25+ Best Small Towns in Texas (+ Map to Find Them!)

While the cities are popular and natural areas stunning, there’s no way to fully appreciate the beauty and diversity of the Lone Star State without checking out some of the best small towns in Texas!

From the vineyards and natural beauty of the Hill Country to quirky spots like Marfa, Texas’ small towns are like nowhere else.

One of our favorite aspects of running a Texas travel blog is having a great excuse to visit new-to-us cute towns on a regular basis.

We’ve rounded up the most charming small towns in Texas here!

Here on Lone Star Travel Guide, we have detailed guides to most of the towns on this list, so be sure to check underneath each description for the link to the full guide to the towns that intrigue you the most.

view of the front facade of the luckenbach post office as seen from an angle, one of the best things to see in luckenbach tx

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25+ Incredible Small Towns in Texas

Fredericksburg

Undoubtedly one of the best-known small towns in Texas, popular Fredericksburg is known for two things: its German heritage and its many, many wineries.

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While you’re there, consider making the short drive to Enchanted Rock, too.

After all, you’ll no doubt want to stretch your legs after feasting on Texas wine and German food!

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Fredericksburg!

Dripping Springs

Home to the famous Hamilton Pool Preserve, plenty of wineries and distilleries, and some of Texas’ loveliest Hill Country wedding venues, Dripping Springs is a delightfully charming town–and it makes an excellent day trip from Austin!

Be sure to also check out Tillies, a beautiful restaurant housed in a former Vietnamese courthouse that was imported to Texas, charming Mercer Street with its boutiques and restaurants, the Dr. Pound Farmstead.

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Jester King Brewery, where you can drink craft beer and also hang out with goats, is wildly popular for a reason.

Another must, in my opinion, is the delightful Texas Hill Country Olive Oil Co., where you can pick up local Texas olive oil (it’s delicious).

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Dripping Springs!

the station historic gas station in dripping springs texas as seen on the austin to fredericksburg drive

Round Top

Charming Round Top is synonymous in Texas with its annual antiques fair, but it is one of the most beautiful small towns in Texas to visit year-round.

In addition to the many, many antique stores around town (don’t miss McLaren’s, complete with London-style double-decker buses out front), a visit to Round Top should definitely include a slice of pie from Royer’s!

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Also, be sure to take strolls around Henkel Square Market and Rummel Square.

A short drive away, you can also pay a quick visit to nearby St. Martin’s Catholic Church, the smallest (active) Catholic Church in the world!

henkel square market in round top texas, one of the cute towns in texas

Johnson City

As the hometown of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s family, today this tiny town is best known for being a short drive from the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Site and State Historic Site, which can be found on the former president’s beautiful (and still working) ranch.

While most of the historic site is technically a short drive away in Stonewall, the Johnson Family Homestead, where the former grandparents’ lived, is right in town.

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However, it’s also very close to Pedernales Falls, so if you swing by, consider making time for visiting both the ranch and charming Pedernales Falls State Park.

Also, if you happen to be looking at small cities to visit in December, Johnson City’s impressive Lights Spectacular makes it one of the best Christmas towns in Texas!

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Johnson City!

man standing on the banks of pedernales river, one of the best tx hill country places to see

Luckenbach

Home to just 3 official residents, the positively minuscule town of Luckenbach is the tiniest of all the best small towns in Texas!

Despite its small size, Luckenbach is well-known as a country music hotspot, and is home to a popular dance hall and far more live shows than one would expect from a town of merely 3 people!

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While Luckenbach doesn’t offer enough sightseeing to fill up a whole trip on its own, its proximity to other hotspots like Fredericksburg and Stonewall makes it an excellent addition to a Texas Hill Country road trip.

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Luckenbach!

Kate Storm in front of the former post office of luckenbach texas, one of the best things to see in luckenbach

Marfa

Tucked into a quiet corner of west Texas, Marfa has gained notoriety in recent years for how utterly unexpected it is!

Home to several works by Andy Warhol, the mysterious Marfa Lights, plenty of filming locations for historic movies, and a downtown that looks like it was designed by Wes Anderson, Marfa is incredibly entertaining to visit and one of the most unique small towns in Texas.

The famous “Prada Marfa” store is located in nearby Valentine rather than right in town, but there’s no doubt that the vibe of the art installation is pure Marfa!

pink central fire station in marfa texas

Jefferson

This East Texas gem is known as one of the most romantic towns in Texas, thanks in large part to its outsized collection of historic bed and breakfasts to stay in!

While many visitors travel to Jefferson to reach the unique Caddo Lake State Park, downtown is also a delight.

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You can’t miss perusing the charming Jefferson General Store, touring Jay Gould’s elaborate private rail car that dates to the late 19th century, or browsing the many antique shops downtown when visiting Jefferson!

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Jefferson!

sign advertising pralines sodas ice cream coffee in front of the jefferson general store, one of the best jefferson attractions

Shiner

Most Texans are incredibly familiar with Shiner, even if they’ve never considered visiting this small Texas town with a population of merely 2,000 people.

This is the home of Shiner Beer, a staple of all Texas grocery stores and dive bars!

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This claim to fame means that, by far, the most popular thing to do in Shiner is touring the home of Shiner Beer, Spoetzl Brewery

However, it’s worth staying long enough to check out the cute downtown after you wrap up your time at the brewery!

opera house in downtown shiner, one of the best small texas cities
Darrylpearson, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Dublin

With a name like Dublin, is it any surprise that Dublin, Texas is extremely proud of its Irish heritage, mostly invented or otherwise?

This small Texas town is home to plenty of nods to Ireland, but surprisingly–despite the enormous St. Patrick’s Day celebration and its numerous Irish-themed businesses–this (possible) heritage is not what the town is best known for!

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Instead, Dublin is best known as the home of Dublin Bottling Works, the original bottlers of Dr. Pepper (sadly they don’t bottle the drink anymore).

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Dublin!

exterior of dublin bottling works in dublin texas

Ennis

There are plenty of reasons that Ennis could qualify as one of the best small towns in Texas, including its cute historic district, great Czech food, and annual Polka festival.

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The absolute best reason to check out Ennis, though, comes around each April: bluebonnet season.

Home to 40 miles of what is called the Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail, there is no better place in North Texas to admire the iconic–and absolutely stunning–wildflowers each spring.

Wide field of blooming Texas bluebonnets at sunset

West

Though West is home to a cute-if-small downtown, it is primarily known for its Czech heritage and–more specifically–its kolaches.

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Though the kolaches you find in West have certainly been Texas-ifed (I would never find my favorite combo, a sausage, cheese, and jalapeno klobasnek, for sale across the pond in the Czech Republic!), they are incredibly delicious.

The kolaches of West, Texas alone are delicious enough to rank West as one of the best small towns in Texas.

front facade of the little czech bakery, kolaches west texas

Lockhart

Known as the “barbecue capital of Texas”, you’ll definitely want to be sure to arrive in Lockhart with an empty stomach and a big appetite!

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Smitty’s, Kreuz, and Black’s are among the most legendary barbecue spots in the area, but Lockhart is also home to plenty of breweries, one of the most beautiful courthouses in Texas, and a big helping of small-town Texas charm.

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Lockhart!

spread of barbecue from blacks barbecue lockhart. eating bbq in lockhard is one of the best things to do in the texas hill country

Boerne

The adorable small town of Boerne is located just outside of San Antonio, but it feels worlds apart from the hustle and bustle of the city.

With a strong German heritage, a beautiful downtown packed with restaurants and antique shops, and plenty of year-round festivals to hit up, Boerne is a fun and simple way to enjoy a classic small Texas town without traveling far.

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Boerne!

mural in boerne texas, painted on the side of a brick building. exploring downtown is one of the best things to do in boerne tx

Terlingua

For much of the first half of the 20th century, Terlingua was a booming mining town–but today, it is the only Texas ghost town on this list of the best small towns in Texas.

After the Chisos Mining Company went bankrupt in 1942, this small settlement between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park ended up abandoned.

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Today, though, the remains of the town have become a tourist attraction, and are incredibly interesting to visit.

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Terlingua!

Columns framing the entrance of Terlingua ghost town, one of the coolest small towns in Texas and a Texas bucket list destination

Georgetown

Home to the “most beautiful town square in Texas”, Georgetown can sometimes be overlooked as one of Texas’ cutest towns simply because it is so close to Austin that it more-or-less operates as a suburb of the capital these days.

But, its gorgeous downtown and plethora of things to do make Georgetown a destination in its own right!

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Georgetown is technically one of the best small Texas cities, rather than towns, but it definitely offers classic Texas small-town vibes in its core.

In addition to touring the downtown square and historic courthouse, be sure to also visit the incredible Inner Space Caverns, go for a swim in Georgetown’s Blue Hole (not to be confused with Wimberley’s!), and attend the Red Poppy Festival.

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Georgetown!

downtown georgetown tx with a traffic light in the foreground

Granbury

Located right on Lake Granbury, the quaint town of Granbury has been named the best historic small town in the country by USA Today, and a quick stroll through its historic center makes it clear why!

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Granbury is beautiful, charming, and packed with a wide variety of things to do for a town so small, from getting out on the lake to touring the Hood County Jail Museum.

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Granbury!

downtown courthouse in granbury tx, one of the most beautiful small towns in texas

Wimberley

Located right where the Blanco River meets Cypress Creek in the Texas Hill Country, Wimberley is one of the best small towns in Texas for those looking for a swim.

The nearby Blue Hole and Jacob’s Well both draw in plenty of visitors hoping to beat the Texas heat, but if you visit, be sure to also for exploring Wimberley’s wonderful art and music scenes!

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If you’re looking for easy-to-access Hill Country views, be sure to also climb Old Baldy (it’s not nearly as daunting as it sounds) during your trip to Wimberley!

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Wimberley!

Blue Hole swimming spot near Wimberly Texas that is lined with trees on both sides. Wimberly is one of the best small Texas towns!

Brenham

Texans have all heard of Brenham for one very important reason: it’s where the original Blue Bell Creameries is located!

And yes, you can visit (and buy ice cream at the rate of $1 per giant scoop).

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Once you finish touring Blue Bell, though, there’s still plenty more to explore in Brenham.

Consider exploring the walkable downtown center complete with lots of beautiful murals, paying a visit to a nearby lavender farm, touring the gorgeous Giddings Stone Mansion, and even taking the kids to ride a working antique carousel!

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Brenham!

mural of blue bell logo downtown brenham

Marble Falls

Located on the banks of Lake Marble Falls (which aren’t set on marble at all, but that classic Texas staple of limestone), Marble Falls is a charming Hill Country town.

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Marble Falls is the ideal cute Texas town for both outdoor enthusiasts and those hoping to hit up the small-but-lovely downtown.

Be sure not to leave town without trying a slice of pie from the Blue Bonnet Cafe, which serves up some of the best pie in Texas!

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Marble Falls!

19th century farmhouse in marble falls tx with a field of bluebonnets in the foreground. Visiting this scenic spot is one of the most fun things to do in marble falls tx

Port Isabel

Home to the second-smallest Texas State Park and the only lighthouse on the Texas coast that is open to the public, Port Isabel is a charming, small port town and a fun addition to a trip to the Gulf Coast!

Located right across the causeway from popular South Padre Island, Port Isabel is easy to visit.

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Be sure to climb the historic lighthouse while you’re there!

Of all the lighthouses in Texas, Port Isabel’s is one of the only ones that you can climb.

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Port Isabel!

Bright white lightouse of Port Isabel in Texas on a sunny day

Driftwood

The minuscule town of Driftwood, Texas may be barely a dot on the map–it’s home to less than 200 people–but most Texans have heard of it for exactly one reason.

Driftwood is the home to the legendary Salt Lick BBQ, one of the best barbecue joints in Texas!

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Driftwood is also located just down the road from popular Dripping Springs, so with a little planning, you could even hit up the famous Hamilton Pool and Salt Lick BBQ in a single day.

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Driftwood!

historic texaco stand, one of the best places to visit in driftwood tx

Bandera

The self-proclaimed Cowboy Capital of the World can be found just an hour outside of San Antonio, and is definitely worth checking out when exploring the best small towns in Texas!

If you’re looking for a great place to take a horseback ride or spent a weekend at a dude ranch, Bandera is the Texas town for you.

Chestnut horse in a field of bluebonnets on a sunny day

Alpine

Set east of Marfa and north of Big Bend National Park, this college town in West Texas is home to both Sul Ross State University and plenty of charm!

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Featuring a historic downtown center, plenty of colorful street art, and unique attractions like the desk on Hancock Hill, Alpine is one of the best towns near Big Bend to set up a base during your time in the area.

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Alpine!

mural of sul ross flag and greetings from alpine postcard in food truck park, one of the best things to do in alpine tx

Gruene

Unlike the rest of these small towns in Texas, Gruene isn’t technically a town at all, but rather a historic district in New Braunfels–but that wasn’t always the case.

Once upon a time, Gruene was an independent town known for its cotton production.

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Today, it is best known for Gruene Hall, a classic Texas dance hall that dates back to the 19th century and is the oldest continually operating dance hall in the Lone Star State!

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Gruene!

Exterior of Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, one of the best Austin day trips

Smithville

Boasting a downtown so delightful that it has charmed Hollywood producers for decades, Smithville is located less than an hour outside of Austin and makes a fun day trip!

Peruse the quaint downtown, stroll through the streets filled with carefully manicured, historic homes, and seek out filming locations for Hope Floats.

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Don’t forget to stop by the railroad depot to visit historic train cars and to visit Smitty, the world’s largest gingerbread man!

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Smithville!

red brick general store with blue historic truck parked out front in smithville tx

Port Aransas

As the largest town (relatively speaking–the population is just over 4,000 people) on Mustang Island, Port Aransas is known for nearby excellent fishing, and plenty of long, beautiful beaches on the Gulf of Mexico.

If you’re looking for a laid-back weekend at the beach, add Port Aransas to your list of small towns in Texas to visit!

Check out our guide to the best things to do in Port Aransas!

Sunrise over the beach, one of the best things to do in Port Aransas TX

Schulenburg

Above all, Schulenburg is known for its collection of beautiful painted churches, each with a detailed interior that is a work of art in its own right.

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Primarily built in the 19th century by German and Czech immigrants, these painted churches are one of Texas’ historical treasures and the biggest reason that Schulenburg is undoubtedly one of the best small towns in Texas to visit!

Map of the Best Small Towns in Texas

2 photos of Texas: the first of Terlingua ghost town, the bottom of a building in Fredericksburg. Black and red text on a white background reads "21 best small towns in texas"

16 thoughts on “25+ Best Small Towns in Texas (+ Map to Find Them!)”

  1. One shouldn’t leave Jefferson off this list, a great small town with a wonderful history. Brenham is a good choice as well. And Alpine. Just sayin.

    Reply
  2. Dublin was actually named for the Double N hotel that once stood near where the local Dairy Queen now stands. Eventually people started calling it Dublin and that’s where the Irish aspect came from. Technically no Irish history here though, although there are a few shops on the square that represent it. There are several good museums to visit here for rodeo buffs, golf enthisiasts, and Healthcare workers alike. The Dublin Dr Pepper Company is also pretty interesting, especially if you take a tour of the still running factory and museum. Lots of old Victorian homes line St Patrick Street and if you’re hungry for good food you’ve gotta stop by Granny Clark’s, one of the best hometown cafes you’ll ever eat at. Dublin is small, but it can be quite surprising if you look hard enough.

    Reply
    • We’re all about travel and tourism here, so that’s not really our area of expertise. 🙂 Also depends heavily on your industry, of course–an agricultural town vs a university town vs a small town that is has a reasonable commute to a major city will all have wildly different options.

      Reply
  3. Medina, Texas, home of Love Creek Orchards, where the apple pies are fresh and delicious. Beautiful scenery. About 13 miles northwest of Bandera, Texas, and adjacent to the lovely Medina River.

    Reply
  4. Salado is definitely a must see. The cute little shops, art galleries, antiques, a brewery, vineyards and a blown glass shop where you can watch and participate while the artists create beautiful glass art.

    Reply
  5. What about small towns with family homes. I hate looking into a place to visit and it’s all businesses and 1 to 2 bedroom apt. Towns should have family homes 3 – 4 bedrooms and lots of community events like festivals, town picnics, cafe’, book stores, parades.

    Reply

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