Whether you're coming for a romantic Valentine's Day trip or you're trying to escape the frigid cold of the northern U.S., Texas in February offers all kinds of cultural events, romantic getaways, and relatively warm weather.
There are a number of unique celebrations and festivals across the Lone Star State, and any one of them is reason enough to make a trip. Additionally, although it's the final month of winter, the weather in Texas in February is usually mild enough to allow for a variety of outdoor activities, especially in South Texas and the Gulf cities, where the average high temperature ranges from 65 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Celebrate Valentine's Day
Texas has a number of towns and cities that are perfect for a romantic Valentine's Day vacation. From the Gulf Coast to the Texas Hill Country, there is a Texas town to accommodate anyone's preferences and tastes. Major cities such as Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio offer plenty of Valentine's Day activities, from romantic dinners to hot air balloon rides.
For a special treat, you can head to Galveston Island, where Victorian architecture and historic charm meet the Gulf of Mexico leisure. The historic Hotel Galvez is a great destination if you don't mind spending a bit more for decadence, or you can head to the San Luis Resort and Spa for a full-service resort experience instead.
Many people don’t realize it, but the Texas Hill Country is one of the most romantic regions in the United States, even in the dead of winter. With scenic rolling hills, clear streams, and charming little towns like Fredericksburg and Wimberley, the Hill Country is a perfect escape for Valentine’s Day or any other special occasion with that special someone.
Take a Romantic Vacation on the Texas Coast
Like the Texas Hill Country, the Texas Coast is full of small towns and pleasant getaways perfect for a romantic Valentine's vacation (or winter getaway in general). Although February is the dead of winter, there is usually mild enough weather for a walk on the beach or to go bird watching, and most Texas beach destinations offer a variety of quaint shops, restaurants, and other "all-weather" attractions throughout the winter season, often at discounted prices.
Corpus Christi contains a number of Mediterranean-style bed and breakfast resorts as well as a variety of attractions and entertainment options. While you're there, be sure to check out the Water Street Market for local produce and handmade goods, and stop by the Harbor Playhouse to catch a performance of the Corpus Christi Ballet.
You can also head a little further south to South Padre Island, one of Texas' premier beach spots. February is typically warm enough to at least dip your feet in the water, and you'll also avoid the high prices and overwhelming crowds of the summer.
See the San Antonio Stock Show
Held each February, the San Antonio Rodeo and Stock Show is one of the largest and longest-running annual rodeo and livestock shows in the nation. The annual stock show features show animals from both professional and amateur handlers, as well as a horse show, bull riding, and a variety of other rodeo events.
The event also typically features a family fair and carnival, as well as nightly live entertainment from some of the country's top musical stars, including past performers like Becky G, Keith Urban, and Brad Paisley.
The 2021 event takes place from February 11–28, however, the usual carnival activities and concerts are canceled. The show is being scaled back to just the rodeo, and all visitors must have tickets in order to attend.
Celebrate Charro Days
Charro Days, the hugely popular “fiesta” staged in the border town of Brownsville each February, is one of Texas' most unique celebrations. Although Charro Days has been around in its current format since 1938, it is rumored that the first “unofficial” Charro Days took place in the early to mid-1800s, when citizens of Brownsville and Matamoros, just across the Rio Grande River in Mexico, came together to celebrate a cooperative climate between the two nations.
The traditions of this “two-nation fiesta” continue today. Live musical performances celebrate the cultures of both Texas and Mexico, along with other events like traditional folkloric dancing, a tortilla eating contest, carnival rides, and a huge parade.
The festivities aren't taking place in 2021, but participants can join in to some virtual activities throughout the week of February 21–28, such as costume competitions and decoration workshops.
Attend the OUTsider Festival
Celebrate and experience queer art at the annual OUTsider Festival in Austin, which highlights LGBTQ+ artists in all mediums: theater, dance, visual art, music, film, and writing. The week-long festival starts on February 19 and runs until February 21, 2021, in an all-new virtual format. Participants can attend from anywhere in the world by purchasing the three-day pass, giving access to all of the programming.
Past year OUTsider events have included a disco parade through downtown Austin, a short film festival, and a theatrical tribute to Chavela Vargas, a gay Mexican icon famous for her ranchera style of singing.
Camp Out at Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park, which hugs the Rio Grande River and the Mexican-American border, is full of temple-like canyons, massive limestone structures, and native Southwestern cacti. Big Bend is remote—El Paso is the nearest big city and about four and a half hours away by car—but if you're willing to make the trip, you'll be rewarded with one of the country's most astonishing parks.
Summer days are often blisteringly hot, while the winters are mild and perfect for comfortably hiking through Big Bend's landscape. This is the desert, so precipitation isn't likely, but the nights can get chilly. If you plan to camp, make sure you pack accordingly and have something warm to wear around the campfire.
If you're looking for something even more intimate, the neighboring Bend Bend State Park has a similar landscape with even fewer tourists.
Go Fishing at Falcon Reservoir
If you're an angler, there's no better place in the whole state for winter fishing than Falcon Reservoir, part of the Rio Grande River about 40 miles east of Laredo, Texas. The weather is much warmer than the lakes located further north, but you'll also avoid the unbearable heat that comes in the summer. Sea bass is the main fish you can catch in these waters, but alligator gar and catfish are also possible finds. Fishing availability doesn't suffer because of the colder weather; in fact, it's actually better in the winter than in the hot months of summer when fish prefer to stay in the cooler, deep waters.
Party at Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras in Galveston is canceled in 2021.
Galveston’s Mardi Gras is a 12-day, 11-night party prior to Lent each year. While not as famous as the Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans or Mobile, the Galveston event is nonetheless packed with tradition and, more importantly, packed with fun.
Of course, Mardi Gras revelers in Galveston are still dressed in costume as they wander the streets, listening to the more than 30 bands which will perform on the two stages set up in the Entertainment District. Mardi Gras goers are also treated to several parades and processions as well as drink and dinner specials at venues across the city.