The only bad thing about Texas during the summer (well, besides the intolerable heat) is how crowded it gets. What can we say? Everyone’s just dying to experience the best state in the country. For us natives, it can get pretty annoying trying to visit our favorite places only to discover that they’re overrun with pesky tourists. Here are 10 little-known attractions in our state that are sure to not be overcrowded this summer.
1. San Antonio Missions National Historic Park (San Antonio)
Four of the five historic missions (the fifth being the Alamo) are located here. 15 miles of hiking and biking trails run through the park, so you can experience nature and some of the most crucial pieces of Texas history at the same time.
6701 San Jose Dr, San Antonio, TX 78214
2. Fort Worth Water Gardens (Fort Worth)
Reminiscent of something from a sci-fi movie, the Water Gardens are a peaceful escape in the middle of a hustling, bustling big city. Stand in the middle and let the sound of rushing water clear your mind - I guarantee you'll leave refreshed and rejuvenated.
1502 Commerce St, Fort Worth, TX 76102
3. Old Tunnel State Park (Fredericksburg)
While everyone else is at the Congress Ave Bridge and Bracken Cave to see bats, you could be at Old Tunnel State Park and have it practically to yourself. You'll see millions of bats pour out of the opening at dusk, and even some red-tailed hawks flying into the swarm to snatch some dinner.
102 E San Antonio St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
4. Hueco Tanks State Park (El Paso)
Big Bend gets all the credit in terms of parks out west, but Hueco Tanks definitely deserves some recognition. You might even see some ancient hieroglyphics on the rock walls during your hike!
6900 Hueco Tanks Rd, El Paso, TX 79938
5. Contrabando Movie Set (Big Bend National Park)
Several movies were filmed here before the park flooded in 2008, causing exterior damage to all of the buildings. Nevertheless, it's still a really cool (albeit creepy) place to visit.
Located on Highway 170, 9.5 miles west of Lajitas
6. Slug Bug Ranch (Panhandle)
Just a few miles east of Cadillac Ranch, this strikingly similar display is much less popular - therefore much less crowded. Visitors are encouraged to become active participants by using spray paint and graffiti on the cars. Plus, I personally think VW's are much cooler than Caddy's.
I-40 Frontage Rd, Panhandle, TX 79068
7. Palace Theater Light Bulb (Fort Worth)
Located in the historic Stockyards District, this lightbulb has been burning since 1908, making it the second-longest burning lightbulb in America (only seven years less than the record holder, the Centennial Bulb.)
131 E. Exchange #113
Fort Worth, Texas, 76164
8. Stonehenge 2 (Ingram)
No time or money to fly to England? No worries! We have our own version of Stonehenge right here in the tiny town of Ingram. It may not be as old or mystic, but it is an exact replica.
120 Point Theatre Rd S, Ingram, TX 78025
9. McKittrick Canyon (Culberson)
McKittrick Canyon has been deemed, "the prettiest place in Texas" by many. This is especially true if you visit in the fall - the foliage turns absolutely incredible colors.
400 Pine Canyon
Salt Flat, TX 79847
10. Alamo Village (Brackettville)
This movie set was built for John Wayne's "The Alamo," but was used for several other movies as well. It's a completely functional replica of the 1836 version of San Antonio, making it a surefire way to take a step back in time.
Located 7 miles north of Brackettville on FM 674
Which uncrowded places will you be frequenting this summer? If you’re looking for some of the state’s most unusual attractions, check out