2016 has been a great year. We’ve uncovered hidden gems, featured countless amazing restaurants, and retouched on some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in Texas. These 16 places are some of this year’s highlights that you should definitely make plans to visit in 2017 if you haven’t been already.
1. Palo Duro Canyon (Canyon)
It's second in size only to the Grand Canyon itself, and its towering red rocks definitely don't appear to belong in Texas. You can even stay in a
at its peak and enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of West Texas.
2. Trinity River Park (Dallas)
The park, which is currently under construction, will be the largest urban nature park in the nation. It will include trails, playgrounds, and plots of sprawling green lawn, and will convert the area around it from a chronic floodplain to a flourishing utopia.
Bartlett is a "living ghost town" - that is, a town where a few families still reside, but has a near-abandoned downtown square. It's full of 19th and 20th-century architecture and was the filming location for several movies including "The Dalton Boys" and "The Stars Fell on Henrietta."
This hill country town has wide open pastures, vibrant bluebonnets, a lavender farm, wineries, and the famous Blue Bell Factory.
5. Hamilton Pool (Dripping Springs)
No bucket list would be complete without Hamilton Pool. Easily the most beautiful place in Texas, this iconic swimming hole is a mystical, otherworldly experience that everyone deserves to have.
6. T. C. Lindsey and Co. General Store (Jonesville)
In operation since 1847, it's the oldest general store in Texas. It represents everything our state is about and will leave you feeling nostalgic in the best way possible.
It's the oldest town in Texas - what more of a reason do you need?
8. Cattail Falls (Big Bend)
This hidden gem is one that can't be passed up. It's an 80-foot waterfall cascading down the mountainside into a crystal-clear pool beneath it. You'll have to remind yourself that you're in Texas and not a tropical paradise.
9. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch (San Antonio)
Your African safari dreams can become a reality without having to travel thousands of miles. Beware, the animals WILL try to stick their heads in your car!
10. Gorman Falls (Bend)
Scene from Tarzan or a breathtaking waterfall in Texas? You decide.
11. Guadalupe Peak Trail (Salt Flat)
This hike might be strenuous, but it definitely pays off when you reach the 8,000 foot summit and feel on top of the world.
12. Battleship Texas (Houston Ship Channel)
Battleship Texas is the only remaining ship that served in both World Wars. It's been converted into a museum memorializing its important contributions to our nation's triumphs and the brave Navy Seals who fought and died for our freedom.
13. Enchanted Rock (Fredericksburg)
Native Americans used to worship this pink blob because they mistook the natural creaks and groans of settling rock for evil, supernatural forces. Even though the folklore might not be true, it's still a beautiful place to visit and should be an addition to every Texan's 2017 bucket list.
14. Cattleman's Steakhouse (Fabens)
Not only does Cattleman's have amazing steak, but it's also located on a vast, gorgeous ranch called Indian Cliffs that looks like the set of an old Western movie. Some people have gone as far as deeming it the best steakhouse in Texas.
15. Barton Springs Pool (Austin)
Barton Springs Pool is spring-fed with no chlorine added, and it still manages to be almost crystal-clear. That just goes to show how pure the water in the Texas Hill Country is.
16. Dinosaur World (Glen Rose)
Transport yourself back to prehistoric times at this unique park by admiring real fossils, a 27-foot long dinosaur skeleton, and life-sized animatronic replicas. You'll learn so much about these ancient, magnificent creatures.