These Are 5 Hidden Gem Destinations In Texas According To Locals

These Are 5 Hidden Gem Destinations In Texas According To Locals

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Austin has hogged the Texas tourism highlight for too lengthy. 

Home to well-known music festivals like SXSW and ACl, Austin has lengthy loved a repute as Texas’ fashionable, quirky capital and prime vacationer vacation spot. Unfortunately, crime charges are skyrocketing nearly as shortly as costs, whereas an inflow of tech staff from California alter the social material and soul of the town.

So the place ought to vacationers go as an alternative?

From saloon-spotted ghost cities to the rolling hills of Texas wine nation, there are numerous off-path locations to headline a terrific Texas journey.

Here are 5 hidden gem locations in Texas, based on locals:

Barton Creek Austin Texas


We’ve all heard of “Keep Austin Weird.” But it’s about time for the Lone Star capital to make room for the following huge factor in critically quirky Texas cities: Denton.

Denton’s idyllic downtown sq. manages to embody old-school Texas allure and embrace the recent artistic power of its two college campuses. 

For a style of the normal, cool off with some retro ice cream from Beth Marie’s on the steps of Denon’s Nineteenth-century courthouse earlier than coming into its museum. If the time is true, you possibly can be part of pleasant locals on their month-to-month wine walks round city. 

When the previous Denton spell has sucked you in too deep to go away, keep just a few nights within the Brownlow House, a 1912 historic landmark Victorian house transformed to a mattress and breakfast.


Most issues in Denton don’t match neatly into an “old” or “new” field. 

Ghost-hunting retirees and curious school youngsters cross paths on the legendary Old Alton Bridge. At the intersection between down-home and on-trend sits Paschall Bar, a stylish speakeasy with darkish wood bookcases and time-honored basic cocktails that pulls a critically eclectic crowd. 

For a younger itinerary, get pleasure from a specialty espresso at Jupiter Coffee House, browse the books & data retailer on the nook of Locust Street, and check out the native vegan favourite Spiral Diner. When the solar goes down, hang around at Eastside or Harvest House for craft beer and meals vehicles, or go bar hopping on Fry Street. 

Visitors don’t even need to go so far as the Denton Wall of Art and Union Art Gallery to get pleasure from this city’s inventive soul (though you positively ought to). A easy stroll across the historic middle affords sufficient street art to present vacationers a real sense of Denton’s distinctive character.

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denton texas old converted theater


Who doesn’t love a cool ghost city? 

Terlingua, Texas sits only a stone’s throw from each the Mexican border and Big Bend National Park. Often ignored in favor of its extra Instagrammable neighbor, Marfa, this historic Lone Star city is the definition of a hidden gem. 

Terlingua received its begin as a mining city within the early 1900s, however was left within the mud when its residents packed up for greener pastures.

Today, this ghost city is getting a second wind from artistic small companies. Some, just like the funky Starlight Theater saloon and Holiday Hotel, have been round for many years; whereas others, like Basecamp Terlingua glamping, are a part of a newer (dare we are saying hipster?) wave of vacationers. 

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terlingua texas old starlight theater

Visitors can get pleasure from climbing Santa Elena canyon, kayaking the Rio Grande, soaking in scorching springs, and stargazing in a few of the lowest gentle air pollution within the nation.

For adventurous vacationers prepared to get a bit off-path, a budget-friendly double-destination mission is in retailer – so pack your passport. The Mexican city of Boquillas awaits you simply throughout the river, with a little bit assist from the on-site U.S. Park Ranger and pleasant Boquillan guides rocking “Your Ride To The Other Side” t-shirts and tiny rowboats.

After filling up on margaritas, stacked enchiladas, and the wonders of Area Natural Protegida Maderas del Carmen state park, you possibly can take that 30-second “ferry” proper again over to Terlingua to proceed your Lone Star journey. 

terlingua texas ghost town sign


Pronounced “green”, the historic district of Gruene is a real hidden gem with just a few extra methods up its sleeve than simply its spelling. 

This storied city is technically a part of the town of New Braunfels, an 1840s German cotton farming settlement that’s finest identified right now for its Schlitterbahn waterpark. 

Visitors in Gruene ought to discover:

  • Gruene Hall – The oldest dance corridor in Texas, inbuilt 1878 and frequented by stars like Willie Nelson.
  • Gruene Coffee Haus – The coronary heart and soul of social life on the town, plus some darn good espresso.
  • The Birdhouse Fancy Chicken & Fine Wine – What extra may you ask for?
  • Tubing – Grab a pal, a beverage, and an inside tube. Now you’re able to float down the Comal and Guadalupe rivers, affectionately identified by locals as “the Hill Country Coast.”
  • Gruene Antique Company – With 1000’s of things in 6,500 sq. ft, that is extra of a museum of central Texas life than a typical vintage store. 
tubing on the guadalupe river west texas


Fredericksburg shares its German roots with Gruene, however stands out for its distinctive repute as Texas’s wine nation. With greater than 100 vineyards within the space, you possibly can’t go flawed with any of Fredricksburg’s wine tastings.   

Timing a visit to Fredericksburg on the primary Friday of the month means a particular after-hours expertise within the artwork galleries alongside Main Street. 

Visitors also can discover the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area only a few minutes from city. This pink granite monument will get its identify from the Nineteenth-century legends of the Tonkawa, Apache and Comanche tribes, who believed it was imbued with mystical powers. 

enchanted rock texas


To an outsider, West doesn’t seem to be a lot. With solely about 3,000 residents and no main vacationer points of interest to talk of, why would guests exit of their strategy to see it?

But ask any born-and-raised Texan concerning the city of West, and also you’ll absolutely hear the rationale – kolaches.

In the Eighties, a wave of Czech immigrants settled on this tiny pocket of north-central Texas, and introduced with them the scrumptious buttery goodness of recipes from the previous land. In the Nineteen Sixties, Interstate 35 put West on the map as a freeway cease, and Lone Star vacationers first received a style of Czech gold. 

Today, The Czech Stop is genuinely a Texas establishment. Travelers from all walks of life meet on the freeway intersection connecting Dallas, Waco, Austin, and San Antonio for a beloved one-of-a-kind snack. The bakery affords every kind of Eastern European impressed treats, together with its notorious kolaches. 


Adapted from the Czech koláč, a puffy dough pastry historically made with fruit jam or poppy seeds, right now’s hottest kolaches are cream cheese flavored. Since native Texas tastes lean closely on the carnivorous aspect, jalapeńo sausage klobasnek and “hot chubby” sausage and cheese rolls are crowd favorites. 

The metropolis of West has additionally been acknowledged because the “Czech Heritage Capital of Texas,” and hosts an annual Westfest celebrating Czech tradition and traditions. Visitors can study extra on the History of West Museum.

For spending the night time or taking a multi-day journey, it’s finest to make it an prolonged cease on an epic highway journey or mix it with a visit to close by Waco. This college city is house to distinctive historic inns, trendy accommodations, quirky espresso outlets, and loads of southern consolation meals. 

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