The colorful scene along San Antonio's River Walk
Downtown Austin during the Republic of Texas motorcycle rally
The Alamo in San Antonio at dusk
A Ferris wheel with Texas pride
Texas longhorn steer in the Fort Worth Stockyards
Texas-style barbecue pit at The Salt Lick in Austin
- The Lone Star State
Cowboy culture meets urban sophistication
Texas is so big and diverse that it’s practically its own country. It was, in fact, a nation of its own from 1836 to 1845. The Texas landscape ranges from desert badlands and swimmable coastlines to lush mountains and sprawling prairies. Its communities go from the heights of urban sophistication (and size!) on down to the tiniest, most charming out-of-the-way towns.
There is surely no shortage of Country culture here: rodeos, line-dancing and ample opportunities for an adventure by horse or mule. And then there’s the barbecue. It’s hard to find a better place on this planet for a plate of ribs or brisket (served with a heaping helping of Texas home-style side dishes). The legendary Franklin Barbecue in Austin can boast all-day waits—and it is worth it.
History buffs can travel far and wide across the Lone Star State to learn about its rich cultural legacy. San Antonio is home to the Alamo, a centuries-old Spanish mission and the site of a long, bloody battle in the early 1800s. Frontier Texas!, a bold museum in Abilene, introduces visitors to the “Wild, Wild West” using life-sized holograms. Of course, Texas is also host to its share of arts and cultural sophistication, from the glossy urban landscapes in Dallas and Houston to the freewheeling funk of Austin. The latter city is something of an island in the Texas Hill Country—a wild, liberal city where you can expect the unexpected.
In addition to cowboys and sprawling cities, Texas is home to some quirky attractions and spots. From Cadillac Ranch, which boasts a sculpture made of ten Cadillacs as a monument to the "Golden Age" of the American automobile to the Lajitas Ghost Town, which has a beer-drinking goat for mayor. In Paris, Texas, you’ll even find an Eiffel Tower topped with a cowboy hat.