Texas is as diverse as it is vast.
From the cosmopolitan allure of Dallas to the historic charm of San Antonio and the sun-kissed coastlines of the south, there’s plenty to explore in this iconic state. Travelers love the attractions, the live music echoing in the streets, the tantalizing scents of local dishes and the vibrant stories of each unique destination.
Embark on a north-to-south journey through the Lone Star State, where groups can weave tales of adventure, discovery and memories to last a lifetime.
Anchoring the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, the city of Dallas pulsates with energy. Music lovers will be drawn to its rich live music scene, while foodies will love the culinary scene and the tantalizing flavors of Tex-Mex.
“If you’re coming to Dallas, the official home of the frozen margarita, between Cinco de Mayo and Día de los Muertos, you don’t want to miss out on the Margarita Mile,” said Zane Harrington, director of communications at Visit Dallas. Visitors (including groups) receive a free, curated pass directly to their smartphone via text/email and can start exploring immediately, enjoying craft margaritas and earning cool swag along the way.
Groups interested in art have plenty to explore here as well.
“Dallas is home to the largest urban arts district in the country, with an impressive lineup of world-renowned museums, such as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Crow Museum of Asian Art,” said Harrington.
No visit to Dallas is complete without experiencing the Texas State Fair in October and a visit to the iconic Geo-Deck at Reunion Tower with its 360-degree views over the city. “Add a small champagne toast from the bar, and a group is all set for a perfect experience,” Harrington said.
Nearby, day trips to Arlington and Fort Worth offer extended adventures, from marveling at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, home of the Dallas Cowboys and the world’s largest domed structure, to exploring the historic Stockyards and cowboy culture in Fort Worth.
Walking through Waco is a stroll down memory lane, a place where visitors can enjoy a charming blend of old-world architecture with modern-day vibrancy.
A group tour to Texas isn’t complete without a stop at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco.
“Our tourism counselors recommend a guided tour for groups to get the most out of their visit,” said Susan Morton, tourism manager at the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Exhibits include the history of the Texas Rangers, artifacts and artwork related to the Rangers, both real and in pop culture.” Contact museum staff to get the group rate and schedule your guided tour.
While in town, Morton also recommends a visit to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
“This museum is home to over 6,000 pieces of sports memorabilia and is the first hall of fame in the nation with memorabilia from each inductee,” said Morton.
The city is also the birthplace of Dr. Pepper and has a museum dedicated to the nation’s oldest major soft drink.
“We recommend a self-guided tour with a Dr. Pepper float in the old-time soda fountain,” Morton said, adding that group rates can be arranged through the advance booking form online.
The Waco Mammoth National Monument is home to the world’s largest nursery herd of Columbian mammoths, and groups can choose between a guided or a self-guided tour through this amazing paleontological dig site.
If you’re a fan of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, Morton recommends arranging a Historic/Fixer Upper Driving Tour, which takes your group on a scenic and historic driving tour.
“You’ll get a little Waco history and a chance to go by some of the houses featured on the Magnolia Network,” Morton said. The famous Magnolia Silos, also featured on the Magnolia Network, is another great group destination consisting of enclosed grounds featuring a bakery, food trucks, Katy Ballpark, Shops at the Silos, coffee shops and gardens.
Visitors can also tour the Armstrong Browning Library and Museum to discover thousands of items related to the Victorian poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the building’s stunning 62 stained-glass windows depicting the works of the poets. For some more local history, there’s also the Black Gospel Archive and Listening Center and the historical Earle-Napier-Kinnard House.
Groups looking for outdoor activities will enjoy hiking and biking at The Lake Waco Wetlands and Cameron Park.
“Fans of water sports will want to include rowing, paddle boarding or kayaking on the Brazos River and surfing at Waco Surf,” said Morton.
Austin, bathed in almost endless sunshine, is a blend of natural beauty and cultural vibrancy.
“Folks love to come to Austin for the food scene, but the live music scene and community are also thriving here,” said Wesley Lucas, director of communications at Visit Austin.
“We’re the live music capital of the world and have more than 240 live music venues across the city offering anything from country music to techno to rock and more.”
Nature lovers should explore the extensive Greenbelt, the 205 parks, and 14 nature preserves spread around the city and its surroundings. Adventure seekers can experience the rush of the Lake Davis zipline, paddle through the peaceful Barton Creek or visit Hamilton Pool, with its 45-foot waterfall concealed within a grotto.
“Austin’s a unique city where you have the hustle and bustle of downtown, but then steps away you’re in a beautiful oasis on a trail,” said Lucas, who recommends paddleboarding on Ladybird Lake or hiking up Mount Bonne for some great views of the Texas Hill Country.
At dusk, groups should head to Congress Avenue Bridge to see over 2 million Mexican free-tailed bats fly out and take over the sky.
“We call it the best free live show in Austin,” said Lucas.
For those with a penchant for history and science, the Neil Cochran House Museum and the Houston Museum of Natural Science are worth visiting. Both the Blanton Museum of Art and the Bullock State History Museum offer group tour opportunities, and groups can also tour the capitol.
“There are also walking tours of downtown,” said Lucas. “All of the Austin murals around town are worth checking out, and several tour operators offer tours for those. There’s also a breakfast taco tour, there’s a barbecue tour, a history biking tour — many options for groups looking to explore.”
San Antonio is a bustling city with quaint small-town vibes. Famous for historical sites like the Alamo and the Missions National Historical Park, San Antonio has a lot more to offer.
“San Antonio has many significant cultural attractions, including the San Antonio Museum of Art, Witte Museum, San Antonio Zoo, Japanese Tea Gardens, McNay Art Museum and San Antonio Botanical Garden,” said Dorah Benavidez, director of tourism development at Visit San Antonio. “Groups can also explore San Antonio’s eclectic neighborhoods, whether it’s a glassblowing workshop at Garcia Art Glass in Southtown or taking a bike tour of the colorful murals on the Westside.”
Benavidez pointed out that visitors shouldn’t miss a visit to Pearl.
“A former 1800s brewery just north of downtown, Pearl has been reimagined into a bustling neighborhood along the San Antonio River Walk, the largest urban ecosystem in the nation,” said Benavidez. For a deeper look into the area, Benavidez adds that the Downtown Reach offers al fresco dining, a classic San Antonio boat tour or dinner on the city’s fleet of electric river barges, plus lively shops and nightlife experiences.
There’s also the Natural Bridge Caverns, one of the largest show caves in the United States offering opportunities to explore underground chambers.
“Groups can follow a friendly guided tour along paved, lighted walkways in the amazing Discovery Tour or explore the newly opened Hidden Wonders Tour, complete with a sound and light show,” said Benavidez.
San Antonio is also widely recognized as a leading culinary destination. It has been designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, one of only two in the U.S. Foodie groups will love the hands-on classes taught by the chef-instructors at the Culinary Institute of America San Antonio.
“For a truly Texan culinary experience, groups can shuttle from San Antonio to one of several ranches or rodeo venues that serve up Western-style home cooking, such as Knibbe Ranch, Tejas Rodeo and Rio Cibolo Ranch, for culinary experiences ranging from campfire dinners and traditional Texas barbecue to superior steakhouses,” Benavidez said.
Nestled against the Gulf of Mexico, Corpus Christi offers a symphony of coastal experiences. Its sandy beaches — with Mustang Island State Park, McGee Beach and Whitecap Beach taking the top spots — stretch out invitingly to the sound of waves hitting the shore. Known as “America’s Birdiest City,” Corpus Christi also draws bird-watching enthusiasts keen to spot over 200 species during the spring migration.
Beyond the beaches and birds, the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History offers a deep dive into regional heritage, while the Selena Museum pays homage to the legendary Tejano singer.
“Corpus Christi has a unique flavor and vibe to it, and it’s home to world-renowned attractions like our iconic Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington Museum, also known as the only aircraft carrier in the world to have escape rooms on board,” said America Segura, public relations manager at Visit Corpus Christi.
“Something still quite undiscovered here would be Glow Row, a glow-in-the-dark kayaking experience out of North Padre Island and our gorgeous national park, the Padre Island National Seashore,” said Segura. “Spotting the wildlife underneath you as you sit on a clear kayak is definitely a thrill and a visitor favorite when discovered.” And if you visit Padre Island National Seashore between May and August, you might just catch a Kemps Ridley sea turtle release too.
As day transitions to night, local eateries serve fresh seafood, bringing the flavors of the deep blue ocean right to the table. Groups can even book a private shrimp boil and bonfire on the beach.
“The experience includes dinner and a fun setup inclusive of lounge chairs, a fire, Tiki torches and some beach games for your leisure,” said Segura.