Sure, ropes, spurs, steeds and steers may have played a part in the shaping of the Lone Star State, but these days you’ll find Texas a much more modern place. Mostly. If you know where to look, you just might find that your Texas vacation morphs into something a little more epic, more historic, than you were expecting. But let it be said: the best place to enjoy an overall introduction to long, tall Texas tales, all true, is at The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin.
As you’ll probably have learned at the aforementioned museum, one of the most famous historic attractions in Texas is, of course, the Alamo, preserved as part of a small complex in downtown San Antonio. On select days in summer you can even catch living history presentations, complete with period costumes and weapons demonstrations. If this historic mission puts you of a mind to see more you’ll certainly want to expand your horizons with a trips to sites part of the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park.
An easy way to make manageable an otherwise expansive list of historic homes, museums, battlefields and such is to focus on those that, like the San Antonio Missions, made the official list of national historic sites and monuments. For example, you can get a glimpse of frontier life exploring an old military outpost preserved as the Fort Davis National National Historic Site, or travel even further back in time with a tour of the intriguing flint quarries (a major source for prehistoric arrowheads) at Alibates, a national monument.
In the last few years, the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, once an important link between Texas and Mexico, was upgraded officially to the rank of national historic trail. There are a number of historic sites located along the stretch of trail that runs through Texas, most of them in the El Paso area; stop by the City of El Paso Museum of History for a more thorough introduction to the region.
And finally, if you’re the sort to go a little gaga over historic homes, Galveston should go to the top of your to-do this. Here, a look around is a fine way to hit local highlights, including historic landmark, Bishop’s Palace, but be sure to also leave time also for a historic harbor tour.
There are, of course, many more historic sites in the Lone Star State to see, but with this manageable short list your Texas vacation will still allow for plenty of time to enjoy the other things for which this southwestern state is beloved, from beaches and rodeos to culture-rich urban centers.