The Best of Small-Town Living Texas Style
Where are the best small Texas towns and what makes small-town living so appealing? Let’s face it if you have ever lived in a major metropolitan area with all the noise, traffic, constant distractions, hustle and bustle of city life coupled with the stressors of daily living you may begin to appreciate the understated elegance and ambiance of small-town living.
Reduce the Daily Stress with Small Town Living
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In our modern-day world with advanced technology to make connections with work, family, online shopping, online education, and virtual meetings the possibility of small-town living makes sense for those who want a more relaxed environment to spend their time. No more commuting or crowds to contend with. Coupled with a lower cost of living, cleaner air, and less crime these are just a few of the benefits of living in a small town.
Unlimited Growth Potential
Many small towns have unlimited growth potential for small manufacturing and a cheap labor force that will appeal to those with an entrepreneurial spirit. Manufacturing has been shifting from larger cities to more rural areas over the past few decades. Your pick of the best small towns in Texas is potentially endless. Do you want to be totally off the grid, in the ‘burbs, or somewhere in between? If you can dream it Texas probably has it. Texas has one of the healthiest economies in the country. It has a vastly diverse culture with an array of equally diverse cities both big and small.
Dreaming of Small Town Life
If you dream of small-town life with more time to enjoy nature, a closer connection with people, less stress, and more time with family and friends; then small-town living just might be the best move you will ever make. What better place than the great state of Texas? Texas has so many great rural communities in its abundant terrain. There are many Texas small towns to live in. We are only exploring a few of our best picks for Texas’s best small towns here but the options are virtually endless. Texas smallest town is Guerra, Texas with only 6 inhabitants. If this is a little smaller than you are looking for then keep reading and check out our 15 best Texas small towns.
In Texas, oil towns have historically figured prominently in the economy. They still do offer security for those who live in smaller towns whose community depends on oil companies to provide employment. There are many cottage industries in small towns depending on where you are located. This is ever-present in most small Texas towns as Texans, in general, are very industrious people.
Places to Raise Your Children
There are many great small towns in Texas each with its own unique appeal. Places to raise your children enjoy the abundant wildlife, fresh air, fresh vegetables in the garden, community spirit, and ever-present peacefulness. We have included our pick of the best small towns in the seven regions of Texas. These include the Texas Gulf Coast, Texas Hill Country, Big Bend Country, Piney Woods, Panhandle Plains, South Texas Plains, and finally the Prairies and Lakes Region.
A Place to Look Up at the Stars
A place to look up and actually see the stars, comets, and milky way. Take the small town of Bertram, Texas for instance. At night just outside the city limit on the north ridge looking up at the sky is like you are looking into the heavens. It gives you the surreal feeling of being from a different universe on a clear night. This small little sleepy town is just 43 miles northwest of Austin, Texas, and features a yearly Oatmeal Festival.
Places That Will Leave You Breathless
Texas has many great small towns to settle down in. Each with unique attributes to pursue a new future. Texas has low taxes and a lower cost of living. Places that will leave you breathless, keep you healthier, with lots of quiet open space. Perhaps you already live in Texas but want a more relaxed lifestyle that only small-town living can offer. With so many choices how can you decide which of the best small towns suits you?
The Sky is the Limit
Maybe living the ultimate American dream with an apartment in the city and a home in a small country town is more your style. So where to start? We have done some of the research for you featuring a sampling of the best small towns in the various regions of Texas. The sky is the limit in the Great State of Texas and what a beautiful sky it is.
Texas Has a Total of 254 Counties
Texas has a total of 254 counties and over half of the total population live in 10 counties. If you are one of the estimated 86 percent of Texans now living in an urban area looking to relocate to a small town with more peacefulness and spaciousness then maybe it’s time to own it and move on. Small town living can be fulfilling and rewarding in so many ways. Don’t overthink it, if you’re ready for change, you’re ready! It’s your life and you are the one responsible for your own happiness.
With over 267,339 square miles there is more than ample room to find the perfect small Texas town. Is this laid-back Texas Lifestyle speaking to you? If it is then we have our pick of the best small Texas towns to live in as a starting point. There is no shortage of small towns in Texas. There are small towns near big cities and small towns in more remote areas for even more peace and privacy.
Methodology considerations for the best small towns in Texas included the potential for growth, the small-town potential for innovative progressive opportunities, and geographical location in the various regions of Texas. The regions of Texas are Gulf Coast, Big Bend Country, Piney Woods, Hill Country, Panhandle Plains, South Plains, and, Prairies & Lakes.
Port Aransas, Texas
Best Small Towns in Texas – Gulf Coast
Located on Mustang Island in the Gulf Coast region of Texas, Port Aransas offers lots of sunshine and salt air, 18 miles of beach great for long walks and enjoying the outdoors. This small Texas beach town is located in Nueces County, Texas. There are many small Texas beach towns to choose from and Port Aransas is our top pick. With an array of year-round activities, festivals and events you will find plenty to keep you entertained. Enjoy the excellent seafood at a local restaurant or even better catch it yourself and prepare it at home.
Roberts Point Park
This coastal community of fewer than 5,000 inhabitants is known for its beaches and fish-filled waterways. The observation tower at Roberts Point Park offers awesome views of the bay and dolphin sitings. Mustang Island was first called Wild Horse Island because of the wild horse population called “Mestenos”, brought to the island by the Spaniards in the 1800s.
Port Aransas boasts a local library, the Port Aransas Museum, the Port Aransas Community Theater, the Port Aransas Art Center, and the IB Maggee Beach park among others. The University of Texas Marine Science Institute located in Port Aransas is an international research facility, and graduate program for marine science, serving as a center for the study of Texas’ bays, the Gulf of Mexico, and the world’s oceans.
Mustang Island State Park
The town of Port Aransas has a multitude of local eateries, numerous shops, boutiques, and galleries to wander through. You can cruise around town on a colorful golf cart or bicycle anywhere on the island. Twelve miles south of Port Aransas is the Mustang Island State Park. With five nature reserves to explore there are ample opportunities to hike and bike.
Fishing Capital of Texas
Port Aransas is known as the ‘Fishing Capital of Texas’ with fishing tournaments and offshore excursions. You can fish the bays and channels including the various lighted piers. With hundreds of species of resident birds and thousands of migrant birds including the Great Texas birding Trail in your backyard, bird watching is a wonderful pastime.
Relaxed Healing Energy
Living near the beach will help you feel energized by breathing in the naturally ionized air to create more relaxed energy that can be healing. There is nothing like a walk on the beach right at your front door. Having lived in Port Aransas as a child I can tell you first hand it is a great community and atmosphere for raising children. I will never forget catching my first redfish there and my morning ritual of overseeing the sand crabs at sunrise.
Starting and ending your day with the beautiful sunrise and sunsets the Texas Gulf Coast has to offer is paradise. With its many small quaint seaside communities such as Galveston, Rock Port, Crystal Beach, Surfside, Port Isabel, and Port Bolivar the choices are plentiful. The possibilities are endless with over 350 miles of sandy beaches and quirky, quaint seaside towns.
Best Small Towns in Texas – Big Bend Country
If you are looking to get away from it all Presidio is the place for you with its majestic mountains, spectacular canyons, and roaring waterfalls. Its rugged colorful landscape is not for the faint of heart. Only lightly touched by modern civilization it is the ultimate off-the-grid location, with deserts, mountains, bountiful game, and wildlife. This gateway to the nearby Big Bend National Park situated on the Rio Grande River just north of the Mexico border with its rich cultural history is a wonderful place to live with lots of wide-open spaces.
Presidio is located in the Big Bend Country region of Texas in Presidio County, Texas. This community of fewer than 5,000 inhabitants boasts a water park, the Presidio Aquatic Center, a city library, a small airport, with an array of local festivals and annual events. The nearby McDonald Observatory allows you to gaze into the heavens close up. Of course with some of the darkest nighttime skies in the world, the heavens come alive every night for truly spectacular stargazing.
Enjoy great Tex Mex at a local cafe, hiking, hunting, scenic drives, and living in one of the oldest continuously cultivated areas of the United States. Presidio a community of people, trade, and industry has been hundreds of years in the making. It is the oldest town in the Big Bend area. This area has been inhabited since 1600 B.C. Its rugged terrain has been cultivated farmland since at least 1200 A.D.
Day Trip to Ojinaga, Mexico
Taking a day trip to Ojinaga, the Mexican sister city to Presidio is an unexpected perk to this remote area where dining on a platter of enchiladas and shrimp diablo is way beyond just going out to dinner. Connected by the Presidio–Ojinaga International Bridge that crosses the Rio Grande (Río Bravo) to Ojinaga, Mexico the two cultures are closely entwined.
This remote area is not for everyone but if living in the middle of nowhere appeals to you there is no better place.
Best Small Towns in Texas – Piney Woods
Jefferson is located on the Big Cypress Bayou just 13 miles northwest of Caddo Lake State Park in the Piney Woods region of Texas. Caddo Lake State Park has its own unique landscape of swamps, bayous, and cypress trees hung with Spanish moss. Caddo Lake is a 26,000-acre lake with over 70 species of fish.
Jefferson is a historic community located in Marion County, Texas, and is also the county seat. Its historical large elegant mansions and brick tree-lined streets are reminiscent of forgone days. This lends a quaint historic charm and unique character to the small town of Jefferson. The crime rate in Jefferson is one of the lowest in the nation and is very family-friendly with great schools and lots of family-oriented activities.
Jefferson and the surrounding area are abundant with wildlife. The giant cypress trees and other foliage growing on the river bank are stunning. Jefferson boasts a local library the Jefferson Carnegie Library, a general hospital the Marion County Hospital, and is home to the Historic Jefferson Railway which travels through the piney woods region including the Big Cypress Bayou.
Relax and Unwind in Jefferson, TX
This small town of fewer than 5,000 inhabitants is a real gem. With wooded paths, a multitude of small shops, boutiques, eateries, antiques and a general store Jefferson is the kind of town you go to visit and don’t want to leave. If you are looking for that famous laid-back Texas vibe look no further, just sit back, relax and unwind in Jefferson, Texas.
Best Small Towns in Texas – Hill Country
Kerrville is nestled in the central Texas hill country region. Whether you are looking to slow down and retire or looking for a more active lifestyle in a scenic area Kerrville has so much to offer. This small city of just less than 25,000 inhabitants has an abundance of art galleries, museums, family-friendly activities, theaters, and state-of-the-art health facilities. Kerrville is the county seat of Kerr County, Texas.
Kerrville has a host of recreational activities such as boating, hiking fishing, and hunting. Year-round temperatures range from the upper 40’s to the lower 80’s. In the spring the hills come alive with beautiful Texas wildflowers. Be sure to visit the Riverside Nature Center where you will discover the native beauty of the Texas Hill Country. Explore the arboretum with over 140 different types of trees, cacti, wildflowers, shrubs, native grasses, birds, insects, and other animals. The walking trails will lead you through the Nature Center and down to the banks of the beautiful Guadalupe river bank.
Small Town with Big City Amenities
Kerrville is very family-friendly and tends to be less touristy than some of the surrounding hill country towns. The schools are highly rated paired with their low crime rate and big-city amenities it offers a high quality of life. With its spectacular views and an abundance of natural beauty the community is provided with a healthy green environment and clean air. Kerrville is the home of Schreiner College one of the top regional liberal arts colleges of the western United States. It also boasts a strong hospitality industry, a municipal airport, and 936 acres of parkland.
Kerrville River Trail
The Guadalupe River originates in western Kerr County and is one of the highest-rated recreational and scenic rivers in Texas. This beautiful spring-fed river flows for over 250 miles and is one of the most popular rivers in Texas. You can take a daily stroll along the 5-mile Kerrville River Trail that winds along the beautiful Guadalupe River. Then you can peruse the sites of downtown Kerrville, have dinner, and a show. It is a great place to visit and an even better place to live. Who wouldn’t want to live here?
Best Small Towns in Texas – Panhandle Plains
The city of Canyon is located in the Panhandle-Plains Region more commonly known as the Texas Panhandle in the northwest corner of Texas. It is home to the largest history museum in the State of Texas, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. It is also home to West Texas A&M University. Canyon schools K-12 are top-rated with national recognition in U.S. News and World Report rankings.
Historic Downtown Square
Canyon, Texas is the county seat of Randall County, Texas, and has less than 20,000 inhabitants. It is a family-friendly town that is great for nature lovers and people looking for country-style living. The historic downtown square is home to specialty shops, eateries, and the Randall County Courthouse. This small community is chock full of small-town friendliness and charm. Locals hang out at the nearby Bar Z Winery and make regular visits to the Canyon Farmers Market.
Canyon Pioneer Amphitheater
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is just 12 miles to the east of Canyon. This area offers plenty of room for hiking, camping, horseback riding, picnicking, and mountain biking. With an area of 16,402 acres, it is the largest state park in Texas. Moreover, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is home to the Canyon Pioneer Amphitheater which is the setting each summer for the musical drama Texas, by Paul Green.
New Braunfels, Texas
Best Small Towns in Texas – Hill Country – Lakes & Prairies
New Braunfels is the county seat of Comal County, Texas located on the divide between the Blackland Prairies and the Balcones Escarpment therefore technically it belongs to more than one region of Texas. It also sits in both Comal County and Guadalupe County, Texas.
Even though New Braunfels loosely qualifies as a suburb we found it to be a charming small town of fewer than 90,000 inhabitants. Its country feel is unmistakable all the way to the downtown area home to some of the greatest German bakeries on the planet. Their quaint town square, local eateries, brew houses, curio shops, and small-town atmosphere make it a desirable place to live with your family or downsize and retire.
Sense of Community
In addition, the locals embrace spending afternoons on the river as well as hiking and biking on the local trails. Their sense of community is ever evident in their camaraderie through the many local events, fairs and festivals. This sense of community is reflected in their school district as well. New Braunfels is a very family-friendly community with family entertainment venues, and kid-friendly activities including the famed McKenna Children’s Museum, and Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo.
Founded by German Immigrants
New Braunfels is located just a little over 30 miles north of downtown San Antonio. This quaint city founded in the 1840s by German immigrants is true to its roots and hosts the annual ‘salute to sausage’ with its world-famous Wurstfest celebration. It has no shortage of local music establishments, locally crafted beer, and wine. Money magazine named it one of the best places to live in America in 2020 based on the cost of living, economy, housing, health, and safety among others.
Gruene Historic District and Schlitterbahn Waterpark
New Braunfels is one of the most beautiful cities in Texas with both the Comal and Guadalupe rivers winding past the tree-lined streets. If you are looking for a smaller community packed with things to do this is the place for you. The city of New Braunfels also has major attractions such as Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Gruene Historic District, Landa Park, and Natural Bridge Caverns so you will never be bored. Moreover, if you want a little more of the big city every now and then you are just 32 miles from San Antonio and 48 miles from Austin.
Best Small Towns in Texas – North Central Plains – Panhandle Plains
This quiet sleepy little town of fewer than 3,000 inhabitants is located in the North Central Plains region of Texas in the southeastern corner of the Texas Panhandle. Located approximately 20 miles north of the Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River and 13 miles west of the Oklahoma line you could say this is one of the best off-grid small-town communities in Texas. With access to high-speed Fiber optic internet in most areas of town working remotely from home is a breeze.
True Small Town Hospitality
Wellington is a community with that true small-town hospitality feel. This small town would be a great place to retire to if you want peace and quiet. It is a community that supports families with a local library, a city park, the Wellington WAV water park, and great schools. Wellington even boasts a small-town 9-hole golf course at the Wellington Country Club just down the road 3 miles east of town. This general area consists of gently rolling hills and broken terrain surrounded by the Red River Forks.
Wellington is the county seat of Collingsworth County, Texas, and home to the Collingsworth General Hospital, a critical access hospital. The original structure housing Collingsworth General was a two-story house that eventually evolved and expanded to include an 11,857 square foot addition with state-of-the-art emergency services. Wellington has a local grocery market, the town hardware store, along with approximately 90 other storefronts and local businesses. Check out the local coffee shop, Kent Rollins Cowboy Coffee Shop, and the local eatery, Brix Bar & Eatery, both on the town square. Read more coffee adventures here.
The Ritz Theatre
The Ritz Theater is an unexpected highlight of this small town. The theater constructed in 1928 eventually fell into ruin over time. As fortune would have it, Historic Wellington, a local group began a restoration movement to bring the building back to its former glory. This Mission-Revival theater was completely rebuilt and reopened in 2007. It shows first-run movies, as well as stages, live musicals and theatrical events. The theater provides live entertainment venues to be enjoyed by the locals and the surrounding rural population.
Top Hunting Destination
Wellington and the surrounding areas are top hunting destinations with local guides for your hunting experience. Wellington was originally a ranching town and eventually became a farming community, but still has many ranch lands surrounding it. Collingsworth County Pioneer’s Park is 6 miles north of town on the banks of the Salt Fork of the Red River. The park boasts two covered pavilions that can be used year-round. It also provides other amenities offering a playground, tent camping sites, RV hookups, tables, fire pits, and lots of shade trees.
The nearest big city to Wellington is Amarillo, Texas which is just under 100 miles to the northwest. Wellington is 128 miles from Lubbock, Texas, and 159 miles from Oklahoma, City. Also just to the north of Wellington is another small town gem by the name of Shamrock, Texas. Shamrock connects with the I-40 interstate and is part of the historic Route 66. It is home to the annual Official St. Patrick’s Day Celebration for the State of Texas. Shamrock offers the historic charm of a forgotten era as do a lot of the small towns in this area.
Marble Falls, Texas
Best Small Towns in Texas – Hill Country
Marble Falls is located on the banks of Lake Marble Falls the smallest in the chain of the six Highland Lakes that were established by the Lower Colorado River Authority to generate power. It is located in the Hill Country Region of central Texas. The town of Marble Falls has less than 10,000 inhabitants and is located in Burnet County, Texas. It is approximately 38 miles northwest of downtown Austin, Texas.
The falls for which the city was named were formed by a shelf of limestone that resembled marble and created a natural lake. Those falls are now underwater after the reservoir was created on the Colorado River which became Lake Marble Falls as we know it today. This is an extraordinary small town with an unmistakable ambiance and bustling economy carved out right in the heart of the Texas Hill Country.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Marble Falls boasts a state-of-the-art hospital facility, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center. It also has a public library and the Texas Tech University Higher Education Teaching Site located at the Frank Fickett Educational Center. The town of Marble Falls is family-friendly and has unlimited recreational opportunities. If you enjoy the outdoors this might be the best small town for you. It offers boating, fishing, hiking, bicycling, swimming, and a host of other outdoor activities. In addition, the scenery is beautiful and the views in this small town are truly awesome. Spring brings a panorama of wildflowers with some of the first being bluebonnets.
Enjoy Pie Happy Hour at the Bluebonnet Cafe
The historic downtown district has unique locally owned shops, eateries, antiques, and art galleries. It is just a short walk to Main Street which houses vintage boutiques, handmade treasures, and candies, made by local artisans. Take a stroll through the Highland Lakes Farmer’s Market where you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, and a host of other wares. Locals and tourists alike stop just down the road at the Bluebonnet Cafe and have a slice of their world-famous pie during pie happy hour. Yes, it’s a thing Y’all! They also serve some of the best home cooking in the country and have been catered to by US Presidents and a host of celebrities.
Be sure to take a stroll by the lake before heading home to kick back in your laid-back small-town abode. Welcome, Home Texas.
Best Small Towns in Texas – South Plains – Rio Grande Valley
Pharr, Texas is located in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley in the irrigated area of the South Texas Plains region of Texas. The town of Pharr is situated in southern Hidalgo County near the Mexico – US border and has just under 75,000 inhabitants. It is known as one of the safest cities in the Rio Grande Valley and is highly ranked as family-friendly and retirement-friendly. A robust agricultural industry supports Pharr’s economic prosperity. The Pharr Produce District is 300 acres with state-of-the-art equipment for the distribution and storage of produce.
Pharr is home to the Pharr/Vanguard Academy Nature & Birding Center a native nature habitat spanning 8 acres. The nature reserve includes an amphitheater, walking trails, a bird feeding station, a pavilion with picnic tables, public restrooms, and public Wi-Fi. Approximately 11 miles to the south of Pharr is the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge a 2,088-acre wildlife habitat located on the Rio Grande River. This wildlife mecca has approximately 400 species of birds, 450 types of plants, and half of the butterfly species found in North America. This makes a great day trip and along the way, you may also see bobcats, lizards, snakes, Texas tortoises, and other wildlife.
Day Trip to Mexico
Pharr, Texas is known as one of the Rio Grande’s gateways to Mexico with the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge. Moreover, Pharr is part of the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission and Reynosa–McAllen metropolitan areas which offer state-of-the-art medical facilities and educational institutions. This area is also home to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, South Texas College, and Texas State Technical College. An added perk to living in Pharr is a day trip just across the bridge to Reynosa, Mexico to eat the fabulous Mexican cuisine, shop, and enjoy the entertainment Mexico has to offer.
Opportunities abound in this region of Texas and although Pharr, Texas is considered a suburb area its strong sense of community, ecological resources and wide-open spaces make for great small-town living.
Best Small Towns in Texas – Panhandle Plains – West Texas
Seminole, Texas is a quiet small town located in Gaines County, Texas situated in the lower southwest corner of the Panhandle Plains region of Texas generally referred to as West Texas. This area of Texas has historically been a healthy oil producer, top cotton producer, and top peanut producer. Seminole has less than 10,000 inhabitants and boasts a local newspaper called The Seminole Sentinel. It also has a public library, a city park with RV sites, and a local hospital called the Memorial Hospital-Seminole.
Many Conveniences of a Larger Town
The city of Seminole is thirty miles east of Hobbs, New Mexico, and sixty-eight miles from Midland, Texas. They have a seasonal Farmers Market with fresh produce, jellies, and condiments. You can cool off at the Seminole Splash Pad depending on the season. They have a major supermarket, several smaller grocery stores, Wal-Mart, health food stores as well as local curio shops and boutiques. As with most small towns, the hardware store is essential as is the feed and seed store and they have several. Seminole has all this and more, for a town of its size it has many of the conveniences of most larger towns.
One of the Safest Cities to Live In
Seminole Texas is one of the safest cities in West Texas to live in. It has inclusive outdoor spaces for children to play, family-friendly events, and great schools. The town itself is well planned and functional for the average family. Seminole is the county seat for Gaines County, Texas. There is also a community center, the Gaines County Museum, and the Gaines County Golf Course.
Seminole, Texas is the birthplace of country and southern gospel singer, and songwriter, Larry Gatlin. It is also the birthplace of country music singer and songwriter Tanya Tucker.
McKenzie Lake is seventeen miles east of Seminole just off of Highway 180. Lake McKenzie has abundant wildlife and nature trails for hiking. You may swim and ski in the lake at your own risk. The lake is stocked with fish by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department with a variety of popular fish species. Riding the ATV trails at the lake is a popular pastime along with camping, boating, fishing, and hiking. This lake has various campground facilities for your convenience with restrooms, RV areas, two cabins, a marina, and boat storage.
There are many farm tracts near and around Seminole, Texas. This was Comanche country before the US Army campaigns of 1875. After that time the first settlers were ranchers with farmers settling here in the early 1900s. The biggest crops in this area are cotton and peanuts.
Best Small Towns in Texas – Prairie, and Lakes
Lockhart, Texas is located in the southern part of the Prairie and Lakes Region of Texas. It is the county seat of Caldwell County, Texas, and has less than 15,000 inhabitants. Those of you who are familiar with Lockhart know it is ‘The Barbecue Capital of Texas’ as proclaimed by the Texas legislature in 1999. The city of Lockhart has been portrayed in films and TV shows. It has been a film hub since 1972 and has been the location for many movies.
Lockhart is Approximately 30 Miles from Austin
Lockhart is approximately 30 miles from Austin, Texas, and offers the best of small-town living. It is a family-friendly, vibrant small town. It is a great place to live with excellent schools and highly qualified school staff. Annual events on the square are a must and the quaint town square shops offer a variety of vintage items, food, and curios. Lockhart’s historic atmosphere coupled with a modern supermarket and other modern amenities gives you a sense of balance lacking in some small towns.
The city of Lockhart, Texas boasts a city park and the Lockhart State Park. The Lockhart State Park is a short 3.6 miles away and offers a nine-hole golf course, camping, fishing, hiking, biking, and camping. It is a beautiful setting with a natural quaint waterfall and an abundance of wildlife. Walk up to the top of the hill and enjoy the view from the terrace of the historic group recreation hall that is still in use today.
Historic Caldwell County Courthouse
Historic Caldwell County Courthouse is located on the Lockhart town square right in the heart of the city. The current courthouse was predated by two other structures. In April 1893 the plans were approved for the current courthouse. The cornerstone was laid by Lockhart Lodge No. 690, A. F. & A. M., on August 15, 1893. This structure was completed in 1894 and is built of sandstone and red sandstone trim. It is topped by a central clock tower with additional towers on each corner and flanking the north and south entrances. Caldwell County Courthouse was recorded as a Texas Historic Landmark in 1976. This is an awesome photo however no photo could ever do it justice as it truly is a sight to see.
Unique Small Town Hospitality
Lockhart is home to the historic Dr. Eugene Clark Library which is the oldest continuously operating library in the State of Texas. In June of every year, Lockhart celebrates its position on the historic Chisholm Trail by holding a four-day festival. You will find the perfect blend of history coupled with modern amenities in this small town. This historic small town offers an abundance of unique small-town hospitality. Each day you travel down its streets is a step back in time with its beautifully preserved buildings and homes from yesteryear.
Best Small Towns in Texas – Piney Woods
The town of Coldspring, Texas is located in the Piney Woods Region of Texas in San Jacinto County and is also the county seat. As of 2020, the small, cozy town of Coldspring is reported to have less than 1,000 inhabitants making it the smallest of the best small towns in Texas picks.
With its lower crime rate as compared to other cities in Texas, Coldspring is considered a safe place to live. It is a family-friendly community with great schools. If you love the peace and quiet of country life in a rural setting then this small-town gem is sure to please. Coldspring boasts a public library, a city park, a community center, a country club, hosts a seasonal Trade Days event, and there are approximately twenty-five golf courses in a fifty-mile radius.
Sam Houston National Forest
Coldspring is located just on the outer rim of the Sam Houston National Forest in San Jacinto County which is characteristically rolling hills and provides a quiet, quaint small-town setting. Nearby Lake Livingston with 90,000 acres and Double Lake recreational areas provide ample areas for camping, hiking, fishing, and water skiing. Sam Houston National Forest spans 163, 037 acres which offers even more recreational opportunities. This area is a nature lovers’ paradise where you are surrounded by beauty.
Coldspring is less than sixty miles northeast of Houston, TX which makes a day trip or weekend in the big city totally doable. This area is full of history. The Historic Old Town Coldspring is a collection of buildings from the past and home to the infamous hanging tree near the Old Jail Museum. Old Town Coldspring is located just north of Coldspring proper and makes for a fun afternoon outing.
If you are looking to be a big fish in a small pond then Coldspring, Texas just might be the perfect best small town in Texas made just for you. Stand out from the crowd where everyone knows your name in this wonderful, colorful little town with so many nearby amenities and attractions to keep you as busy as you like, or just hang a hammock in your backyard and chill.
Best Small Towns in Texas – South Plains – Hill Country
Ozona is located in the South Plains of Texas on the edge of the Texas Hill Country Region. It is the county seat of Crockett County and the only town in the county. Known as The Biggest Little Town in the World this small town of fewer than 5,000 inhabitants borders the Edwards Plateau and Trans Pecos with slow rolling hills and farmlands. The northern portion of Crockett County is at the southern tip of the Great Plains. Oil and natural gas have historically been a major part of the local economy.
Ozona boasts a local airport, the Crockett County Fair Park Convention Center, a public library, a local swimming pool, high-speed internet services, and public transportation to San Angelo, Texas. The Ozona Historic Town Square looms large and just down the road, you will find the Davy Crockett Monument which memorializes the Battle of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution. The Crockett County Museum in Ozona documents Ozona’s earliest settlers.
If you are looking for a small town with lots of charm and wide-open spaces to enjoy the outdoors, wildlife, hunting, star gazing, or breathing in the fresh air the small town of Ozona delivers all that and more. It is a family-friendly small town with good schools and a low cost of living.
The Historic Ozona National Bank building in Ozona, Texas was built in 1905 and designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1966. The second floor serves as a Masonic Lodge.
Crockett County Interpretive Trail
The Crockett County Interpretive Trail located in Ozona with its collection of over 200 native plants encourages the protection and preservation of our natural resources. There are wildlife viewing areas and a watering hole for butterflies and birds. Ozona has many species of birds including the black-chinned hummingbird. Just 27 miles southwest of Ozona you will find the Escondido Draw Recreational Area an off-roading ATV park with more than 3,400 acres of hills, limestone bluffs, and oak thickets. The park has campsites, RV spots, showers, restrooms, and a bunkhouse.
Great off the Grid Best Small Town in Texas
This is another of our off-the-grid picks for the best small towns in Texas. Although the county does suffer from overgrazing this county supports sheep, goats, and cattle. As you might expect Crockett County, Texas is home to several ghost towns, Hembree, and Juno, among others. A full day of adventure can be had on the ‘Law West of the Pecos Loop’ which begins and ends in Ozona. The road trip is approximately 250 miles taking you through various ghost towns, the Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site, the Pecos River Highway Bridge, the Langtry, and the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center, the Old Spanish Trail, Historic State Highway 290, the Fort Lancaster State Historic Site and the Lancaster Hill Scenic Overview. Make sure to have a full tank of gas, drinking water, and snacks as gas stations and convenience stores can be scarce.
Best Small Towns in Texas – Panhandle Plains
Breckenridge is located in Stephens County, Texas in the southeast corner of the Panhandle-Plains Region. Moreover, Breckenridge is the county seat and has less than 6,000 inhabitants. This small town has a strong sense of community, a lower cost of living, and is family-friendly. Breckenridge is known as the “Mural Capital of Texas” and boasts a local newspaper; as well as, a local airport, a hospital, a library, a fine arts center, and a city park, along with a pool. It is located 90 miles west of the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex and 50 miles east of Abilene, Texas. In addition, Breckenridge is surrounded by three area lakes, Hubbard Creek Lake, Possum Kingdom Lake, and Lake Daniel. The abundant wildlife in the area makes for great hunting with wild hogs, whitetail deer, quail, and turkeys.
Hubbard Creek Lake is located just four miles west of Breckenridge on US Highway 180. It provides public access, several campground sites with four public ramps, and is open year-round. Possum Kingdom Lake is located twenty miles east of Breckenridge and is 15,588 acres. There are two nearby state parks Possum Kingdom State Park which is adjacent to Possum Kingdom Lake and Fort Griffin State Park where you can view the partially restored ruins of Old Fort Griffin. Fort Griffin State Park is also home to a portion of the state’s Official Texas Longhorn herd and provides historical reenactments, nature study, hiking, camping, and fishing.
Mural Capital of Texas
If you are looking to slow down in a friendly self-sustained community Breckenridge is the place to be. There are numerous large historic murals on the walls of almost a dozen buildings in Breckenridge making it the Mural Capital of Texas. Historically the oil industry has contributed to the growth and economy of Breckenridge. This small city provides education and business opportunities. It is home to Texas State Technical College Branch and several museums. Agriculture also plays an important role in the economy with crops of cotton, wheat, oats, sorghum, peanuts hay, and pecans. Breckenridge is also a producer of livestock including cattle, goats, hogs, and sheep.
Breckenridge is a community of mostly older homes that are both affordable and open to renovations. With options to purchase affordable homes of yesteryear and put your own touch on them as well as plenty of homesite options to build you are almost there already. Breckenridge provides a vibrant economy, a spend local motto, and a great quality of life for a strong community you can call home.
Best Small Towns in Texas – Prairies and Lake
Sherman is located in Grayson County Texas in the Prairies and Lakes Region of Texas. It is also the Grayson County seat with less than 50,000 inhabitants. This area of Texas just north of the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex has historically experienced steady and sometimes phenomenal growth. Sherman boasts a Splash Aquatic Center, an 18-hole golf course, and more than a dozen parks throughout the city. It is home to the Jazz Museum, the Harber Wildlife Museum, the Sherman Museum, and the Outlaw Trails Museum.
Sherman is located just ten miles south of Lake Texoma which is situated on the Red River that borders the Oklahoma Texas state-line and covers 93,000 acres. Lake Texoma is a well-known recreational site with areas for boating, camping, fishing, hiking, and hunting. It also offers four-wheeling, horseback riding, and golfing. The Chickasaw Nation owns most of the property around Lake Texoma on the Oklahoma side of the lake. There are several wildlife management facilities in both Texas and Oklahoma. Texas is home to the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge.
Sherman is a family-friendly city with a community-oriented school district and is also home to Austin College, a 100-acre environmentally green campus with 100% of its electricity from wind energy. The city of Sherman has plans to break ground on a state-of-the-art hospital in 2022 bringing jobs and growth. In the works also is a 500 million dollar mixed-use development promising to bring thousands of new homes, new retail, and a publicly accessible water attraction.
This vibrant growing community still manages to keep its country town feel with room to grow and enjoy the wide-open spaces. You can’t beat Sherman, Texas for that almost impossible combination of having all of the amenities of the big city with that friendly small-town atmosphere coupled with a location that provides unending recreational opportunities and natural resources.
One dictionary defines a small town as a place having people who are friendly, honest, and polite. Small town America is everywhere but nobody beats the State of Texas with its rural areas which expand over 267,339 acres of plains, mountains, deserts, forests, beaches, hills, rivers, lakes, swamps, and canyons, as well as plateaus, natural springs, wetlands, and prairies. As of this writing, Texas has approximately 1,698 cities and towns and of those only 41 have more than 100,000 inhabitants.
Check out this Texas Longhorn Art piece here.
Check out 10 Best Places to Live in Texas for Families here.
20 Best Ideas for a Small-Town Business here.
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Small towns in Texas offer a variety of amenities, from parks and hiking trails to local shops and restaurants. They provide a sense of community, safety, and convenience for families who are looking for a close-knit, rural atmosphere. From Jefferson to Seminole and Canyon to Pharr, each small town has something unique to offer, including attractions like historic sites, river accesses, and more.
Methodology partially based on existing data and selected material used in our analysis process and sampling from larger population demographics cited below. Methodology considerations for best small towns in Texas included the potential for growth, the small-town potential for innovative progressive opportunities, and geographical location in the various regions of Texas. Consideration was given to rural communities and small towns with relevance in producing natural resources, protecting the environment, agriculture resources for growing food as well as raising livestock. Small town premise that holds potential in a work-from-home location was a relevant factor. Examining the potential that exists for smaller towns due to the need for jobs coupled with a lower cost of living offering opportunity for major businesses to outsource to rural areas was reviewed. Solar and alternative energy potential were considerations in off the grid, rural communities. A key focus based on the future for small-town Texas growth and opportunities. Factors were considered by regions for key roles of small towns to provide resources such as farming, livestock production, food production, clean air, oil, gas, and alternative energy sources. Another factor considered was small-town locations providing wildlife and conservation areas as well as natural resources providing recreation opportunities. Factors considered were applied to a varied sampling of small towns and cities with populations of less than 100,000 inhabitants.
US Census Demographic Analysis
Census.gov Quick Facts TX
Texas Demographic Center/Trends
Texas Population 2021 (Demographics, Maps, Graphs)
Facts | Texas Almanac
Texas Demographics Reports
Texas Smaller Cities, Towns, and Villages
TEXAS STATEWIDE Economic 2020 Regional Report
7 Regions of Texas
Texas Natural Resources
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