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Written by Texas Highways

Scuba diving at Athens Scuba Park

Some Texans aren’t content with a life well lived, they want hard evidence: the family vacation photos, a souvenir to stick on the shelf, their name in a register at the highest point in Texas. To help you achieve those goals, we’ve compiled a list of only-in-our-state pursuits you need to check off before another summer speeds by.


Feeling inspired? Download the printable Summer Bucket List PDF checklist and hit the road.
Snap a picture at one of the spots on our checklist (be sure to include a handwritten sign with #TrueTXSummer in your photo!) and be the first to post it to the Texas HighwaysFacebook page to win a True Texan hat. 

All participants will receive a True Texan sticker while supplies last! 

Some of Texas’ greatest adventures require physical challenge (the world’s toughest canoe race) and some may require getting out of your comfort zone (goat yoga), while others are simply excuses to take advantage of all Texas has to offer (waterparks, museums, swimming holes, and old-fashioned Dr Pepper floats). This is a packed list—more than 100 ideas to fill the 93 days of summer—but the reward will be well worth the effort. Take note, then take off.

A cabin in front of the Davis Mountains

Waltz across Texas and you’ll find coastal marshes where alligators lurk, spring-fed pools in the middle of the desert, and green-blue creeks sandwiched between cypress-lined banks.

Volunteers talk at Habitable Spaces

Information on volunteering opportunities related to organizations mentioned in our April 2018 feature 4 Voluntourism Options in Texas to Combine Your Passions for Travel and Doing Good.

A mural painted to look like a window in San Marcos.

Riverside town. Campus community. Historic springs. Mermaids and music.

If you thought San Marcos, you thought correctly.

Salvation Army volunteer

Research shows that giving time to others can make you feel as if you actually have more time for yourself. Volunteering also reduces stress, improves health, and fosters personal satisfaction. Such benefits match up with many of the reasons that people travel. What if you could combine the two—volunteering and traveling?

An overlook at Independence Creek Preserve

Independence Creek Preserve is located in southwest Texas

 Independence Creek Preserve

30o 28' 28.86" N
101o 47' 137.30" W

People talking on tour at Garrison Brothers

Blame it on Tito’s. The craft vodka from Austin, which grew from obscurity 20 years ago into one of Texas’ most popular spirits brands, has inspired a widespread passion for Texas-made firewater. That includes bourbon, which contrary to popular belief, doesn’t have to come from Kentucky—but does have to be made in the United States. 

Jason Cogburn with a basket of crawfish

As I pull onto Dike Road from Texas City’s Bay Street in the pastel dawn, bright pops of neon signage and illuminated billboards lead the way to Boyd’s One Stop and Cajun Grill Express. As most of the awakening city’s residents stumble toward the coffeepot, Boyd’s is already an anthill of activity. Anglers—some towing sleek bay boats, others with roof-racks stacked with kayaks—vie for parking slots. Parents with bright-eyed youngsters and bait buckets stream through the bait shop’s door. 

Illustration of El Paso and Juarez

Way out at the western tip of Texas—more than 500 miles from any other major Texas city—percolates El Paso, the northern side of one of the world’s biggest border communities.

A young child runs by the artwork

Nestled among the trees in a beloved Austin green space along Shoal Creek, a playful contemporary art installation has infused new life into one of Texas’ oldest public parks.

Chet Garner in front of the Boerne water tank

The German heritage of the Hill Country is well-known when it comes to towns like Fredericksburg and New Braunfels. But sprinkled throughout the rolling hills are a number of smaller burgs that carry a similar and just-as-interesting cultural history. Take Boerne, northwest of San Antonio, for example, which makes for an excellent day trip destination. Just don’t pronounce it “Bo-Urn.”

Inside Hendley Market

At the eastern end of the Strand, a historic boulevard in Galveston lined with busy restaurants and souvenir shops, an unusual sign in the shape of bespectacled eyes attracts attention. 

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