15 Favorite Small Towns in Texas

We love to travel and explore Texas and specifically spend some time in some of the smaller Texas towns. Here's our list of our 15 favorite small Texas towns. We include them because the locals are friendly; the pace is slow; the city is charming, quaint, or historic; and there are several fun things to see and do. And they typically have good restaurants, golf/boating/biking/hiking, and lively bars and maybe some shops, although that's lower on the list of criteria. On your next road trip you might consider stopping off at one or more of these small Texas towns to experience how interesting they can be. Get away from the crowds, traffic, and hustle and bustle and explore one of these small Texas Towns.

Jefferson

Jefferson

Jefferson, which was the state's foremost inland river port and a hub for steamboats, has a couple thousand residents and it's located near Caddo Lake and Lake of the Pines. You'll find more than 70 historic landmarks and Jefferson is said to be one of the most haunted towns in Texas. You might want to stay in one of the haunted hotels to really get the feel of the town. Also known as the "bed and breakfast capital of East Texas". And before you leave make sure you explore Caddo Lake!

Fredericksburg

Fredri

This popular town is located in the Hill Country and is great for those visitors who like to browse in the many small shops, listen to live music, sample a wide variety of wines, play golf, hike Enchanted Rock, visit a museum, or enjoy a great meal. If you like wine, you'll love Fredericksburg - it's home to more than 20 wineries and second only to Napa. Check out our Fredericksburg page to find lots to see and do.

Luckenbach

Music in Luckenbach

 

If you're in Fredericksburg, you've got to zip over to Luckenbach only 5 miles east. Luckenbach may be the smallest town in Texas with a population of 3 but it's home to hundreds of visitors each day, great music all the time, and it's got a unique gift shop and saloon, chickens roaming around, a feed and hat store, and one of the oldest dance halls in Texas. It' where "Everybody is Somebody!" Read about one of our favorite festivals held in Luckenbach each year.

Bandera

Bandera

Bandera is named the "Cowboy Capital of the World" because it was a staging area for the last great cattle drives of the late 1800’s. Bandera is home to a number of dude ranches infamous Texas honky tonks, fun bars, golf at Flying J Guest Ranch, fishing and tubing in the Medina River, and hiking in Lost Maples State Park.

 

 

Hunt

Hunt

Hunt (population 1137) is located where the the north and south forks of the Guadalupe River meet and it's near a very popular swimming hole known as Schumacher's Crossing. The area around Hunt has huge trees, rolling hills, and limestone rocks plus lots of boys and girls camps and Texas's version of Stonehenge. The beautiful drives around this area along the Guadalupe are something you don't want to miss. If you have time, spend the a couple days at Mo Ranch and enjoy all that they have to offer - read about our fun stay at Mo Ranch.

Salado

Salado

Just an hour north of Austin this tiny town is a great choice for a romantic getaway or just a weekend away. Salado is home to many artists who enjoy sharing their knowledge and crafts. The town also has some fun dining, quaint shops, a good golf course, and a chance to listen to live music. Get a reservation at one of the hotels or bed and breakfast for a memorable stay.

Marfa

Marfa

This tiny west Texas town is home to the "Marfa Lights" which is a mysterious, unexplained, nightly light show. Marfa is also internationally known as an art community with many art galleries and fine dining. The visitors in Marfa enjoy over night stays in the quaint bohemian trailer park, El Cosmico.

Wimberley

Wimberley

This is a perfect spot for an escape and beautiful sightseeing. It is home to a large number of shops, cabins, bed and breakfasts, inns and cottages, as well as, artists' galleries. Wimberley is located on the Blanco River and Cypress Creek, so the town offers a lot of outdoor recreational activities as well, such as swimming, fishing, camping, hiking, natural walks and horseback riding. One very popular spot is the swimming hole known as the "Blue Hole". And during your visit you've got to stay at Cypress Valley Canopy Tours in a treehouse and also enjoy a zip through the trees - read our Zip & Stay article to learn more.

Big Bend, Lajitas & Terlingua

Blackjack Crossing

Lajitas is really Lajitas Resort and it has grown from a small luxurious cowboy hotel with a nine-hole golf course to a flourishing world class Resort & Spa. Lajitas Resort is home to a good restaurant, a variety of cool/unique lodging options, a spa and an 18 hole championship golf course that we rated as one of the best golf courses in Texas. Don't forget to visit the ghost town of Terlingua with some very interesting locals, most of whom live off the grid. Terlingua is best known for it's wild and crazy annual Chili Cookoff. Turning your stay you should raft the Rio Grande River, visit Big Bend, take a scenic drive, rent ATVs or horses, and enjoy the local culture and bars. Find things to do on our Big Bend, Lajitas and Terlingua Page.

Montgomery

Montgomery

Montgomery, the birthplace of the Texas Lone Star Flag, is a memorable small town to visit with its preserved 19th Century Historic Downtown District, as well as many shops, restaurants and local attractions. Montgomery is one of the oldest towns in Texas and began as a trading post in 1826. If you like golf, Montgomery is close to several excellent golf courses included Tiger Wood's golf course. During your stay rent a boat and explore Lake Conroe.

Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon

'Gateway to Palo Duro Canyon,' is a small town in the Texas panhandle that eventually turns into the Palo Duro Canyon. The Palo Duro Canyon is the second-largest canyon in the United States and is known as 'The Grand Canyon of Texas.' Canyon's main attractions are the Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Lighthouse Trail (one of the best hiking trails in the Canyon), the Panhandle-Plains Historic Museum and tours of working ranches. Why not camp in the canyon at Palo Duro State Park.

Port Aransas

Port Aransas

Port Aransas is a small friendly beach town with a population of only 3400, it has 25 bars, miles of beaches, and over 700 beachfront rentals. The locals are friendly and outgoing, the fishing is great in the bays or off the pier or beach, there is lots to do ranging from an excellent golf course to a cruise on a pirate ship, the mode of transportation is a golf cart or bikes, the beach is perfect for sand castles to kite flying, the weather is usually warm, and there are several good restaurants and some really fun nightlife. Port A is my kind of town - "a quaint little drinking town with a fishing problem."  Check out our Port Aransas Page to find things to see and do in Port A.

 

Glen Rose

Glen Rose

Glen Rose is best known as the home of Fossil Rim, a 1650-acre wildlife preserve with over 100 exotic, threatened and endangered animals that roam freely in the Wildlife Center pastures.  The self-drive through the preserve is up to 9.5 miles long and can take three hours to complete.  Glen Rose is also home to some excellent golf courses, good bluegrass music, and Dinosaur Valley State Park where you can hike and bike on scenic trails. And you've got to stay at one of the best resorts in Texas - Rough Creek Lodge.

Gonzales

Gonzales

The town of Gonzales is a charming, historic small town in the southeast region of the state which offers many picturesque bed and breakfasts and inns, museums (the Old Jail Museum, Pioneer Village Living History Center) and tours of historic homes. Those visiting the town of Gonzales will enjoy antique and specialty shops, paddling trails down the Guadalupe River and Palmetto State Park which has a small lake, picnic locations and barbecue pits and the San Marcos River runs through it.

Fort Davis

Ft Davis

Ft Davis, population 1,201, was named after Jefferson Davis who was Secretary of War. Among points of interest are Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center and Botanical Gardens at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, Fort Davis National Historic Site, the McDonald Observatory of the University of Texas at Austin, and Davis Mountains State Park, which offer great campsites, beautiful scenery, and superb hiking and biking trails.

 

Some of our other favorite small towns include that we love include:

  • Kemah with it's lively and fun boardwalk, good restaurants, and lots of boating related activities
  • Bastrop has great golf courses, the Colorado River, a quaint downtown with bars and restaurants, and Bastrop State Park
  • Granbury is on a beautiful lake and has an lively and fun town square
  • Marathon is the gateway to Big Bend with a population 430 and home to the historic Gage Hotel and known for it's dark skies
  • Blanco is a hill country travelers dream with it's historic courthouse, Blanco River, delicious mile-high meringue pies, Real Ale Brewing Company, and Blanco State Park
  • Rockport and Fulton are great for restaurants on the water and lots of fun on the bay

About Texas Outside

Texas Outside has been alive & well since 1996 - that's ancient by today's internet standards! Texas Outside was originally developed by Lone Star Internet which is an Austin based web development company with an excellent reputation & client base. In March of 2006, we purchased Texas Outside & made a commitment to add new, exciting, & informative content on Texas outdoor activities & fun things to see & do.

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