The Ultimate Texas Road Trip
10 things you must do, eat, and see in the Lone Star State
There’s a saying Texas transplants throw around: “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.” Friendly people, down-home cooking, and sweeping vistas are all part of the draw, and there’s no better way to experience it than on a Texas-sized road trip.
1. First things first, turn up the tunes.
From Willie Nelson and George Strait to Selena and Beyoncé—the Lone Star State’s native sons and daughters offer the perfect soundtrack.
2. Pay your respects in San Antonio.
The city is home to some iconic spots—Riverwalk, anyone?—but two, in particular, hold a sacred place in every San Antonian’s heart. First: the Alamo, where legends like Davy Crockett fought and died for Texas independence. Second, the AT&T Center, where the San Antonio Spurs have claimed not one, not two, but five NBA championships. Raise a toast, sweet tea in hand.
3. Take a bluebonnet photo.
Do as the locals do come springtime: pull over for a quintessential photo opp with the blooming state flower.
4. See the state capitol in Austin.
Everything’s bigger in Texas—including the capitol. At 308 feet, it’s even taller than its sister building in Washington D.C.
5. Catch a football game.
If the phrase “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose!” turns you teary eyed (no judgment), make the pilgrimage to Odessa. Cheer on the Permian Panthers—the team that inspired the movie and TV show Friday Night Lights—and then get some post-game grub at the first Whataburger A-Frame Restaurant.
6. Stuff your face at the State Fair in Dallas.
This annual food extravaganza features quirky dishes like injectable BBQ balls and a fried Thanksgiving dinner, as well as the classic Fletcher’s corn dog. Don’t leave before snapping a selfie with the fair’s larger-than-life mascot, Big Tex.
7. Learn to two-step.
Dance halls dot the Texas landscape, but you can’t go wrong with the classic Gruene Hall outside of San Antonio. Or, for a big-hair affair, hit up Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth, the world’s largest honky tonk.
8. Seek new heights (and depths) in Houston.
H-Town is home to the Johnson Space Center, NASA’s astronaut training ground. Tour mission control and take in interactive space exhibits. Then, when the humidity gets to be too much, go underground—95 city blocks are linked together by miles of tunnels filled with shops and restaurants.
Pro tip: Find the “hidden” Whataburger under Reliant Energy Plaza at 1000 Main Street.
9. Brake for art.
Whether it’s the Hope Outdoor Gallery in Austin, the Prada Marfa installation in West Texas, or Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo, the state offers plenty of quirky roadside masterpieces.
10. Spend time at the seashore.
With nearly 400 miles of coastline, there’s plenty of spots for fun in the sun, but only one boasts the two-story Whataburger by the Bay. Order a Whataburger with cheese (and maybe spice it up with grilled jalapeños) at this iconic location in the city of Corpus Christi where Whataburger’s story began.