The 12 Most Beautiful Tourist Destinations in Texas

Big Bend National Park – Photo: Caleb Fisher

As the second-largest state in the United States, Texas has plenty to offer travelers looking for an exciting adventure.

Whether you’re interested in scenic views or thrilling outdoor experiences, Texas has something for you. Listed below are 12 incredible, must-visit destinations to add to your Texas travel itinerary.

1. Caddo Lake, Karnack

Photo: Caddo Lake State Park – Texas Parks and Wildlife

Caddo Lake is an excellent place for kayakers and hikers to visit. It provides beautiful views from the shore or the water, especially if you’re looking to take in some fall foliage before winter arrives.

2. Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Fort Worth

Photo: Shiva Shenoy

The Fort Worth Botanic Garden features 120 acres of stunning trees, flowers, shrubbery, and more. This is an excellent option if you’re looking for a lovely place to take photos and soak up some plant life. 

3. Mount Bonnell, Austin

Photo: Randall Chancellor

Mount Bonnell is a popular Austin hiking destination, particularly for those who are a bit wary of heights. Located inside Covert Park, this peak sits about 775 feet above sea level and is a great place to go to watch the sunset and take in the Austin skyline.

4. Enchanted Rock, Texas Hill Country


Enchanted Rock is the second-largest granite dome in the United States and Texas’s only IDA-recognized Dark Sky Park. With limited light pollution, it serves as one of the best places to go to take in the night sky.

5. Medina River, Bandera County

Photo: The Medina River Company

The Medina River is a fun place for kayakers and rafters to visit during the fall. It’s less crowded than the Guadalupe river but offers just as many exciting twists and turns, as well as two waterfalls.

6. Lost Maples State Natural Area, Vanderpool


For hiking, camping, fishing, and bird watching, the Lost Maples State Natural Area in Vanderpool is the place to go. It’s filled with stunning views and is a fun destination for visitors of all ages.

7. Caverns of Sonora, Sonora

Located in the city of Sonora (between Big Bend and San Antonio), the Caverns of Sonora are a series of caves carved into the limestone. Approximately 1.5-5 million years old, these caves are home to one of the world’s heaviest collections of calcite crystal formations.

8. Palo Duro Canyon, Canyon

Photo: John Fowler

The Palo Duro Canyon is the second-largest in the United States. However, it doesn’t attract nearly as many visitors as the Grand Canyon (around 300,000 compared to the Grand Canyon’s 5-6 million). For gorgeous sunsets and smaller crowds, Palo Duro Canyon is a fun and exciting destination.

9. Cattail Falls, Rio Grande

Photo: michaelhwhitten

Located at the base of the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park, Cattail Falls is a pristine desert oasis with an 80-foot waterfall. For some Instagram-worthy pictures, you must include Cattail Falls on your travel itinerary.

10. Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park

Photo: Mick Haupt

Located in Terlingua, Texas, the Santa Elena Canyon is home to the Santa Elena Trail, a 1.5-mile out and back trail that’s appropriate for all skill levels. It features beautiful views of the river and is best when visited between September and May when temperatures are cooler.

11. Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Salt Flat

Photo: Visit El Paso

Located between Carlsbad and El Paso, Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a 135-square-mile park that serves as a beloved destination for hiking and camping enthusiasts. It’s often referred to as the “Top of Texas” and is home to a wide range of impressive trails.

12. Hueco Tanks State Park, El Paso


Hueco Tanks State Park is an 860-acre reserve filled with natural rock basins (or huecos). It was El Pasos’ first state park to reopen in May 2020 following pandemic shutdowns.