The Best Small Towns in Texas to Visit

Everyone’s idea of a vacation is something different, and if you’re one of the travelers who prefer road tripping and visiting quaint towns or historical villages, Texas might be the place for you.

The Lonestar town has plenty of locations worth checking out and there’s no need to leave the state to have some time away.

What are the best small towns in Texas? Wimberley, Marfa, Gruene, and Amarillo are just a handful of the small and interesting towns located in Texas.

There are lots of historical, quirky, and picturesque places to see in the state and it makes an ideal vacation spot for those looking for a unique adventure.

Texas spans more than 268,000 square miles and within the state, there’s no shortage of places to see and things to do.

If you’ve been thinking of a holiday location that you can enjoy without leaving the country, get your best boots on and see what Texas has to offer.

The Best Towns in Texas Worth a Visit

Texas is one of the most historically rich states in the US and if you like to visit small towns and road trip through diverse topography, you’ll need to check it out.

For those who’ve never been to the Southern Central state before, or just want to explore it further, check out our picks for the best small towns in Texas. 

#1 Amarillo

Amarillo was founded in 1887 after J. I Berry found a well-watered stretch of land to call home.

The quirky town is a must for anyone taking the famous Route 66 through Texas, and especially if you’re in the mood for a steak.

As part of the Texas Panhandle, you can use Amarillo to get to Palo Duro Canyon State Park and check out the Cadillac Ranch that features a bunch of spray-painted and decorated cars.

For history buffs, the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum is around, and loads of Spanish Revival buildings to admire.

#2 Marfa

#2 Marfa

Marfa draws lots of visitors who come to the quaint town to see the famous Marfa Lights, some ghost-like orbs that can be seen from Route 67 near the town.

Although it was originally established in 1881 as a water stop to be used by Texas and New Orleans Railroad, today, it’s considered one of few art hubs in the state.

Those with a love for art will find plenty to do including indoor and outdoor installations, cultural festivals, art exhibitions, and concerts.

It’s even more appealing to people hunting UFOs and ghosts if you’re lucky enough to get a glance at the Marfa Lights.

#3 Laredo

#3 Laredo

Travelers with kids will want to check out Laredo because there’s no shortage of fun activities for children of all ages to enjoy.

This small city is found on the Mexican border and was once known as the Republic of the Rio Grande, after a failed historic attempt to become an independent nation.

Other historic sites include the Cathedral of San Augustin that was built in 1872 and Lake Casa Blanca International State Park.

You can enjoy fishing in their many waterholes, hiking on their picturesque trails, and lots of museums and hands-on activities for the whole family to enjoy.

#4 Marble Falls

#4 Marble Falls
by Scott Sanford Photography

Marble Falls is another small but fascinating Texas town worth checking out on your travels through the Lonestar state.

The city is part of the Highland Lakes on the Colorado River and has lots of curated art galleries, restaurants, and sightseeing spots at natural wonders to enjoy.

The best time to visit Marble Falls is in August when they hold their annual drag boat races, which is a spectacle to enjoy and the whole town gets involved in the action.

The small city has a population of just 6,077 so it’s on the quieter side for those who don’t want the hustle and bustle of a metropolis.

#5 Wimberley

#5 Wimberley

If your idea of a dream getaway is visiting every natural sight and dipping your toes into as much freshwater as possible, Wimberley, Texas is the place to be.

This is the place for nature lovers thanks to the many amazing spots, like Blue Hole Regional Park, Devil’s Backbone, Old Baldy Mountain, and Hill Country, and it’s situated easily between San Antonio and Austin.

Swimming holes, springs, and underground caves are abundant here if you have the time to check out the town and give yourself a few days to see the spots you really want.

It’s not all about nature though, as Wimberley also has art galleries, shopping, and restaurants to enjoy.

#6 Brownsville

#6 Brownsville

Brownsville is one of the bigger towns on our list measuring a little over 145 square miles, and it’s found right at the bottom of Texas.

At Brownsville, you can experience some of Texas’ most important historical locations, including some of the key events of the American Civil War.

Another cool thing to do in Brownsville is checking out the local wildlife, that have homes in its many zoos’ animal refuges.

This town has more to it than cute cafés and stores, and it’s the perfect pick for families, nature lovers, history buffs, and everyone in between.

#7 Dripping Springs

#7 Dripping Springs

The thought of Texas is enough to make anyone sweat, so if you’re looking for somewhere to cool down, Dripping Springs should be on your list.

As you guessed, Dripping Springs has loads of freshwater locations to enjoy, including rivers, creeks, and springs, which can be a welcome reprieve from the hot Texas weather.

In addition to having loads of swimming spots, there are cool places to eat and drink, including breweries and pubs.

The town has a population of less than 5,000 so it’s truly rural and a nice quiet spot to spend a vacation if you want to avoid anything too hectic.

#8 West

You might not expect to find a traditional Czech town in the middle of Texas, but if you head to the West that’s exactly what you’ll get.

With a population of 2,087, it’s not very busy, and it’s located 20 minutes out of Waco so you should pay it a visit if you’re there.

There are lots of Czech cultures that you can get entrenched in, including tasting their traditional kolaches pastries found at the Czech Stop.

As a town with tight-knit families and long-standing cultural ties, it’s one of the more interesting places in Texas if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary.

#9 Terlingua

#9 Terlingua

Terlingua is quintessential Texas in its scenery and located right on the border with close proximity to Chihuahua in Mexico and the Rio Grande.

Although predominantly a mining town, it’s also one of the best small towns for tourists to visit as well, with sights like Indian Head Trail, Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center, and Santa Elena Canyon Overlook.

The coolest thing to visit is the Ghost Town, including the remnants of an old mining town including a jail, cemetery, and abandoned mine shaft.

It truly feels like you’ve stepped back in time and makes the entire Terlingua worth a visit alone.

#10 New Braunfels

#10 New Braunfels

For a Texas town with a touch of Germany, why not check out New Braunfels and see what this quaint city has to offer?

New Braunfels was founded in 1845 and today, you can still see many of the original German buildings that were built there over 150 years ago.

Among the top places to visit in New Braunfels is the Natural Bridge Caverns that let you walk your way through underground limestone caves and their famous Schlitterbahn water park that is a great day out for you and the family.

Unlike the drier parts of Texas, there’s a lot of greenery to be found in New Braunfels as well, so it’s not what you might expect.

#11 Dublin

As it turns out, you don’t need to leave Texas just to visit Dublin, but it’s not the Irish town that you might expect.

Dublin is located in Central Texas as part of Erath County, and its most notable feature is being the home of the oldest Dr. Pepper bottling plant.

If you’re not that interested in Dr. Pepper, there’s a lot more to see, with the Irish settler town still clinging to its cultural roots.

This is a history-heavy town with memorial cottages, museums, historical societies and parks, and even a cheese shop, so if you prefer to learn a little while you’re on vacation, Dublin is one of the better Texas towns to visit.

#12 Bandera

Texas is the place to be if you’ve got an interest in cowboys, and Bandera is the town to be, as it calls itself the “Cowboy Capital of the World”.

With a very small population of fewer than 1,000 folks with a strong Polish background, you get that true small-town feeling here, and it’s located in the Texas Hill Country area.

A visit to Bander is best on the weekend so you can witness the Bandera Breakfast Run, a tradition where motorcyclists come from San Antonio to Bandera as part of a tradition.

There are some quaint cafes and restaurants, a First Baptist Church, and the St. Stanislaus Catholic Church which is considered one of the oldest in Texas.

#13 Shiner

#13 Shiner

Although you might assume it was named after a black eye, Shiner actually got its name from one of the town’s inhabitants, Henry B. Shiner, after he donated a stretch of land for a railroad to use.

Traditionally, there were a lot of German and Czech emigrants who settled in Shiner, and today its population remains small at around 2,000 people.

Shiner is one of the best small towns in Texas to visit because there’s plenty to do, including a visit to the famous Spoetzl Brewery, Saints Cyril and Methodist Church with stained glass windows crafted in Munich, and Edwin Wolters Memorial Museum that has an antique gun collection and country store.

#14 Jefferson

As a pre-civil war town, Jefferson is one for the history buffs to enjoy.

Among its charming streets, you’ll find historic hotels, bed and breakfasts, and quaint cafes and restaurants, making it a good choice for travelers who like to slow down and enjoy their surroundings.

The town of Jefferson has a small population of just a couple thousand and was thought to have been founded in 1936, although there’s no definitive date.

You can spend days checking out the historical homes, churches, saloons, and natural wonders, or stay in the main village and enjoy the local food and drinks at one of the many restaurants.

Related Questions

There’s no need to travel overseas just to visit some cool and historical towns, as Texas has proven with their must-see spots.

To find out more about traveling to Texas, we’ve answered a few commonly asked questions that can give you the answers that you need.

Is Texas Part of the South?

According to the US Census Bureau, Texas is considered part of the South and joins other states of American including Oklahoma, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, and more.

More specifically, the state of Texas is located in the southern central region of the United States.

What is the Major Airport in Texas?

The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is considered the most popular and busiest airport in Texas, recording the highest number of travelers in and out.

Other airports in the state include the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Dallas Love Field, and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Can You Travel Across Texas in One Day?

It is possible to drive your car through Texas in a single day, which should take between 14 and 16 hours depending on traffic conditions, driving speed, and other external factors.

To do the trip safely, it should be shared between two drivers to enable adequate rests and breaks.