18 Essential Texas Bucket List Activities & Food

Updated

Hopefully, you appreciate how difficult it is to come up with a list of bucket list activities (and food!) for the state of Texas. After all, Texas is like a whole other country. Besides being so geographically large, it is also highly diverse. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

We have done our best. However, please forgive us if your favorite Texas activity didn’t make our list, but feel free to create your own! Here we go!

Texas Bucket List Trip Destinations

If you are creating a travel bucket list that includes locations in the U.S., then surely you want to visit the Lonestar State. Texas stands apart from most other states, and perhaps no other Americans love their state more than Texans do. 

Here are just a few of the items to include on your bucket list if you are headed to Texas. 

1. Attend a Texas rodeo

There are rodeos in other states. However, if you are a visitor to Texas, you should experience some part of the cowboy culture. The competitive rodeo season typically runs from spring through fall, so search for the closest rodeo near you when traveling in the Lone Star State. 

Are you having trouble fitting in a rodeo in your jam-packed travel schedule? Then how about paying homage to the American cowboy by dressing like one? Buy some boots and a hat at the beginning of your trip. Then, wear them to a country (and western!) bar, so you will look authentic while two-stepping or boot-scootin’. 

2. Remember the Alamo 

It’s challenging to understand Texas’ complex history. Yes, Texas was once its own country called The Republic of Texas. However, it’s also true that four countries claimed all or parts of Texas before it became a state (France, Spain, Mexico, and the Confederacy during the Civil War).

You can learn more about the Battle of the Alamo, which was fought between the Republic of Texas and Mexico in 1836, by taking a guided tour of this historic site. You’ll learn what the phrase “remember the Alamo” means to Texans when you visit this beautiful location located in the heart of San Antonio. 

The Riverwalk in San Antonio is impressive any time of year, but it is a lot of fun to visit over the holidays. 

3. Visit the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Although many historically significant events occurred in Texas, we feel that John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas ranks as one of the most significant. Learn more about that horrible day in November by visiting the Dallas Schoolbook Depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald fired shots to assassinate the president. 

Those into the conspiracy theories won’t be disappointed when visiting the Sixth Floor Museum. You’ll see exhibitions about each theory. You’ll also be able to look out the window where Oswald fired the shots in 1963. 

Outdoor Activity, Hike, and Adventure Bucket List Ideas for Texas

Maybe cowboy culture isn’t your scene, and history doesn’t interest you. Don’t worry – Texas is a great place to visit for outdoor adventurists. 

4. Go to Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is one of two located in Texas. Situated on the Mexican border, this park doesn’t get many visitors, which is one benefit for making the journey there.

Big Bend National Park is great for hiking and biking, and it includes the entire Chisos mountain range and part of the Chihuahuan Desert. Visitors will also see the Santa Elena Canyon, which the Rio Grande carved. 

5. Climb Enchanted Rock 

If you find yourself needing to burn off some of the calories you drank when visiting Texas Hill Country, you might want to climb Enchanted Rock. This massive pink granite dome magically rises above the central Texas landscape. The area is also popular with stargazers and picnickers.

6. Go deep-sea fishing off Port A Beach

Port “A” or Port Aransas Beach is a popular destination for spring breakers. While the beach scene is undoubtedly popular, watch out for jellyfish when you are out in the water. Adventurers might also enjoy hiring a charter for deep-sea fishing.

Spring and Summer Texas Bucket List Ideas

You probably aren’t surprised to learn that it gets hot in Texas during the summer. We will not insult you by describing the heat as “dry” – making it more habitable. Doing outdoor activities when the temperature is that high is miserable no matter the humidity. However, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy while visiting the state in the spring and summer. Here are a few.

7. Float the San Marcos River

Are you looking for a relaxing summer activity to enjoy with friends? There are dozens of tour companies specializing in organizing a float down the San Marcos River. They will provide the tubes and the transportation, but not the beer. 

8. Take a dip in a swimming hole

Of course, there are plenty of pools in Texas, but wouldn’t you rather splash around in a swimming hole? Ask a local about their favorite swimming hole location. 

9. Go bat watching

In the midst of a big city such as Austin, we love that you can watch thousands of bats come out from under Congress Bridge just after sundown. But, be aware that the bats aren’t on your schedule, and the time varies each night. Also, rest easy knowing that the bats won’t swarm you as they leave their nests. 

Fall and Winter Texas Bucket List Ideas

There’s a reason that the population of Texas increases over the winter months. Retired northerners enjoy wintering in Texas because of the moderate temperatures enjoyed along the coast.

Here are some other fall and winter activities to enjoy while visiting Texas. 

10. Attend the Austin City Limits Festival

The ACL Festival is undoubtedly on your bucket list if you are a music lover. This event is typically scheduled over two weekends during October and features several stages of up-and-coming and established music acts that you are sure to enjoy. The festival is well organized and features excellent food and drinks. 

Of course, don’t miss the SXSW festival in Austin each March. This unique festival has many facets, including music, films, arts, and tech.

11. Work at a Dude Ranch

Would you like to take a break from your mundane life? Learn what it feels like to be a Texas cowboy by purchasing an experience at a Texas Dude Ranch. There are ranches for every skill level and lifestyle. Some have a spa-like atmosphere. You might also consider a Texas ranch as a location for your next family reunion.

12. Visit NASA

Perhaps you don’t dream of the cowboy lifestyle but instead, view yourself as a want-to-be astronaut. If that’s the case, visit the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. As you can imagine, there are a lot of special events and exploration camps at this facility. 

Bucket List Foods and Restaurants in Texas

People get grumpy when you try to come up with a list of the best foods, restaurants, or drinks in a given area. For that reason, let us apologize in advance for this woefully short list of bucket list foods from Texas. 

13. Visit wineries, breweries, and distilleries in Texas Hill Country

Fredericksburg and surrounding communities have become popular locations for wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Because many of them are within throwing distance from each other, you can hire tour companies to drive you to each location – making it easier to have samples at each stop. 

14. Enjoy Texas BBQ

As a Kansas Citian, I feel as if I am a traitor by suggesting that you eat BBQ when you visit Texas. However, Texans know a thing or two about 'cue. 

Franklin’s BBQ in Austin and Pecan Lodge in Dallas are popular locations, but talk with locals to find the best BBQ joint near you. Be advised that you will have to wait in line at some of the more popular restaurants, so arrive early. 

15. Eat at Whataburger

Until recently, Whataburger only had locations in Texas. If the fast-food chain hasn’t made it to your neighborhood, you might consider visiting one while on vacation in Texas. 

Austin, Texas Bucket List Ideas

We’ve already listed the SXSW Festival, ACL Festival, and the Congress Street bats on our list, but there’s a lot more to do when visiting Austin. So here are some activities to enjoy when staying in the Texas capital.

16. Go on a mural tour

Austin has a thriving art community and a fun-loving spirit. There are a lot of murals throughout the city that are the perfect backdrop for taking selfies. 

For a more relaxed outing, consider hiring a company to take you on a mural tour. You’ll learn more about the city, its art scene, and get tips on the restaurants and nightlife from your tour guide and driver. 

17. Visit the Texas State Capitol

The capitol building in Austin is an impressive building and free to visit. Pink granite quarried in the state was used to construct the building.

18. Take a pic overlooking the 360 Bridge

Locals often tout the 360 Bridge as one of the best urban scenic locations. Officially called the Percy V. Pennybacker Jr. Bridge, it connects the northern and southern sections of the Loop 360 highway. 

What’s On Your Bucket List?

Have we inspired you to create your own bucket list? Learn how, and then start checking off the items one by one. 

Some people create separate bucket lists. For example, you might have one for travel destinations and another for things you wish to accomplish. So whether you are adventure-driven or want to memorize the books of the Bible or the Presidents in order, get started on your list today!

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