They say the best things come in big packages. That should be very true especially in the case of Texas when it comes to tourism. The second-largest state in the US is considered as one of the top places to be in for tourism and that says a lot when considering it receives millions of people annually. Do you want to be a part of that prestigious group visiting the Lone Star State?
Texas was once an independent republic, hence, its nickname, The Lone Star State. During its early years, Texas struggled to gain independence from Mexico. The Lone Star also serves as the trademark symbol for the state and it is found in Texas’s flag and the Texan state seal.
The state of Texas is the home of many large and densely-populated cities in the US. Houston for instance is the most populous city in Texas and is the fourth largest in the US as well. On the other hand, San Antonio is the second-most populous state and is the seventh-largest in the US. The state capital of Austin is the second most populous state in the US. Aside from being large and towering cities, these two cities are also some of the top attractions in Texas.
Texas is not only known for its mass, but it’s also known for its diverse geologic features which include the Balcones Fault, its sandy beaches in the eastern region, its deserts, prairies, grasslands, forests, and more. This makes Texas an ideal state for people that want to experience the great outdoors
We can’t put enough emphasis on how large Texas is. It’s so big, you can’t possibly enjoy the state and all that it has to offer within a span of a few days or even weeks. Traveling to Texas should be taken as leisurely as possible. Before we get to the important places you should visit, let’s first talk about some important traveling tips you need to know.
- 1 How To Get To Texas
- 2 Getting Around Texas
- 3 Best Time to Visit Texas
- 4 Things to Do in Texas
- 4.1 Texas State Parks
- 4.2 Texas Beaches
- 4.3 San Antonio Riverwalk
- 4.4 City of Grapevine
- 4.5 White Rock Lake
- 4.6 Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
- 4.7 Fort Worth Zoo
- 4.8 Sandy Lake Amusement Park
- 4.9 Hawaiian Falls Waterpark
- 4.10 Six Flags Over Texas
- 4.11 Austin, Texas architecture
- 4.12 Fort Worth Water Gardens
- 4.13 Uncommon Objects
- 4.14 Royse City Futuro House
- 4.15 National Museum of Funeral History
- 4.16 Enchanted Rock
- 4.17 Devil’s Sinkhole
- 4.18 Painted Churches
- 4.19 Japanese Tea Garden
- 4.20 Virgin Mary Mosaic
How To Get To Texas
Texas has several international airports within the state lines and most of these are conveniently located within the state’s biggest cities. This means you can get to wherever you want in Texas, regardless of where you are coming from. Here are some of the top airports you should consider getting to as well.
- Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport – This airport is not only the busiest airport in Texas but in the US as well. It features top-notch facilities aside from its capacity to get you to and from Texas, to and from various points in the world. Moreover, it’s 20-minutes away from the downtown area.
- Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport – Located 20 minutes from downtown Amarillo, this airport offers flights to and from most cities in North America, as well as select destinations in Europe.
Getting Around Texas
The biggest cities in Texas are well-developed and getting around them is relatively easy. As always, we recommend renting a car if you are planning on exploring Austin, Dallas, Houston, and other major cities in the state. Rental companies like Enterprise, Hertz, and Budget Car Rental are readily available near airports and within the cities themselves.
Aside from car rentals, ride-sharing services are also readily available in the major cities in Texas. Taxis, shuttles, and other car services are available as well so upon your arrival at the airport, you can get to your hotel in only a matter of minutes. Keep in mind that the roads in cities like Dallas, Houston, and Austin can get crowded during rush hours in the afternoon so be sure to plan your trip accordingly.
For getting in between cities, your best bet at exploring Texas is by riding Greyhound buses or Amtrak trains which can get you from point-to-point in the state. As these trips run on a schedule, be sure to plan your trip accordingly as well as you don’t want to waste your time in doing nothing instead of exploring the Lone Star State.
Locally speaking, getting around Texas varies from city to city. The major form of transportation in Houston and San Antonio are taxis. And in some cities, trolley services and subways are available. The last thing you’d want to do in the major cities is walking as you could end up tiring yourself out.
Best Time to Visit Texas
Texas is a massive and geographically diverse state. This means weather conditions will vary throughout the year and it will vary greatly depending on the location. Generally speaking, however, the state has a combination of three different climates which are continental, mountain, and marine. The majority of the state has hot and humid summers and mild winters.
The eastern portion of Texas has a subtropical climate. As this is where the best beaches in the state are, you’d want to visit during the summer season when summer is very warm. However, you’ll be visiting along with many other tourists because its the peak for tourism. This means high hotel rates as well. As such, you should visit during Spring Break when tourism is fairly mild and hotel rates are low.
When exploring the major cities in the state, you might want to visit Texas during late January to early March. The weather and temperature will be perfect for walking around during this time of the year. As the Christmas tourists have already left and the peak has passed, the rooms will be generally cheaper as well.
You should also look out for hurricane advisories, most particularly in Houston and in nearby coastal areas. This rainy season in Texas is from the months of June through November so it would be best to check the news if you are traveling at this period.
Things to Do in Texas
If you want to travel but only have a limited budget, don’t worry. Texas got your back. Apparently, this lone star state has plenty of things to offer to its travelers who are looking for some cheap but cool finds. Without further ado, here’s a rundown of the best fun and cheap things to do in Texas that we’re sure you will love.
1Texas State Parks
Texas state parks are one of the things you shouldn’t miss when you’re traveling to this state, especially on a limited budget. Sure, you may be required to pay for some admission fees but Texas’ state parks offer more free activities that you can do to also bond with your family and friends. Plus, each state park has different activities to offer that anyone will surely enjoy. On top of that, it’s a great place for when you want to fill your eyes with the best views of nature that the lone star state has.
If you want some water activities, heading to the beach is one of the best fun and cheap things to do in Texas. This is because you will not just get to enjoy a relaxing atmosphere but some beaches also offer different water activities that you can also do with your friends and/or family. And the best part of it is that some Texas beaches can be enjoyed for free. Relax, read a book, build sandcastles, or get a good tan, the lone star state’s beaches is definitely something that you should add to your travel itinerary.
3San Antonio Riverwalk
Another one of the best fun and cheap things to do in Texas is to stroll San Antonio Riverwalk. The river channel was originally made as a means of flood control to protect the city. But today, this is the best place to visit because it now houses some of the best restaurants, shopping boutiques, museums, art, and lodging in town. Aside from that, this place often hosts special events like artisan shows, food and drink festivals, as well as parades. It is also where you can witness the beautiful Ford Fiesta de las Luminaries. And if you’re on a limited budget, this place is for you too as you can just take in the beautiful views that the river channel has to offer.
4City of Grapevine
Exploring the City of Grapevine is also one of the fun and cheap things to do in Texas that we highly recommend. This is because this place has a lot to offer, especially for travelers who are on a limited budget. There’s Lake Grapevine that gives you some of the best natural views in town and would only require you $5 dollars per vehicle, Grapevine Vintage Railroad where tickets start at $10, and wineries. And there’s plenty of wineries in this area where you can sample and enjoy their vineyard for as low as $5 and most will only require you a maximum of $10 per tour.
5White Rock Lake
If you want some outdoor activities, don’t miss out on White Rock Lake too. Here, you can enjoy the great outdoors with nearly 10 miles of biking, running, and walking trails, plus some awesome fishing activity. To top your experience all off, you can also get to see some of the most scenic views in this place. What makes visiting this place worthy of this spot in this list of fun and cheap things to do in Texas is that you can enjoy this place for free. On top of that, it is just a stone throw away from the city so you don’t have to worry about getting lost or whatnot.
6Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
Also one of the fun and cheap things to do in Texas is going to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. Located in Plano, this place offers a quick dose of the outdoors just right at the center of the city. Here, you have lush trails to hike or walk around, a playground that the younger members of the family can enjoy, plus a picnic pavilion that will house you and your family in case you want to go on a picnic. And the best part of this place is that you don’t even have to spend a single penny to enjoy this place and the activities that it has to offer.
7Fort Worth Zoo
If you’re traveling with kids, one of the fun and cheap things to do in Texas that we’re sure everyone will love is going to the Fort Worth Zoo. Here, you can get to see more than 500 species of animals that you can also get to pet and even take pictures with. Fort Worth Zoo also has a number of indoor and outdoor activities that will make your visit worthwhile. Regular admission fees for adults cost $14 and $10 for kids and for toddlers who are two years old and under, they can enter the zoo for free. But if you looking for something cheaper as this, visit the zoo on Wednesdays so you can score admission tickets for half the original price.
8Sandy Lake Amusement Park
Who says you can’t enjoy an amusement park on a budget? Sandy Lake Amusement Park charges only $2 per person for its general admission. And if you want to enjoy some rides, the tickets would only cost you 50 cents. However, the tickets that some rides require varies. For instance, some amusement rides cost three tickets, their paddle boats require six tickets, and so on. The amusement park also has a swimming pool that you can enjoy all day for only $5 or 10 tickets. An amusement park may have an old-school style but it sure is fun and is the perfect way to enjoy such activities even while you’re on a budget.
9Hawaiian Falls Waterpark
Aside from an amusement park, one of the fun and cheap things to do in Texas is to play all day at the Hawaiian Falls Waterpark. You might wonder why this is included on this list when tickets to this place start at $22. Apparently, you can still enjoy this place even if you’re on a budget because there are often available coupons that will help you save more money. Aside from that, unlike other waterparks, outside food is allowed so you can save more money by packing some food. Don’t worry, they have a picnic pavilion where you can eat your packed food.
10Six Flags Over Texas
Six Flags, included on this list? Yes, you read it right, Going to Six Flags is one of the fun and cheap things to do in Texas. Tickets in Six Flags usually costs $60 which can hurt your budget if you’re trying to save up some money during your trip. But if you bring a Coke marked with a local coupon, you can even score discounts up to $20! And when you do, don’t forget to bring your own food to save more. This place has a lot of fun activities to offer so don’t miss out on this too.
11Austin, Texas architecture
Texas also has some of the best architectural structures to talk big about. Austin, Texas alone has plenty of such things to see. And if you want to see them, exploring Austin is one of the best fun and cheap things to do to admire the architecture in the lone star state. Texas Capitol building is known as one of the eye-catching architectural buildings. But if you’re tired of it, there’s also St. Mary’s Cathedral just a few blocks away that boasts of a limestone façade and looming bell tower. The 19-century Driskill Hotel also has an architectural design as luxurious as its interiors that will make your jaw drop. There are also more beautiful architectural buildings downtown including the University of Texas Tower, Bremond Block Historic District, and the Governor’s Mansion, to name a few.
12Fort Worth Water Gardens
The temperature in Texas can reach up to 70° even in winter. But there’s nothing to worry about as you can cool yourself at the Fort Worth Water Gardens. But this attraction will not just cool you down but it will also fill your eyes with some of the best views in town with the collection of pretty fountains that it has. But what makes this place worthy of that spot in your list of fun and cheap things to do in Texas is that you can relax and enjoy the views in this place for free.
Located in Austin, Uncommon Objects is apparently a store with such uncommon name. And as its name suggests, this place is filled to the brim with, you guessed it right, uncommon objects. And yes, visiting this shop is one of the fun and cheap things to do in Texas because it has a lot of quirky stuff that you can get to see. And, of course, if you’re on a tight budget, you can just window shop. But don’t worry, there are some cheap finds here too that you can take home as memorabilia or gifts for your loved ones back in your hometown.
14Royse City Futuro House
When Finnish architect designed nearly a hundred future houses in the late 60s, Royse City acquired one and it is one of the fewer 50 Futuro houses that remain today. And luckily, you can still catch a glimpse of this once futuristic structure. However, don’t expect much as its exterior has already weathered and stained with age and its interior is a mess. Still, it is one of Texas’ gems that you should not miss. And, of course, visiting this place is one of the fun and cheap things to do too as you don’t have to pay for anything but your transportation to get here if you don’t have a car.
15National Museum of Funeral History
Yes, there is a museum of funeral history in Texas. And as its name suggests, this place lets you see more of the art of death even in the past. This place also lets you get to see an array of funeral programs from famous people, as well as a collection of beautiful hearses. Learn more about the history, Science, as well as the art of death for just $10 (for adults). And what makes visiting this place all the more worthy of being included on this list of fun and cheap things to do in Texas is that you can score discounts up to $2 less if you go here with your friends and family.
Enchanted Rock can also give you an amazing travel experience. Aside from the scenic view that you can get to see from here, you’ll also be amazed by its unique pink color. On top of that, the mystery that it holds will also pique your interest. Apparently, when a cool night follows a warm day, it is said that the Enchanted Rock makes audible creaking noises. No one knows what causes it. One thing is for sure, though, it is a must-see (and hear) if you’re traveling to Texas.
The Devil’s Sinkhole is also a must-see. But don’t worry, you will not see any devil or other out of this world creatures here as the name of this place only connotes the dark depths of this place. What makes all the buzz is its depth that is 400 feet and 40×60 opening that is the third-deepest sinkhole in the state. Also, it holds a lot of history as archeologists found evidence that the sinkhole was once considered sacred by Native Americans as locals found arrowheads and other treasures in the area. It’s a place to see unique sights and learn more about the area’s history so don’t miss out on this too.
Italy isn’t the only place in the world that can boast of its painted church ceilings as Texas has several of them too. While Texas’ painted churches were not done by da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Raphael, or other famous Italian artists, Texas’ painted churches are equally gorgeous as well. St. Mary’s Catholic Church is one of such churches in Texas that has pretty painted ceilings and it is considered as the most majestic among the 20 painted churches in Texas. It’s definitely one of the best things to see in Texas too.
19Japanese Tea Garden
If you want to relax some more. The Japanese Tea Garden is also one of Texas’ attractions that you should see. Here, you’ll be surrounded by lush trees, vibrant flowers, and structures that are so picturesque that they make the best backdrop for your travel photos. And, of course, this place is free for you to enjoy.
20Virgin Mary Mosaic
What makes a Virgin Mary Mosaic worth-seeing in Texas? Aside from its beauty, it is also the largest Virgin Mary Mosaic in the world with a height of 40 feet. And what’s even better is that you can view it and take pictures of and/or with it for free.