November 16, 2018 Slideshows » Arts

20 Small Towns in Texas You Should Be Exploring Right Now 

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With a state as grand as Texas, there's something to do and somewhere to go in every direction. From a number of daytrips to a few weekend getaways, we rounded up the hottest Texas towns near and far for San Antonians to visit right now.
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Marfa
About a 6 hour drive west of San Antonio
Thanks to an influx of public art pieces, Marfa has garnered national attention from Texans and art-lovers alike. With the out-of-place Prada and Target storefronts, you can snap photos for your Instagram (plus the landscape is plenty beautiful too). If you’re lucky, you can also see the mysterious orbs known as the Marfa Lights.
Photo via Instagram / fionellasdad
Alpine
About a 5.5 hour drive west of San Antonio
Looking to get away? A trip to Alpine can do just that for you – and with beautiful mountain views. This desert oasis located not too far from Big Bend National Park, but lets you have plenty adventures outside of the attraction. You’ll have unique shopping, dining and nightlife options here, which is just what you’ll need in the middle of nowhere in Far West Texas.
Photo via Instagram / seepygirl
Terlingua
About a 7 hour drive west of San Antonio
Nestled right outside of Big Bend National Park, Terlingua has several dozen residents and is basically a ghost town. While the town is more of an attraction itself, you can shop, dine and be amazed by the beauty of the area without getting your hands dirty. Home to the original chili cook-off, Terlingua is a place to hit pause and just play like you’re in the Old West.
Photo via Instagram / vagabond_betty
Waco
About a 4 hour drive northeast of San Antonio
Home to Baylor University and the Dr. Pepper museum, Waco is a sleepy town perfect for a laid-back daytrip. The soda museum pays homage to Texans’ favorite drink, including room after room of memorabilia and a vintage parlor with treats. Once you’ve had your fill of Dr. Pepper, be sure to swing by the Waco Mammoth National Monument, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Cameron Park Zoo.
Photo via Instagram / azimmerly88
Amarillo
About an 8 hour drive northwest of San Antonio
Though this Panhandle town may sound like a boring place to be, Amarillo is actually worth visiting at some point in your life. With the famous Cadillac Ranch (plus other Route 66 sites), Palo Duro Canyon State Park and plenty of museums, you have a full weekend in Amarillo awaiting you.
Photo via Instagram / andi_roberts
Dripping Springs
About a 1.5 hour drive north of San Antonio
When a town’s claim to fame is as the “gateway to the Hill Country,” you know it has a lot to offer. Home to the beautiful Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs is destination to tourists and Texans alike. Aside from this exclusive swimming hole, there’s also plenty of places to get boozy with wineries, distilleries and breweries in the area.
Photo via Instagram / snapysingh
Jefferson
About a 7 hour drive northeast of San Antonio
Located not too far from the Texas-Louisiana border, Jefferson is a beautiful tourist attraction with events like Mardi Gras Upriver, Corvette Car Show and Bigfoot Conference. The town is also jam-packed with history, with numerous buildings having earned historical markers. And the cherry on top are sights like Bicycle Hill, Excelsior House Hotel, Gone With The Wind Museum, Atalanta Rail Car and Confederate Ordnance Magazine.
Photo via Instagram / https://www.instagram.com/p/BnEAUJ6DuA-/
Port Isabel
About a 4 hour drive south of San Antonio
Sure, you may want to visit during warmer months, but you should make it a point to visit Port Isabel. While locals are known to flock to South Padre Island and Corpus Christi, RGV-area beach town is one of the oldest towns in the area, dating back to the 1500s. Here’s why Port Isabel is worth visiting: the town square has a lighthouse. There’s also three nautical-themed museums that’ll have you feeling like you’re out at sea.
Photo via Instagram / madefilms
Shiner
About a 1.5 hour drive east of San Antonio
Yup, we’re talking about beer here. Head on out to Shiner, Texas and hit up the Spoetzl Brewery where Shiner beers are made. The brewery itself is more than 100 years old, making it the oldest independent brewery in the state. Take a tour and enjoy a free beer, and be sure to explore the historic buildings and cute bed & breakfasts.
Photo via Instagram / pauledgarsucks
Willow City
About a 1.5 hour drive north of San Antonio
We won’t blame you if you’ve never heard of Willow City, but we will call you out if you don’t visit sometime soon. Only 12 miles northwest of San Antonio, you’ll be able to explore the history of the community. Regarded as a meeting place for English-speaking settlers, Willow City is home to a 13-mile scenic drive with “rolling hills, blossoming meadows, charming creeks, and deep green valleys.” Make your trip worth the drive and hit up Harry’s BBQ and Beer Joint or the Knot in the Loop Saloon after you spend the morning at Enchanted Rock.
Photo via Instagram / festival_time
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Canyon
About a 7.5 hour northwest of San Antonio
Canyon, Texas is all about that: canyons. Home to the breathtaking Palo Duro Canyon State Park, you can visit the nation’s second-largest canyon and see views that we can’t even begin to describe. While you’re there, it’s worth visiting Buffalo Lake Wildlife Refuge to get your fill of animals in their natural place.
Photo via Instagram / matt_mcclellan
Lockhart
About a 1 hour drive northeast of San Antonio
When a town’s claim to fame is being the barbecue capital of Texas the world, that is most definitely a place worth spending your time – and money. There’s four major meat joints that have gotten national attention – Black’s Barbeque, Smitty’s Market, Kreuz Barbeque and Chisholm Trail Barbeque. Get your fill of ‘cue and then spend some time shopping in the small shops in the heart of the town’s center.
Photo via Instagram / blacksbbq
Bandera
About a 1 hour drive northwest of San Antonio
Just a short drive from SA you’ll get to experience the charm of Bandera. Nicknamed the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” this Hill Country town offers a mixture of laid-back vibes and a booming nightlife. From a history museum and boutique markets to Love Creek Orchards and Lost Maples, this neck of the woods will make for a perfect daytrip or weekend getaway.
Photo via Instagram / _alyssa_marie_8
Gruene
About a 45-minute drive northeast of San Antonio
Though considered part of New Braunfels (which can’t really be considered a small town these days), the Gruene Historic District should be a bucket list item for Texans. In addition to the legendary Gruene Hall, the district offers other live music venue options, the local general store, a prized antique shop and the Gristmill Restaurant. For a good time packed with history, this is the place to be.
Photo via Instagram / madstoryteller
Lukenbach
About a 1 hour drive north of San Antonio
You may have heard whispers of Lukenbach if you’ve yet to visit, but consider this a stern order to stop by soon. Not too far east from Fredericksburg, the town is regarded as a hot spot for country tunes. Many say Lukenbach has a ghost town feel because it basically is one. Today you can still visit the local dance hall and the old community trading post, which was a neutral area for Native Americans and German settlers and dates back to 1849.
Photo via Instagram / accoladesoflife
Fredericksburg
About a 1.5 hour drive northwest of San Antonio
Most locals don’t need any introduction to Fredericksburg, but those unfamiliar should definitely plan a trip soon. From charming boutiques around the town square and cutesy bed & breakfasts to wineries all around, this Hill Country town is ideal for romantic getaways and trips with your gals.
Photo via Instagram / visitfredtx
Dublin
About a 4 hour drive north of San Antonio
The former home of the oldest Dr. Pepper bottling plant, Dublin (not in Ireland) prides itself in being the Irish capital of Texas. Other sodas are still bottled here today, and the town really takes pride in that. So come on over and explore the Dublin Bottling Works, Ben Hogan Museum and plenty of Victorian homes to gush over.
Photo via Instagram / gvm727
Marble Falls
About a 1.5 hour drive north of San Antonio
If you’re looking for a nature-filled getaway, Marble Falls should definitely be on your shortlist. With parks and lakes within the city, this Central Texas town offers plenty of outdoor activities with a whopping dose of charm.
Photo via Instagram / realamericanweirdo
Wimberley
About a 1.5 hour drive northeast of San Antonio
Located between San Antonio and Austin, this Hill Country town is home to plenty of unique attractions. Jacob’s Well is worth the visit all on its own, but there’s more worth seeing, like Old Baldy (a mountain featuring twin summits with moderate hiking trails & steep inclines) and Cypress Creek Nature Preserve.
Photo via Instagram / ae_cohen
Kerrville
About a 1 hour drive northwest of San Antonio
Enjoying the sights and getting a dose of small-town charm awaits you in Kerrville. Home to Schreiner University, Kerrville is worth visiting for the drive there alone (especially if you take the scenic route). Once you’re in town, be sure to visit Kerrville-Schreiner Park, which is home to attractions like a butterfly garden and amphitheater.
Photo via Instagram / joncutrer
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Marfa
About a 6 hour drive west of San Antonio
Thanks to an influx of public art pieces, Marfa has garnered national attention from Texans and art-lovers alike. With the out-of-place Prada and Target storefronts, you can snap photos for your Instagram (plus the landscape is plenty beautiful too). If you’re lucky, you can also see the mysterious orbs known as the Marfa Lights.
Photo via Instagram / fionellasdad

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