Named by the 76th Texas Legislature in 1999 as the Barbecue Capital of Texas, the Central Texas town of Lockhart lives up to the honor with some of the best-regarded ’cue joints in the state.
One of Texas’ most popular parks, Garner State Park enchants visitors with its dramatic scenery on the southwestern edge of the Edwards Plateau—high mesas, steep canyons, and hilltop vistas.
Like fraternal twins with different personalities, the North Texas cities of Dallas and Fort Worth—roughly 30 miles apart by car or train—offer almost everything a traveler could want in an urban vacation, from outdoors adventures to art, history, fine dining, nightlife, and museums.
Dalhart, named for its location on the Dallam and Hartley county line, originated as a railroad town and developed as a shipping center for area ranches, including the renowned XIT Ranch. The XIT Museum chronicles the region and its history, ranging from its namesake ranch to area wildlife.
Ah, mysterious Marfa. Founded in 1883 as a railroad water stop, Marfa existed as a remote West Texas ranching town until James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor arrived in 1955 to make the movie version of Edna Ferber’s epic novel Giant, kicking off a slow trickle of tourism.
Not many places have the distinction of inspiring a George Strait hit such as “Amarillo by Morning.”
Travelers make tracks to this idyllic hamlet to view prehistoric footprints in the Paluxy River at Dinosaur Valley State Park and the native and non-native species that roam the rolling hills at nearby Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. Known for its abundance of petrified- wood structures, Glen Rose also harbors a picturesque courthouse square, diverse shops, restaurants, and lodging, and a restored 19th-Century gristmill and surrounding buildings that serve as a museum of history and art.
Every Texan should experience the primordial mystery of Caddo Lake State Park. With its ghostly, century-old cypress trees draped with gray-green Spanish moss, cozy cabins built in the 1930s, and a history that encompasses pearl hunting and steamboating, a Caddo getaway works efficiently to re-set your perspective. Stay at the park, or find lodging and dining in the nearby towns of Uncertain, Marshall, and Jefferson.
The same natural beauty and fertility that first attracted Native Americans and some of Texas’ earliest settlers to the pine forests on the Colorado River still make Bastrop a welcoming escape today. Bastrop capitalizes on its rich heritage with historic neighborhoods and a downtown full of restored buildings that house charming shops and cafés.
Those who take time to explore the “Hub City” will find a notable wine scene, thanks to the High Plains’ bounty of vineyards, an influential music scene, and a fascinating selection of museums. Few cities honor their heritage as enjoyably as Lubbock, home to museums focused on Buddy Holly, windmills, agriculture, and—a favorite top destination nominee for a number of TH readers—the National Ranching Heritage Center.
Last fall, we asked Texas Highways readers to share their favorite places in the state for our Texas Top-40 Travel Destinations. And share you did—by phone, email, Facebook, and through many amazingly detailed letters. Thousands of TH readers helped to shape the final list, which we will divulge throughout 2014, Texas Highways’ 40th-anniversary year.