My son’s first choice of places to travel is not Disney. It’s Texas. From his six-year-old perspective, Texas is one of the biggest states on the map and therefore it must be one of the best places to go. Within its 268,580 square miles, Texas boasts a multitude of historical attractions and tours. Visitors from near and far will enjoy a spring or summer trip to one of these historic places in the great state of Texas.
Natural Bridge Caverns, North of San Antonio
Stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones, oh my! A spring or summer visit to the Natural Bridge Caverns is a must for families. You can explore the caves by lantern and view the stone monuments and cave ribbons, formed in layers of limestone.
If you go: The site offers 70 minute tours varying in price (from $10.99 to $14.88 for kids up to age 11 and $18.99 to $24.99 for adults). The site is open daily (except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day), from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. with later hours (up to 7 p.m.) in the summer. Natural Bridge Caverns is located eight miles west of I-35 at exit #175, Natural Bridge Caverns Road.
The Texas Capitol, Austin
If architecture is your thing, you won’t want to miss the Texas Capitol. The 19th century architecture is a National Historic Landmark “widely recognized as one of the nation’s most distinguished state capitols” according to the State Preservation Board. You may not be surprised to find out it’s the “largest in gross square footage of all state capitols and is second in total size only to the National Capitol in Washington, D.C.” But it’s even taller than than the National Capitol, by 15 feet. Everything is bigger in Texas!
If you go: The Texas Capitol and Extension are open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.
* Take a free tour or use the self-guided tour brochures, floor plan maps and the monument guide.
* The Capitol Visitors Center is located at 112 East 11th Street.
* Parking is available at the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage at 1201 San Jacinto St.
Big Bend National Park, Southwest Texas
Explore an area west of Austin where you’ll discover evidence of Texas’ rich cultural heritage. In the last 500 years, Texas has been claimed by six different nations, according to the National Park Service. In addition to the archaeological sites, Big Bend offers 800,000 acres of desert, rivers and mountains, as well as scenic drives, including 150 miles of dirt roads.
If you go: Big Bend is open 24-hours a day, year round. Access is free with a federal lands pass, or it’s $20/vehicle or $40 for an annual pass. The best times to visit and avoid the crowds include May through September, except for any holiday weekends.
Heritage Park, Corpus Christi
If you enjoy the coast, head to Corpus Christi to take a tour of nine Victorian homes. The historic buildings make up Heritage Park, which also features self-guided tours. Check out the 100-year old Galvan House, which some say is haunted. Tour the home for free on Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Fridays from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
If you go: While in Corpus Christi, take a walking tour to view other historic buildings along Furman Avenue. Don’t forget to drop by the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History or to visit the beaches.