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Visit the 7 unique regions of Texas

Diverse landscapes, exciting attractions, captivating culture and a world of adventure await

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Travel Texas


Visit the 7 unique regions of Texas
14 May 2024
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When it comes to the perfect vacation destination, every Canadian looks for something different: some crave outdoor adventure, others want arts and culture, and plenty prefer to just stretch out for hours on a beautiful beach. Texas is the ideal location to enjoy all of those things and more.

Known for its impressive size, the Lone Star State offers up an equally expansive array of options to suit any traveller’s taste. Within its borders are seven vastly different regions, each with its own unique environment, attractions, history and cuisine. 

1. Panhandle Plains

Cadillac Ranch
Cadillac Ranch

The largest region in Texas is packed with some of the state’s most beautiful natural wonders, from canyons and cliffs to wide-open plains. Ideal for hiking, cycling and camping, Palo Duro Canyon, outside of Amarillo, is the second-largest canyon in the United States, stretching almost 200 kilometres long and over 32 kilometres wide. South of Palo Duro are the more rugged Caprock Canyons, where the Texas state bison herd roams wild. And, for an oasis amid the plains, check out Lake Meredith, northeast of Amarillo, which features seven different habitats for birds and wildlife.

Spectacular-selfie spot: Cadillac Ranch, an art installation of classic Cadillacs painted in wild colours, half-buried along Route 66. 

2. Big Bend Country

Big Bend National State Park
Big Bend National State Park

The name of this west Texas region comes from its southern boundary, created by a curve in the Rio Grande, and it’s an area that delivers big-time awe. Untamed and sprawling, Big Bend National State Park is home to more than one million acres of public land to explore and enjoy, and—thanks to El Capitan, the iconic 8,064-foot-high formation in Guadalupe Mountains National Park—it’s a popular destination for climbers, hikers and thrill-seekers. The region is also home to El Paso, nicknamed “Sun City” because of its 300 days of sunshine per year, and Marfa, an arts-driven community filled with galleries, restaurants and gorgeous architecture.  

Spectacular-selfie spot: Monahans Sandhills State Park, which features enormous white-sand dunes.

3. Hill Country

Das Peach Haus© Pierce Ingram
Das Peach Haus

Looking for culture? You’ll find it in this region. Home to renowned annual events such as SXSW (March) and the Austin Film Festival (October), it’s teeming with music, art and entertainment all year-round. Hill Country also boasts unique small towns, many with a strong European connection. Fredericksburg and New Braunfels are celebrations of all things German, including Oktoberfest and the Bavarian-inspired Schlitterbahn Waterpark, while French influence and architecture can be found Castroville, where some buildings date back to the 19th century. And if you’re a wine connoisseur, raise a glass (or several) along the Texas wine trail, which leads to more than 50 Hill Country wineries.

Spectacular-selfie spot: Wonderspaces Austin, a 28,000-square-foot art show full of immersive installations. 

4. Prairies & Lakes

Listen up, sports fans: this region is the epicentre of the Texas sports scene, hosting the state’s NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL teams, as well as NASCAR races and PGA tournaments. Whether you want to watch touchdowns at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, field a foul ball at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington or count the laps at Fort Worth’s Texas Motor Speedway, there's a multitude of fields, courts, arenas and tracks to choose from. Golfers can hit the fairway at PGA Frisco, north of Dallas, which offers two 18-hole championship courses, while surfers catch killer waves at Waco Surf, a world-class wave facility catering to all skill levels.

Spectacular-selfie spot: The Dallas Eyeball, a 30-foot-high fiberglass sculpture in downtown Dallas.

5. Piney Woods

Caddo Lake© Danny Fulgencio
Caddo Lake

This cottage-country-esque region is known for its biodiversity. Here, lakes, rivers, bayous and marshes meet lush forests and sprawling savannahs. Once a lumbering region, the area was reforested, so towering pines and hardwood trees—including willow, hickory, sweetgum and many species of oak—now stretch for miles. Unsurprisingly, it’s a premier destination for nature lovers. Hike the 205-kilometre Lone Star Hiking Trail through Sam Houston National Forest or take a dip in Double Lake; spend a day fishing in Toledo Bend Reservoir in Sabine National Forest; or explore the pristine protected land at the Big Slough Wilderness Area in Davy Crockett National Forest.

Spectacular-selfie spot: Tyler Rose Garden, featuring 38,000 rose bushes and more than 600 rose species. 

6. South Texas Plains

Mission Espiritu Santo
Mission Espiritu Santo

History aficionados descend on this region for its deep roots, remarkable heritage and informative re-enactments, as well as architecture and iconic structures that date back centuries. Here, visitors can tour the Alamo, the site of a key battle in the Texas Revolution, or wander through the San Antonio Missions, built by Franciscan missionaries from Spain in the 1700s. The Presidio La Bahía, a military compound built in 1749, can be found in Goliad. And Laredo, 240 kilometres west of San Antonio, is the oldest independent settlement in Texas, with a historic district (Barrio Azteca) that’s one of the state’s oldest residential neighbourhoods. 

Spectacular-selfie spot: Essex Modern City in downtown San Antonio, which is filled with stunning murals.

7. Gulf Coast

Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

One word: beaches. With more than 550 kilometres of coastline, this region is the must-visit destination for fantastic swimming, surfing, sunbathing or searching for seashells. From the 32 kilometres of soft sand at Matagorda Beach to Galveston Island State Park’s 2,000 acres of wave-filled fun, there's no shortage of sand, surf and sunshine along the Gulf Coast. The region also offers a boatload of activities for the whole family, including dolphin-watching tours on South Padre Island; the Pleasure Pier amusement park in Galveston; the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi; and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Spectacular-selfie spot: The 64-foot-high wall of cascading water in Houston’s Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park

Visit Travel Texas for more information, and to request a free Texas Travel Guide. And visit our Hello, Texas hub to see what else Texas has in store. 

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