Photo: Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock

Quick Guide To the 7 Regions of Texas

Insider Guides Texas, United States
Photo: Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock
Turner Wright
Jan 16, 2017

Texas is so massive it can easy fit several other states inside its borders, so wouldn’t you expect to find regions with unique cultures, attractions, and ecosystems? There’s more to the Lone Star State than just transiting through DFW or partying it up during SXSW. We’ve got more food, people, and history to make anywhere else in the south blush.

1. The Panhandle

 Palo Duro Canyon State ParkCanyon, United StatesOne of the most scenic spots in the panhandle, if not all of Texas. Good for camping, Cowboy breakfasts, and hiking #hiking #camping

Easily the most overlooked part of Texas, the panhandle isn’t exactly accessible outside of the old Route 66 passing through Amarillo. The city still knows how to attract tourists with natural attractions like Palo Duro Canyon and the 72-oz. steak challenge at the Big Texan. If you want to stay inside our borders to head to the next region, you’ve got a long drive ahead of you on small state highways. On the plus side, you’ll get a glimpse of Lubbock and Texas Tech University.

2. North Texas

 Deep Ellum Brewing CompanyDallas, United StatesCraft beers as only Dallas can make them. Dancing and Texas fun is just around the corner. #food #beer

After a taste of dry air and isolation, you’re probably in the mood to experience some culture, grab a few cocktails, and party it up in the big city, right? Start in Dallas. Downtown Fort Worth, the western part of the metroplex, still has its draw with the Stock Show, but Dallas is where it’s at. We have professional sports teams like the Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers, Sidekicks, and Stars. Deep Ellum brings you craft beers at the Deep Ellum Brewing Company and nightlife at It’ll Do. For a taste of culture, visit the Dallas Museum of Art and the Sixth Floor Museum. Just watch out for traffic from all those fancy cars the city folk like to drive.

3. East Texas

 Sam Rayburn ReservoirJasper, United StatesA reservoir running through deep East Texas. Excellent for outdoor fun #hiking #camping

Dallas is more like the midwest than the rest of Texas, with wide open spaces still resembling the prairies frontiersmen had to cross to colonize the country, but it’s nothing compared to what you’ll see once you start heading towards Arkansas and Louisiana. Behind all the pine trees and lakes, there are some truly unique small towns and attractions. As the oldest town in Texas, Nacogdoches usually makes the list for residents touring locally with its charm and accessibility to Sam Rayburn Lake. The Texas State Railroad in nearby Rusk gives adults and children the opportunity to ride a fully functional steam locomotive train.

4. Austin

 Congress Avenue BridgeAustin, United StatesThe largest urban population of bats pour out at dusk. Fun with picnics, drinks, and dates.

No tour of Texas would be complete without The People’s Republic of Austin. Deriving the name for its liberal views in a sea of conservative counties, the Texas state capital has as many visitors as Dallas or Houston, despite having half the population. The reason is crystal clear once you drive down I-35 and see the UT tower peaking out over the campus buildings; Austin may be the center of all government and policy in the great state of Texas, but it’s also the epicenter of weirdness for the universe. With festivals like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits and food like Chuy’s and Kerbey Lane Cafe, this city is a mecca of entertainment and comfort. Many visitors have to watch the bats fly out from the Congress Street bridge and hit up a few bars on Rainey Street.

 Kerbey Lane CafeAustin, United StatesA chain of some of the more interesting food that keeps Austin weird. Come for the breakfast tacos, stay for the desserts #food #foodietravel #cheap-eats #open-late

5. West Texas

 Big Bend National ParkBig Bend National Park, United StatesAn amazing piece of land in West Texas. Come for the hiking, stay for the hot springs. #hiking #camping

Halfway between the dead zone of the Panhandle and the activity of Austin is the west of Texas. Home to ranches, oil fields, and a whole lot of desert, this is where you go when you want an Instagram picture of the road stretching towards the horizon. The mystery of the Marfa Lights keeps travelers rolling through this neck of the woods – so to speak – as does watching the stars, big and brilliant in the Texas sky, from McDonald Observatory. There are endless hiking trails all the way to the Mexican border at Big Bend National Park.

 McDonald Observatory Visitors CenterFort Davis, United StatesExperience star parties in some of the clearest skies on earth. A little out of the way, but worth the journey. #free #outdoor

6. Houston

Houston may be the most populated place in Texas, but it’s also not the first choice when people think about the Lone Star State, earning the nickname the Carcinogenic Coast for its factories and oil refineries. However, there are still a few attractions to bring out your inner child. Tours at the NASA Johnson Space Center are open to the public, and there’s a huge network of underground tunnels and cisterns to inspire your adventurous spirit.

7. South Texas

Always save the best for last, which is what the south of Texas represents for a lot of people. Neatly cutting off the state south of Houston and Austin, this part of Texas is the closest you can get to Mexico without crossing the border. Not only can tourists see the birthplace of the Republic of Texas in what remains of the Alamo, but you get a taste of that delicious Tex-Mex at restaurants on the San Antonio Riverwalk. Keep heading down along the coast and there’s even a taste of the tropics: palm trees, coconuts, and sandy beaches at South Padre Island.

What did you think of this story?

More on

Texas, United States

15 Airbnbs in Austin for a BBQ- and Music-Filled Trip

You Can Bring Your Own Booze To This Amazing 66-Acre Botanical Garden That Has a Grilled Cheese Kiosk

5 Wineries in Brazos Valley That Showcase the Best Wines in Texas

5 Neighborhoods That Prove Dallas Is One of the Most Diverse Cities in the US

9 San Antonio Airbnbs Within Walking Distance of the Riverwalk and Downtown

The 17 Most Underrated Honeymoon Destinations in the US

Where To Stay, Eat, and Play in Austin in 2023

A Woman Was Gored by a Bison and Put the Whole Thing on TikTok

9 Spots To Visit on the Perfect Big Bend National Park Road Trip

The 7 Best Places To See Live Music in Austin

More on

Insider Guides

The Most Famous Archeological Site in the World Dominates This European Capital City

18 of the Best Hotels in Las Vegas for Every Type of Traveler

How To Visit Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park in Madagascar

Get To Know the Real Banff, From Hot Springs and Waterfalls To Historic Town Sites

This Famous Parisian Church Is Open 24/7 To Maintain 130 Years of Nonstop Praying

The Most Colorful Park in the World Is Actually a Failed Housing Estate for the Rich

Your 2023 Azores Vacation: a Guide To São Miguel and Beyond

This Is France’s Most Famous and Mysterious Island That You Can Visit

How To Spend a Weekend in Coweta, the Charming Small-Town County Outside Atlanta

The House Where Frida Kahlo Was Born (and Died) Is Now an Extraordinary Museum

Why It's Green and Other Things You Need To Know Before Visiting the Statue of Liberty

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners. For more information read our privacy policy.