It’s true that everything is bigger in Texas, but the Lone Star state also has little things to brag about, particularly the charming small towns scattered around the great state. From the home of the Dancing Marfa lights near Big Bend country to the lakeside towns on the east bordering Louisiana, here are five Texas small towns full of character and charm that are worth visiting.
Texas Small Towns
An abundance of Texas history is what draws the crowd in this relatively small town of Granbury, 35 miles southwest of Fort Worth. The town has deep connections to the state’s revolutionary past and is famously linked to some of the United States’ most infamous characters. The prominent Crockett family who decided to live around Granbury after the Texas Revolution has extended their influence within the town’s confines. Some of their descendants still call Granbury home up to this day. In addition to its historical connection, the city is also a well-known cultural spot offering visitors activities like Broadway productions in its historic opera house, haunted tours at the Hood County Jail and Museum, and plenty of locally owned shops and restaurants.
Denton is the northern part of the North Texas triangle and lies equidistant to both Dallas and Fort Worth. Technically a city, this compact college town with a population of just over 100k, is considered to be one of the best places to live in Texas. It has history and a lively arts and music culture largely due to the creative minds who decide to hone their skills at The University of North Texas’ distinguished arts and music programs. It is also because of that the atmosphere here remains more like a small town than a developing suburb. The historic and architecturally striking courthouse dominates its main square and is surrounded by boutique shops selling antiques and collectible items. Restaurants are a mixture of local favorites and fusion dives rather than chains and the nightlife is full of lively pubs featuring emerging artists as opposed to ear popping clubs.
Nestled in the vast and arid lands of west Texas, Marfa is a jeweled destination particularly for conspiracy theorists, nature lovers, and aspiring artists and writers. Consistently rated as one of the best Texas small towns, this town of 1,900 has some of the most diverse and unique experiences to offer any visitor. Its main draw is the mysterious Marfa lights, a set of unexplained nighttime lights circles that appear randomly out of nowhere. Some associate their existence as a result of supernatural causes despite recent scientific studies contradicting such claims. Fortunately, you won’t have to just sit and wait around for darkness to come because the town and its surrounding areas have plenty of other things to offer. Nature enthusiasts can take a day trip towards Big Bend National Park in West Texas, and hike the desert and high plateaus that separates Texas from Mexico. If you’re not feeling the drive, the town has a vibrant artistic atmosphere that can inspire the artist in you. Visit one of the local art galleries in and around the main square and discuss the interpretations of the work with the artists themselves.
There are many reasons why Fredericksburg is one of the most popular Texas small towns. First, it truly is your quintessential small town with a welcoming atmosphere, festivals of all kinds, and amusing shops and cafes. Second, it is a destination for viewing the lovely wild flower and lavender fields that the hill country of Texas is famous for. It is also a gateway for exploring the vineyards and wineries around the area. Third, it is only one of the few places in the country where German culture is celebrated with bravado. Some of town’s attractions include the National Museum of the Pacific War dedicated to naval hero and local son, Admiral Chester Nimitz, and several buildings associated with former President Lyndon B. Johnson that are listed under the National Register of Historic Places.
Named after the third President of the United States, Jefferson TX is universally known as the bed and breakfast capital of Texas. Located near the Texas and Louisiana border, it was once a bustling river port and referred to as the Queen of the Bayou. Today, it is a quaint small town littered with historic homes and buildings restored to its former 19th century glory. People visit Jefferson to admire the architecture and to become a part of the town’s story through one of its many historical re-enactments. Lake enthusiasts are also lured to Jefferson because of its proximity to Caddo Lake. Fishing, boating, tubing, and jet skiing are just some of the activities available for visitors to partake.