A hallowed site for some Texans, this 1100-acre park is where Texas fought for – and won – its independence in 1836. You can learn about the battle by browsing the excellent museum, watching the movie, then riding nearly 500ft up to the observation deck for a look over battleground and beyond. The exhibits and the tower all charge admission. The site is free and retains a natural feel, despite the chemical plants in the distance.
In the late afternoon on April 21, 1836, General Sam Houston and his ragtag Texan army caught up with the Mexican forces of General Antonio López de Santa Anna that were resting on the banks of the San Jacinto River. Fighting was fierce, as Houston's men 'remembered the Alamo,' and the massacre at Goliad. Santa Anna's surrender came relatively quickly. The final tally: 630 Mexicans dead and hundreds more wounded, but only nine Texan casualties. Victory was total. The Mexican army retreated; Texas had won its independence.