Whether you’re a native or a newcomer, Texas has a knack for making anyone feel right at home. It is here where people are no strangers to southern hospitality or seeing the state flag sway in the wind around every other corner and highway. Bigger is better in Texas and that’s how we like it! If you’ve lived here your entire life or are a first-time visitor, you’ll enjoy this list of 10 free things to do in the biggest and best state in the nation. Start your engine and get ready to make your way to deep in the heart of Texas!
1. Tour the Texas State Capitol
When visiting Texas, the State Capitol is a definite must-see. Located in Austin, this historic building was constructed in the late 1800s and houses the offices and chambers of the Texas Legislature and the Office of the Governor. Explore the interiors filled with historic portraits and sculptures of David Crockett, Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin just to name a few. While you’re there, take a stroll on the 22- acre Capitol grounds of beautiful scenery and monuments. Guided and self-guided tours are available for all free of charge.
2. Spend a day at Zilker Park
Dog lovers unite! Zilker Park, also located in Austin, is a go-to place for locals and visitors. Spend a day having an outdoor picnic or play a game of volleyball with your friends and family. Dogs are no stranger to the park as Zilker takes pride in its pet-friendly atmosphere. Zilker also serves as the perfect photo-op as the park perfectly overlooks the Austin skyline. Each year, “Austin’s most-loved park” hosts the Zilker Kite Festival, a free event bringing hundreds of people come out to fly kites on the park grounds.
3. Remember The Alamo
Take a trip to San Antonio, Texas to “Remember The Alamo.” It is at this world renowned complex where Texas legends David Crockett, James Bowie and William B. Travis defended The Alamo for thirteen days against General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Snap a picture in front of the building or in the Alamo Gardens located near the complex.
4. Hit the beach!
Spend a day of fun in the sun at the many beaches Texas has to offer. Corpus Christi, South Padre Island, Rockport, and Port Aransas are just some of the options one can attend for free of charge. Texas beaches are the perfect spots for families and friends to hit the sand and surf for a vacation get-a-way. Texas summers sure are hot, so make sure to rub in the SPF before catching some waves!
5. Visit Museums
If you find yourself in Houston, Texas, be sure to visit The Menil Collection or the Heritage Society Museum. When touring The Menil Collection, visitors get the opportunity to experience more 16,000 works of art dating from the Paleolithic era to present day. Stop by the Heritage Society Museum, the only outdoor, interactive historic museum and park in Houston. Don’t forget to also visit the Buffalo Soldier National Museum on Thursday’s where admission is free from 1 p.m. to 5p.m.
6. Take a Hike!
Are you ready for an outdoor adventure? Texas is home to numerous hiking and running trails any outdoor lover would enjoy. Alibates Flint Quarries in Fritch, Texas or Big Thicket located in Beaumont are just a couple of hiking option that require no entry fees. Cross Timbers Trail in Gordonville is also a great spot to hike and camp while catching awesome views of the Texas landscape. The Barton Creek Green Belt and Cibolo Wilderness Trail are also other great places in Texas to lace up your hiking boots!
7. Explore Austin’s Art Scene
Besides music venues, Austin, Texas is home to unique works of art that locals and visitors can’t get enough of. Check items off your Austin bucket list by visiting the “I love you so much” wall right outside Jo’s Coffee and the “Hi, How Are You” mural located on the University of Texas campus. The “You’re my butter half” wall is another iconic place to snap a picture with your loved ones. The Castle Hill Graffiti Park is also a must-see!
8. Tour Campus Universities
From Baylor University to the red raiders at Texas Tech, The Lone Star state is home to numerous institutions with beautiful campuses to explore. Texas Longhorn fans adore the university Tower located on the 40-acre campus filled with stunning architecture. Take a trip to College Station, Texas to walk under the Century Tree, a famous campus landmark at Texas A&M University. Or, experience what it’s like to be a horned frog at Texas Christian University campus in Fort Worth, Texas.
9. Visit the Miller Outdoor Theatre
Experience a night of music and outdoor performances for free at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Houston, Texas. Since 1923, the theatre has offered numerous outdoor programs ranging from music and dance performances to Shakespeare and films. This place is the perfect spot to enjoy Houston’s best entertainment with friends and family.
10. Stroll through Texas Gardens
Be one with nature by taking a trip to the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Antonio, Texas. Witness the beautiful waterfalls and greenery while being surrounded by ponds and colorful floral displays. If you’re further north, the Fort Worth Water Gardens is an ideal location to take a stroll around the water pools on a sunny day.