonio are a cool 70°F year round. And they’re Texas style: big. In fact, these caverns are so large that there are separate tours for the different sections.
Above ground, there’s a 60-foot high rope and zip rail course, 5,000-square-foot outdoor maze, and other activities to check out too.
As Texas’ most populated city by far, it’s no surprise that Houston is also its most cosmopolitan.
Get your grub on amid the city’s killer food scene, with cuisine from all over the world on offer: Mexican, Indian, Vietnamese, you name it. Enrich yourself in the Houston Museum District, with 19 museums (including the Houston Zoo) in fields from art to history to psychology.
Cheer for the home team at an Astros, Rockets, or Texans game. And let’s not forget Houston’s famous Space Center.
There are over 50 miles of trails for you to canoe or kayak down in Caddo Lake State Park, which is just miles from the Louisiana border.
You’ll be surrounded by flooded cypress trees and hanging Spanish moss as you paddle, the only sound the movement of the water and chirps or rustles of local wildlife.
But if you keep your eyes peeled, you might get a glimpse of Bigfoot. This region of East Texas – and Caddo Lake in particular – has had hundreds of reported sightings over the years.
An island getaway may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a Texas vacation, but it’s time to change that.
Mustang Island is a barrier island off the coast of Corpus Christi. Not only is there 18 miles of coastline for all your beach-related activities, from splashing in the surf to burying your friends in the sand, there’s over 20 miles of paddling trails to explore.
Don’t want to leave? Then spend the night at one of the island’s many camp sites.
How about a little wine with your vacation?
Just an hour from Austin and San Antonio sits Fredericksburg, a quaint little city with a whopping 50 wineries and tasting rooms. Take a break from your adventures to spend a day swirling and sniffing and sipping some of Texas’ finest vintage.
Originally settled by German immigrants in 1846, the city also has some enjoyable history, architecture, and art to take in between glasses.
Colorado Bend State Park
One of Colorado Bend State Park’s most popular attractions is Gorman Falls.
And it only takes a 3-mile, self-guided hike through rugged terrain to get there. Hey, it ain’t easy, but it’s worth it.
Of course, there’s plenty more to do here. Because it’s not called “Colorado Bend” for no reason; over 6 miles of the Colorado River runs through the park.
Austin is the state – and hipster – capital of Texas, one that specializes in all things “weird”.
Don’t miss the vibrant live music scene, which includes nightly shows in areas like Sixth Street and annual festivals, like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits. Then grab some munchies from one of the dozens of amazing food trucks that litter the city.
Or just walk (or bike) around Austin and take in the vibes.
Palo Duro Canyon
Did you know the second-largest canyon in the country is located in the Texas panhandle?
You can explore Palo Duro Canyon in a variety of ways: hiking, biking, horseback riding, and even ziplining. Flying through the air, suspended more than 450 feet above the canyon, is an experience you won’t forget.
Or just stay on the ground and camp under the big, clear Texas sky.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com