Western Trips

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Some of the Very Best Travel Stops in Texas

Texas offers vacationers one of the diverse array of trip stops than just about any state in the United States. Many people at first think of large ranches and cowboy when planning a trip to the Lone Star State. Rest assured, there's plenty more to see in Texas, the second largest state in the U.S.

Texas is so large that the climate varies from east Texas with it's arid and hot weather to the west where the climate is much drier yet can be hot as a chili pepper. An interesting historic note is that  Texas was originally called Tejas by the Indians which meant "those who are friends.

Here are just some of the fun and educational Texas travel stops you are sure to enjoy...

san antonio riverwalk boat tours
San Antonio Riverwalk
San Antonio

Your first stop might be the historic Alamo located in San Antonio. Originally built as a mission by the Spaniards, it was the site of the famous battle during the Texas war of independence from Mexico in 1835.

near the Alamo is the popular San Antonio Riverwalk with dining, shopping, hotels and fun narrated boat rides along the winding river.

Also be sure to visit the San Antonio Missions. These missions just south of the downtown area tell the stories of the people who came into the Spanish missions to live in the 1700s. The San Antonio Missions are a National Historical Park.


The Driskill Hotel located in downtown Austin Texas at 604 Brazos Street is arguably the most famous hotel in the state. The Driskill was built in 1886 and is well known for it’s beautiful architecture. The hotel was built by Jesse Driskill, a very wealthy Texas cattleman who set out to construct the best hotel south of St. Louis.

old austin texas hotels
Historic Driskill Hotel
The Bullock Texas State History Museum let history come to life with Texas stories, photos, artifacts and records in what is probably one of the finest state historical museums in the U.S. Add to this a 400 seat Imax Theater and special 4D effects and chances are you'll come back more than once.

Tour the Texas State Capitol Building just north of the downtown area and adjacent to the University of Texas. The capitol site is comprised of twenty-two acres of grounds. The capitol building is mostly built from materials found in abundance in the nearby Texas Hill Country. The building you will tour was built during the 1880's.


One very interesting and unique travel stop during your tour of Texas is the Waco Mammoth National Monument.

The site is located just about three miles north of Waco and offers a fascinating look of the Mammoths that once lived there some fifty thousand years ago. The discovery of this 100 acre site has to do with two boys in 1978 searching for arrowheads and fossils. Per the National Monument's web site....

waco mammoth
On a spring day in 1978, Paul Barron and Eddie Bufkin embarked on a search for arrowheads and fossils near the Bosque River. To their surprise, the men stumbled upon a large bone eroding out of a ravine. Recognizing the unusual nature of the find, they removed the bone and took it to Baylor University's Strecker Museum (predecessor to the Mayborn Museum Complex) for examination. Museum staff identified the find as a femur bone from a Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi). This now extinct species lived during the Pleistocene Epoch (more commonly known as the Ice Age) and inhabited North America from southern Canada to as far south as Costa Rica.

The Waco Mammoth National Monument is open to the public anytime during regular operating hours. Start your visit at the Welcome Center located at 6220 Steinbeck Bend Road. Guided tours are conducted every 30 minutes, so just show up and join the fun, no reservation needed! Tours last from 45 minutes to one hour. For more information visit....https://www.nps.gov/waco/index.htm


Make it a point to visit the Johnson Space Center where you'll explore about the history of the astronauts, space, communications with spacecraft and much more. Plenty of exhibits here that will be a big hit for the entire family.

 The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is also located in Houston.
This is the only museum in the U.S. dedicated primarily to preserving the legacy and honor of the African-American soldier.

buddy holly lubbock texas
Buddy Holly Center

Located in far west Texas, Lubbock is home to Texas Tech University. Two must stops here include the Buddy Holly Center with many exhibits honoring the 1950's rock and roll icon. According to the Buddy Holly Center web site, the Center has dual missions... preserving, collecting and promoting the legacy of Buddy Holly and the music of Lubbock and West Texas, as well as providing exhibits on Contemporary Visual Arts and Music, for the purpose of educating and entertaining the public.

Another interesting trip stop is the National Ranching Heritage Center. The National Ranching Heritage Center is a magnificent museum that is well maintained and very informative. If you love Texas pioneer history then this venue is a must stop. This amazing western museum comprising thirty acres features about fifty buildings that include a schoolhouse, barns, and very well preserved houses, etc. There are thirty-eight ranch structures. Each of them have been authentically and historically restored and furnished.

old frontier army barracks
Fort Stockton enlisted men's barracks
Fort Stockton 

Fort Stockton is located between San Antonio and El Paso and today is directly on Interstate 10. During the 1860′s and 1870′s, the fort was at a crucial junction for the stagecoach and freight lines heading to El Paso and eventually California. Tour the fort buildings and parade grounds and enjoy authentic exhibits from the fort's frontier past in the fort museum.

The Annie Riggs Hotel and Boardinghouse, which today is a world renown museum and considered Fort Stockton's first real hotel, was bought by a woman  named Annie Riggs back in 1904. The building was wisely turned into a museum in 1954 and contains a fascinating and very high quality display of 19th and 20th century memorabilia.

downtown dallas museums
Old Red Museum, Dallas

The Old Red Museum. The building is of red sandstone in a Richardsonian Romanesque style of architecture. The building was known locally as the Old Red Courthouse located at the southwest corner of Commerce and Houston Streets in downtown Dallas. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is located in a beautifully restored building, built in 1892, that was the Dallas County Courthouse until 1966. Today, The Old Red Museum makes an excellent trip stop while visiting Dallas and a great place to learn how this city grew from one man's 1841 settlement to a major metropolitan area of the twenty-first century.

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a museum for all ages. It's virtually a living science lesson. There is something for everyone at this museum.  There are eleven halls within the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. As part of your visit to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science you can view educational features and cutting-edge documentaries along with independent films. The Hoglund Foundation Theater accommodates 298 people in comfortable seats.

The Texas travel sites detailed above of course are only a small fraction of what you can explore throughout the state. You may enjoy additional Western Trips articles on the links below...

Old Route 66 Through the Texas Panhandle

A Texas Historic Courthouse Building Tour

The Historic Waggoner Ranch of Texas

(Article and photos copyright Western Trips)