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16 Historic Sites in Texas That Tell the Story of the Lone Star State

Texas has a rich history and there’s a lot of historic sites to see all over the state.

In this post we uncover 16 places that tell the story of Texas in one way or another.

From natural history and prehistoric sites, to recent wars and and presidents, this post has something for every type of history enthusiast.

texas historic places google maps graphic

Use the numbers on the map to help you skip to the places in this post that interest you the most.

1. Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum

The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, located in Canyon, is the largest history museum in Texas. 

It offers extensive exhibits on the history, culture, and natural history of the Panhandle-Plains region. 

Visitors can explore displays on pioneer life, Native American artifacts, the oil industry, and more. 

The museum’s vast collection includes everything from prehistoric fossils to classic art. 

It has over 3 million artifacts!

It provides a comprehensive look at the diverse heritage of this region, making it an essential stop for anyone interested in learning about the rich history of the Texas Panhandle.

2. Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, is home to the highest peak in Texas, Guadalupe Peak which formed over 250 million years ago!

guadalupe mountains national park

This park preserves the rugged landscape and rich cultural history of the region. 

Visitors can hike through scenic trails, explore the diverse flora and fauna, and see remnants of early ranching and mining activities. 

The park also features the historic Frijole Ranch, which offers a glimpse into the pioneer life of the late 1800s. 

The ranch itself was built around 1876 and it was listed on the National Register Of Historic Places in 1978.

3. Fort Davis National Historic Site

Fort Davis National Historic Site is a well-preserved frontier military post in Fort Davis, Texas. 

Fort Davis National Historic Site

This site protected settlers, mail coaches, and freight wagons on the Trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio-El Paso Road. 

Visitors can explore restored buildings and ruins that offer a glimpse into military life in the late 1800s. 

Fort Davis National Historic Site

The site includes barracks, officer’s quarters, a hospital, and more. 

Fort Davis also has a visitor center with exhibits and films about the fort’s history and the role it played in protecting the western frontier.

4. Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site

Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site near Comstock is known for its remarkable rock art created by prehistoric peoples dating as far back as around 7,000 BC.

seminole canyon

Visitors can hike through the canyon and view the pictographs, which provide a unique glimpse into the region’s ancient cultures. 

The park also offers stunning landscapes and opportunities for camping, hiking, and bird watching. 

The visitor center features exhibits on the canyon’s history and archaeology, to help you take in as much knowledge as possible.

5. Dinosaur Valley State Park

Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose is renowned for its well-preserved dinosaur tracks along the Paluxy River, dating back to the Cretaceous Period. 

Visitors can see these ancient footprints and imagine the giants that once roamed the area. 

The park offers several hiking trails, camping sites, and opportunities for bird watching and picnicking. 

Additionally, there are replicas of dinosaur skeletons, adding to the experience. 

The visitor center provides information on the geology and paleontology of the area and it’s a perfect place to bring the kids to learn more about dinosaurs.

Dinosaur Valley State Park is a fascinating destination that combines natural beauty with a unique glimpse into prehistoric life.

6. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas is located in the former Texas School Book Depository. 

sixth floor museum dealey plaza

This museum chronicles the life, death, and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. 

Visitors can see exhibits that detail the events of November 22, 1963, including photographs, films, and artifacts. 

The museum also explores the investigations that followed Kennedy’s death and its impact on the nation. 

The location itself provides a powerful connection to this significant moment in American history.

7. Nacogdoches – The Oldest Town

Nacogdoches, known as the oldest town in Texas, is home to several historic sites that offer a glimpse into its rich past. 

The Old Stone Fort Museum chronicles the area’s history from Spanish colonization to the Texas Revolution. 

Millard’s Crossing Historic Village is a reconstructed 19th-century village that showcases historic buildings and artifacts. 

The Sterne-Hoya House Museum, dating back to 1830, provides insights into early Texan life. 

These sites collectively help tell the story of Nacogdoches’s role in the development of Texas, making it a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts.

8. San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site

The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site marks the spot of the decisive 18 minute battle of the Texas Revolution. 

san jacinto monument

Here, General Sam Houston’s forces defeated the Mexican army, securing Texas’s independence. 

The site features the towering San Jacinto Monument, which is one of the world’s tallest war memorials and is actually slightly taller than the Washington Monument.

There is also a museum that offers exhibits on the battle and the broader context of the Texas Revolution. 

Make sure to check the events calendar so you don’t miss cool events like the cannon demonstrations.

9. San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site

San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site is located in San Felipe and was the social, economic, and political center of the early Anglo-American colonization of Texas. 

This site was founded by Stephen F. Austin, known as the “Father of Texas.” 

Visitors can explore the museum and reconstructed townsite, which provide insight into the early settler community and its development. 

The site also highlights the challenges and achievements of the colonists as they established a foothold in Texas. 

It’s an educational destination that tells the story of Texas’s beginnings.

10. Texas State Capitol

The Texas State Capitol in Austin is a grand building that symbolizes Texas’s rich political history.

texas state capitol

Completed in 1888, it is larger than the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. 

Visitors can tour the stunning architecture, including the rotunda, legislative chambers, and the grounds. 

The Capitol offers guided tours that delve into the state’s legislative processes, historic events, and notable figures who have shaped Texas. 

texas state capitol

The building itself, with its impressive dome and beautifully landscaped grounds, is a landmark that showcases the state’s pride and heritage.

11. The Driskill Hotel

The Driskill Hotel, located in downtown Austin, was built in 1886 and is one of Texas’s most historic and luxurious hotels. 

Over the years, it has hosted numerous famous guests and significant political events. 

The hotel’s elegant architecture and opulent interiors reflect its storied past. 

It’s also reputed to be one of the most haunted hotels in Texas, adding to its allure and mystique. 

Visitors can enjoy a stay or simply tour the lobby and public areas to soak in the history and ambiance of this iconic Texan landmark.

Related Reading: The 13 Most Haunted Places In Texas

12. LBJ Presidential Library

The LBJ Presidential Library, located in Austin, is dedicated to the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson. 

This library and museum offer exhibits on Johnson’s presidency, including his work on civil rights legislation, the Vietnam War, and the Great Society programs.

Visitors can see artifacts, photographs, and documents that provide insight into Johnson’s life and career. 

The library also features a replica of the Oval Office as it appeared during his presidency, giving visitors a sense of what it was like to be in the White House during that era.

13. Mission San José

Mission San José, part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, is known as the “Queen of the Missions.” 

mission san jose texas

This mission was established in 1720 and offers insight into the Spanish colonial era and mission life. 

Visitors can explore the church, granary, and living quarters, which have been beautifully restored. 

The mission also has a visitor center with exhibits about the mission’s history and its role in the community. 

mission san jose texas

The grounds include lovely gardens and an impressive stone wall with arches, making it a picturesque and educational destination.

To find out more about the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park check out the post linked below:

14. The Alamo

The Alamo is perhaps the most famous historic site in Texas. 

This former mission and battle site is where Texan defenders made their last stand against the Mexican army in 1836. 

It’s a symbol of Texan independence and heroism. 

Visitors can tour the old mission, see artifacts from the battle, and learn about the history of the Texas Revolution. 

The Alamo also has a beautiful garden and a museum that provides a deeper understanding of this pivotal moment in Texas history.

15. Goliad State Park & Historic Site

Goliad State Park & Historic Site is home to two significant historical landmarks: Mission Espíritu Santo and the Presidio La Bahía. 

These sites played key roles in Texas history, including during the Texas Revolution. 

The mission and presidio have been carefully restored, allowing visitors to step back in time and experience early Texan and Spanish colonial life. 

The park also commemorates the Goliad Massacre, an important and tragic event during the Texas Revolution. 

With its rich history and beautiful surroundings, Goliad State Park is an often overshadowed but underrated historic site in Texas. 

16. Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park

Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park near Brownsville marks the site of the first major battle of the Mexican-American War in 1846. 

This conflict was crucial in shaping the boundaries and future of both the United States and Mexico. 

Visitors to the park can explore the battlefield and learn about the events leading up to and following the battle. 

The visitor center features exhibits, artifacts, and educational films that provide a comprehensive understanding of this significant historical event and its impact on North American history.

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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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