Small Towns in Texas – Exploring and Discovering Treasures

Small Towns in Texas — One of our favorites aspects of RV Life is exploring small towns, and we discovered some great ones in Texas. We’ve traveled through Texas several times in our first year as RV Nomads. Considering that three major interstates (I-10, I-20, and I-40) run east and west through the state of Texas, chances are, if you’re traveling in an RV around the country, you’ll be passing through the state at some point. In our first year we passed through Texas three times !!

Motorhome with bluebonnets

A quick note about Texas rest areas

Did you know that Texas has the most roadways of all states in the country? With fatigued driving being a major contributor to traffic accidents, the Texas DOT has made a huge commitment to addressing this hazard by providing attractive and freshly updated safety rest areas in strategic locations to entice drivers to stop and rest. These rest areas incorporate many green, eco-friendly building practices and have numerous amenities including super clean and modern bathrooms, great interpretive exhibits of features and attractions in that area of Texas, and inviting playgrounds for the kids. In addition, overnight parking is permitted (less than 24 hours and don’t set up camp). Take a look at this website to get more information on locations and features of these fantastic rest areas.

Big cities get lots the attention

The big cities of Dallas Ft Worth, San Antonio, and Houston get a lot of attention and traffic, and the capital city of Austin is of course well known for it’s music venues, music scene, and for just generally being weird.  We spent a quick day in Austin checking out the South Congress Street area which has lots of eateries, shops, and music venues and then escaped the heat by touring the state capital building.  We even checked out the town of Waco – which of course is well-known for being the hometown of Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTVs Fixer Upper.

Fun in Waco and Austin

But Hey ! — Some of our favorite places in Texas are the quaint small towns scattered throughout the state. We love small towns in general, and Texas has countless to choose from. A few of our favorites are the towns of Brenham, Seguin, and New Braunfels – specifically the Gruene historical district.

Three of our favorite small towns in Texas

Brenham is in the heart of the bluebonnet region. It has a walkable historic downtown square with charming shops, unique restaurants, local coffee shop, and independent book store. There are dramatic murals sprinkled around town, and the county courthouse is a great example of art deco architecture.

small towns in texas - scenes from Brenham

We loved exploring Sequin with our great friends Phil and Stacy from You, Me & the RV and had a great lunch with them at a restaurant established in a historic power plant right on the river. This small town claims that they are the home of the World’s Largest Pecan and is in the early stages of revitalizing their historic downtown area. There’s a lovely park in off the town square and a nice coffee shop.

small towns in texas - scenes from Seguin

New Braunfels and the historic district of Gruene are wonderful examples of the many small towns in Texas that were established by Germans. That heritage is evident in the numerous eateries around town featuring German and Old World cuisine. We had a wonderful German dinner at the Alpine Haus Restaurant and walked down the street for dessert at Naegillin’s bakery which has been in business since 1868. If you’re in the area, be sure to explore the historic district of Gruene. There are a couple of wineries, cool restaurants, and several music venues with outdoor listening areas, and it reminded us of a mini Austin.

small towns in texas - scenes from New Braunfels Gruene

How to find cool things to do in small towns in Texas or any other state

Those are just a few examples, and there are countless other great small towns in Texas to visit.  One question we get asked sometimes is how do we discover things to do in our travels?  Of course, like everyone we start with Google, but over our years of traveling, I have developed a short list of specific things I search for that generally results in us discovering some really cool experiences.  I always do a search in the area for coffee shops, book stores, wineries, and breweries.  I focus on establishments that are hyper local, not part of a large business chain, and located in a walkable area of town with other local business.    Sometimes, I’ll supplement that search by looking on Facebook and other event websites for local events near us.  Of course, while I’m searching, I’ll look at pictures and reviews on Google and various other sites, but I don’t spend a ton of time doing that.  It’s really no big deal if it ends up being disappointing, and most of the time we end up having a great time. Our two favorite local discoveries in Texas were a harvest festival at a local pecan farm and learning that Texas has a plethora of wineries scattered throughout the state.

small towns in texas - scenes from pecan harvest and wineries

We had some great times in Texas but spending time in Texas just made us realize that we’ve only scratched the surface and that there’s so much more to do.  We know we want to spend time in the Hill Country, Big Bend National Park, and the Gulf Coast area. 

Tell us about your recommendations and your favorite places in Texas in the comments below. 

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If you’re looking for RV parks for exploring small towns in Texas, we’ve done campground reviews of several parks, and here are links to those: Thousand Trails Lake Texoma, Gordonsville; Thousand Trails Bay Landing, Bridgeport; Ole Towne Cotton Gin, Quanah; Pecan Haven RV Campground, Caldwell

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