July 20, 2016 Slideshows » Arts

20 Historical Landmarks Every Texas Should Visit At Least Once 

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Texas is a state that's teeming with history. From the prehistoric peoples who inhabited the state, to our time as a Western frontier territory and our war for independence, there's a lot to learn and see. If you're longing for some perspective and greater appreciation for the Lone Star State, make sure to visit a least a few of the following selections.
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East End Historical District

1501 Post Office St, Galveston, (409) 763-5928

Distance from San Antonio: 3 hours 54 min

With Greek Revival style architecture going back as far as the 1850s, Galveston's East End Historical District has over 50 blocks of elaborate mansions and gorgeous painted cottages. Take a guided tour of the area or walk through yourself, and check out some of the local shops and restaurants if you're overdosed on architecture.

Photo via Instagram, @moxie_ladies

Bastrop State Park

100 Park Road 1A, Bastrop, (512) 321-2101

Distance from San Antonio:1 hour 41 min

It's not just another state park, it's one of less than 50 National Historic Landmarks in Texas. Home to the endangered Houston Toad and still bouncing back from a devastating 2012 fire, Bastrop State Park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1930s. All of the park's structures were made with native stone and wood, with stone cabins that look like Hobbit holes and beautiful rocky picnic spots.

Photo via Instagram, @philipkglassdick

Lyndon Baines Johnson Boyhood Home

199 Park Road 52, Stonewall, (830) 868-7128

Distance from San Antonio: 1 hour 22 min

Visit the home that birthed the Texas legend restored and furnished to its 1920s glory and managed by the National park Service itself. Take a tour with park rangers to hear some stories from his youth and learn more about the humble beginnings.

Photo via Flickr, cherrybream

Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum

5550 Jimmy Simmons Blvd., Beaumont, (409) 880-1750

Distance from San Antonio: 3 hours 58 min

Spindletop was home to Lucas Gusher in its heyday, the oil well that started the Texas Oil Boom and moved Texas and the rest of the United States into a state of rapid economic development. Since closed and designated a National Historic Landmark, the Spindletop oil field lives on through Lamar University's museum dedicated to the black gold frenzy, and the Lucas Gusher reenactment with water for those wanting to live out their There Will Be Blood fantasies.

Photo via Instagram, spindletopmuseum

King Ranch

2205 TX-141, Kingsville, (361) 592-8055

Distance from San Antonio: 2 hours 11 min

It's bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island, has its own line of trucks and makes its own luggage that's celebrated by country-bougie Texans everywhere. The grounds offer nature tours, grounds tour, design-it-yourself personal tours, a museum, saddle shop and everything else your Lone Star heart could want from this Historic Landmark.

Photo via Instagram, kingranchinc

Fort Davis National Historic Site

101 Lt Henry Flipper Drive, Fort Davis, (432) 426-3224

Distance from San Antonio: 5 hours 39 min from San Antonio

Fort Davis served as a frontier post during the Indians' Wars in the mid- to late 1800s, to protect coaches and emigrants on the trail through the American Southwest. With five standing buildings and over ruins, you can get yourself up to speed at the museum and visitor center and saunter around the grounds like a regular Clint Eastwood.

Photo via Instagram, trav1167

Roma Historic District

77 Convent Ave., Roma, (210) 849-0099

Distance from San Antonio: 3 hours 31 min

This National Historic Landmark features prominently the building style of the Lower Rio Grande exemplified by Heinrich Portscheller. Right along the Mexico border, Roma has an old convent, and several former stores and houses for your appreciation, as well as a visitor's center to explain the significance of the ghostly-empty edifices.

Photo via Instagram, elchikislard

Palo Duro Canyon

77 Convent Ave., Roma, (210) 849-0099

Distance from San Antonio: 6 hours 55 min

Another Texas landmark with roads, picnic sites and structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, Palo Duro Canyon breaks up the flat landscape of the Panhandle with beautiful vistas. The state park is also a Texas historic landmark and the site of the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon during the Red River War, a conflict against Native Americans.

Photo via Instagram, tonylafontaine

Dealey Plaza Historic Plaza

411 Elm Street, Dallas, (214) 747-6660

Distance from San Antonio: 4 hours 35 min

A designated National Historic Landmark, the site of an iconic Erykah Badu music video, and a meeting place for decades of political activism, Dealey Plaza has been preserved as a memorial of JFK. The Sixth Floor Museum has both permanent and temporary exhibitions honoring the assassinated president, as well as a gift shop if you want to memorialize him monetarily.

Photo via Instagram, yulia_krapiva

Lubbock Lake Historic Landmark

2401 Landmark Dr, Lubbock, (806) 742-1116

Distance from San Antonio: 5 hours 57 min

Managed by volunteers and Texas Tech University, Lubbock Lake is one of the most important archaeological sites in the state that was inhabited by prehistoric people over 10,000 years ago. Visitors can attend tours, watch active archaeological digs and even volunteer to participate.

Photo via Instagram, coffeeinmyveins

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USS Lexington

2914 N. Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, (361) 888-4873

Distance from San Antonio: 2 hours 5 min

The Lex AKA "The Blue Ghost" is a WWII-era aircraft carrier that floated on until it was decommissioned in 1991. This permanent Texas resident has a naval aviation museum aboard and is only two hours away.

Photo via Instagram, cathyca_

Presidio Nuestra Señora de Loreto de la Bahía

217 US-183, Goliad, (361) 645-3752

Distance from San Antonio: 1 hour 48 min

Known more curtly as "Presidio La Bahía," this old Spanish fort was built in the 1700s to protect Spanish missionaries and was an important location in both the Mexican and Texas Revolutions. Restored to its 1836 appearance, the Presidio serves as a church and a heritage site, with a history museum onsite in the old officer's quarters.

Photo via Instagram, kylejud

San Jacinto Monument

One Monument Circle, La Porte, (281) 479-2421

Distance from San Antonio: 3 hours 10 min

There's a lot to see at the site of the last battle of the Texas Revolution, the payback for the Alamo. Visitors can visit check out the giant obelisk and climb up to the observation deck, take a tour of the battleground, visit the history museum and even look for river otters in the restored marsh boardwalk area.

Photo via Instagram, jasmineerr_

Waco Mammoth National Monument

6220 Steinbeck Bend Drive, Waco, (254) 750-7946

Distance from San Antonio: 2 hours 51 min

Newly christened as a unit of the National Park System just last year, Waco's Mammoth is a sight that allows visitors to view fossilized mammoths "in situ." The monument has a catwalk over the excavation site, where a ranger can explain the significance of the first fossilized juvenile herd discovered in the world.

Photo via Instagram, sallyboness

Highland Park Village

Mockingbird Lane at Preston Rd, Dallas

Distance from San Antonio: 4 hours 14 min

It's a piece of shopping and architectural history, but a piece of Texas history none the less. After all, if a mall's been designated a National Historic Landmark by the federal government, it has to be something special, right? Highland Park Village was the first self-contained mall in the U.S., the plaza features beautiful Spanish architecture, upscale boutique stores and an excellent movie theater.

Photo via Instagram, hello_francois

Cave Without a Name

325 Kreutzberg Rd., Boerne, (830) 537-4212

Distance from San Antonio: 53 min

Designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. government, Cave Without a Name features six underground rooms full of stalactites, stalagmites, cave drapery and all the other things you could possibly want if you're feeling troglodyte-y. The landmark offers tours and has a series of events to promote this gem of a cavern. Make sure to pay attention the history of the Hill Country sinkhole, from its time as a Prohibition distillery to its rediscovery by local children.

Photo via Instagram, captivatedbytheson

Port Isabel Lighthouse

421 East Queen Isabella Blvd, Port Isabel, (956) 943-2262

Distance from San Antonio: 4 hours 21 min

Port Isabel Lighhouse, built in 1850, is the only one of 16 Texas lighthouses still open to the public. Climb the stairs and series of ladders to the top for a rewarding view of South Padre Island. Check out the visitor's center to learn about the tower's history of repairs and refittings, and its involvement in the Civil War.

Photo via Instagram, devinzmom97

Fort Worth Stockyards Historic District

130 E. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth, (817) 624-4741

Distance from San Antonio: 4 hours 15 min

Fort Worth, known as "Cowtown" in the day, was home to a vibrant cattle driving and livestock shipping business in the 1800s. Since its designation as a National Historic Landmark in 196, the Stockyards have been preserved as shops, saloons, restaurants, and other attractions that keep the same Western vibe. A museum stands nearby as a testament to the storied history of the livestock industry, and twice daily there's a real-life cattle drive through the center of the district.

Photo via Instagram, dejasviews

Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site

6900 Hueco Tanks Road No. 1, El Paso, (915) 857-1135

Distance from San Antonio: 7 hours 46 min

Besides featuring some of the best climbing in the state, Hueco Tanks is home to pictographs from prehistoric peoples as old as 10,000 years ago. The park has a historic ranch house serving as the visitor's center, where you can learn about ancient art onsite like the "Starry-eyed Man," as well as the history of the areas' use by Native American tribes and settlers.

Photo via Instagram, aaronriostx

Caddo Mounds State Historic Site

1649 State Hwy. 21 West, Alto, (936) 858-3218

Distance from San Antonio: 4 hours 31 min

Caddo Mounds State Historic Site provides a window into the life of a Caddo Indian ceremonial site built around 1,200 years ago. They built three earthen mounds, which are still visible today, in addition to the many artifacts on display in the visitor's center that give more perspective on the history of this civilization.

Photo via Instagram, breezylake

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East End Historical District

1501 Post Office St, Galveston, (409) 763-5928

Distance from San Antonio: 3 hours 54 min

With Greek Revival style architecture going back as far as the 1850s, Galveston's East End Historical District has over 50 blocks of elaborate mansions and gorgeous painted cottages. Take a guided tour of the area or walk through yourself, and check out some of the local shops and restaurants if you're overdosed on architecture.

Photo via Instagram, @moxie_ladies

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