Texas is among the largest of the U.S states, with a fast-growing economy and a sprawling rural area. There are all kinds of ecosystems within this state; deserts, mountains, rivers, pine forests, and much more.
If you’re currently visiting the Lone Star State or already live there, you might be looking for something new to experience. No doubt that Americans love their vacations and Texas has many tourist spots and landmarks to see, but you may have seen it all after some time. Fortunately, there are loads of secret spots where you can go for a somewhat different kind of fun. These spots will probably be less crowded and also allow you to have a more authentic experience like a true native of Texas. While there are probably too many secrets in Texas to count, here are some of the top 10 spots to check out:
- Boca Chica Park and Beach in Brownsville
This beach is located within the Boca Chica State Park and has been open for public use since 1994. It’s a natural preserve that has a lot of history behind it. At some point, there was even a floating bridge that spanned the bay for the purpose of transporting military supplies. We can even see part of it today.
This little tucked-away corner might not even be known to all Texans. It’s the perfect spot for having a beach picnic or planning water activities such as fishing, surfing, or swimming. You can also get some great photo ops with the dunes spreading along the sand. If the weather allows it, there might even be a camping opportunity. There are also several varieties of bird species to see here, or a peaceful hike along the park trails.
- Hueco Tanks State Park
This park is situated near the low mountains of El Paso County. More specifically, it’s on a desert basin of high altitude located between the Franklin and Hueco Mountains.
The name might be confusing for a park, but it’s actually named for the water-filled depressions that are scattered all over the area. ‘Hueco’ actually means ‘hollow’ in the Spanish language.
The main attractions of this park include the historic artifacts dating back to when the Native Americans owned the land. These make the park fall under legal protection. Other than this, there are also a lot of plants and wildlife here for everyone to enjoy.
Just a few of the activities here include the Hueco Rock Rodeo, the hiking trails, mountain exploring, and outdoor bouldering competitions.
- Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center
The Fort Worth Botanical Gardens might be a popular destination, but the Shangri La Botanical Gardens provide a lovely experience as well. They’ve been around since before 1961 and have more than 300 plant species. There’s also a bird blind so that visitors can view the nesting birds without disturbing them.
Overall, these large gardens help visitors to understand and appreciate the amazing ecosystems in Texas. We can also have some hands-on experience in the Nature Center, since this project aims to educate people on living alongside nature.
- Blue Lagoon, Huntsville
This place is around 1.5 hours away from Houston. It contains a couple of limestone quarries, both full of warm spring water. While the area has a private owner, you can get there by paying an entrance fee. It’s worth the price, though, as the environment is absolutely gorgeous. You can take pictures by the shady pine trees and also be sure that it won’t be too crowded.
This is an especially ideal spot for those who want to scuba dive. A gear shop is on location, along with accommodations for those divers who want to stay overnight. Just be sure to pack the sunscreen, as the sun can be quite brutal at this point.
- Marfa Lights Viewing Center and Rest Area
Marfa might be a small city in the Texas desert, but it’s an arts hub with several exhibitions, films, concerts, and other events. This might be a hidden gem of the state, but entertainment is not all it provides. This area is home to a bit of mystery and intrigue as well.
Several people have reported seeing the Marfa Lights, claiming that they were either due to ghosts or UFOs. If you want, you can try to view them yourself from a certain platform here. Apart from this, the unique experience of the town with its casual dining and eclectic shops are enough reason to make the journey.
- Jacob’s Well
This is a spring that flows from Cypress Creek and only measures 12 feet long. Nevertheless, it’s a valued spot for swimming and cooling off in the warmer months. However, keep in mind that only seasonal swimming is permitted from May 1st to October 1st. The well, on the other hand, is open and available for exploring all year round.
- San Felipe Springs
These are the 4th largest springs in the state, with around 10 springs measuring over a mile. They empty into the Rio Grande, where the banks have large nut tree groves.
This is where you can come to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban life and to get a reminder of how beautiful nature can be. The springs allow an opportunity to cool down naturally or swim a little for some exercise. If you prefer to walk, the springs and creeks will give you a great river view along the way.
- Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge
This is a refuge preserve spanning 150 acres. It’s been operational since 1995 and aims to rehabilitate any neglected, abandoned, or abused big cats like tigers and lions. If you love to see such magnificent animals, it’s possible to come here and learn about them all day long.
Here, it’s possible to take a walk on the paths and enjoy the surrounding nature. You can also see the big cats from a close distance. There are tour guides available for providing education about the animals and also narrate their individual backstories. You can also take the kids along for a fun and memorable experience.
- Claiborne West Park
This park is 12 miles west from Orange town in Texas. It spans more than 453 acres and is mostly wooded land. There’s also a bird and wildlife sanctuary here, with rainbow trout available for fishing in the months of January and February.
The main attraction here is the Great Texas Birding Trail, where one can bike or walk to the bird sanctuary. There are also tennis courts, softball fields, a horseshoe area, and a disc golf course.
- Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
This preserve is to the west of Austin and has been operating since 1974. It spans 227 acres and has hiking trails over 2 miles long. The place is open from sunrise to sunset, so anyone can come here for a real getaway to experience nature.
The best way to experience this preserve is to go on a relaxed hike beginning from the Easy Access Loop. The scenic views along the trails include a waterfall, a creek, and many other places that are perfectly safe for families.
- Blue Hole at Riding River Ranch
This is a small oasis that’s only available for overnight guests. Staying here is worth it if you’re on a well-deserved vacation and want to relax above all. Not only is the ranch beautiful, but it’s secluded. The private springs are for guests only, so you can enjoy the mountain view and diverse wildlife in peace.
- Museum of the Weird
Located in Austin, this museum is not very well known. However, it’s always a fun and memorable visit, especially for those who like nostalgia. Its layout is deliberately reminiscent of the traditional dime store museum that started out in the 1800s.
The creator of this museum is the artist Steve Busti, and has several odd displays that one would usually find in a dime store museum. They’re a bit wacky and offbeat, so don’t expect the usual museum experience. Just a few examples of the items here include a two-headed chicken, a feejee mermaid, mummies, a cyclops pig, and various artifacts from campy horror movies.
Whether you want to find out more about Plano, Texas, or are situated somewhere else in the state, a secret spot is always fun to experience. The destinations above may be hard to find at times, but they’re well worth the effort. Strike out from the beaten path and see what Texas has in store for you!