As the second largest state in the US, finding things to do in Texas may seem daunting, but budget traveling may be easier than you think. While the Lone Star State is grand it's not just for its sheer volume – the heart of Texas may just lie in the culture, natural land, rich history and purely orgasmic food. Here are 5 things to do in Texas that will not break your travel budget.
1. Explore Texas camping and outdoor adventures – Home to breathtaking state parks, world-class camping and the Rio Grande, Texas is the place to experience the ultimate American budget vacation.
Palo Duran Canyon State Park in the Texas Panhandle, dubbed “The Grand Canyon of Texas”, is home to stunning rock formations, caves and rock towers knows as hoodoos where you can even watch an outdoor musical in the summer months. For adventure-seekers, Colorado Bend State Park just west of Austin is home to intense mountain bike treks, rappelling cave tours and a 65-foot waterfall.
For the best primitive camping in Texas, check out Big Bend National Park running 114 miles down the Rio Grande where you can check out interesting animals and even ancient dinosaur fossils while backpacking. Kayaking down the Rio Grande is believed by locals to sport some of the best views in all of Texas.
2. Check out local Swimming Holes – Things to do in Texas on a budget is sometimes about embracing the natural world embedded in American culture, and visiting these natural swimming pools are no exception. These next-to-nothing admission holes are a local favorite for Texas' hot (and we mean hot!) Summer months.
Starting off the list is the $ 3 admission Barton Springs in Austin, known for its spring-fed “healing” waters. The Krause family has owned Krause Springs in Spicewood for 50 years and sports three swimming holes open year-round.
The Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs is a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts due to its out-of-this-world look of nature's making. Created by a dome collapse of an underground river thousands of years ago, Hamilton Creek now cascades 50-feet into a cavernous pool creating a truly unique swimming experience.
3. Visit historical sites – Texas is home to some of the most important aspects of American history. Many things to do in Texas revolve around its rich history reserved for locals and travelers alike to explore the past. Museums in Texas are great places to explore on a budget, and some are even free!
The Alamo is known as one of the most famous historical spots in Texas and a World Heritage Site. What started as a Roman Catholic mission turned into the site in 1836 of the Battle of the Alamo. Here you can explore Spanish Colonial architecture and the Long Barrack museum of this free admission site.
4. Geocaching – Geocaching is all the rage around adventure-enthusiasts, and luckily Texas has jumped on board so you can explore the unbeaten path of what the huge state has to offer. This free scavenger hunt adventure uses GPS to find caches, or hidden containers where you will link up with the global community of challengers.
Washington County is the “Birthplace of Texas GeoTour!” where you'll find this real-life treasure hunt. It's a great bonding experience for family and teams, and a great way to quite explore some of Texas' hidden areas with the perk of zero cost to play!
5. Eat Tex-Mex food – Your stomach may be the key to your heart, but it's also the key to experiencing what Texas culture is all about. Bordering Mexico, Texas is known for its Texan – Mexican fusion cuisine of smoky and spicy flavors and belt-busting piles of goodness such as hearty enchiladas, spice-rubbed meats cooked to perfection, and exotic salsas you just can not resist indulging in.
Whether it's a true hole-in-the-wall or a famous favorite, Tex-Mex will be sure to satisfy the taste buds on a budget. Look online for the fan favorite in the Texas town you're in, and do not be afraid of big chains where you'll often find mariachi bands and pitchers of margaritas on the cheap.