The largest continental U.S. state does everything large: big oil, big music, big beaches, big history.
Make a trip to Texas to explore modern cities and early Western history. With its large area, Texas has a very long coastline, over 600 miles (960 kilometers). The shoreline includes barrier islands protecting the Gulf Coast, perfect for bird-watching. Look for sea turtles and bottlenose dolphins, charter a boat for game fishing, ride a horse over the sand or simply enjoy sunning and swimming at the beaches.
Galveston is an island in the Gulf of Mexico, with plenty of beach and non-beach things to do. Discover what the oil industry is about with hands-on activities at the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum. Get a map to do a scavenger hunt for over 30 ornate and whimsical tree sculptures located around the island; these were carved from trees killed during 2008’s Hurricane Ike.
Learn about the history of Texas under Spanish, Mexican and Confederate rule at the Alamo in San Antonio. Here a small group of well-known Texans, including Davey Crockett and James Bowie, defended the Alamo from Mexico’s General Santa Anna until they were defeated after a 13-day siege in 1836.
Built from oil money, Houston is a sprawling city with a large and energetic downtown. Select from more than 18 cultural institutions in the Museum District.
Visit Dallas, Texas' largest city, and the Sixth Floor Museum, which chronicles the assassination of President Kennedy. Other renowned attractions in the city include the Dallas Museum of Art and Dallas World Aquarium. Find one of the largest modern art collections in the country in the Modern Art Museum in nearby Fort Worth. Next door is the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.
Visit the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin to see fascinating memorabilia from the life and presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson. The city hosts the 5-day South by Southwest music festival every year and has become a major global music and media venue.
For backcountry hiking visit Big Bend National Park along the Rio Grande. See a fossilized coral reef and the tallest peak in Texas at Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
Don’t leave the state without having authentic Texas chili. Look for a local cook-off; at least a dozen cities sponsor these events each month.