Texas Cities Nominated for USA Today's Readers' Choice Awards
Here in the Lone Star State, we’re proud of everything that makes Texas unique. From the beautiful landscapes and stunning underground caves to the charming small towns and fantastic beaches, there’s a lot to love. That’s why we’re excited that Texas is well represented in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, an annual contest in which readers vote for their favorite cities and destinations for a variety of categories. These categories include things like Best Cave and Best Coastal Small Town, and the nominees are picked by USA Today’s own travel experts.
Needless to say, we’d like to see the Lone Star State’s nominees at the top of each category. But to do so, we need your help. Read on to see the Texas cities are nominated for each category, then go vote so that our state gets the recognition it deserves. You can vote once per day, so get clicking!
Best Archaeological Site
Located near the Texas-Mexico border in Southwest Texas, Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site is home to some of the oldest Native American pictographs and cave dwellings in North America. There are more than 200 pictograph sites in the park, and the style of art used in each is not found anywhere else than along the Rio Grande, Pecos, and Devils rivers. Along with the cave art, Seminole Canyon State Park has numerous hiking and mountain biking trails, camp sites, and a visitor center.
The Texas Hill Country is known for its wealth of spectacular caves, so it’s no surprise that three of the 20 nominees for this category hail from the Lone Star State. Situated at the intersection of the Hill Country and the Chihuahuan Desert, the Caverns of Sonora is known as one of the most beautiful show caves on the planet. Soda straw and popcorn formations greet you on the guided tour that takes you 155 feet underground. Meanwhile, Longhorn Cavern in Burnet is a unique limestone cave forged hundreds of millions of years ago, when the Hill County was under a shallow sea. Finally, Natural Bridge Caverns is the largest known cavern in Texas and one of the most popular attractions in San Antonio.
Downtown Houston is home to a “cave” system of its own, but instead of stalagmites and stalactites there are coffee shops and restaurants. This is Houston’s famous tunnel system is composed of seven miles of underground passages that connect 80 buildings. The tunnels are popular with locals who work downtown because they provide a convenient way to escape the Texas heat, and they offer a really cool way to get around town.
USA Today’s describes cities that fit into its Best Coastal Small Town category as having “uncrowded, unpretentious, and affordable seaside fun.” Few places fit that description better than Rockport, a charming town with a captivating downtown, great shopping and dining, gorgeous state parks and protected grasslands, and some of the best fishing around. Yet the town’s gem is the soft sand and crystal clear water of Rockport Beach, the first Blue Wave Beach in Texas.
History, small-town charm, and a one-of-a-kind blend of Texan and German culture defines the Hill Country community of Fredericksburg. This captivating place, located about 70 miles north of San Antonio, has a gorgeous Main Street with beautiful historic storefronts that house boutique shops and local restaurants. The town’s historic neighborhoods are full of 19th-century homes and breathtaking churches, providing it with a unique feel of its own. Along with its urban appeal, Fredericksburg resides in the heart of Texas’ wine country, making it the ideal destination for oenophiles of all types.
There are two Texas towns nominated in this category, which means we’ve got to be doing something right. The first, Driftwood, is known as one of the best places to get barbecue in Texas. The Salt Lick is Driftwood’s famous purveyor of smoked meat, but there are other flavors of cuisine available here. Meanwhile, Fredericksburg (remember them?) has more than 70 restaurants serving up a variety of tasty food. Enjoy the flavors of fine French cuisine at Vaudeville, or get a taste of the old country at Old German Bakery and Restaurant. Along with the restaurants, Driftwood and Fredericksburg are surrounded by local wineries that you can visit for a different kind of taste of Texas.
Beautiful architecture, stunning historic sites, charming bed and breakfasts, scenic wineries, and ideal locations near major cities are why Fredericksburg and Granbury are nominated in this category. Granbury, situated on the banks of the Brazos River about 70 miles southwest of Dallas, is full of the types of local shops and restaurants that you’ll want to spend plenty of time in. Fredericksburg, on the other hand, offers a uniquely German town surrounded by rolling hills, thickets of oak trees, and fields of blooming flowers (in the spring).