Can You Name All of These Stops on the Ideal Tour of Texas?

WORLD

Bambi Turner

7 Min Quiz

Image: pabst_ell/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Whoever came up with the idea that everything is bigger in Texas probably dreamed up this concept while attempting to drive across the state. More than 800 miles separate El Paso on the western border with Beaumont on the east, which means you could do nothing but drive for 12 hours straight without ever crossing the state line! The Lone Star State is so big it's even larger than many European countries. The good news is that with so much land there's plenty to see, no matter where your interests may lie.

The wide-open spaces and endless skies in the western half of the state are a surprising contrast to the urban lifestyle in eastern cities like Houston, Austin and Dallas. Small towns offer southern hospitality and charm, while the cities are home to fantastic museums, skyscrapers, cultural venues and historic sites. You can also find classic cuisine from barbecue to Tex-Mex to award-winning chili, plus plenty of rodeos, cowboys, heehaws and y'alls.

Of course, Texas is also home to awe-inspiring natural wonders, from a gorge second in size only to the Grand Canyon to beloved swimming holes, state parks and mysterious lights that some blame on supernatural forces...

Think you can identify all the can't-miss stops on the perfect Texas tour? Grab your boots and spurs and prove it with this quiz!

It ranks among the least visited of all national parks, but can you name the park located in the Chihuahuan Desert in southwest Texas?

Big Bend is located so far off the beaten path it doesn't experience the crowding found at other national parks. Located in the state's southwest corner, it straddles the Rio Grande and is home to incredible hikes and dirt road drives. Big Bend is also a certified dark-sky park and one of the darkest spots in the U.S., according to the International Dark Sky Association, which means visitors can see stars in a way most people will never experience.

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Bring history class to life at this San Antonio mission where Davy Crockett took his last stand. Do you "remember" its name?

"Remember the Alamo!" became a battle cry that motivated Texans to win independence from Mexico in the 1830s. For 13 days during the Texas Revolution, a group of citizens held off an attack by the Mexican Army at this small San Antonio mission. Though they were ultimately defeated, their efforts helped shape the future of the area and gave this tiny, unassuming structure a story that looms larger than life.

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Opened in 1992, what city's iconic Space Center, home to Mission Control, welcomes a million visitors a year?

Houston has long been the home of the NASA Johnson Space Center and Mission Control for U.S. space excursions. In 1992, the center expanded into an impressive visitor center, which welcomes a million tourists a year to explore space shuttles, view lunar rovers and capsules and even make contact with the touchstone — a moon rock you can actually lay hands on.

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Which Fort Worth location, once a business and trade hub, now serves as one of the city's most popular tourist stops?

Its location along the railroads made Fort Worth a hub for cattle ranchers in the late 19th century. While the livestock trade had moved elsewhere by the 1950s, the former stockyards were eventually transformed into an entertainment and shopping district. Today, tourists flock the 100-acre site to tour historic structures, grab a meal, listen to live music or even take in a rodeo, Texas-style.

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Can you name the Dallas site where President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963?

Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots that killed President Kennedy from the sixth floor of the Texas Schoolbook Depository on 11/22/1963. Today, the building in Dallas' Dealey Plaza is home to The Sixth Floor Museum, which offers exhibits dedicated to Kennedy's life and legacy.

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Yes, it's a destination for spring breakers from across the south, but it's also the longest barrier island in the U.S. Know its name?

The longest barrier island and second-largest island of any kind in the U.S., Padre Island sits off the southeast coast of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico. The center portion is a protected National Seashore, with endless opportunities for fishing, boating and wildlife viewing.

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Once the biggest port in the U.S., what is the name of the Texas city that was nearly destroyed by a 1900 hurricane?

Galveston was a massive port and the biggest city in Texas during the 1800s until a 1900 hurricane killed thousands of people and destroyed huge swaths of the island. Much of Galveston has since been rebuilt, and visitors now flock to the island to tour Galveston's six historic districts, especially the well-preserved Victorian buildings along the Strand.

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Located just north of Fredericksburg in central Texas, what State Natural Area draws in crowds with its hiking, climbing and camping offerings?

People have occupied the area now known as Enchanted Rock State Natural Area for more than 10,000 years. The pink granite mound rises 425 feet above the surrounding landscape, providing magnificent views of Texas Hill Country for those who make the climb to the summit.

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Nicknamed "The Ball," what 561-foot tower soars over the city of Dallas, TX?

Completed in 1978, Reunion Tower consists of massive concrete support beams holding up a geodesic dome that sits more than 500 feet above the Dallas skyline. Elevators take visitors to the top in just over a minute, where a visitor's center, observation deck and rotating restaurant provides spectacular views of the city.

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Choose the Texas State Park just south of Fort Worth that will impress any "Jurassic Park" fan.

Millions of years ago, dinosaurs walked through the land now known as Glen Rose, Texas. Today, visitors can see and walk in the footprints left behind by these beasts in the Paluxy River. While you're in this part of northeast Texas, make sure to travel to the town of Acton and view the final resting place of Elizabeth Crockett, wife to famed outdoorsman Davy.

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A stunning River Walk sits a full story below one major Texas city. Know which one?

After terrible floods killed more than 50 people in 1921, the city of San Antonio redirected the San Antonio River to flow a story below the city center. The area has since been transformed into a major attraction, where locals and tourists come to tour historic missions, grab a bite to eat, visit galleries or take in live music.

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Nicknamed "The Blue Ghost," what legendary WWII aircraft carrier now welcomes visitors to Corpus Christi?

Nicknamed "The Blue Ghost" for her ability to silently disappear into the fog in WWII, the USS Lexington has been retired to the shores of Corpus Christi, Texas. Since 1992, visitors to the Essex-class aircraft carrier have been able to tour the vessel, step behind "virtual battle stations," and view artifacts and displays related to the ship's military history.

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Pick the city where you can visit the Texas State Capitol Building. (And yes, it is pink.)

Built in the 1880s, the Texas State Capital building towers over the city of Austin. This Renaissance-Revival-style building uses local red granite. It's not only taller than the U.S. Capitol, but ranks among the tallest Capitol buildings in the U.S. Visitors head to this impressive structure to view its massive rotunda and dome, as well as to check out Austin from high on a hilltop that overlooks the city.

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One of America's bestselling ice cream brands offers free tours of its Brenham, TX headquarters. Do you know which one?

Blue Bell Creameries has been blending up ice cream in East Texas for over a century. Today, they welcome visitors to their Brenham factory for tours. They also serve up sweet scoops to help you cool off in that blazing Texas heat.

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If you make the trip to Mount Locke in southwest Texas, you'll find some of the best of these ever made.

Part of the University of Texas at Austin, McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis in the southwestern part of the state has some of the most powerful telescopes on the planet. Attend an evening star party to look deep into the cosmos, or visit during the day to take a tour and view space-based exhibits.

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Situated near the city of Arlington, name the amusement park where you can ride the 400-foot tall Sky Screamer.

Six Flags is one of America's most iconic amusement park chains, and it all started in Arlington, Texas in 1961. Today, that park is known as Six Flags Over Texas, and it's home to the fastest and tallest roller coasters in the Lone Star State.

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Need a break from that Southern heat? Swing by Zilker Park in Austin and cool off in this popular swimming hole.

Texans have been swimming in the cool natural water at Barton Springs since before Texas was even a state. Today the spring waters, which remain between 68 and 74 degrees year-round, are largely contained in a manmade pool with concrete walkways and decks for easy access.

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Where can you go enjoy laid-back living "with Waylon and Willie and the boys?"

Located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, the tiny town of Luckenbach wasn't much more than a dot on the map until its name was used as the title of a hit Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson song in 1977. Swing through Luckenback to check out the old general store and dance hall, or come during one of the town's many music festivals and special events for country music at its finest.

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Built for the 1968 World's Fair, name the tower that soars above San Antonio.

The tallest observation tower in the entire U.S. from 1968 through 1996, Tower of the Americas remains the tallest structure in San Antonio. The 750-foot tall tower was built for HemisFair '68, and yes, there is a rotating restaurant at the top offering spectacular views of the city.

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A New England-style boardwalk in Texas? You bet your boots! Can you guess its name?

The town of Kemah sits just 30 miles south of Houston along Galveston Bay. Its claim to fame is an enormous boardwalk area complete with rides, restaurants, a marina, hotel and plenty of other attractions. There's even a classic wooden coaster like the ones you'd see at many New England boardwalks.

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Think you know which Texas icon stands watch over the Texas State Fair?

The State Fair of Texas draws 2 million visitors a year during a three week stretch in September. Under the watchful eye of 55-foot cowboy Big Tex, visitors flock to fried food stands, play games on the midway and check out the best in livestock and agriculture.

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The roof of an underground river collapsed thousands of years ago to create a majestic swimming hole west of Austin. Know its name?

On highway 71 just west of Austin, stop by the Hamilton Pool Preserve to take a dip into brisk natural springs. The partially collapsed cave over the jade water forms a gorgeous natural grotto, while a 50-foot tall waterfall adds to the beauty of the area.

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The Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin is so beloved by tourists that it has an observation center. What are folks coming to see?

When engineers redesigned Austin's Congress Avenue Bridge in the '80s, they had no idea that the arching supports beneath the bridge would attract so many bats. Today crowds gather each night at the nearby Statesman Observation Center to watch the world's largest urban bat colony take flight each night.

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Once a thriving quicksilver or mercury mining town, name the iconic ghost town located near Big Bend National Park.

Howard Perry set up a mining company in Terlingua, Texas in 1903 to take advantage of high quicksilver, or mercury, prices. By the end of WWII, the sharp decline in price of this element left Terlingua in ruin. Visitors to this town near the Mexican border can take in beautifully preserved structures from the town's heyday, and can even book a stay at the restored Perry Mansion.

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With a stunning Torii at the entrance, what surprising attraction sits on the site of a former San Antonio quarry?

You might not expect to see Japan represented in the land of cowboys and rodeos, but the culture of this Asian nation is beautifully captured in San Antonio's Japanese Tea Garden. Built a century ago on a former rock quarry, it welcomes visitors via a traditional Torii, or gate, and is packed with arched bridges, lily ponds and even a pagoda.

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Why do so many tourists go off the beaten path to visit the churches near Schulenberg in central Texas?

A surprisingly large number of Czech and German immigrants settled in central Texas in the late 1800s. When they arrived, they decorated the interior of many local churches using the elaborate decorating themes of their European homelands. Tourists now flock to these "painted churches" around Schulenberg to view their impressive interiors.

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Can you ID the Texas city where a large Museum District sits in close proximity to Rice University?

Museums in big coastal cities get all the attention, but Houston has its own Museum District, with 18 museums located within a 1.5-mile radius of one another. Stop by the Museum of Natural Science to view dinosaur skeletons or tour the massive butterfly garden. There are also buildings dedicated to art, history, space, children's interests and even a Holocaust Museum.

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Want to try spelunking? Visit this San Antonio attraction that opened in 1964 and is the largest cave system in Texas.

Arrowheads and other artifacts reveal that the area near San Antonio known as Natural Bridge Caverns has been occupied since around 5,000 BC. Walk in the footsteps of early man by taking a tour 180 feet below the ground, or get a real taste for adventure with one of their more rugged tours. Not only do they take you to areas without concrete walkways or electric lights on their Adventure Tours, but you'll find yourself crawling or wiggling through tight spaces like a real spelunker.

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The weirdest thing about this tiny town isn't the mysterious flashing lights, it's the very out-of-place Prada store that showed up in 2005.

So many people flock to the tiny town of Marfa near the Chianti Mountains that the state built a visitor's center along Rt. 90 in 2003. They come to see mysterious flashing lights that appear in the desert. While some blame the lights on car headlights far in the distance, historical documents include references to the Marfa lights as far back as 1883 ... well before Texans had cars. There's also a Prada storefront installed by a pop artist in 2005 to see while you're in town.

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Think you can name the swimming hole that leads to a treacherous underwater cave near the Hill Country town of Wimberley?

Crowds flock to Jacob's Well Natural Area in Hill Country to swim in a natural spring that remains around 68 degrees all year. While it's safe to wade, many jump off the surrounding rocks into a 100-foot deep pool at one end known as Jacob's Well. At the bottom, the spring opens into a massive underwater caving system that has served as a watery grave for countless inexperienced divers.

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Sure, it's got a rich history, but what is the biggest claim to fame for the town of New Braunfels in central Texas?

When it opened in 1979 in New Braunfels, the Schlitterbahn water park set the standard for water-based amusement parks around the world. Today the park, whose name comes from the German for "slippery road," is home to the world's longest tubing river as well as MASSIV — the tallest water coaster on the planet.

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If you can't make it to the Grand Canyon, you can find the second-largest gorge in the U.S. in this Texas park.

Situated near Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is home to the Grand Canyon of Texas. It's 120 miles long, up to 20 feet wide and 1,000 feet deep or more in some spots. If some of the Palo Duro landscapes look familiar, you may have seen them in the work of Georgia O'Keeffe, who lived nearby and often painted in the park.

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Built in 1878, what well-preserved structure in the historic Gruene District of New Braunfels still draws in crowds?

Established by German immigrants in the 1840s, the south-central Texas town of Gruene was reduced to a ghost town a century later. Among its surprisingly intact Victorian homes and businesses stood an impressive dance hall dating back to 1878. Today tourists stop off in Gruene, now part of New Braunfels, to view the historic town and take a spin at the Gruene Dance Hall.

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Visiting Amarillo? Stop by Cadillac Ranch, where old cars have been arranged to form this design.

You'd have to head to England to see the real Stonehenge, but Texas is home to several replicas of the mysterious stone monument. Built in 1974, Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo has served as a representation of Stonehenge built out of classic cars. Both Odessa and Ingram, Texas have their own stone versions, but the town of Ingram takes things to the next level by throwing in replicas of the Easter Island heads as well.

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Which national park is home to the four highest peaks in Texas?

Tired of all that low-country living? Good thing Texas has plenty of tall mountain peaks to lift your spirits! To climb the state's four highest peaks, head for Guadalupe Mountains National Park near El Paso. The best views can be had from the top of the 8,750-foot Guadalupe Peak, but the park is also packed with ranches, trails canyons and sand dunes to satisfy your inner adventurer.

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