26 September, 2023

Top 10 Bucket List destinations in Texas

Many people ask me, what's there in Texas to visit? What are some of the scenic places in Texas? I have many suggestions. As a travel blogger, I do a lot of research on places, history, state parks, lakes, mountains, scenic drives , blah blah. 

September 27th is World Tourism Day. On this occasion, here is a post about some destinations that I visited in Texas, which are worth a visit. Also, here is my wishlist of Texas State Parks.  

Now, coming to my bucket list destinations in Texas. 

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Here are some of the scenic places to visit in Texas:

1. Big Bend National Park

2. Guadalupe Mountains National Park

3. Padre Island National Sea shore

4. Waco Mammoth National Monument

5. San Antonio

6. Caprock Canyon State park

7. Palo Duro Canyon State Park

8. Caddo Lake State Park

9. Lost Maples State Park

10. Davis Mountains State Park

Big Bend National Park:

Big Bend National Park is South-Western Texas's most underrated and isolated national park. Due to its remoteness, it is not easily accessible. But, trust me when I say, it is as beautiful as the other national parks we visited.

There are some great places to hike, with beautiful scenery of rivers, mountains, and canyons. The park is vast and it takes a minimum of 2 days to cover the best places.

Here is my travelogue.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park:

Gaudalupe Mountain National Park in Chihuahuan desert is known for its rich wildlife, fossilized reef mountains and the highest peak in Texas - El Capitan.

3.8 mile Devil's Hall trail is very popular in Guadalupe mountains national park. It takes 3 to 4 hrs to finish the trail and it starts from pine springs campground. This trail gives beautiful views of canyons and geological formations.

Some easy trails are:
  • The trail from dog canyon campground to Marcus Overlook
  • McKittrick Canyon to Pratt's cabin and on to Grotto

Padre Island National Seashore:

Padre Island National Seashore is spread across 66 miles of coastline and it separates the gulf of Mexico and Laguna Madre (One of a few hypersaline lagoons in the world).

The beach is very clean, it has a visitor center with a gift shop, restrooms, and showers. The Park entrance fee is $10 per vehicle for 1 day. This is also the best place to drive a 4-wheeler on the sand along the coastline.

Waco Mammoth National Monument:

This national monument is a paleontological site and a museum in Waco. This preserves the fossils of Ice age Columbian Mammoths.

Weighing 20,000 pounds and 14 ft tall, these mammoths roamed across the current-day Texas many years ago. 

PC: Wikipedia

Waco is around 1.5 hrs from Austin. The park is open 9 am to 5 pm. Dig shelter access is by ticket only. Fee is $6 per adults and $5 for kids.

6220 Steinbeck Bend Drive
Waco, TX 76708

San Antonio:

San Antonio is home to the Alamo, a UNESCO world heritage site, and many historical buildings called Missions. 


Riverwalk is pleasant to stroll through, and a nice place to hang out, eat the best food, and shop. 

Japanese Tea Garden is a wonderful place for a family. 

If you have time, check out The Natural Bridge caverns as well.

Here is my travelogue. This is 1.5 hrs from Austin.

Caprock Canyon State Park and Trailway:

Caprock Canyon State Park is around 100 miles(2 hrs) from Amarillo. It is a long drive from Austin (6.5 hrs) and it takes 5hrs to reach from Dallas. This park has 90 miles of hiking trails and is home to Texas Bisons. 

Entry is $5 per person. 


Clarity Tunnel is home to a large colony of Mexican free tailed bats. The Texas Bison herd will be roaming all through the park. Haynes Ridge overlook is a famous view point  with incredible views and it can be reached by 5.6 miles hike. You can see rock formations with different colors and layers and multiple creeks on the trail. 

You can take a scenic drive of 5.5 miles through the park if you cannot do lengthy hikes. 

This park is a nice stop when you are visiting Palo Duro Canyon State Park or Amarillo.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park:

This is definitely a must visit if you love hiking and enjoy beautiful mountain views. This is called 'Grand Canyon of Texas' as it's the second largest canyon in USA. 

The Lighthouse rock is the most famous point which can be reached by 5.7 miles round trip trail. The Juniper riverside trail and The Big Cave are other points of interest. 

PC: Wikipedia

Another way to see this park is through horse riding. There is a scenic drive that is around 16 miles long with multiple viewpoints. 

Address: 11450 Park Road 5Canyon, TX 79015

Hours: 7 am to 9 pm
Entry is $8

While visiting these 2 parks, don't miss stopping at Amarillo. Cadillac ranch, and road side art installations in Combine City are great. 

Caddo Lake State Park:

The scenery and photos of this park look amazing.  The bald cypress trees and Spanish moss make this lake look misty and surreal. There are boating tours as well. We can fish, paddle, hike, or stay in a cabin. The park is around 5 hrs from Austin.


245 Park Road 2
Karnack, TX 75661

Hours: 8.15 to 4.45 PM
Online Reservations needed

Entry is $4 


Lost Maples State Natural Area:

This is not a state park, but it is a popular destination to visit in the Fall season. You can see fall colors from last week of October through second week of November.

This autumn oasis is near Vanderpool in Texas. There are two main trails to see fall colors. The one mile stretch where west and east trails merge is an easy hike. There is a scenic pond at one mile marker. Check this page for fall foliage report before visiting.


The area has 10 miles of hiking trails, but most of them are challenging. The monkey rock in the east trail is an interesting rock formation.


37221 F.M. 187
Vanderpool, TX 78885

Hours: 8.30 to 4.30 PM

Entry is $6

Davis Mountains State Park:

Davis Mountains State park is situated high in the mountains of West Texas. These mountains near Fort Davis reach at an elevation of 8500 ft above sea level. 

There is a scenic drive, a 5 mile loop called Skyline drive which is steep and winding. This gives fantastic views of the mountains and valleys. The 4.5 mile skyline trail is moderately challenging, but if you are an experienced hiker, this is worth it.

Look out tower 
PC: wikipedia

The histroic Indian lodge built around mid 1930s draws tourists to stay in this oasis of the desert. 

This park is 6.5 hrs away from Austin and it is nearer to Marfa, Elpaso and Big Bend National Park. This can be a nice stop on the way to Big Bend. 


TX-118 N., Park Rd. 3
Fort Davis, TX 79734

Hours: 8.15 to 4.45 PM

Entry is $6

So, how did you like these spots in Texas? Now that the weather is cooling off and we are going to 2 digit temperatures, happy exploring Texas :-)

Until next time,

This post is a part of Blogchatter Blog Hop and link it to www.theblogchatter.com

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