We’ve all heard the old refrain that “everything is bigger in Texas,” and that statement isn’t altogether wrong! Texas is the second-largest state in the Union, (Alaska is the 1st if you are wondering) and it is larger than any mainland European country! (Russia may be larger, but it straddles two continents) If you love to travel, take a look at these facts about Texas and you’re sure to find some huge opportunities to join us in the Lone Star State!
Big Facts About Texas
Speaking of size, we’ll start with these “size-mographic” facts about Texas so that you know the enormity of what you’re getting yourself into.
1. Texas is Huge
Texas Has the Second-Largest Population in the U.S. Falling just behind the State of California, Texas is bigger in size than population than many European countries. It’s also larger than Thailand, Kenya, and Japan.
To give you a little more perspective, Dallas alone is home to nearly twice as many people as the state of North Dakota.
2. Texas Is Home to the World’s Largest Convenience Store
When you’re driving through a state that would otherwise be the 39th largest country in the world, you’re going to need to make a big-time pit-stop! The Buc-ee’s convenience store in New Braunfels, Texas holds the record for the World’s Largest Convenience Store, coming in at a massive 66,335 square feet!
Oh, and as a bonus – it’s also home to the world’s longest car wash so you can shine up your trusty steed.
3. The World’s Largest…Belt Buckle?
You read that right, partner. Montana Silversmiths in Dallas recently claimed the Guinness Book of World Records’ title for the World’s Largest Belt Buckle.
Measuring up at 10’6″ tall and 14’6.5″ wide, can you imagine the amount of denim that thing could hold up?
4. Americana at Its Finest
There’s no doubt that when you think of Texas, you think of cowboy lore and nothing screams “cowboys” louder than The World’s Largest Cowboy Boots (except for maybe the Dallas football team’s owner, Jerry Jones).
Located at Rocketbuster Hand Made Custom Boots in El Paso, Texas are those size 328-D sand kickers in all of their leather glory.
5. Attention, Sports Fans
Texas takes its sports very seriously, especially football. Thus, it should come as no surprise that you’ll find another “World’s Largest” record holder – The World’s Largest Foam Finger.
Start doing your pushups now because you’re going to need all the strength you can muster to pick up this bad boy currently housed at Dell Headquarters in Round Rock – it’s a foot thick and 20 feet tall.
Interesting Facts About Texas
There’s more to Texas than just oversized everything, however. Now that we’ve covered some of the biggest and boldest places and sites in Texas, let’s turn our attention to some interesting Texas facts.
6. Texas Used to Be Its Own Country
The giant piece of land that is now legally named the State of Texas has gone through a pretty tumultuous past when it comes to who governs the place.
Native Americans lived in the area for thousands of years before Spanish and (to a later but m degree) French explorers descended upon the state.
In a continuing saga, what we now know as Texas was called the “Republic of Texas” for nearly a decade in the mid-1800s.
7. Six Flags Over Texas
Not to be confused with amusement parks of the same name, Texas was, until recently, to recognize and hoist the flags of six different nations – The United States, Mexico, France, Spain, and The Republic of Texas. But wait, that’s only five!
The sixth was once the flag of the Confederate States, which was replaced by something called the Flag of the Old Southern States in the 1990s.
8. Horror Movie Nerd Paradise
To fans of the genre, this will sound like a gimme. Who wouldn’t want to visit the house where “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was filmed? Luckily for the faint of heart, the home is used less as a butchery and more as a family-friendly(ish) tourist attraction.
You would otherwise have to do some research to visit the (renovated) house that belonged to the fictional Sawyer family because you’ll need to eschew your fandom just a bit – it’s been moved from the original filming location in Round Rock. The venerable abode of one Leatherface and family now sits on the grounds of the historic Antlers Hotel. The infamous gas station from the film also sits nearby in Gastrop (just south of Austin), Texas, where you can make a meal out of delicious barbecue. Texas-style, of course.
9. A Proud and Lone Star
Ever wondered why Texas calls itself “The Lone Star State?” You may not have been paying attention earlier.
Texans pride themselves on their uniqueness and desire to “stick it to the man.” Politics aside, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Texan that doesn’t take at least an inkling of pride in their state’s defiance.
Perhaps best exemplified by the state’s flag, Texas and resident Texans are proud of their history and legacy of bucking the “norm.” They have flown many different flags but honor each of them as a symbol of their enduring independence.
10. Remember The Alamo
What would later go down in history as one of America’s most crushing defeats, the Battle of the Alamo has been emblazoned in time as the final stand of a loyal bunch of heroes.
We mentioned earlier how many times Texas has been fought over, but perhaps the greatest act of American heroism happened at a previously nondescript outpost called The Alamo near San Antonio.
History buffs, you will recognize names like Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, and James Bowie – all men who risked (and many gave) their lives in the battle to hold off Mexican forces – when they visit this near-sacred site brimming with American patriotism and sacrifice.
11. Deadliest Natural Disaster was in Texas
The deadliest natural disaster in American history occurred in Galveston, Texas. While the science of weather forecasting was still in its infancy, officials were warned vehemently and repeatedly by meteorologists in Cuba and all points east about huge storm squalls and extremely dangerous winds.
It was the year 1900, so the warnings were not given the attention that was required to evacuate citizens and properly evacuate tourists. People were flocking to the beaches of Galveston in hopes of seeing the massive waves!
The tragedy resulted in approximately 8,000 deaths, tens of thousands more injuries, and billions of dollars worth of infrastructure and building losses. You can tour modern-day Galveston…it’s not super depressing. It’s still a beautiful hidden gem.
Fun Facts About Texas
Let’s brighten things up for this informal guide to your road trip through the Lone Star State!
12. Keeping Austin Weird
Austin, Texas is known as the live music capital of the world. Everyman musicians, buskers, and even professional musicians think of Austin as a Mecca for honing their craft.
Austin hosts several music and art festivals, such as South By Southwest and Austin City Limits – both of which highlight musicians and artists that are less than “mainstream,” and many are considered a bit more genuine and artistic.
Legendary compositions and cooperations have been born via SXSW and Austin City Limits, and many Grammy-winning artists have found their groove at these events. We’ll also find our fair share of tarot card readers, alternative tattoo artists, and mimes(!) wandering the streets of Austin.
13. You Can Drive. So. Fast.
Hey, it’s a wide-open country. Put the pedal to the metal on the highway between Austin and San Antonio – it’s got the highest speed limit in the country, clocking in at 85 miles per hour. We’ll only find speed allowances like that on Germany’s Autobahn.
14. Best Waterpark in the Whole Darn World
Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels (also home to the largest convenience store in the world) is rated the best Outdoor Waterpark in the world. Consistently rated as such, Schlitterbahn offers a multitude of water slides, kiddie pools, and thrill rides catered to every member of the family. It’s also very family-friendly!
15. Okay, So What’s Up With New Braunfels?
Unless you’re a Texas native or a waterpark-and-gas-station aficionado, there’s a good chance that you’ve not heard of the town of New Braunfels. But if you’ve yet to read this article, you would think that it’s the Quirky Capital of the World. So what drives so much oversized and excellent commerce to the area?
Some would argue that the term “tourist trap” carries a negative connotation.
Some would also be completely wrong. Please give me a huge waterpark and a huge convenience store, and we’ve got an automatic plug-and-play day trip for the family.
Located halfway between and a short drive from each of Texas’ second and fourth-largest cities (San Antonio and Austin, respectively), New Braunfels has that great kitschy feel that so many Boomers miss while still being super fun for the younger folks. Oh, and the jerky at Buc-ee’s is killer.
16. Texas Has Some Weird Laws
While every state has some antiquated laws on the books, Texas once again bests just about everyone else. Did you know it is illegal in Texas to eat another person’s trash without their permission? So for your own good, pack a lunch. Or maybe just ask?
It’s also illegal in Texas to milk someone else’s cow. I’m sorry to let you down, but as with eating their trash, you could probably just ask them nicely to milk their cow, and the lawyers will not need to get involved.
One more, and it’s the last but not least – it’s illegal in Texas to take more than a few sips of beer while standing up.
17. Lots of Celebrities Call Texas Home
It may not be Hollywood, but Texas is the proud home of many of America’s favorite actors and musicians. If you’re looking to fanboy out, the following celebs reside in the Lone Star State.
• Willie Nelson – This country music legend and former Highwayman is a proud Texan. While he is known today more for his off-stage hobbies than his music, the 88-year-old troubadour has a private ranch in Spicewood, Texas.
• Matthew McConaughey – Alright, alright, alright – Mr. McConaughey is the most famous Texan today, and it’s not that big of a secret. The actor, philanthropist, and part-time nude bongo drummer (he) resides with his family near Austin.
• Sandra Bullock – Sandy’s been an Austin resident since before it was cool to be an Austin resident. If you time your road trip right, you might be able to meet the leading lady in downtown Austin, as she also owns a bakery, flower shop, and deli there.
• Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki – Our favorite Supernatural Stars call Texas home too. Both starred in one of TV’s longest-running shows, they are the best of friends and they both were born and raised in Texas. They also both now lived in Austin baby.
• James Van Der Beek – That’s right, Dawson lives in Texas. A recent transplant from California, you won’t likely see the “Friday Night Lights” star at many football games – his family and friends live a short drive from Austin in what they describe as a “very compound-like life.”
Let’s Head Out!
If you want to experience all that Texas has to offer, then you should book a trip to the Lone Star State right away! It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States for a reason.
If you love traveling and want to see more posts like this one, be sure to check out our destinations section for more travel inspiration. Also, leave a comment down below if you have additional fun facts about Texas to share.