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The ULTIMATE Cowboy Road Trip Across Texas

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime as we saddle up and hit the road for the ultimate cowboy road trip across Texas! 

We’ll be exploring wide-open skies, historic cowboy towns and hitting up some of the best rodeos in the world.

Imagine yourself riding along dusty trails, learning to lasso like a real rancher and uncovering hidden gems in the Lone Star State. 

Every Texan should do this road trip at least once in their lifetime! (It’s the law … I didn’t make the rules!)

It’s a lot of fun for the entire family and takes you all across the state.

Let’s ride into the sunset and discover the true spirit of the West!

1. Fort Worth

Fort Worth, often called the “City of Cowboys and Culture” is a must-visit spot on any cowboy-themed road trip. 

This city is a blend of the wild west with a touch of modern charm and it’s packed with cowboy-related activities that celebrate Texas’ rich ranching history.

One of the highlights is the Fort Worth Stockyards historic district. 

This area used to be a bustling marketplace for buying and selling livestock but today it’s a cultural hub where you can immerse yourself in cowboy life. 

At the Stockyards, you can witness real cowhands driving a herd of Texas Longhorns down Exchange Avenue – this happens twice daily and is a sight to see! 

Another exciting activity in the Stockyards is visiting the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame which showcases the achievements of Texas’ top cowboys and cowgirls. 

There’s also the Stockyards Museum where you can learn about the history of the area and see artifacts from the Old West.

Billy Bob’s Texas is another must-visit in Fort Worth as it’s the world’s largest honky tonk. 

bk1bennett / Flickr

This massive entertainment venue offers not just concerts featuring famous country music stars but also has an indoor bull-riding arena for an authentic cowboy experience. 

2. Dallas

While Dallas is mainly known for its modern skyline and bustling city life, it also offers a taste of cowboy culture. 

Start your Dallas adventure at the Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park.

Here, you can step back in time in this living history museum that recreates Texas life in the 19th century. 

You’ll see historic buildings, including old homes and stores, and you can watch live demonstrations of blacksmithing and cooking like they did in the old days. 

verndogs / Flickr

It’s a fun way to see how early Texans lived!

For shopping, head to Wild Bill’s Western Store in downtown Dallas to get yourself some cowboy gear. 

You can pick up authentic cowboy boots, hats, belts, buckles and even handmade jewelry. 

If you’re in Dallas during the State Fair of Texas in September/October, you’re in for a real treat. 

Barbara Brannon / Flickr

Held annually in Fair Park since 1886, this fair features exciting live concerts, parades, performers and plenty of food. 

They even have a pig race!

But, more importantly, the fair also hosts traditional rodeo competitions and livestock shows. 

Barbara Brannon / Flickr

It’s a great opportunity to see cowboys and cowgirls in action, showing their skills in roping, riding and more.

Another spot not to miss is the Mesquite Championship Rodeo, located just outside Dallas in Mesquite. 

This rodeo has been a local favorite since 1958 and runs every Saturday night during the summer months. 

Here, you can watch bull riding, barrel racing and other rodeo sports.

They even offer a real Texas barbecue to enjoy while you watch the events!

3. Chisholm Trail

The Chisholm Trail is a historic trail that was once used to drive cattle from Texas ranches to Kansas railheads in the late 1800s. 

Today, you can actually ride on horseback along parts of the trail, just like the cowboys did over a century ago. 

This is a fantastic way to experience the vast Texas landscape and imagine what it was like for cowboys who traveled this path long ago. 

There are several ranches and parks along the trail where you can rent horses and take guided tours. 

One great place to do this is at the Chisholm Trail Rides in Quinlan.

They take you out along the Chisholm Trail for 2 to 3 hours, enjoying the peaceful scenery as you go.

Don’t worry if you’ve never ridden a horse before as they’re beginner friendly.

These ranches often offer more than just horseback riding, you can also learn about ranch operations, cattle handling and even participate in a mock cattle drive.

4. San Antonio

San Antonio is a vibrant city with a rich history that includes plenty of cowboy culture, making it an exciting stop on your cowboy road trip across Texas. 

A must-visit spot in San Antonio is the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo which is one of the largest and most prestigious events in the city, offering a taste of cowboy life. 

Held annually in February, this event features traditional rodeo activities such as bull riding, barrel racing and livestock competitions. 

There’s also a fair with rides, games and delicious food so it’s fun for the whole family.

Katie Labor / Flickr

Another great place to explore is the Briscoe Western Art Museum

Located on the scenic San Antonio River Walk, this museum is dedicated to the art, history and culture of the American West. 

It features a collection of Western art and artifacts, including cowboy gear, Native American crafts and even a full scale stagecoach.

Eden, Janine and Jim / Flickr

For those interested in horseback riding, San Antonio also has several ranches just outside the city where you can ride horses through beautiful trails. 

These ranches, including Rancho Cortez, offer guided tours and some even provide lessons in horse riding and roping. 

Riding a horse through the Texas countryside gives you a real sense of how cowboys traveled and worked in the past!

5. Boerne

Boerne is a charming small town located in the Texas Hill Country, just a 30-minute drive from San Antonio. 

It’s a great place to experience authentic Texas cowboy culture with a laid-back, small-town feel. 

One of the highlights of Boerne is the Enchanted Springs Ranch which is used today as an event’s venue.

DiscoveryEducation / Flickr

It’s an exact replica of an old western town so you can see what life was like in an 1800s Texas town. 

Horseback riding is also a big part of the experience in Boerne. 

Several ranches around the area offer trail rides through the picturesque scenery of the Hill Country including Diamond C Stables and Ranch.

These rides cater to all skill levels, from beginners to experienced riders, and they provide a fantastic way to see the countryside just like a cowboy would.

For those interested in cowboy gear and Western wear, Boerne’s Main Street is lined with shops that sell handmade cowboy boots, hats and apparel. 

6. Bandera

Bandera, known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” is an essential stop on any cowboy road trip across Texas. 

This small town is packed with authentic cowboy experiences and is a place where the cowboy culture is still alive and celebrated every day.

One of the best ways to dive into the cowboy lifestyle in Bandera is by visiting one of the many guest ranches in the area. 

These ranches will give you a chance to live like a cowboy for a few days.

Some of the best include Mayan Dude Ranch and Dixie Dude Ranch.

You can go horseback riding on trails, learn to rope cattle and even participate in a real cattle drive. 

Lori Greig / Flickr

These experiences are guided by real cowboys who teach you the skills and share stories about cowboy life.

Another must-do activity is attending a rodeo. 

Bandera Pro Rodeo, held annually on Memorial Day Weekend, is one of the best.

Bandera hosts regular rodeo events where you can see cowboys and cowgirls compete in events like bull riding, barrel racing and calf roping. 

Downtown Bandera also holds a lot of charm and history. 

Main Street is lined with shops selling Western wear, handmade leather goods and cowboy boots so it’s perfect for finding souvenirs.

Diann Bayes / Flickr

For a bit of outdoor adventure, the Hill Country State Natural Area offers over 5,000 acres of rugged hills and scenic trails perfect for horseback riding, hiking and camping. 

Riding through these trails gives you a feel for the landscape that Texas cowboys worked and lived in centuries ago.

Every Saturday from 10am to 2pm, you can enjoy the Cowboys on Main event where cowboys, cowgirls and sometimes even Longhorn cattle fill the streets, giving demonstrations and posing for photos. 

7. El Paso

Located on the western tip of Texas, where the state meets Mexico and New Mexico, El Paso has a unique cultural mix that adds to its charm.

One of the highlights for cowboy enthusiasts is visiting the El Paso Museum of History

Here, you can learn about the area’s ranching and cowboy history. 

The museum features various exhibits on the development of the region, including how cowboys, Native Americans and settlers shaped the local culture.

For those interested in seeing a modern take on cowboy life, El Paso also hosts several rodeos throughout the year. 

These events are great for watching skilled cowboys and cowgirls compete in bull riding, barrel racing and other traditional rodeo events. 

It’s a thrilling way to experience modern-day cowboy culture.

A truly unique activity in El Paso is exploring the Historic Mission Trail

This 9-mile trail takes you on a journey through 400 years of history and you’ll get the chance to visit some of the oldest missions in Texas. 

The trail includes stops at Ysleta Mission, Socorro Mission and San Elizario Chapel. 

These beautiful missions are not only significant historically but also provide a peaceful and spiritual experience. 

Horseback riding is another popular activity around El Paso. 

Several ranches offer horseback tours that let you explore the rugged landscape just like the cowboys of the past. 

Riding through the desert and along the Rio Grande gives you a firsthand look at the stunning natural scenery and the challenging terrain cowboys had to navigate.

Lastly, don’t miss the chance to try some authentic Texas cuisine in El Paso. 

The city is known for its incredible Tex-Mex food which combines Texas ranch-style dishes with Mexican flavors. 

8. Pecos

Pecos is a small town with a big place in cowboy history as it’s known as the home of the world’s first rodeo. 

Located in West Texas, Pecos offers many cowboy-related activities that make it a perfect stop on a cowboy road trip across Texas.

The main highlight of Pecos is the West of the Pecos Rodeo which is held annually at the Buck Jackson Arena. 

This rodeo, which claims to be the oldest in the world, started in 1883 and continues to draw crowds every summer. 

josephbergen / Flickr

You can watch traditional rodeo events like bull riding, barrel racing and calf roping. 

Visiting the West of the Pecos Museum is another must-do activity in Pecos. 

Housed in an old hotel, the museum features exhibits that tell the story of the local area and its cowboy heritage. 

Kent Kanouse / Flickr

You can see artifacts, photographs and old equipment that give insights into the life of cowboys, ranchers and the early days of rodeo. 

The museum also includes an authentic saloon that was built back in 1896 as well as some recreated scenes from the Old West like a courthouse.

For those interested in more active adventures, the area around Pecos offers plenty of opportunities for horseback riding. 

Riding through the desert and along the Pecos River, you can experience the beauty and challenges of the West Texas terrain.

9. Lubbock

Located in the heart of the state’s South Plains, Lubbock offers a mix of history, music and Western activities that capture the spirit of the cowboy lifestyle.

One of the key places to visit in Lubbock is the National Ranching Heritage Center

Lubbock Hospitality / Flickr

This museum is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of ranching and cowboy life. 

The center features ~50 historic structures that range from the late 1700s to the mid-1900s. 

You can walk through authentic log cabins, barns and ranch houses which have all been arranged to show how ranching evolved over the years. 

Joe / Flickr

There are also live demonstrations and special events where you can see cowboys in action, performing tasks like cattle roping and horse breaking.

For a taste of local cowboy entertainment, Lubbock also hosts the National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration every year in September.

This event celebrates Western culture with music, poetry, storytelling and a chuck wagon cook-off. 

It’s a fun place to listen to country and Western music, enjoy cowboy poetry readings and taste traditional cowboy meals cooked right out of a wagon.

Lubbock is also a great place for horseback riding. 

Several ranches around Lubbock offer horseback tours of the beautiful surrounding plains.

10. Amarillo

Amarillo, located in the heart of the Texas Panhandle, is a fantastic place to experience authentic cowboy culture on your road trip across Texas. 

One of the highlights of visiting Amarillo is the Cowgirls and Cowboys in the West experience. 

This unique attraction provides a real taste of cowboy life through horseback riding tours on the beautiful plains surrounding Amarillo. 

Led by experienced guides, these tours take you through canyons and over prairies, offering breathtaking views and a chance to see wildlife. 

The guides also share stories about the history of cowboys and cowgirls in the area which makes the ride both educational and exciting. 

You can also enjoy chuckwagon meals, which are hearty, traditional cowboy dishes served outdoors just like in the old days.

Another must-visit site is the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, located just a short drive from Amarillo in Canyon, Texas. 

cmh2315fl / Flickr

This museum is the largest history museum in Texas and is packed with exhibits that cover the area’s history from dinosaurs to pioneer days to the oil boom. 

The museum has extensive displays on the cowboy and ranching history of the Texas Panhandle, including authentic cowboy gear, old firearms and Native American artifacts. 

It provides a comprehensive look at how the region developed and the people who shaped its history.

cmh2315fl / Flickr

For those interested in seeing more of cowboy culture, Amarillo also hosts various rodeos throughout the year. 

These events are perfect for watching cowboys and cowgirls show off their skills in roping, riding and other rodeo activities. 

It’s a thrilling experience that captures the daring and skillful spirit of the cowboy!

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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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