Texas is a massive state, so it is going to be impossible to visit everywhere if you are planning a trip.
You are probably thinking about going to the larger cities to be found in the Lone State, but there is much more to be seen in Texas than meets the eye.
In this article, we are going to be looking at seventeen particularly noteworthy small towns that are lesser known than other areas in Texas but have plenty of activities to engage in as well as heaps of Southern charm.
Let’s get started.
Lockhart is a town that might be a little bit off the beaten path in Texas, but it is one that is well known in terms of visuals due to playing host to various film sets, such as the 1993 drama What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, which utilized the historic town square and courthouse.
The historical buildings aren’t the only claim to fame that Lockhart holds onto, though, with the town being known as the BBQ capital of Texas thanks to the town being the very first Texas meat market that offered barbecue way back in 1875.
As well as that, in the spring of 1999 a resolution was passed by the Texas Legislature that proclaimed Lockhart to be the official Barbecue Capital of Texas.
You can enjoy the barbecue and the historical locations in Lockhart, but it is also only half an hour away from Austin, should you want to do some exploring out into the larger cities.
Found in Wood County, Mineola is another small and charming Texas city that is well known for its historical downtown area, but also for the various cute antique shops.
Mineola is a place of natural beauty, with the Mineola Nature Preserve located just north of the main city and featuring fishing, hiking trails, and plenty of opportunities for picnicking.
As well as featuring plenty of natural beauty spots, Mineola is also well known for the primary role that the town played in the railroad industry.
You can learn more about the history of Mineola and the railroad at the Mineola Depot and Railroad Museum, which features various artifacts.
An enchanting little town, Fredericksburg can be found deep in the heart of Texas wine country.
The town is well-known for its German heritage, with many of the original settlers being immigrants from Germany.
The city is also a popular tourist destination, with many wineries, shops, and historical sites to visit, including the National Museum of the Pacific War, which is dedicated to preserving the history of the Pacific Theater of World War II.
The museum features exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays, including a replica of the USS Missouri.
When it comes to its wineries, Fredericksburg has several vineyards and tasting rooms in the area.
Fredericksburg is also home to the Pioneer Museum, which explores the history of the city and the surrounding area.
The museum features exhibits on the Native American tribes who once lived in the area, as well as the German settlers who founded the city.
Another historical small and charming Texas town, Granbury is known for its historical downtown area, which features a number of well-preserved 19th-century buildings.
One of the most notable historical sites in Granbury is Granbury Square, a beautiful courthouse square that is surrounded by a number of historic buildings, including the Hood County Courthouse, which was built between 1890 and 1891.
The square is also home to a number of shops, restaurants, and other businesses.
Granbury is also known for its Victorian architecture, with many of the homes and buildings in the city dating back to the late 19th century.
One of the most famous examples of Victorian architecture in Granbury is the Nutt House Hotel, which is a restored hotel that was built in 1879.
Another popular attraction in Granbury is the Granbury Opera House, which is a beautifully restored theater that was built in 1886.
The opera house hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, including plays, musicals, and concerts.
The city is also home to several parks and lakes, such as Lake Granbury and DeCordova Bend State Park, which offer a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, swimming, and hiking.
Granbury also has a vibrant arts community, with several art galleries and studios showcasing the works of local artists.
Boerne is known for its charming downtown area, which is home to a number of shops, restaurants, and other businesses.
The city’s Main Plaza is a popular destination, featuring a gazebo and a bandstand, which is used for events and performances.
Boerne is also known for the Boerne Village Band, which was organized back in 1860 by German immigrant Dr. Karl Dienger.
The band is recognized by both the State of Texas and the German government as being the oldest continuing German band in the world to be found outside of Germany.
The city is also home to several parks, such as the Cibolo Nature Center and Boerne City Lake Park, which offer a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, bird watching, and fishing.
Boerne is also known for its wineries, with several wineries and vineyards in the surrounding area and various tours available via Boerne Wine Tours.
The city also holds several annual events and festivals, such as the Boerne Market Days and the Boerne Bierfest, which attract visitors from all over the state.
6. Gruene, New Braunfels
Charming and featuring plenty of preserved 19th-century architecture, Gruene is most famous for the Gruene Hall, which is the oldest continually operating dance hall in Texas.
The hall was built in 1878 and has hosted a variety of acts throughout the years, including George Strait, Lyle Lovett, and Robert Earl Keen. It is still a popular venue for live music and dancing.
The district is also home to several shops, galleries, and restaurants, many of which are housed in restored 19th-century buildings.
Visitors can also find a variety of outdoor activities such as tubing, kayaking, and fishing on the Guadalupe River.
The Gruene Historic District features a number of restored homes and buildings that date back to the 19th century, including the Gruene Mansion Inn, a bed and breakfast that was built in 1872.
The district also holds several annual events and festivals, such as the Gruene Music & Wine Fest, the Gruene Market Days, and the Gruene Turkey Trot, all of which are popular among visitors and locals.
Ennis has a charming downtown area that is home to a number of shops, restaurants, and other businesses.
The city’s Main Street is a popular destination, featuring a number of historic buildings and monuments, including the Ennis Railroad and Cultural Heritage Museum, which is dedicated to preserving the history of the city and the surrounding area.
Ennis is also known for its Czech heritage, with many of the original settlers being immigrants from Czechoslovakia.
The city celebrates this heritage annually with the National Polka Festival, which is held in May and features music, dancing, and traditional Czech food.
Ennis also has a vibrant arts community, with several art galleries and studios showcasing the works of local artists.
The city also has several annual events and festivals, such as the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival, which is one of the largest bluebonnet festivals in the state, and the Ennis Czech Music Festival, which celebrates the music of the city’s Czech heritage.
8. Marble Falls
Marble Falls is known for its charming small-town atmosphere and beautiful natural setting.
The city is situated on the shores of Lake Marble Falls, which is a popular spot for boating, fishing, and other water sports.
The downtown area is also a popular destination, featuring a variety of unique shops, restaurants, and art galleries.
The city has a rich history and culture, and there are several historic sites and landmarks to explore, such as the Blue Bonnet Cafe and the Marble Falls Historic District.
The city also hosts several events throughout the year, such as the Marble Falls Art and Wine Festival and the Marble Falls LakeFest.
As well as that, the town is surrounded by the Texas Hill Country, which offers a variety of outdoor activities and is a popular tourist destination.
Overall, Marble Falls is a great place to visit for those looking for a small-town experience with a mix of outdoor activities, culture, and history.
Luckenbach is a small unincorporated community located in the Texas Hill Country that is known for its laid-back, “keep it country” attitude and is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
The town is known for its live music, dancing, and the famous Luckenbach Dance Hall, which has hosted many famous country music artists. Luckenbach is also a popular spot for hiking, biking, and picnicking.
The town is also known for its general store, which sells a variety of items, including souvenirs, clothing, and local art.
Luckenbach is a small town with a big heart and a lot of character, and it’s a great place to visit for those looking for a taste of authentic Texas culture.
West is a small town located in McLennan County and- much like the aforementioned Ennis- is well known for its Czech heritage.
The city is home to the WestFest, an annual festival celebrating the town’s Czech heritage, which includes a parade, live music, traditional Czech food, and a variety of other activities.
West is also known for its historic downtown area, which features a variety of shops and restaurants.
The city is also near the Waco Mammoth National Monument- which features the remains of 22 Columbian mammoths and other Ice-Age animals- and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.
The town of West is a great place to visit for those interested in learning about Czech culture and heritage, and the town’s history.
Jefferson is a city located in Marion County and is known as the “Bed and Breakfast Capital of Texas”.
The city is situated on the Big Cypress Bayou and is known for its historic downtown area, which features a variety of Victorian-era buildings, antique shops, and restaurants.
The city also hosts the annual “Jefferson Historic Pilgrimage” which is a self-guided tour of the city’s historic homes and buildings.
Jefferson is also known for its outdoor recreational opportunities, including fishing, boating, and hiking in the nearby Caddo Lake State Park, and the Big Cypress Bayou.
The city is also home to the Jefferson Historical Museum, which showcases the history of the city, and the Excelsior House, a historic hotel that has been operating since 1858.
The town is a popular destination for history enthusiasts thanks to how rich and deep the history of Jefferson truly is.
12. Port Aransas
Port Aransas is a small coastal city located on Mustang Island in Nueces County, which is situated on the Gulf of Mexico.
The town is known for its beautiful beaches, fishing, and water activities, making for a popular tourist destination with a laid-back, beach town atmosphere.
The city has a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities, including fishing, boating, and beach-going.
The city is home to Port Aransas Beach, which is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing, and it also has a variety of parks and nature preserves, such as the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, which offers bird-watching opportunities, and the Mustang Island State Park which offers hiking, camping and picnicking.
Port Aransas is also a popular destination for anglers, as it offers excellent opportunities for deep-sea fishing, bay fishing, and surf fishing.
The city is also home to the Port Aransas Nature Preserve, which offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including hiking, bird-watching, and wildlife viewing.
The city is also known for its lively downtown area, which features a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars.
There are also plenty of events hosted in Port Aransas throughout the year, such as the SandFest- which is a sand sculpting festival- and the Port Aransas Wooden Boat Festival.
Terlingua is another unincorporated community known for its rugged beauty and remote location.
The area is mostly known for being a ghost town as well as the Terlingua International Championship Chili Cook-off which is held annually.
The ghost town of Terlingua is a popular tourist destination and features a variety of historic buildings and ruins, including the Terlingua Abobe Ruins, and the Chisos Mining Company.
The area is also known for its outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, and rockhounding, and it’s a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, bird-watchers, and stargazers.
The area has a unique and diverse landscape, with rugged mountains, canyons, and deserts.
Terlingua is a remote and unique destination for those looking for a taste of the old west, and an adventure into the wild west of Texas.
Shiner is known for its rich history and culture, including its famous beer, Shiner Bock.
The city is home to the Spoetzl Brewery, which has been brewing Shiner Bock since 1909 and is the oldest independent brewery in Texas.
Visitors can also take a tour of the Spoetzl Brewery, which offers a glimpse of the brewing process and the history of the brewery.
The city is also known for its historic downtown area, which features a variety of shops, restaurants, and other businesses, as well as the Shiner Gaslight Theatre.
Shiner also hosts several annual events such as the Shiner Music Festival and the Shiner Oktoberfest.
The scenic beauty of the town, with many parks and nature preserves nearby, such as Shiner Park, makes it an idyllic small town to visit whilst in Texas.
Canyon is known for its natural beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, and cultural attractions. The city is home to West Texas A&M University, which is known for its strong programs in agriculture, business, and education.
The city is surrounded by the beautiful Palo Duro Canyon, which is the second-largest canyon in the United States and offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, and rock climbing.
Visitors can also take a scenic drive or hike to the top of the canyon for panoramic views of the surrounding area.
You can also visit the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum when in Canyon, which is one of the largest history museums in Texas that features exhibits on the history and culture of the Texas Panhandle.
The museum also features a collection of western art, as well as a variety of interactive exhibits.
Located in Hays County, Wimberley is situated in the Texas Hill Country and is known for its natural beauty, rolling hills, scenic vistas, and outdoor recreational opportunities, such as hiking, swimming, and tubing on the nearby Blanco River.
One of the most popular attractions in Wimberley is the Blue Hole Regional Park, which features a natural swimming hole and is a popular spot for swimming, picnicking, and fishing.
Wimberley Square, which is located in the heart of the city, is another popular visiting place and features a variety of shops, restaurants, and art galleries.
The square is also home to several annual events, including the Wimberley Market Days, which are held on the first Saturday of each month.
The city is also home to a variety of unique shops, art galleries, and restaurants.
The Wimberley Valley Winery is also a popular destination for visitors, with an established history of producing some of the finest wines in central Texas since 1983.
17. Dripping Springs
Dripping Springs is a small, charming town known for the Hamilton Pool Preserve, which features a natural swimming hole and is a popular spot for swimming, hiking, picnicking, and bird watching.
The preserve is also home to a variety of plant and animal life, including native wildflowers, birds, and butterflies.
The Pedernales Falls State Park is another popular destination, offering hiking, swimming, picnicking, and camping opportunities.
The city also has several parks, playgrounds, and sports facilities, such as Dripping Springs Ranch Park.
The city also has several events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Dripping Springs Fair & Rodeo, which is held in the fall.
So there you have seventeen amazing little towns that have plenty of activities to enjoy as well as stunning natural beauty to explore!
If you find yourself in Texas, you are sure to want to visit at least one of these unique and cute towns.
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