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14 Enchanting Small Towns In Texas That Will Steal Your Heart

The big cities in Texas are wonderful but the state’s charming small towns really give the big cities a run for their money.

From towns that haven’t changed much in 200 years to coastal hidden gems and even crystal-clear natural pools, Texas has it all.

The only problem is that Texas has a lot of small towns and it can be difficult to know which to visit!

That’s why we’ve done all the hard work for you.

In this guide, we’re revealing the top 14 prettiest small towns in Texas that are absolutely worth visiting.

It was tough whittling it down to just 14 small towns but we’ve managed to find some real hidden gems that you’re sure to love.

1. Bandera

Bandera is a small, charming town located in the Hill Country region of Texas, about an hour northwest of San Antonio. 

It’s famously known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World” because the cowboy culture is still very much alive. It looks like a movie set but nope, it’s a real town.

People visit Bandera to experience the authentic cowboy lifestyle which includes exciting rodeos, horseback riding and live country music. 

In fact, you can even ride through the streets on a horse or longhorn!

Besides cowboy experiences, Bandera also offers beautiful natural landscapes for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing and camping, especially in the Hill Country State Natural Area.

And for those who love history, the Frontier Times Museum is a must-visit to learn about the area’s rich past and cowboy history. 

You can even watch historical re-enactments every Saturday afternoon! 

Interestingly, Bandera is home to one of the oldest dude ranches in the United States, giving you the unique opportunity to see what it would be like to live like a cowboy.

2. Dripping Springs 

Dripping Springs is a small town located just west of Austin in the beautiful Hill Country. 

It’s famously known as the “Gateway to the Hill Country” and offers breathtaking natural scenery along with a peaceful atmosphere. 

Dripping Springs is celebrated for its abundance of wineries, breweries and distilleries which makes it a popular destination for those who enjoy tasting local wines, beers and spirits. 

There are also many parks and natural springs in the area, including the turquoise Hamilton Pool Preserve, which is a stunning natural swimming hole surrounded by limestone cliffs. 

It’s one of the most beautiful locations in the whole of Texas!

You’ll also find tons of options when it comes to shopping and dining with local shops and restaurants offering everything from handmade goods to gourmet foods. 

Dripping Springs is actually designated as an International Dark Sky Community which makes it one of the best places in Texas to stargaze away from city lights.

3. Jefferson

Jefferson is a historic town located in East Texas, located close to the Louisiana border. 

It’s known for its rich history and well-preserved 19th-century architecture. It will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time!

Jefferson is particularly famous for its ghost tours and haunted houses! Visitors who are fascinated by spooky stories and legends love to come here.

In fact, Jefferson is actually home to The Grove which is thought to be one of the most haunted places in the US!

You’ll also find the beautiful Caddo Lake nearby, where you can go kayaking, fishing or even take a scenic boat tour through cypress trees draped in Spanish moss. It’s stunning.

History buffs will also love the Jefferson Historical Museum and the many antique shops filled with treasures from the past. 

4. Wimberley

Wimberley is a quaint town located in the heart of Texas Hill Country. You’ll find it between Austin and San Antonio. 

It’s known for its stunning natural beauty with crystal-clear creeks, lush green hills and towering cypress trees. It’s truly a sight to behold.

People come to Wimberley to relax and enjoy nature, especially at the famous Blue Hole Regional Park, where you can swim in a beautiful spring-fed swimming hole. 

Another must-see is Jacob’s Well which is a deep natural well that’s great for swimming. 

Wimberley also has a vibrant arts scene with many galleries and studios showcasing local artists’ work. 

The town’s Market Days, which are held on the first Saturday of each month, are a great place to find unique crafts, antiques and food. It features over 490 booths!

Wimberley is also home to the EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens which is an outdoor theater where you can catch plays under the stars. It even has a life-size chess board!

5. Port Isabel

Port Isabel is a coastal town in Texas, located at the southern tip of the state, right before you cross over to South Padre Island. 

It’s known for its rich maritime history and beautiful waterfront views. You’ll feel wowed, that’s for sure!

A must-see is the Port Isabel Lighthouse, which has been guiding ships since 1852 and now serves as a museum with panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. 

The town is also home to the Port Isabel Historical Museum and the Treasures of the Gulf Museum where you can learn about the area’s past and see artifacts from shipwrecks. 

Fishing is really popular in Port Isabel. There are plenty of opportunities for deep-sea fishing and bay fishing.

You can even hop aboard a dolphin watching tour as there’s a good chance you’ll spot dolphins swimming in the ocean nearby. You can even sometimes see them from the shore!

6. Castroville

Castroville is a small town located along the Medina River, about 25 miles west of San Antonio.

It’s known as the “Little Alsace of Texas” because it was founded by immigrants from Alsace, France in the 1840s and it still maintains much of its unique Alsatian heritage today. 

You can explore this heritage by touring the historic buildings, including the Steinbach Haus, which was actually transported from Alsace and reassembled in Castroville. 

mlhradio / Flickr

The town is also famous for its beautiful parks, like the Castroville Regional Park, where you can spend the day hiking, picnicking or just enjoying the river. 

Fishing and bird watching are also popular along the Medina River. 

Castroville has a variety of local restaurants that serve delicious Alsatian cuisine. It’s one of the best places to get a taste of France in Texas. 

A fun fact about Castroville is that it celebrates its heritage each year in April with The Alsatian Festival that features traditional Alsatian food, music and dance. It’s a great time to visit.

7. Lockhart

Lockhart is a small town located in Central Texas, about 30 miles south of Austin. 

It’s famously known as the “Barbecue Capital of Texas” so you can guess it’s famous for its delicious BBQ. 

People from all over come to taste the mouth-watering brisket, ribs and sausages from its famous barbecue joints. Kreuz Market is one of the best places to go.

Randy von Liski / Flickr

Besides eating, you can also explore the historic Caldwell County Courthouse, a beautiful example of Second Empire architecture, right in the heart of Lockhart. 

For movie fans, Lockhart has actually been the filming location for several movies including Transformers IV.

It’s fun to wander through the town and try to find these famous spots!

For anyone who loves exploring the outdoors, you can head over to the Lockhart State Park for hiking, golfing and fishing. There’s even a beautiful waterfall.

Lockhart is also home to the oldest continuously running library in Texas, the Dr. Eugene Clark Library, which was established in 1899.

8. Seguin

Seguin is a historic town located in Central Texas. You’ll find it along the Guadalupe River, about 35 miles east of San Antonio. 

It’s also one of the oldest towns in Texas. Even mammoth remains were found here!

One of the town’s most unique attractions is the “World’s Largest Pecan” statue which was built to celebrate its pecan heritage. It’s essentially just a really huge pecan!

The town is pretty famous for pecans and you’ll find a ton of delicious pecan treats all across town. They’re delicious!

Another must-see is the beautifully preserved Sebastopol House Historic Site which is a unique example of 19th-century limecrete construction. 

Max Starcke Park offers a scenic riverside spot for picnics, golfing and a playground for kids. 

The Guadalupe River in Seguin is perfect for kayaking, fishing and enjoying Texas nature. It’s a must-do.

9. Bellville

Bellville is a small town located in the heart of Texas, about 70 miles northwest of Houston. 

It’s known for its rich history and charming downtown area which gives a glimpse into Texas’s past. It has an endearing, old-world feel to it.

Bellville is particularly famous for its beautiful countryside. It’s a popular place for people who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding and cycling. 

A must-visit spot is Newman’s Castle which features a moat, a drawbridge, 5 turrets and stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

The town also hosts the Austin County Fair every year which brings together people for rodeo events, live music and carnival rides. It’s pretty fun!

For those interested in history, the Bellville Historical Society offers walking tours of the town where you can learn about the town’s 175 years of history.

Shopping in Bellville is a real treat! You’ll find plenty of antique shops and local boutiques selling unique finds. 

10. Canyon

Canyon is a small town located in the Texas Panhandle, just south of Amarillo. 

It’s famous for being the gateway to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which is the second-largest canyon in the United States. 

You’ll be able to explore the park’s stunning landscapes and go hiking or camping.

You can even attend a musical drama called “Texas” that’s performed in an outdoor amphitheater in the canyon during the summer. 

The town itself is home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in Texas, where you can learn about the region’s fascinating history and culture. 

Canyon also offers quaint shops and restaurants downtown for a taste of local life. You won’t be disappointed!

Plus, for anyone into art, there are tons of beautiful outdoor murals around town and you can also visit the exhibitions at the West Texas A&M University’s art galleries. 

11. Granbury

Granbury is a charming town located in North Central Texas, about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth. 

It’s known for its well-preserved 19th-century square which is surrounded by historic buildings. It really is the heart of the community. 

Plus, just a stone’s throw away from the square is the Granbury City Beach which will make you feel like you’re by the coast.

Additionally, you can take part in a range of fun water activities at Lake Granbury including boating, fishing and swimming.

There’s tons to do in Granbury itself. You can watch a play at the Granbury Opera House, explore the Hood County Jail Museum or browse the unique shops around the town. 

Granbury Texas / Flickr

And if you want to see some beautiful Victorian-era homes then take a walk through the Granbury Historic District which is a must-see.

Interestingly, Granbury is said to be the final resting place of the infamous outlaw Jesse James, who, according to local lore, lived there under an alias.

12. Driftwood

Diann Bayes / Flickr

Driftwood is a peaceful town located in the Texas Hill Country, just southwest of Austin. It’s very small and only has a population of around 100 people.

It’s famous for its scenic landscapes and for being a hidden gem for food and wine lovers. 

One of the main attractions in Driftwood is The Salt Lick BBQ, a world-renowned barbecue restaurant where people come from all over just to taste their delicious brisket and ribs. 

The town is also home to several wineries and vineyards. Here, you can enjoy wine tastings and tours of the beautiful countryside. Fall Creek Vineyards is one of the best in Texas!

Driftwood also offers numerous scenic hiking trails and spots for picnicking in the midst of nature. 

The town’s quiet, rural atmosphere makes it a perfect place for a relaxing getaway from the city. 

13. Gonzales

Gonzales is a historic town, located in between San Antonio and Houston. 

It’s famous for its role in the Texas Revolution, especially for the “Come and Take It” cannon event which symbolizes Texan defiance and spirit. 

To learn more, head over to the Gonzales Memorial Museum where you can learn about this important event and see the cannon that started it all. It’s very fascinating!

Jimmy Emerson, DVM / Flickr

The town is also home to many beautiful historic homes and buildings, many of which offer guided tours for those interested in the architecture and history. 

Nearby, you’ll also find the Guadalupe River which is a great place for fishing, kayaking and picnicking. 

Gonzales hosts the Come and Take It Celebration every single year in October. This festival commemorates the town’s historic past with parades, music and delicious food. 

14. Ennis

Ennis is a vibrant town located in the northeastern part of Texas, about 35 miles south of Dallas. 

It’s most famous for its spectacular Bluebonnet Trails in the spring, when miles of country roads become covered with the state flower.

It’s simply breathtaking and perfect for photos.

You can also explore the Texas Motorplex which is a major drag racing venue. It hosts numerous events throughout the year which draws fans from all over. 

The town’s historic downtown area is also a must-see as it’s filled with charming shops, restaurants and theaters. It’s a great place to soak yourself in the town’s culture.

Nearby, you’ll also find the beautiful 3,500-acre Lake Bardwell which offers plenty of opportunities for fishing, boating and even camping. 

Ennis also celebrates its Czech heritage with the annual National Polka Festival! Expect traditional music, dancing, food and even horseshoe tournaments.

Tom Jackson

Tom was born in San Antonio but spent most of his childhood in Dallas, he has lived in several cities across Texas and joined the team in 2024 to create travel guides on Texas.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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