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Before you plan your visit to the Lone Star State, read up on all the weird and wonderful things it has to offer with these fun facts about Texas!
When it comes to this Southern giant, there’s a lot of ground to cover (literally).
We’re taking you to every corner of the state with interesting facts about Texas history, culture, and must-see destinations.
So grab your cowboy boots and keep your notebook close because you’ll definitely want to keep some of these tidbits in mind for the next time you pay a visit to Texas.
Fun Facts About Texas
From the origin of its name to a breakdown of its biggest attractions, you’ll find lots to learn and love in these fun facts about Texas.
Texas Means “Friends” in Caddo Indian
Texas’ name comes from a Caddo Indian word, “teycha,” which translates to friends or allies. This name was given by the native people who lived here before the Spanish conquest.
The land of this native American tribe was transcribed by an early Spanish explorer as “tejas,” and eventually made its way to the name we know today.
Still today, Texas’ motto is “Friendship,” truly embodying the Southern hospitality the state is known for.
Live Music Capital of the World
Of all the fun facts about Texas, this might be one of our favorites!
Austin, Texas’ largest city, is known as the “live music capital of the world,” boasting several major festivals like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits.
They also have more live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the country, so you can catch a show pretty much anytime, day or night.
Texas Boasts America’s Largest Rose Garden
In Texas, there is plenty of time to stop and smell the roses. In fact, Tyler is home to the country’s largest rose garden, spanning 14 acres and showcasing a staggering 38,000 rose bushes of up to 500 species.
Thousands of tourists flock to the city each October to enjoy the Texas Rose Festival, a 3-day celebration of all things floral that has been taking place since 1933.
Texas Is the USA’s Second-Largest State
Everything really is bigger in Texas. Clocking in at 268,596 square miles and with nearly 30 million residents, Texas is the second-largest state in terms of both area and population. It even dwarfs every single European country.
Just to seal the deal, you can also find the country’s largest capital building and highest speed limit here!
Texas Was Once An Independent Nation
Texans are loud and proud, and their emphasis on individuality may just stem from the state’s unique history.
Falling under the flag of the Republic of Texas, it stood alone as an independent country for 9 years, from 1836-1845.
San Antonio, a must-visit destination for all tourists, still holds a number of notable Spanish missions and forts that served as battlegrounds during Texas’ war for independence.
Read next: Texas Sayings and Quotes
Six Flags Have Ruled Over Texas
Ever heard of the iconic amusement park, Six Flags Over Texas? Well, strap in for one of the most thrilling fun facts about Texas for history buffs!
The park’s name is actually a nod to the state’s history, which saw 8 changes of power over the course of more than 3 centuries.
Spain, France, and Mexico all held territory in Texas, and it also fell under the rule of the Confederate States and, of course, the United States itself.
Dr. Pepper Was Invented in Texas
One of the world’s most famous drinks had its humble beginnings in (you guessed it)…Texas!
Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885 and began selling all across the country in 1904. Even today, the top-secret recipe is split in half and stored at 2 different Dallas banks.
Texas Has Several State Animals
Texas actually boasts multiple state animals, with its most famous being the oh-so-adorable armadillo and the iconic Texas longhorn.
The nine-banded armadillo was elected to state animal status in 1995 when a group of elementary school kids held a mock election, and the longhorn joined the ranks the same year.
Texas Has More Bats Species Than Any US State
Speaking of the collision between Texas fun facts and fascinating critters, the state has more native species of bats than any other part of the US.
There are numerous spots you can stake out at sunset to watch swarms of bats take to the evening skies.
The South Congress Bridge in Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony, and Bracken Cave in San Antonio features the largest bat colony in the country.
Texas Has 3 of the Largest Cities in the United States
Funnily enough, Texas also claims one of the smallest towns in the country.
Luckenbach has an official population of only 3 people, although it fills up on the weekends with visitors eager to catch a legendary country music concert.
World’s First Rodeo
Texas held the world’s first rodeo on July 4, 1883, starting a legacy that has carried over into the present day.
You can still attend the original rodeo in Pecos, Texas, which has been running strong for more than a century.
Meanwhile, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo holds the title of the largest rodeo in the world, with over two million attendees each year.
Rodeo is considered the state sport of Texas, so you know they take it seriously!
World’s Largest Convenience Store
If you plan on taking a road trip through Texas, you’ll need lots of fuel and a solid stockpile of snacks.
And what better place to find both than the world’s largest convenience store?
Buc-ee’s in New Braunfels covers a whopping 66,335 square feet of Texas-themed souvenirs, homemade delicacies, and sparkling clean restrooms. (They’ve even won an “America’s best restroom” award).
Vietnamese and Chinese Are Among the Most Spoken Languages
As you might guess, the most commonly spoken languages in Texas are English and Spanish.
But dipping into one of the lesser-known fun facts about Texas, the third-place contender might throw you for a loop!
There are estimated to be approximately 250,000 Vietnamese speakers living throughout the state, and Chinese comes in fourth with roughly 200,000 speakers.
There Is a Dialect of German That Is Unique to Texas
In the early 1900s, German immigrants settled in the Texas Hill Country and developed a unique dialect of German that is only spoken in Texas.
America’s Deadliest Natural Disaster
The deadliest natural disaster in US history took place in Texas in 1900, when a Category 4 hurricane hit Galveston, bringing winds up to 130 miles per hour and killing more than 8000 people.
However, Galveston rebuilt stronger than ever and today boasts major attractions like the Strand Historic District, Moody Gardens, and Schlitterbahn (the world’s best waterpark).
Second-Largest Canyon System
A list of interesting facts about Texas wouldn’t be complete without a mention of this natural wonder.
Did you know the Lone Star State has its own alternative to the world-famous Grand Canyon?
The Palo Duro Canyon is the second-largest canyon system in the country, stretching for 120 miles through the rugged, red-rocked landscape of the Texas Panhandle.
You can rough it on more than 30 miles of trails used for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, or opt to drive and just enjoy the views at the bottom.
Texas Is #1 Domestic Producer of Some Products
Texas is a leading domestic producer of several products, like oil, natural gas, cotton, and wind power.
This state alone accounts for 40% of the nation’s oil production and 25% of the natural gas production.
Some of Texas’ other top exports include sheep, horses, citrus, pecans, and corn. Of course, to keep up with all that production, you need lots of lands.
With yet another #1 title, Texas has the most farms in the US–nearly 250,000!
Texas Is Among US’s Top 5 Wine Country
If you’re not impressed by oil and gas, try this economic fact out for size.
Most wine aficionados would head straight for California or New York, but Texas actually ranks 5th in the country for wine production, with 352 wineries and an annual output of 4,280,400 gallons.
For the best experience, head straight for Hill Country, home to the Wine Trail 290.
There, you can hop on a scenic shuttle through Central Texas, stopping along the way to enjoy the best local wines the state has to offer.
Texas Is Out of This World
Now for some Texas facts that are out of this world! Did you know the state is a major hub for space travel?
In fact, the Johnson Space Center in Houston is the site of Mission Control for all NASA flights into space.
For more than 50 years, the country’s leading training, research, and flight control programs have been conducted here.
You can even snag a behind-the-scenes look at human space exploration on a tram tour through the facilities.
Texas Has Some Pretty Weird Laws
Always check local laws before you travel. In Texas, there are still some strange rules on the books. Here are just a few.
It’s illegal to milk someone else’s cow, and you can incur a penalty of up to $10 for doing so.
Meanwhile, in Galveston, you can face heftier fines for a far more innocent act; sitting on the sidewalk in the seaside city can cost you $500.
Plan on stealing something? In Texas, you must give oral or written notice 24 hours in advance of the crime. This law was put in place in an attempt to reduce theft.
Texas Is Packed With Quirky Attractions
Texas is full of quirky roadside attractions, but perhaps one of the strangest is a perfect replica Prada store on the side of a quiet highway.
Located in Marfa, far west Texas, the shop is actually a permanent art installation built in 2005.
Alongside other highways throughout the state, you can find a 24-foot-tall dalmatian-spotted fire hydrant, a house made entirely of beer cans, and a replica Eiffel Tower (topped with a giant red cowboy hat).
Many Celebrities Are Born and Raised Texans
A number of big-name celebrities are Texans born and raised! The state claims singers like Selena Gomez, Kelly Clarkson, Janis Joplin, and Beyonce.
The roster of actors is just as impressive, including stars such as Matthew McConaughey, Jamie Foxx, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson.
To top it all off, two former US Presidents were born in Texas–Lyndon B. Johnson and Dwight Eisenhower.
You can still visit the former’s childhood home (dubbed the “Texas White House”) or tour the historical LBJ Ranch.
America’s Biggest State Fair
The annual Texas State Fair is the biggest state fair in the country, held nearly every year since 1886.
If you’re visiting Texas in September-October, stop by for live music, thrilling amusement rides, and more fried food than you can possibly stuff yourself with (fried Oreos, butter, and beer are just the beginning of the menu).
Texas Has Its Own Take on Mexican Food
Texas has its own version of Mexican food, which is called Tex-Mex.
Tex-Mex, which is now a subtype of southwestern cuisine, is a blend of Mexican, Tejano, and American food styles.
Tex-Mex cuisine is characterized by its heavy use of shredded cheese, beans, meat (particularly chicken, beef, and pork), peppers, and spices, in addition to flour tortillas.
Margaritas Were Invented in Texas
Calling everyone that loves a good time (or a good happy hour deal)! Frozen margaritas were invented in Texas, so it’s only right that you partake in 1 or 2 while traveling through the state.
The drink originated in 1971 when Mariano Martinez, inspired from the Slurpee machine used at 7-11 stores, had the brilliant idea to put a margarita through a soft-serve ice cream maker.
Today, Dallas’ Margarita Mile pays homage to this treasured piece of history with a tour of all the city’s best cocktails.
Texas Has World-Class Museums
Texas is full of world-class art, history, and science museums, plus some institutions that don’t take themselves quite as seriously.
At Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum in San Antonio, you can find more than 1,000 toilet seats collected by a former plumber and decorated with everything from light switches to dental tools.
Admission is free, and donations are optional (you can even give a toilet seat of your own)!
Texas Has USA’s Second Largest Airport
Texas is home to the nation’s second-largest airport and one of the busiest in the world.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport covers 27 square miles of land (that’s larger than Manhattan), with 5 terminals and 191 gates.
Even better, it’s the largest carbon-neutral airport in the world (and the first in North America)!
Chili Is the Lone Star State’s Official Dish
Let’s wrap up this list of fun facts about Texas with one of the biggest reasons to visit–Southern comfort food!
Although barbecue is definitely a Texas buzzword, the official state dish is chili.
The state has hosted the annual International Chili Cook-Off since 1967, drawing cooks from all around the world to compete for the title of World Champion Chili Cooker.
According to a resolution from the Texas Legislature, “One cannot be a true son or daughter of this state without having his taste buds tingle at the thought of the treat that is real, honest-to-goodness, pure, unadulterated Texas chili.”
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