14 Incredible Places to Visit During the Winter in Texas

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Texas offers an incredibly diverse landscape, from sweeping deserts to rolling green hills—after all, it is the largest state in the Lower 48! Because of its location along the southern border of the United States, the Lone Star state enjoys a moderate winter—and is an excellent place to escape the chill of some of the more northerly regions of the country! Here’s 14 places to visit during the winter in Texas, offering warmer weather and plenty of Southern charm. 

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Couple standing in front of the Prada Marfa art installation in Valentine, Texas
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Y’all, it’s absolutely lovely to plan a little getaway in the winter in Texas. The state is ENORMOUS, so, of course, this will vary by location, but in general, you can expect daily highs in the low 60s and daily lows in the low 40s. I come from Chicago, which regularly drops into below zero temperatures in the wintertime, so Texas is basically offering bikini weather for me!

Plus there’s so much to do here! Want to explore funky towns? You got it! Prefer sipping a glass of wine, whilst taking in the views of the surrounding vineyards? You can do that too. No matter what kind of vacation you’re looking for, you can find something up your alley to enjoy in Texas this winter. 

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Incredible Places to Visit During the Winter in Texas

1. Grapevine

If you’re looking to soak up Christmas cheer during the winter in Texas, Grapevine should absolutely be at the top of your bucket list. Dubbed “The Christmas Capital of Texas”, this town transforms into a holiday spectacular every December. 

The historic main street is totally decked out in twinkling lights; adorable photo spots, such as a mistletoe booth and gnome pine tree forest; choreographed Christmas tree light shows; reindeer flying high above the street; and every shop and restaurant decorated with festive decor. The town is charming all winter long but is especially inviting when it looks like something straight out of a Hallmark Christmas movie.

Brick building in Grapevine, Texas with Christmas decorations on it

Check out the gorgeous outdoor ice-skating rink outside the town’s Harvest Hall, which is open from the end of November through the beginning of January. Inside the hall, you can find drinks to warm up with, winery tasting rooms, and comfort foods to indulge in after your time on the ice.

If you’re looking to celebrate the holidays with little ones, the Polar Express train is an incredible experience, where you’ll board a 1920s coach, pulled by a vintage locomotive, and enjoy cookies, warm drinks, and sing-a-longs with a special guest—Santa!

Even Grapevine’s Visitor Center is decked out, with festive decorations, fun photo ops, and a miniature train village to explore. 

Large ornament  in front of Grapevine, Texas

Another popular activity in Grapevine is to visit Nash Farm. Every winter, this 1860s home and farmhouse gets decorated just as it would look in the Victorian era and you can learn from knowledgeable and engaging guides about the history of the farm itself, Grapevine, and the surrounding area.

The Gaylord Texan, a sprawling resort sitting on 125 acres of Lake Grapevine’s Lakeshore, is the perfect place to go, if you’re looking for a white Christmas in Texas. While you’re here, you can enjoy snow tubing, games with snowballs, and ice— two million pounds of it to be exact! This massive amount of ice is used to carve slides and sculptures of popular Christmas tales, like How The Grinch Stole Christmas and A Christmas Story.

  • How to get to Grapevine: Grapevine is conveniently located right by Dallas, so fly into the Dallas Fort Worth Airport and simply drive less than ten minutes east to this small town.
  • Where to stay in Grapevine: If you’re visiting to partake in the holiday fun, there’s, of course, no better place to stay than the Gaylord Texan itself! Beyond being home to tons of wintertime fun, the resort offers three swimming pools, nine(!!!) on-site restaurants, and full-service spa to relax in after all of those grueling Christmas festivities.

Recommended by Sierra of Very Truly Texas

2. Austin

One of the best times to enjoy the quirky city of Austin is in the winter. 

The pleasant weather of winter stands in stark contrast to the sweltering summer months, when the temperatures can soar well over 100°F for multiple days in a row. In fact, many outdoor activities don’t even operate during the summer because of the heat! 

Mural in Austin, Texas

On the other hand, during the winter in this part of Texas, you can comfortably sit outside and enjoy a cocktail, shop along South Congress, enjoy some time on Lake Austin on a boat tour, or head out on a hiking trail without feeling like you’re going to melt.

In addition to enjoying Austin’s outdoor life, Austin is known as the Capital of Live music, and a visit isn’t complete without exploring its diverse music scene. You’ll find everything from roof-raising electronic to twangy country ballads and everything in between. If you want a little taste of everything, consider joining a live music crawl, where you’ll get to enjoy some live music—and learn about Austin’s history—with a friendly and knowledgeable guide.  

Skyline of buildings in downtown Austin, Texas

After a late night out, there’s no better place to go than one of the city’s iconic food trucks, with a whopping 1,200 trucks peppered throughout the city! If you’re looking for some killer late-night vegan eats in Austin, head to Arlo’s for its crowd-pleasing Frito Pie burger.

  • How to get to Austin: The easiest way to get to Austin is via the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, approximately 15 minutes from the city.
    To get around Austin, it’s best to have a rental car—just be ready for some serious traffic. It also might be worth investing in a toll pass, which is sold at most rental car facilities. There’s unfortunately quite a few toll roads in the city.
  • Where to stay in Austin: The Park Lane Guest House is a great option, just outside of downtown Austin but steps from the famous South Congress. With a beautiful garden and a natural swimming pool, this place kind of feels like a secret oasis in the middle of the city—and it’s no wonder why they’re the self-appointed “greenest little hotel in Austin.” 

Recommended by Rebecca of Veggies Abroad

3. Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg is one of the best places to visit in Texas in winter, when this charming German town in central Texas comes alive with holiday spirit.

Fredericksburg is rich with German heritage—in fact, almost 13% of its population speaks German! There’s no time of the year where this heritage is more evident than the wintertime, when the town feels like a Bavarian village at Christmas, complete with festive decorations,  winter festivals, and vibrant markets. 

Perhaps the most iconic sight here is the town’s 26-foot-tall German Christmas pyramid—it’s definitely unlike the typical holiday decorations you’ll see in Texas—or even the United States! Additionally, the annual tree lighting is one of the best things to do in Fredericksburg around Christmastime. This annual tradition was started by President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife, Claudia, and the ceremony includes festive music, appearances by Santa himself, and best of all, free cookies and hot chocolate.

If you’re traveling with kiddos, bring them to the town’s Kinderfest, held the first Saturday of every December, so that they can enjoy making fun Christmas crafts with Santa—and maybe even have his elves sneak little presents into their stockings. 

Once Christmas ends, swing dance the night away on New Year’s Eve at the Hangar Hotel or stop by the Messina Hof Hill Country Winery. This popular local vineyard has quite the dance floor, come New Year’s Eve, and even offers guests a complimentary glass of Texas sparkling wine. 

Glass of wine held in front of vineyards in Hye, Texas

Fredericksburg actually has over FIFTY wineries, which, of course, are open and ready for visitors if you happen to visit after the holiday season. Consider going on a tour of some of Fredericksburg’s wineries to learn more about the region’s varietals, meet local wine-makers, and enjoy plenty of tastings.

  • How to get to Fredericksburg: The closest major airport to Fredericksburg is in San Antonio. From here, you’ll drive an hour and six minutes north to reach the town.
  • Where to stay at Fredericksburg: Barons Creekside Resort is an incredibly charming resort, with a variety of quirky suites, including a log cabin with a huge stone fireplace—perfect for curling up to after a long day of exploring outside. From the onsite bar to the cozy hot tub, you’re going to find it hard to tear yourself away from the resort to actually go enjoy Fredericksburg. 

Recommended by Victoria of Texas Travel 365

4. Marfa

There’s perhaps no quirkier town in Texas than Marfa, a funky town of artists, tucked along the southwestern border of the state.

One of the best things to do in Marfa is to soak in its thriving art scene. For a town of less than 1,800 residents, there’s a stunning number of art galleries and museums here, including Ballroom Marfa and the Ayn Foundation, all of which highlight cutting-edge artists of different mediums.

Art installation of a man with a shotgun outside of Marfa, Texas

Marfa became such an artistic mecca when the artist, Donald Judd, uprooted himself from New York to Marfa to provide more space to create and install his large scale artwork. He purchased a former military base and installed hundreds of contemporary art pieces, all of which you can see on display at the Chinati Foundation.

Due to its remoteness, Marfa is also famed for its incredibly dark night skies, which are perfect for seeing the Milky Way. The nearby McDonald Observatory frequently has star parties, where you can learn about constellations and astronomy from real life astronomers.

Couple kissing in the road in front of the Prada Marfa installation in Valentine, Texas

For something a bit more on the kooky side, see if you can spot the Marfa Mystery Lights, seemingly sourceless lights that dance across the horizon. There’s even an official viewing center, located here, where you can bring some snacks to have a good ol’ fashioned stakeout.

Winter is a lovely time to visit Marfa, thanks to the moderate weather and the lower crowds than in its busier season (usually around May and June). Given the how tiny the town is, any amount of crowds can overwhelm the few restaurants and accommodations in town- and make the prices soar.

  • How to get to Marfa: So here’s the thing about Marfa- it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere (that’s why Donald Judd moved here!). Marfa is about three miles southeast of the El Paso International Airport.
  • Where to stay in Marfa: For the full Marfa experience, El Cosmico is the most iconic accommodations in town, with quirky accommodations, like vintage trailers and teepees, and a wood-fired hot tub for rent.

5. Wimberley

Wimberley is a small town in Texas Hill Country that’s perfect for a more outdoorsy getaway. This tiny town packs a lot of punch, offering a good food scene, a vibrant downtown area, and some beautiful hiking trails.

Winter is a great time to visit Wimberley. For one, you can enjoy the region’s beautiful limestone peaks while hiking in Texas Hill Country, when the weather is mild and pleasant. Some of the best places to hike near Wimberley include Pedernales State Park, the Blue Hole Regional Park, Mount Baldy, and West Cave. 

Cave in West Cave Regional Park near Wimberley, Texas

If getting outdoors isn’t your thing, Wimberely has plenty of other activities to get your heartrate up—like, say, shopping? 

There’s several different winter markets to choose from here, like Wimberley Market Days. a monthly event that has over 450 booths selling decor, jewelry, crafts, and more. In early December, they even have a holiday-themed market, with festive goodies, like ornaments and hand-made toys and scarves.  Another seasonal event in Wimberley is the Winter’s Eve festival, which features live music and an appearance from Santa himself.

No matter when you visit, you also must take advantage of the delicious food in Wimberley. For example, one of the most unique places to eat is The Shady Llama, a quirky bar with over 20 beers on tap, a selection of elevated salads and sandwiches, and llamas and donkeys, who love to hang out with patrons during the cool winter weather.

Rustic shed in Wimberley, Texas
  • How to get to Wimberley: To reach Wimberley, you can either fly into Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and drive 50 minutes southwest or, alternatively, fly into San Antonio International Airport and drive 70 minutes northeast. 
  • Where to stay in Wimberley: The Wimberley Inn and Bar is a chic boutique hotel located within walking distance of downtown Wimberley and its famed Blue Hole Regional Park. And bonus—this modern hotel also happens to be pet-friendly!

 Recommended by Lydia of Lost with Lydia

6. Arlington

Arlington is one of the tenth biggest cities in Texas and yet, it’s often overlooked for some of its bigger neighbors, like Dallas, Houston, and Austin. Nevertheless, Arlington is totally worth a visit if you’re planning your next winter vacation in Texas, with everything from sports teams and amusement parks to museums and countless restaurants and shopping to explore. 

It’s also conveniently located between Dallas and Fort Worth, making it an absolute breeze to get to. 

Like many towns in the winter in Texas, Arlington does it up for the holidays. For example, consider checking out Holiday in the Park at Six Flags over Texas, where the beloved amusement park gets decked out for the holidays, including thousands of twinkling Christmas lights, festive foods, and even a snow hill, making this the perfect family friendly destination for your winter in Texas!

Roller coaster at Six Flags over Texas in Arlington, Texas
Photo by felixtm of Deposit Photos

If you don’t want to shell out for a day at the amusement park, you can still get in the holiday fun at the Arlington Holiday Lights Parade, which is usually the second Saturday of December. During this celebration, you can enjoy live music, photos with Santa, and the grand finale—the lighting of the town’s 50-foot Christmas tree. 

If you’re not a huge football fan, you also might not know that Arlington is actually the proud home of the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys play here from September through January—so if you want to see one of the most iconic teams in the NFL play on their home turf (they’ve won the Superbowl FIVE times, guys!), consider going to a game.

AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
  • How to get to Arlington: Arlington is just 15 minutes south of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. 
  • Where to stay in Arlington: Live! By Loews is located in an incredibly convenient and walkable location, offers beautiful views of the city, and has tons of perks, from a beautiful terrace, in-room coffee makers, and an excellent breakfast available each morning.

Recommended by Abby of Trekking Prices

7. Beaumont

Beaumont is located in southeast Texas, close to the Louisiana border and Gulf of Mexico. Winter in this part of Texas is lovely, given that you can enjoy all of the outdoor activities it has to offer with more pleasant temperatures and lower humidity.

The city also lies on the line of two migratory flyways so over 350 species of birds can be seen here every year. Wintertime is excellent for birders here—from October to March, many species of ducks and snow geese migrate to Beaumont.

One of the best spots to spot birds, Cattail Marsh, is located right in town. You can stroll around its gorgeous boardwalk at sunrise or sunset and spot literally hundreds of species of birds here. 

Sunset at Cattail Marsh in Beaumont, Texas

If you’re not into birding, there’s still plenty of things to do in Beaumont, like visiting its museums downtown, gazing at the murals in its downtown area, or enjoying one of its quirky festivals.

Every January, Beaumont celebrates the Spindletop Anniversary Celebration, which commemorates the day in 1901 when an oil field spewed oil hundreds of feet in the air for nine days straight, putting Beaumont on the map of the best oil-producing cities in the United States. Each year, there’s a reenactment of the “gushing”, as well as contests and live demonstrations in the historical village at the Gladys City Boomtown Museum.

If oil gushers aren’t your speed, there’s plenty of other events to enjoy, including multiple holiday events in December and Mardi Gras of the Southeast in February.

Carnival along the shoreline of Beaumont, Texas
Photo by wirestock_creators of Deposit Photos
  • How to Get to Beaumont: To reach Beaumont, fly into George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and drive an hour and a half east to Beaumont.
  • Where to Stay at Beaumont: The Book Nook Inn, located in the nearby town of Lumberton, is a charming bed and breakfast with quirky rooms and Victorian furnishings, in-room massages available, and complimentary breakfast, made to order.

Recommended by Anna of Stuck on the Go

8. Pedernales Falls State Park

Come winter, Pedernales Falls State Park is one of the best destinations in Central Texas you can visit. The weather is perfect for exploring the park’s hiking trails, with daily highs in the low 60s, and thanks to the rainy autumn, the waterfalls can be particularly powerful in the winter.

The park is located in Johnson City, about an hour west of Austin—making it a perfect day trip or weekend getaway from the capital city. It’s so popular, in fact, that you may want to consider reserving a day pass in advance, as the park sells out quickly on weekends and holidays. Admission is $6 per adult and free for kids under 13.

Start your visit by hiking the 0.6 mile Pedernales Falls Trail to a viewpoint overlooking the turquoise water cascading down a rocky cliff. From here, you can hike down to the banks of the Pedernales River and see the cascades up close and personal, unless the flow is too strong and dangerous. There’s lots of little caves, pools, and smaller cascades here, so budget at least an hour or so to explore around here.

Beyond the Pedernales Falls Trail, there’s seven other hiking trails in the park. While most are on the easier side, there are a few longer and more challenging ones, Juniper Ridge and Wolf Mountain Loop.

This 13.2-mile trail is largely exposed to the sun, which is absolutely brutal in the summer. Thankfully, winter is a much better time to enjoy the trails—just be sure to still bring along sunscreen and plenty of water (we swear by these comically giant Nalgene bottles).

  • How to get to Pedernales Falls State Park: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is one hour west of the park.
  • Where to stay near Pedernales Falls State Park: Carter Creek Winery Resort and Spa offers a quiet place to relax after a day of hiking, with comfy beds, an onsite restaurant and winery, and even a hot tub to relax in.

Recommended by Anastasia of the TravelRealist

9. Galveston

Want to enjoy the beach during winter in Texas?

Galveston is the state’s most beloved beach town and is just as enjoyable in the cooler months as it is during the summer. The subtropical climate makes it a perfect escape from the frigid temperatures of the north. 

Plus, the absence of the summer swarm of tourists means you can leisurely enjoy the restaurants, shops, and rides at the Historic Pleasure Pier. The pier features a roller coaster and 15 rides, including some that go over the ocean.

In the wintertime, there are many fantastic winter events and activities to experience in Galveston. For example, Dickens on the Strand takes place in The Strand, Galveston’s historic district and celebrates the holidays with Victorian-era costumes, street vendors, musicians, and festive food and drink.

Christmas garland hanging over the Strand in Galveston, Texas in winter

If you enjoy history, you’ll also love Bishop’s Palace, an ornate 19,000 square foot Victorian home, without having to elbow through the summertime crowds. Alternatively, if you’re feeling something a bit more spooky, consider joining a tour that dives into some of Galveston’s more macabre history over the last few centuries, from the Civil War to Yellow Fever, like this Ghosts of Galveston Walking Tour or this Haunted Cemetery Walking Tour.

The culinary scene in Galveston remains vibrant, even in the winter. For example, Yaga’s Cafe offers artisanal pizzas and vegan offerings, with a bustling patio and frequent live music.

  • How to get to Galveston: The closest airport is William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, followed by a one hour drive southeast.
  • Where to stay in Galveston: The Tremont House Hotel is located in the heart of Galveston’s historic Strand District, offering modern amenities and great walkability to some of the city’s best sights. 

Recommended by Haley of Gleason Family Travels

10. Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Located in Northwestern Texas, Guadalupe Mountains National Park protects an important section of the Chihuahuan Desert. Inside the park’s 135 square mile footprint, you’ll find desert plants, wildlife, ranging from coyotes and mule deer to mountain lions, and rattlesnakes, and the highest peak in Texas, the 8,751 feet tall Guadalupe Peak. 

There’s several amazing hiking trails that you can enjoy in the park, including Devil’s Hall and, of course, the climb to Guadalupe Peak Trail. One quirky thing to know about hiking here, though—while many national parks charge an entrance fee per private vehicle, Guadalupe Mountains National Park charges a $10 entrance fee per person—or free, with an America the Beautiful pass.

Mesa in Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas

Beyond its incredible scenery, it also has a fascinating history. This area was home to a stagecoach station, which served as a respite for weary travelers and as a drop-off station for mail and supplies as the stagecoaches moved from St. Louis to San Francisco. Ruins of a stagecoach station, along with historic ranch houses and cabins can still be found in the park. 

In winter, this part of Texas tends to be pretty chilly, with the higher elevation areas of the park even getting ice and snow. Its lower areas, however, remain accessible throughout the winter and perfect to enjoy during this season. And, given that the park is at its quietest in the wintertime, you’ll likely have many of the trails to yourself!

Mountain in Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas
  • How to get to Guadalupe Mountains National Park: The nearest major airport to Guadalupe Mountains National Park is the El Paso International Airport, which is a two hour drive west of the national park.
  • Where to stay in Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Unfortunately, there aren’t many hotels close to the park, with the nearest options being in Carlsbad, New Mexico, about an hour’s drive away. The Karbani Inn is a quirky hotel made from storage containers, with incredibly sweet owners and a killer breakfast burrito on the menu. Plus, if you stay here, you can make a stop at the nearby Carlsbad Caverns National Park, one of the best places to visit in New Mexico in winter!

Pssst… one of the coolest things about Guadalupe Mountains National Park is that it’s within a three hour drive of two other national parks, the aforementioned Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands National Park in New Mexico. Accordingly, this area makes an awesome road trip destination, especially if you’re like us and are trying to tick off all of the national parks.

Recommended by Anwar of Beyond My Door. 

11. San Antonio

San Antonio is an excellent place to visit in the winter in Texas, with highs in the mid-60s throughout the coldest months—a much more pleasant experience than the sweltering heat of summer!

No visit to San Antonio is complete without a stop in the Alamo. This 18th-century Franciscan mission was the site of a battle in 1836 between the Texan independence fighters and the Mexican army.

Alamo mission in San Antonio, Texas

While the Alamo is undoubtedly the most famous mission in San Antonio, there’s actually a number of other missions in the city that have been deemed UNESCO World Heritage Sites that you can explore. Consider going on a guided tour, like this one, which will take you around these sites with a certified guide, to learn more about the unique influence of Spanish and Native American influences on this region.

Another popular thing to do is to stroll along the River Walk, lining the San Antonio River. This 15-mile walkway is tucked a few steps below street level and thus, feels a bit quieter and more serene than the bustling city above. There’s plenty of things to keep your attention here, though, from restaurants and bars to eclectic boutiques. 

One of the best ways to enjoy the River Walk is to go on a boat tour, like this small group tour at night, where you’ll cruise around the downtown area and learn more about the city’s culture and history. Plus, the River Walk follows open container laws—so you can usually grab a drink from a bar before hopping on your river cruise!

Boats along the River Walk of San Antonio, Texas

Since San Antonio does get quite warm over the summer, visitors can enjoy the city much more comfortably over the winter. Discover the Alamo, enjoy a boat tour of the canal, or stroll along the River Walk.

Beyond just the River Walk, the food scene in San Antonio is incredible, especially for Tex-Mex food. For some seriously tasty tacos, head to Taquitos West Ave. This local favorite offers loads of tacos, with different fillings and toppings.

  • How to get to San Antonio: San Antonio actually has its own international airport or, alternatively, you can fly into Austin, which is an hour and a half northeast of the city.
  • Where to stay in San Antonio: Hotel Valencia Riverwalk is a beautiful property, just steps from the riverwalk, with views overlooking the river, and an onsite spa.

Recommended by Eleanor of Elevate Your Escapes

12. Dallas

As the third largest city in Texas, Dallas has plenty to keep you busy during a winter getaway, from museums to visit to excellent food to eat and sites to be explored.

Some of the most popular museums in Dallas include the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the Dallas Museum of Art, and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.  

Buildings along a road in Dallas, Texas

The Sixth Floor Museum, arguably the most iconic site in the city, chronicles the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which occurred on November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, right in front of the museum. While there’s plenty of conspiracy theories that still persist today, it’s widely accepted that Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president through a window of a nearby building, where the Sixth Floor Museum now sits.

One of the best parts of visiting in the wintertime is that the weather is perfect for exploring outside, like, for example, strolling the grounds of the nationally-acclaimed Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. This arboretum features 66 acres of gardens along the shore of a lake, an excellent place for an outdoor stroll.

Skyscrapers in Dallas, Texas

If you visit in late November through the end of December, you can also enjoy Holiday at the Arboretum, which highlights Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanzaa. At this annual event, you can walk under more than a million twinkling lights, sip hot chocolate, and peruse the stalls of it Christmas market.

For a free alternative, Klyde Warren Park offers 5.2 acres of green space and lots of free public programming, including an annual Tree Lighting ceremony in December, complete with carolers and visits from Santa himself.

  • How to get to Dallas: Dallas has its own international airport, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
  • Where to stay in DallasThe Canvas Hotel offers a chic, modern decor and a rooftop pool with killer views of the city. 

Recommended by Chelsea from Adventures of Chels

13. Big Bend National Park

Nestled along the Rio Grande River in far West Texas, Big Bend National Park is the very definition of wide open spaces.

With stunning hikes and endless vistas, it’s one of the best hidden gems in the U.S. National Park system. Plus, with the punishing summer temperatures of the Chihuahuan Desert, it’s a much better winter vacation than a summer one.

Winters are dry, sunny, and warm, with average high temperatures hovering in the low 60s for much of the season–perfect for getting outside and exploring Big Bend’s incredible landscapes. 

Horses in Big Bend National Park in Texas

For example, consider hiking on the Lost Mine Trail, which offers sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and desert. Alternatively, what could be better in the cool winter weather than soaking in Langford Hot Springs, a primitive pool that’s tucked along the Rio Grande and stays a steamy 105° F all year round. 

For something really unique, you can actually cross the Rio Grande River into Mexico and visit the small town of Boquillos del Carmen—just don’t forget your passports and some cash for the ferry across the river.

Big Bend National Park is MASSIVE (it’s bigger than Rhode Island!) and extremely remote, so be prepared to drive quite a bit to get from one section of the park to another. 

  • How to Get to Big Bend National Park: As mentioned above, Big Bend is remote! The closest airport is El Paso International Airport, a four and a half hour drive northwest of the city.
  • Where to stay in Big Bend National Park: Big Bend has Chisos Mountain Lodge, with 72 guest rooms, and four campgrounds. If you can’t nab a spot in any of those accommodations, there are a few towns “near” Big Bend that make a great base, like Alpine. The town’s Holland Hotel is a boutique hotel, with each room styled with local artwork and perks, like an on-site restaurant and complimentary coffee for guests.

Recommended by Kate of Lone Star Travel Guide

14. Monahans Sandhills State Park

If you’re looking for a unique alternative to a beach getaway this winter, consider heading to Monahans Sandhills State Park

Located three and a half hours east of El Paso, this park isn’t anywhere near the ocean. Nevertheless, you can still have plenty of fun in the sun amidst its impressive dunes, like sand sledding, sand surfing, and building sand castles- all in the heart of west Texas!

Sand sledding is one of the most fun activities to enjoy here. You can either bring your own disc, like this one, or rent one from the park’s Visitor Center before hitting the dunes. You can find dunes to sled or surf all along the main road in the park, the aptly-named Dunes Drive, but if you’re looking to conquer the biggest and best dunes in the park, head all the way to the end of the road.

Sand dunes in Monahans Sandhills State Park in Texas

Winter is one of the best times to visit, given that the temperatures are mild and the stark white sand is less hot- and less blinding!- than it is in the height of the summer.

At just six square miles, the park isn’t very large and can likely be seen in just a day. However, it’s an excellent addition to a road trip to explore some of the other incredible landscapes in west Texas, like Guadalupe Mountains and Big Bend National Parks.

  • How to Get to Monahans Sandhills State Park: The park is located in West Texas, in the teeny town of Monahans.  The closest airport is Midland International, which is a 45 minute drive northeast of the park.
  • Where to Stay in Monahans Sandhills State Park: There’s camping available in the park or, alternatively, plenty of lodging options in Monahans. For example, the Best Western Plus Monahans is impeccably clean and offers several perks, like an indoor swimming pool and complimentary breakfast every morning.

Recommended by Kristen of Yonderlust Ramblings

I hope you have some good ideas of where to visit in the winter in Texas. Do you have any questions about these destinations? Let me know in the comments below!

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