Texas

23 Best Small Towns In Texas That You Need To Visit

“I need to tell you a secret,” I say, asking you to lean in closer. “I have an obsession with small towns in Texas.”

You look at me, wide-eyed. Then, you begin to smile. Your hands grip your stomach as a small chuckle fires into a full-bellied, drink flying up nostrils laugh.

I laugh too. It’s no secret that I love small towns.

Sprinkled in southern charm, baked in history, and filled with sweet shopping outlets, my favorite small towns in Texas are all heart. These quiet and cozy hamlets, perfect for a girl’s getaway, are all part of my weekend go-to list.

So if you’re planning a trip to the Lone Star State, here are 23 of the best small towns in Texas you need to visit.

10 Historic Small Towns In Texas You Need To Visit

pocket guide canton tx storefrontCanton

Canton hosts the largest and oldest flea market in the United States. First Monday trade days draw a huge weekend crowd each month, and it’s easy to see why. Booming with markets carrying vintage goods, Canton transforms, once a month, into a Saturday buzz.

Canton Summary:
  • Population: < 4000
  • Attractions: First Monday Trade Days
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer

Read More: Things To Do In Texas’ Flea Market Capital – Where To Eat, Shop, And Stroll

Canyon

Canyon is a cute small town next to Amarillo, Texas. Amidst farmland, rusty pick up trucks, and worn signs is a major attraction – Palo Duro Canyon. The second largest canyon in the United States, Palo Duro Canyon is a multi-colored spectacle formed by intense water erosion. The 15,000 years of history, from early Native American settlers to European colonizers, are locked within its historic cliffs.

Canyon Summary:
  • Population: 15,000
  • Attractions: Palo Duro Canyon, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
  • Best Time To Visit: Spring, Summer

Read More: 10 Gorgeous Pictures Of Palo Duro Canyon That Will Make You Want To Visit Right Now

Celina

Of all the best small towns in Texas, Celina is one of the most quiet. The quiet stems from simplicity. There isn’t much to do in Celina apart from lounge around and drink wine. But you’ll love it all the same.

Celina Summary:
  • Population: <10000
  • Attractions: Pickens Lake, Farm Museum, Caudalie Crest
  • Best Time To Visit: Spring, Summer

Denton

From a little chapel in the woods to a gorgeous marble-floored library, Denton is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Though to be honest, I always visit for Boca 31, a hole-in-the-wall Latin American flare restaurant that serves sweet and savory Al Pastor tacos.

Denton Summary:
  • Population: 136,268 (I know the city is large but it feels like a small town – that still counts, right?)
  • Attractions: Live Music, Blagg-Huey Library, Holiday Lights Festival
  • Best Time To Visit: Winter

Glen Rose

You have to cross the Palauxy River during your Dinosaur Valley State Park hiking tripGlen Rose’s history predates the dawn of people. If you’re a Jurassic Park fan, this town is a must-see. Visit Dinosaur Valley State Park. After all, dinosaurs once roamed the lush, green forest surrounding the Palauxy River. And today, their deep Sasquatch prints are still embedded into the mud.

Glen Rose Summary:
  • Population: < 3000
  • Attractions: Dinosaur Valley State Park, Fossil Rim, Big Rocks Park
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer, Fall

Read More: Dinosaur Valley State Park Hiking Guide

Gruene

A former cotton cash crop reliant town, Gruene has now settled into its natural charm. Here you’ll find a dance hall set in an old-school building, vintage shops, and quaint local eateries.

Gruene Summary:
  • Population: < 2000
  • Attractions: Antique Shops, Historic District
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer

Nacogdoches

With a train depot, scattered mural art, and Victorian style architecture, Nacogdoches is a bit of a time warp. A little to the east and surrounded by tall deciduous trees, this is easily the best town in Texas to catch the fall colors.

Nacogdoches Summary:
  • Population: 33,000
  • Attractions: Zip Line, Stone Fort Museum, SFA Plantery
  • Best Time To Visit: Fall

Terrell

Terrell Texas has many gorgeous murals and you need to see them as one of the things to do in Terrell, TexasOne of the most underrated small towns in Texas, Terrell’s American roots are sown into the town’s architecture, stories, and museums. From local cafes to a cute neighborhood bookstore, this Kaufman County gem has me head-over-heels in love.

Terrell Summary:
  • Population: 20,000
  • Attractions: No. 1 BFTS Museum, Ben Gill Park, Terrell Heritage Museum
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer

Read More: Things To Do In Terrell, Texas – Where To Eat, Shop, and Stroll. 

Weatherford

As a die-hard fan of Rosemary & Thyme (I’ve watched the series six times through), I had to visit Weatherford. The idea of dreamy, British gardens peppered in one flat-land town was too good to be true. Of course, Weatherford is everything I imagined it would be and more.

Weatherford Summary:
  • Population: 31,000
  • Attractions: Chandor Gardens, Doss Heritage and Cultural Center
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer

Read More: Things To Do In Weatherford, Texas – Where To Eat, Shop, And Stroll

West

This town, once simply known as Dallas to Austin road trip stopover, is quickly gaining popularity by foodies. If you’re craving Eastern European treats, look no further than Czech Stop in West, Texas.

West Summary:
  • Population: 3000
  • Attractions: Czech Stop, Gerik’s Ole Czech Bakery & Deli
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer

Read More: The Perfect Dallas To Austin Road Trip – Top Places To Stop During Your Drive

5 Coastal Small Towns In Texas You Can’t Miss

Galveston

Probably the most recognizable name on this list, Galveston is a popular summer stop in Texas. If you love sandy stretches and drive up beaches, this small town makes the perfect weekend getaway.

Galveston Summary:
  • Population: 50000
  • Attractions: Moody Gardens, Bishop’s Palace, Strand Historic District
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer

Rockport

Dotted with fishing piers, Rockport is a marine town known for its laid back vibe. Unlike most coastal towns in Texas, Rockport plays a historic angle.

Rockport Summary:
  • Population: 10000
  • Attractions: Rockport Beach, Fulton Mansion
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer

Corpus Christi

Located on the Gulf of Mexico, this naval base draws huge crowds. But Corpus Christi isn’t a sit in the sand, toes in the water style beach. More commercial and developed, Corpus Christi is perfect for beach-lovers who are looking to branch out from standard beach trips.

Corpus Christi Summary:
  • Population: 325000 (most of this population resides in the metropolitan area, not the coastal area)
  • Attractions: USS Lexington, Harbor Bridge
  • Best Time To Visit: Fall

South Padre

Known as a college spring break destination, South Padre’s reputation drowns in wild, party rumors. But after digging deep and finding PG activities hidden within the small town, I was sold on the idea of spending a relaxing weekend there.

South Padre Summary:
  • Population: 3000
  • Attractions: Bird Watching, Largest Outdoor Sand Castles
  • Best Time To Visit: Fall

Port Isabel

Port Isabel is a colorful small town in Texas. Known for its 75 stair lighthouse and historic museums, Port Isabel is a mix of historic and picture-perfect.

Port Isabel Summary:
  • Population: 5000
  • Attractions: Lighthouse, Historic Museum
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer

8 Quaint Small Towns In Texas That Are Too Charming For Words

Ennis

Ennis, Texas is a small town with a big Czech heritage. At a surface level, Ennis looks like every other small town but during the spring, every field is ridden in bluebonnets. The grassy lawns turn into oceans of blue. The dry landscape revives with a painting-worthy energy.

Ennis Summary:
  • Population: 20000
  • Attractions: Bluebonnets, Ennis Railroad & Cultural Heritage Museum
  • Best Time To Visit: Spring

Read More: Best Places To See Bluebonnets In Ennis, Texas

Fredericksburg

If you’re a mom and pop shop lover, Fredericksburg is hands-down one of the best small towns in Texas. And for some reason, Fredericksburg reminds me of a larger, more fleshed out version of McKinney Town Square.

Fredericksburg Summary:
  • Population: 11000
  • Attractions: Antique Stores, Pioneer Museum
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer, Fall

Granbury

Things To Do In Granbury Texas FeaturedGranbury sits at the crossroads of old and new. With a pep in its step, Granbury is a one-of-a-kind town (and easily my favorite in Texas). There are a lot of small towns that are easy to exhaust in one day.Granbury is not one of those towns. Stay here a week and you’ll find something new every single minute. Serving twenty-first century experiences in a richly historic backdrop, Granbury reimagines the stereotypical notions of a small town.

Granbury Summary:
  • Population: 10000
  • Attractions: Lake Granbury, Doll Museum, Granbury Opera House
  • Best Time To Visit: Spring, Summer

Read More: Top 11 Things To Do In Granbury – Where To Eat, Stay, and Stroll

Grapevine

Winter Wonderland at the Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel & Conference Center

The Gaylord Hotel transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season.

Known as the Christmas capital of Texas, Grapevine definitely takes the holidays seriously. In the winter, lights string the historic district. The mall is decorated in wreaths and giant red bows. Nativity scenes proudly sit on the yards of every other home.

Grapevine Summary:
  • Population: 54000
  • Attractions: Gaylord Texas Resort Hotel, Historic Main Street District
  • Best Time To Visit: Spring, Summer

Read More: Suite Experience: Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel Review (This Place Takes Christmas Extravagance To Another Level)

Little Elm

Pocket Guide to Little Elm TX - Little Elm Beach 3For a town with a tiny population, Little Elm gets crowded quickly at night. When the sun sets, the locals (and visitors from nearby towns) all flock to Little Elm Beach, a manmade mix of water and sand that sings a coastal tune.

Little Elm Summary:
  • Population: 46000
  • Attractions: Little Elm Beach
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer

Read More: Things To Do In Little Elm, Texas – Where To Eat, Stay, And Stroll

Marfa

I haven’t had a chance to visit Marfa yet but I’m in love with the idea of this small town. Glamping tents, fine art installations, and celebrity-worthy hotels, Marfa’s most popular attractions make it an elegant boho-escape.

Marfa Summary:
  • Population: 2000
  • Attractions: Chinati Foundation, Marfa Lights, Cobra Rock Boot Company
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer

Rockwall

Path leading up to the lighthouse at Rockwall HarborRockwall is wrapped in East Coast beach vibes. With quirky restaurants, spas, a romantic trail, and a charming theater, this Texas small town is perfect for couples looking for a quick getaway.

Rockwall Summary:
  • Population: 45000
  • Attractions: Lighthouse, Boardwalk, Seafood Eateries
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer

Read More: Guide To Visiting Rockwall Harbor – Where To Eat, Shop, And Stroll

Terlingua

Terlingua is the town for off-road adventures. A short distance from Big Bend National Park, Terlingua is raw, slightly off-the-grid, and wild.

Terlingua Summary:
  • Population: 58
  • Attractions: Santa Elena Canyon, Luna’s Jacal
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer

Wimberly

The last small town on this list is an Austin resident favorite. Wimberly is a quiet oasis filled with hidden nooks and crannies. Exploring Wimberly is like winding through a maze of quirky attractions, each equally weird and wonderful.

Wimberly Summary:
  • Population: 3000
  • Attractions: Blue Hole Regional Park, Jacob’s Well
  • Best Time To Visit: Summer

Did you enjoy this post on the best small towns in Texas? What are your favorite small towns in Texas? Let me know in the comments below. 

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Cruise Writer
    November 7, 2018 at 7:18 PM

    Of those small towns in Texas, I can say that I have been to Canyon. Recently visited Palo Duro and can heartily recommend it. It was totally surprising to see the canyon in what seemed like the middle of nowhere.

  • Reply
    Jimmy
    November 8, 2018 at 4:08 PM

    I looked up more about Wimberly and I think this one would be my favorite to check out.! They have a wooded area with a swimming hole that looks excellent- Blue Hole Regional Park. I find myself wanting to break up big city visits with small towns more and more these days.

  • Reply
    Danijela
    November 9, 2018 at 7:16 AM

    Didn’t know that the Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest in United States. I don’t know much about Texas all together to be honest, but that’s why it’s so lovely when I stumble upon posts like yours.
    Weatherford sure looks like a place to visit, would love to find out more and stroll around the garden.

  • Reply
    Nastja Novak
    November 9, 2018 at 3:43 PM

    That’s quite some list. I’ve never heard of most of these towns. You got me sold with these beautiful photos. The first one is just wow. Such nice flowers!

  • Reply
    maitri
    November 10, 2018 at 11:56 PM

    The list of coastal towns are very useful. Apart from that I have always been wanted to visit Canyon. Much informed post. Very helpful!!

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