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san-antonio-winner

You could argue that San Antonio had a head start in Texas Highways’ countdown of the Texas Top 40 travel destinations. As a historic frontier hub and the state’s oldest big city, San Antonio has captured our collective imagination for centuries. San Antonio’s heritage of fortitude, culture, and diversity embodies Texas spirit at its best—from the Alamo defenders to the Chili Queens to the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.

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WacoSuspensionBridge

3For those unfamiliar with Waco, the little city in the heart of Texas might be tough to decipher.

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Denton cmyk

2Forty minutes north of the rapidly growing cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, the college town of Denton (population 121,000, more or less) enjoys a relaxed vibe that some admirers liken to “Austin in the old days.”

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Big Bend rewards patient travelers. “Patient” because not only does it take a long time to get here from most everywhere in the state, but also because it can take some time to fully relax into Big Bend’s transformative pleasures.

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37A-Longhorn

With a bounty of small towns, sparkling lakes and rivers, and wildflower-splashed pastures in spring, the Hill Country has inspired countless road trips for Texas travelers.

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39B-Nac

81You probably learned in school that six flags have flown over Texas: French, Spanish, Mexican, Lone Star, Confederate, and United States. But when it comes to Nacogdoches, an East Texas city named for a band of the Caddo tribe that settled here around A.D. 1250, you can add three more, which flew in the 1800s as part of short-lived rebellions.

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39A-BB71If only the German immigrants who first settled Fredericksburg in 1846 could see what they started.

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51B Schlitterbahn

91The allure of a New Braunfels getaway is particularly strong during these dog days of summer, when the town’s two scenic rivers—the Comal and the Guadalupe—beckon for a refreshing dip.

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What’s not to like about a place called Mount Pleasant?

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10Palo Duro Canyon has been wowing people for at least 12,000 years, when natives found shelter within this rugged chasm in the southern high plains.

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Less than an hour southwest of Houston, the hardwood forests and alligator-rich waterways of Brazos Bend State Park create a welcome respite from big-city hustle and bustle.

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Texas’ biggest beach city (pop. roughly 313,000) seasons its mix of beachcombing, wakeboarding, sailing, and other oceanfront fun with such urban amenities as luxurious hotels and restaurants, a lively festival scene, and well-curated museums dedicated to art, science, nature, and history.

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