Charming and Historic Small Texas Towns

The Gateway, sculpture by Michael Boyett, on Main Street in Nacogdoches, Texas, USA

Witold Skrypczak/Getty Images

Having been ruled by six countries, including its own sovereign government, it's no surprise that Texas has developed a diverse and interesting history. Much of the history that shaped the Lone Star State took place in towns that are relatively small by modern standards. When non-Texas think of the state of Texas, the larger cities often come to mind: Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio. Luckily, there's more to the small-town Texas charm than the eye can see, whether traveling through on a road trip, taking a solo trip, or looking for some family fun. In fact, there are many notable small and historic Texas towns for travelers to visit.

Small Town Charm

These tiny Texas towns have unique communities like antique shows, music halls, and famous rodeos. Travelers are encouraged to explore some of the hidden cultures that historic Texas towns can offer, whether it's a sleepy town, entertainment spot, or just an ordinary place with countryfolk. Visitors looking to get a feel for Texas history should hit the backroads and visit the list of tiny towns below.

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Old Gonzales County Jail, Gonzales, Texas.
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Known as the "Cradle of Texas Independence," the tiny town of Gonzales still celebrates its prominent place in Texas history today. Gonzales is a small historic town located in the southeast area of Texas. There are many museums and centers to visit such as the Old Jail Museum and ​Pioneer Village Living History Center.​​

This historic town is full of inns, shops, and places to dine, along with attractions like cemeteries, walking and driving tours, monuments, and other recreational activities.

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Mission in Goliad, Texas
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The site of one of the most infamous battles of the Texas Revolution, Goliad, is a top spot for history buffs traveling through Texas. Goliad is the third oldest municipality in Texas and is the County Seat of Goliad County, which is one of the oldest counties in all of the state.

The original name for Goliad was Santa Dorotea, noted by the Spaniards in the 16th century. It was then changed to Goliad in 1829 with religious origins. Famous places to visit include the Goliad State Park and the General Ignacio Zaragoza state park and historic site.

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Port Isabel

Port Isabel, Texas Lighthouse
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Originally known as "Point Isabel," this seaside town and its famous lighthouse date back to the early 1800s. There are several lighthouses, piers, boardwalks, and history museums to visit, such as the Port Isabel Lighthouse, Pirate's Landing Fishing Pier, and the Port Isabel Historical Museum.

The top restaurants recommended grabbing a bite at including Joe's Oyster Bar, Los Tortugo's Seafood Market, and Marcello's Italian Restaurant.

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The Gateway, sculpture by Michael Boyett, on Main Street in Nacogdoches, Texas, USA
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The oldest town in Texas, Nacogdoches, was originally a Spanish settlement. Over the years, Nacogdoches has blended Southern hospitality with its Spanish heritage to make it a uniquely "Texas town."

Nacogdoches offers secluded cabins, comfortable cottages, and even Victorian-style mansions for a trip away from home. There are several recreational activities to explore in the outdoors and plenty of day trips to take nearby, such as to the Henderson Oil Field Tour.

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Cattle grazing at Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend Ranch State Park
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Presidio means garrison or fort in Spanish, which is what the town of Presidio originally was in colonial times. Amazingly, tiny Presidio hasn't grown or changed that much over the years.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of expeditions to take both on the Rio Grande, at the Big Bend State Ranch, and at the National Park. Presidio is a great place to get some BBQ and explore authentic Mexican food after a day of exploration.

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The Peanut marker in Floresville, Texas
Floresville Texas/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Floresville is a popular spot for history buffs. This tiny South Texas Town features a number of historic landmarks and buildings, many of which are still in use today. Floresville is located outside of San Antonio, north of oil and gas areas, from the Eagle Ford Shale region.

This small community was originally named Lodi and was discovered in 1867. It is known as the Peanut Capital of Texas where the annual Peanut Festival is held.

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