When cruising I-35, far too many folks fly right past this historic Central Texas town. But with a scenic lake, iconic courthouse, and charm to spare, it won’t be long before this little burg follows in the footsteps of Waco and becomes a go-to destination. Here are my top picks to get you exploring.
With a daytrip to Sweetwater, the March 2019 issue marks Chet Garner’s 100th column in Texas Highways. Garner, who’s hosted his Lone Star Emmy Award-winning travel show The Daytripper on PBS since 2009, started writing for the magazine in 2010 after then-editor-in-chief Charles Lohrman offered him a gig.
Texas is already known for being big. But in our beloved “Big Country,” things are taken to another level. When visiting Sweetwater, the history seems a little richer, the stories a little grander, and the snakes a little longer. If you find yourself in this Big Country town, don’t miss these spots.
There are places in the far reaches of Texas where few dare to travel, which is exactly what attracted me to western Val Verde County. It’s a rugged land where the jackrabbits far outnumber the people. A place where the tales are tall, the canyons are deep, and the mysteries are even deeper. If you find yourself trippin’ to the edge of Texas, don’t miss these stops.
The top stops in Texas on the ‘Mother Road of America’
Known for being stuck between a rock and a weird place (Round Rock and Austin), Pflugerville may seem like just another suburb. But hidden among the urban sprawl is a small town full of budding entrepreneurs working to make this pfunnily named community a deluxe daytripper destination.
There’s something special about small towns and the folks who live there. You can do things in the country that aren’t possible in the big city, like build castles, throw fireballs, and hang out in jail (on purpose). All of these things and more lured me to Bellville for a day trip unlike any other.
It may be one of the smallest incorporated towns in Texas (official population: 90), but don’t let that fool you—the little town of Round Top makes for some big trippin’. Visit during the biannual Texas Antiques Week and you’ll find thousands of “junkers” filling every available cow pasture with vintage collectibles. But even on a normal day, this hamlet has plenty of charm.
I don’t go trippin’ to North Texas as much as I’d like to, so in the hopes of finding a new adventure I hopped on the highway and drove as far north as it would take me (without landing in Oklahoma). And what I found was Nocona, a fascinating town with a storied leatherworking tradition.
Sitting in the middle of the Coastal Bend is a town that’s been around since before Texas was Texas. Visitors to Victoria, established in 1824, can explore the rich history of the town’s past mixed with new experiences that make it well worth the trip.
Nestled in the northern reaches of the Texas Hill Country is the laid-back town of San Saba, also known as the “Pecan Capital of the World.”
If you arrange to travel to “Pal-e-styne,” you’ll end up in the Middle East. However, if you set your course to “Pal-e-steen,” you’ll end up somewhere very different—in the middle of East Texas.
It’s a near-mythical destination where distances stretch and time slows down, a place that can be as dry as a scorching desert or as wet as a raging river. Those who seek great adventures need look no farther than Big Bend National Park.
Mount Pleasant, in the northeast corner of Texas, combines history, unexpected cuisine, and beautiful scenery that go together just like iced tea, sugar, and lemon.