©Kris Davidson/Lonely Planet


Bigger than a whole heap of countries, Texas is vast, diverse and welcoming: from big-city lights to small-town simplicity, white-sand beaches to high-country hikes.

Now That's Country

'Country' is as much about a way of life as a place. Slowing down, taking the rural, farm-to-market back roads; steppin' out in polished boots and starched blue jeans for a Saturday-night dance under the stars; doin' nothing more on a Sunday afternoon than floating down a lazy river… Life in the country lopes along. Even if most Texans now live in urban areas, they're influenced by the state's agricultural, roping-and-riding heritage – and they escape to the country just as often as they can.

Fun & Delicious Food

There's just something about eating a big pile of brisket off a butcher-paper 'plate.' Don't dare ask for a fork; the best BBQ is for fingers only. And great barbecue is not the state's only fun food. At festivals, rodeos and fairs much of your meal can be served on a stick, from corny dogs to fried PB&J sandwiches. In Austin and other cities the food truck phenomenon continues. And we haven't even dug into the ubiquitous Mexican food, Dallas' fine upscale dining or the foodie-fave restaurants around Houston.

Cities & Towns

Big cities in Texas? Fun-loving, vibrant and friendly. And delightfully flashy on occasion – this is oil country, after all. Dallas and Houston boast rich arts and culture districts to explore by day, as well as active nightlife. For partying, Austin is the place, with its endless live-music concerts and an outdoorsy, alternative vibe. San Antonio has pockets of bustling activity during the day, and there's a fiesta every night on the River Walk. Beyond the cities, Texas also has countless small towns with courthouse squares, landmark cafes and eclectic antiques and boutiques to explore at a slower pace.

The Great Big Outdoors

We know you've heard, but Texas is big…really BIG. More than 261,000 sq miles, in fact: that's larger than Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands combined. And it ain't all just tumblin’ tumbleweeds. Barrier islands with windswept dunes and public beaches stretch down 367 miles of coastline. In the west, three mountain ranges top more than 7000ft, and Big Bend National Park is the state's premier trekking and primary rafting destination. And to the northeast, soaring pine forests and sinuous, cypress-lined bayous are perfect for hiking and kayaking.

Explore Texas

Planning Toolkit

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Texas.


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