21 in Texas: A Bucket List for the Lone Star State || www.onetripatatime.com

There are hundreds of lists of things to do in the USA, or individual states like Texas, but we’ve come up with one thing in every state plus D.C. in 21 different categories. Truly something for everyone, from historic places to foods you have to try, from the downright quirky to amazing museums, and from weird places to stay to fun things to do. Our primary criteria were we have or want to see them, and they are things you can physically visit or try.

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21 in Texas: A Bucket List for the Lone Star State || www.onetripatatime.com

Historic Place: The Alamo

Website | Map  300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, Texas 78205 

Remember the Alamo– a battle cry that turned the defeat of March 6th, 1836 into a call to arms and an eventual victory. The resolve it gave, to remember those who fought to the death, stimulated other rebels to continue the fight. So it was just six weeks later at San Jacinto, that Sam Houston saw his chance and defeated Santa Ana’s army, securing the independence of Texas and forever putting the Alamo into the history books.

Read More: Beyond The Alamo: Exploring the San Antonio Mission Trail

LBJ Ranch
Photo by Steve

Famous Person: Lyndon B Johnson

Website | Map  199 Park Road 52, Stonewall, Texas 78671

The 36th President, born in Stonewall, Texas, became president after the assassination of JFK, before winning a landslide victory on his own ticket in 1964. Famous for escalating the Vietnam War, as well as pushing a war on poverty and enhancing civil rights, the estate where he was born, lived and died can be toured in your own vehicle.

Pillar of Palo Duro
Photo by RichieBpics

Natural Wonder: Palo Duro Canyon

Website | Map  11450 State Hwy Park Rd 5, Canyon, Texas 79015

Despite proving that not “everything” is bigger in Texas, the second largest canyon in the United States is still a stunning place to explore on foot, by bike or maybe even riding a horse (it is Texas!).

Want to see what we found in the rest of the USA? Click here to find out.

Chicken Fried SteakDr Pepper
Photos by Larry Miller and Beau Giles

Food & Drink: Chicken Fried Steak and Dr Pepper

Ah… chicken fried steak. It doesn’t actually contain any chicken (though you can get chicken fried chicken!) but it tastes fantastic though you may want to exercise off all those delicious calories in the afternoon. And what else can you wash it down with other than Texas’ own Dr Pepper?

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Blue Bell Ice Cream
Photo by Amy

Factory Tour: Blue Bell Ice Cream

Website | Map  1101 S Blue Bell Rd, Brenham, Texas 77833

Eat all we can & sell the rest” – that’s what it says in the staff room at the Blue Bell ice cream factory. Thankfully they make WAY too much for them to eat it all so we get to enjoy some too. On the tour of the factory, you’ll see how they make ice-cream, fill tubs, create ice cream sandwiches, and then enjoy your favourite flavour in their ice cream parlour. 

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
Photo reproduced with kind permission of Marjorie Anglesea Jackson

Man Made: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple

Website | Map  1150 Brand Ln, Stafford, Texas 77477

The Mandir Temple is a Hindu place of worship that was built from Turkish limestone and Italian marble. Consisting of 33,000 individual pieces, hand carved in India and then assembled on site like a huge 3D jigsaw puzzle, it positively gleams in the Texas sun. 

21 in Texas: A Bucket List for the Lone Star State || www.onetripatatime.com

Record Breaking: Largest State Capitol Building

Website | Map  1100 Congress Ave, Austin, Texas 78701

Completed in 1888, the Texas State Capitol building in Austin is the largest state capitol building by area. Free tours of this expansive and impressive building are available inside. Be sure to climb up the rotunda to look down on the huge Texas State Seal on the floor as it’s beautiful. 

World's Biggest Belt Buckle
Photo reproduced with kind permission of Billy Bob’s Texas

Quirky Record: Worlds Largest Belt Buckle

Website | Map  2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, Texas 76164

What else could Texas have but the “world’s largest” of but a belt buckle? Permanently situated in Billy Bob’s Texas, the buckle is an impressive 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) tall and 2.59 m (8 ft 6 in) wide. Not sure how big the person who could wear it would have to be!

Want to see what we found in the rest of the USA? Click here to find out.

21 in Texas: A Bucket List for the Lone Star State || www.onetripatatime.com

Activity: Be a Cowboy/Cowgirl

Website | Map  833 Dixie Dude Ranch Rd, Bandera, Texas 78003

Dixie Dude Ranch, situated on 725 acres, is one option to visit a real working ranch that raises cattle, pigs, and goats. Stay for a night, a few days, or just be a cowboy or cowgirl for the day.

21 in Texas: A Bucket List for the Lone Star State || www.onetripatatime.com

Atlas Obscura: The Big Bubble

Website | Map  510 Preston St, Houston, Texas 77002

Hiding in downtown Houston is a big red button on a wall just begging to be pressed… Will you dare? If you want it to be a surprise, then DON’T reveal what happens below before you visit.

Want to know what the button does?

If you love obscure things, check out the Atlas Obscura book!

21 in Texas: A Bucket List for the Lone Star State || www.onetripatatime.com

Most Visited: River Walk, San Antonio

Website | Map  849 E Commerce St, San Antonio, Texas 78205

The River Walk allows you to walk, shop, or cruise the river down below the hustle and bustle of the city above, all whilst still enjoying the Texas sunshine. The cruise boats are well worth a trip to relax and learn lots of interesting information about the area.

Read more: Weekend Guide to San Antonio

Big Bend Hot Springs Trail
Photo by Joe McGowan

State/National Park: Big Bend

Website | Map  Big Bend National Park, Texas 79834-0129

Admire the scenery, enjoy the isolation, go on a day hike, or, our favourite idea, take a river trip down the border between the United States and Mexico – it’s all possible at Big Bend National Park. 

21 in Texas: A Bucket List for the Lone Star State || www.onetripatatime.com

Event: The Texas Renaissance Festival

Website | Map  21778 FM 1774, Todd Mission, Texas 77363

Visit England and travel 400 years back in time, all whilst not leaving Texas! The Texas Renaissance Festival recreates a medieval English town with shows, shops and attractions of all kinds. They even change all the $ signs to £, though we suggest you still pay in dollars as 1:1 is not a good exchange rate! :-)

Teepees at El Cosmico
Photo by panda brand

Different Place to Stay: El Cosmico

Website | Map  802 S Highland Ave, Marfa, Texas 79843

Try a more nomadic existence by staying at El Cosmico in one of their quirky abodes. From vintage trailers to teepees and safari tents, they all offer something a little different from a boring hotel.

Hotels.com Destination Inspiration: Not sure where to go? You've come to the right place!

Pecan Pie
Photo by Gloria Cabada-Leman

Different Place to Eat: Pecan Pie Vending Machine

Website | Map  2626 Hwy 71 West, Cedar Creek, Texas 78612

Where else can you buy a fresh homemade pecan pie from a vending machine?

Want to see what we found in the rest of the USA? Click here to find out.

21 in Texas: A Bucket List for the Lone Star State || www.onetripatatime.com

Have Some Fun: Roam the iconic Fort Worth Stockyards

Website | Map  130 E Exchange Ave, Fort Worth, Texas 76164

With 46 buildings included on its National Register of Historic Places entry, the Fort Worth Stockyards can definitely support its historic district claim. At the last remaining standing stockyards, you can ride the Grapevine Vintage Railroad or a mechanical bull, watch a cattle drive, walk into a saloon, or check out the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame… plus much more.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre - Original House
Photo by Christina

Film Location: Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Website | Map  1073 TX-304, Bastrop, Texas 78602

This one’s a twofer! The scariest gas station in the world? Last Chance Gas Station is where the hitchhikers tried to buy fuel and had to stay the night as the pumps were dry. You can now do the same if you aren’t too scared…

Website | Map  1010 King Ct, Kingsland, Texas 78639

Also, whilst not in the place where the film was made, the picture above is the famous Leatherface house from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. After being left vacant for many years, it was rescued by being cut into six pieces and moved to Kingsland where it is now a restaurant.

Waco Suspension Bridge
Photo by Michael

Fun Fact

Map  Waco Suspension Bridge, Waco, Texas 76701

The first suspension bridge in the United States was Waco Bridge. Built in 1870, it’s still in use today as a pedestrian crossing over the Brazos River.

Prada Marfa
Photo by Paul Joseph

Something Different: Prada Store

Map  US-90, Valentine, Texas 79854

Don’t crack open the wallet or purse because you can’t buy anything at this Prada Store. It’s an art installation, the brainchild of Elmgreen and Dragset from Berlin. Don’t think it’s an easy place to steal a Prada handbag or pair of shoes either. The handbags have no bottoms and all the shoes are for right feet!

21 in Texas: A Bucket List for the Lone Star State || www.onetripatatime.com

Museum: National Museum of the Pacific War

Website | Map  340 E Main St, Fredericksburg, Texas 78624

Based in the boyhood hometown of WWII Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, this museum documents WWII from a Pacific perspective, rather than the more common European view. Don’t miss the living history re-enactment of the taking of a Japanese bunker; the weapon demos are interesting, the mock battle is fantastic, and heat from the flamethrower is incredible.

Davis Mountains
Photo by Corey Leopold

Scenic Drive: Davis Mountain Scenic Loop


This 75 mile drive along the highest highway in Texas loops around Mount Livermore and showcases the Davis Mountains. Through forests, past canyons and valleys, across plains and around sweeping curves all with mountains as a backdrop, this a great Texas drive.

Don’t miss Dead Mans Canyon for a great view of the valley.

Want to see what we found in the rest of the USA? Click here to find out.

We’d love to hear what you think. What did we miss? What do you think we should have chosen instead?

If we love your idea, we might just swap it into the list, if we like it, maybe will give it an honourable mention; either way we’ll be sure to give you credit, AND add it to our list of things to see and do when we are in the area.

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