Because Texas shares a border with Mexico, there are lots of reasons to visit the state aside from its amazing Tex-Mex cuisine. It’s the second biggest state in the USA, both by area and population, and if you want to get off the beaten path, you’ll find some really cool things to do that will make unforgettable memories of your holiday in the Lone Star State.
In this post, we’ll take a look at seven of the best bucket list activities you can tick off on your visit to Texas. Hopefully, it’ll make planning your trip a little easier and drum up some excitement for your vacation.
Take advantage of sublime hiking trails in Big Bend National Park
Big Bend is one of the biggest, most beautiful, but most desolate national parks in the whole United States. Criss-crossing its 800,000 acres are some killer hiking trails that will enable you to see some of the best vistas in the state. Some of the best hiking trails are the Chimneys and Marufo Vegas Trails, while the path to Cattail Falls will deposit you at a waterfall that can reach a height of 80 feet at some points of the year. It’s not just hiking that Big Bend National Park is known for either - the rock climbing there is awesome, though it’s best to do it with a guide, as some of the rocks can be unstable.
Big Bend is so big and so amazing that you may want to spend much more than a day there. If so, we recommend camping out in the national park. It’s home to some of the darkest skies in the state – perfect for stargazing.
Taste a traditional Texas BBQ
Vegetarians and vegans look away now: Texas is one of the biggest meat consuming states in the United States, and a large part of that is traditional BBQ - expect brisket, ribs, and chopped beef. There are plenty of secrets to Texas BBQ and every joint has its own secret recipe for marinade or the best way to cook. Try as many BBQ joints as you can when in Texas, and don’t feel disheartened if you have to wait to get into one – it’s usually a good sign.
Enjoy a range of outdoor activities at the Palo Duro Canyon
You’ve heard of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but can you name the second biggest in the States? We thought not. It’s Palo Duro Canyon, sometimes known as the Grand Canyon of Texas. The best thing about this destination is the sheer amount of activities for outdoor enthusiast and adrenaline junkies. Of course there’s hiking but why not try mountain biking instead, rapelling or rock climbing? If you really want to feel like you’re flying, you can try zip-lining – just don’t look down.
Get wet by tubing or rafting
Texas can get very hot, but there are plenty of water-based activities that can keep you cool. One such activity is tubing. In fact, the only thing better than tubing to keep cool, is tubing with a cool beer in your hand. Plenty of rivers between San Antonio and Austin offer tubing excursions, including the Comal, Guadalupe and San Marcos rivers.
If tubing is a bit too lonely for you, then there are plenty of places that you can try rafting in Texas too. Although you won’t get whitewater rapids on the Rio Grande, you can enjoy a number of more relaxed rafting adventures. Some are day trips, while others incorporate camping, and there are even rafting trips tailored to foodies.
See the historic location where Texas gained independence from Mexico
Bucket list activities don’t always have to be adrenaline filled and (for some people) absolutely terrifying! Learning about the history of an area is the key part of a vacation for some people, and it would be a disservice not to say that Texas has a rich and varied history. One of the most important places to visit is the Alamo, a 17th century mission where Texas gained independence from Mexico in 1836, after a 13 day siege. If you enjoy visiting the Alamo, then you might also enjoy checking out Missions National Park near San Antonio.
Go Bungee Jumping!
For the adrenaline junkies who still aren't satisfied, Texas offers bungee jumping right in the center of Dallas. Zero Gravity Thrill Park offers you the opportunity to jump seven stories off a building. It’s relatively cheap for such a high adrenaline activity and for $30, you can do your jump, get a video, and feel secure in the knowledge that they have an exemplary safety record.
Watch a baseball game
Spectating a baseball game is about more than just watching the sport, it’s about immersing yourself in the atmosphere and enjoying a beer and a hotdog. It's the perfect way to spend a Friday night and experience a truly American tradition. The best places to watch baseball are Global Life Park in Arlington, Minute Maid Park in Houston, and The Dell Diamond at Round Rock.
So, now that you know what you can do…
It’s time to book your trip to Texas. We think there are plenty of cool activities on our list, so there’s something suitable for every type of traveller.