Texas is easily the size of three of most other states. In such a huge place, there are bound to be a lot of hidden treasures to find that don’t get quite enough credit. Whether it’s a city with an undeserved bad rap, or a hidden nature preserve, we’re highlighting some amazing locations that you may otherwise overlook in your journey across the Lone Star state.
1. El Paso, TX
El Paso is usually an underdog in the eyes of Texas tourists, but it actually has quite a bit to offer. For instance, the Scenic Overlook gives an amazing view of the town and Franklin Mountains. The Plaza Theater has NYC style seating, and has a very high review rating. You can also take the Wyler Aerial Tramway across the mountains for an amazing view of the surrounding nature.
2. Galveston, TX
Galveston isn’t just about the beach. Not only does this place have great restaurants, and serve as the docking bay for several major cruise liners, but it also has a number of other entertainment options. There is the 4D Theater which takes 3D movies as far as you can go with all sorts of sensory stimulation. There are several pyramid buildings with different themes, such as a deep sea aquarium and a rainforest. There is even a seasonal Festival of Lights that illuminates the night sky in November.
3. Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth is a large part of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. From a distance, this place may look like just one big sprawl of steel and concrete. While that may be partially true, there are some real gems hidden in this big, bad boy of a city. There are the Stockyards National Historic District, where the wild west is represented for tourists, day and night. The Fort Worth Zoo is considered one of the top ranked zoos in the nation. If high adrenaline is your flavor of choice, the Texas Motor Speedway can keep you entertained for hours. Finally, check out the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame to learn about the brave women of the wild west.
4. The Big Thicket National Preserve
The Big Thicket National Preserve is about 97,000 acres of underrated forest, located near Beaumont, Texas. It has over 40 miles of hiking trails, nine different ecosystems, and a very wide variety of animal and plant life. It is an excellent location for bird watchers.
Via My San Antonio
5. Austin, TX
Austin hides many gems for recreation, relaxation, and pure entertainment. One of these gems is the Hope Outdoor Gallery. It’s a three-story, educational art project meant as a positive outlet for graffiti artists, muralists, and any artist that wants to display an uplifting piece in such a fashion.
6. The Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
This wildlife refuge offers an elevated, 2.2 mile Rimrock Trail, as well as prairies, desert, and wetlands all mixed together.
7. The Pedernales Falls State Park
This beautiful park is located near Austin. It has a trail known as the Wolf Mountain Trail which ascends 1,000 feet, and many areas for swimming and climbing along the falls. This hidden jewel is well worth taking a camping trip for.
8. Seminole Canyon State Park
This state park has a number of wonders. Fate Bell Shelter has some of the oldest Native American pictographs around, as well as being one of the oldest known cave dwellings. There is also an interpretive center with exhibits relating to the canyon’s history. Throw in the camping, mountain biking, and extensive nature, and you are set for at least a couple of days.
9. Balmorhea State Park
This is a hidden oasis in the deserts of West Texas, and is the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. There is a variety of wildlife here to enjoy, as well as plenty of opportunity for scuba diving, swimming, or just relaxing on a float to enjoy the scenery.
10. The Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
The amazing preserve is 227 acres of Hill Country beauty, including a waterfall. This place has 2.5 miles of hiking trails and a Creative Research Center, owned by the St. Edwards University. This center serves as a welcoming hub, as well as a research center for the University students.
Via Flickr | Zahid
11. The Howard W. Peak Greenway Trail
This trail system is located in San Antonio and has 47 miles of developed trails, as well as 1,200 acres of creekside park lands. This trail is perfect for hiking, or biking.