If you live in Texas, you know that what we’re known for – southern hospitality, the simplicity of sitting on the porch with a glass of sweet tea, and slow living – only exists in the smallest of our towns. Visiting a place like Wimberley or Alpine just has a completely different feel than, say, Houston or Dallas. All the locals know each other, and they know when someone they meet isn’t from their town – but instead of being hostile to newcomers, they’re just as welcoming as they are to their own friends and family. That’s the beauty of Texas small towns, and they’re more abundant than you might think. Here are 11 small towns (less than 10,000 residents) where everyone knows your name:
"Everybody's Somebody in Luckenbach" is the saying here, and it couldn't be more true considering the town had a population of 3 in 2006. It's probably grown slightly since then and sees a considerable number of tourists, but that doesn't even put a dent in its status as one of, if not the, smallest town in Texas. It has two main buildings - a post office and a dance hall. And, of course, we can't forget about the famous song by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson that memorialized Luckenbach.
With a population of only 940, it would be hard to not encounter the same people on a daily basis in Wink. If you ever find yourself driving through West Texas, make a stop in this desolate town and check out the crazy sinkhole that you can read more about
Strawn is a cute little town off I-20 between Fort Worth and Abilene. As of 2010, the population was a mere 653 - but that doesn't mean it's a barren wasteland with nothing to do. There are beautiful hikes overlooking the Palo Pinto Mountain Range, six-man football (yes, you read that right) on Friday nights, and the famous Mary's Cafe where you can get the best chicken-fried steak in Texas.
(Just in case anyone needs a pronunciation lesson, Quitaque's got you covered.) If this welcome sign isn't an indication of how small the town is, I don't know what is. Although only 411 people lived here at the last census, Quitaque sees a plethora of tourists due to its absolutely breathtaking Caprock Canyons. With that kind of beauty, I don't know why more people aren't flocking there. Waking up to a view like that every morning would be priceless.
The city of Noonday has an interesting way of bringing its small population together yearly - the Noonday Onion Festival. Onions grown within a 10 mile radius of the town are rumored to be the sweetest in Texas, and residents don't dare dispute that fact. Instead, they gather each May and bond by celebrating their delicious local onion.
Just a short ferry ride away from Galveston lies the much smaller, much less populous island of Matagorda. If you're craving a beach day but don't want to deal with hundreds of tourists, I highly recommend spending the day here instead. It's definitely more serene and relaxing, and you can always head back to the main island to grab a bite to eat without fighting the beach crowds.
Marathon (pronounced MARE-UH-THEN) is a town full of history despite its small size of 430 residents. It suffered the second most devastating earthquake (5.7 magnitude) in Texas in 1995, as well as serving as a filming location for the movie Paris, Texas. It's way out in West Texas on the way to Big Bend, and is famous for its unbelievably clear night sky.
Salado is a little bigger than the towns listed above with a population of just over 2,000. It's a quaint little village bursting with history - the Stagecoach Inn (pictured) is the oldest hotel in Texas, and over 19 locations in Salado are on the National Register of Historical Places.
"Come and Take it!" Sound familiar? That's because the bloody battle that bore this iconic phrase took place in this little Texas town. It has a population of around 7,000, but residents still know who belongs there and who's a tourist. That's not to say tourists are unwelcome - locals are extremely inviting and eager to show visitors around a town that had a hand in shaping our country into what it is today.
Alpine is a cute little west Texas town with about 6,000 residents. I actually featured it in
an article of its own
a while back because I was so fascinated with it - it's like an oasis in the middle of the desert. It's a great stopping place during a long road trip with its town square, historic Holland Hotel, and plenty of activities for the whole family. Plus, you'll meet tons of nice locals who'll be happy to show you around.
Wimberley gives you a warm and cozy feeling that's hard to describe unless you've been there. The German town somehow only has a population of 2,500 despite all there is to do there. From Jacob's Well to exploring the shops downtown, you'll never run out of activities, and the Texas charm that only exists in our smallest towns will be with you throughout your visit.
Have you ever visited any of these towns? What was your experience like? Where else in Texas has that unmistakable, small town Southern charm?