While most people tend to think “Everything is Bigger in Texas”, there are some parts of the state where small is still very much a way of life. These small towns might not be as well-known as Dallas, Houston, or Austin, but they have plenty of charm and hospitality. They are scattered all throughout the state from the Texas Panhandle to the southern border and are well worth the trip. Here are five special small towns in Texas that you need to add to your Lone Star state bucket list.
The small west Texas town of Marfa is well-known for the mysterious and famous “Marfa Lights”. Well documented and watched practically every night since 1883, this nightly light show has never been able to be explained. As a result, it attracts thousands of visitors a year. The town itself has a wide range of wineries, museums, and art galleries including the Prada Marfa, a one-room replica of a “authentic” Prada store located roughly 26 miles from the city. Last, but certainly not least, another reason to visit is the town’s proximity to Big Bend National Park. Home to 60 different species of cactus and over 1,000 plant species, Big Bend is famous for its backpacking tours, hiking trails, gorgeous natural beauty, and bird watching activities.
A real-life ghost town, Terlingua is perfect for visitors who want to see Wild West style cemeteries and abandoned homes. Once a thriving mining community, Terlingua was deserted in the mid-1800s when the price of mercury crashed. Many families packed up their lives and move to more prosperous places. Now, there are a few dozen families left who run the tiny town. There are fully functional eateries and lodgings available, complete with indoor plumbing and electricity. It’s a great little place to visit if you want to get the full experience of an old ghost town where the empty mine shafts and decaying buildings are still there.
Just outside of Corpus Christi, Port Aransas is a south beach town on Mustang Island. With only about 4,000 residents, Port Aransas is the perfect place for travelers looking for a quiet beach. It has a much slower pace and less fanfare and attractions than its Corpus Christi counterpart. Port Aransas visitors come from all around each year to go dolphin watching, go fishing in its waterways, and go swimming in the cool Gulf. It’s a great beach destination for those looking for a quiet and relaxing vacation.
Known as the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon of Texas”, this small town is located on the edge of the famous Palo Duro Canyon, the second-largest canyon in the United States. Located in the Texas Panhandle, Canyon’s main attractions are the Palo Duro Canyon State Park, working ranch tours, and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. If you plan on staying for a few days, you can take a full day or two to visit the gorgeous canyon, and then spend the rest of your time spending time in the great outdoors with activities like golfing, zip lines, and horseback riding.
Jefferson is located on the Texas/Louisiana border and is near Lake O’ the Pines and Caddo Lake. The “Bed and Breakfast Capital of East Texas”, this little town’s economy thrives on tourism from travelers looking for fun indoor and outdoor activities such as ghost tours, horse-drawn carriage rides, lake tours, and steam paddleboat trips. Visitors can enjoy cozy, cute lodgings, colorful boutique shops, and some good ole’ Texas history. Before you go, be sure to check the town’s calendar to see if fun events such as the Barbecue Cook-off and Holiday Light Trail will be going on while you are there. Happy travels!