There’s more to Texas than the San Antonio River Walk, and tourists who opt to stay in such urban centers as Austin and Houston are missing a lot. After all, it is the second-largest state in the country, so it has a lot to offer.

The Lone Star State has two national parks and is also blessed with many protected landscapes. Aside from its natural wonders, Texas is also proud of its historic sites and off-the-beaten path destinations, all offering a satisfying journey for those ticking items off their bucket lists. When it comes to entertaining travelers and giving them worthwhile experiences, Texas means business.

10 Explore Big Bend

Tourists who want to feel a sense of isolation should head to Big Bend National Park. Since it’s the Chihuahuan Desert’s largest protected area, there are many things to do in the park – the perfect playground for outdoorsmen. The Big Bend is always ready to serve campers, hikers, paddlers, and wildlife viewers. Thanks to its welcoming landscape and teeming ecosystem, even casual hikers will have a fun time exploring. Fishers, horseback riders, and stargazers are welcome, too. Big Bend is easily a place where adventures can always be had.

RELATED: 10 Road Trips To Take In Texas This Summer

9 Dip In The Hamilton Pool

A natural pool in Austin? Yes, indeed, and it looks stunning. When swimming is allowed, visitors should not miss dipping into its welcoming waters. Otherwise, hiking is another option. However, just relaxed sightseeing is enough because the place is Instagrammable. It’s a bonus that anyone can easily spot golden-cheeked warblers and other birds that call the preserve home. Cypress trees grow along the stream, a sight for sore eyes, along with orchids. Who would’ve thought that the Texas capital has this treasure?

8 Stroll Along The Padre Island National Seashore

Wildlife watchers and birders should not miss visiting the Padre Island National Seashore, the world’s longest undeveloped barrier island. If that’s not enough to entice tourists, then they should see its feathered residents like skimmers, buntings, and more – all waiting to be seen. When tourists visit in time for the release of sea turtle hatchlings, they’ll enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of sending off these creatures. Whatever season they visit, though, they’ll enjoy conquering the island’s waters. Fishers, kayakers, and beach lovers will have fun vibing with the sights and sounds of Padre Island.

7 The Texas State Fair Is A Must

The Fair Park in Dallas is the fairest of them all when the State Fair of Texas hits the road. This annual event is more than just an attraction but an enlivening experience. It has been around since the late 1880s, providing families and friends entertainment only Texans can deliver. It is among the best state fairs in the United States, evident in its annual visitors of more than two million people. Come late September; Fair Park turns into a magical world for the young ones and the young-at-heart.

RELATED: 10 Top-Rated Things To Do When Visiting Galveston

6 Check Out Hidden Gems In Marfa

From a humble water stop to a quaint artist town, Marfa has been serving all types of travelers. It is probably most famous for its “mysterious” lights, which some people relate to ghosts and unidentified flying objects. Though scientists beg to differ, the lights made the town popular for curious travelers. The other thing that makes the place famous is its art scene, especially since various types of artists frequently visit it. Whatever tourists want to check – the artwork or the atmospheric phenomenon – Marfa is marvelous.

5 Dive Into Jacob's Well

Those who like diving into blue-green waters should head to Wimberley, where Jacob’s Well awaits. It is the second-largest fully submerged cave in the state, where the depth reaches 140 feet in some parts. That makes this spring a popular diving and swimming spot. It’s an attractive location for weekend travelers because even if swimming is not possible ( due to drought, though rare), they can still explore the trails for a quick hike or just stay near the spring for mellow sightseeing.

4 Visit The Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Big Bend is not the only Texas national park. The Guadalupe Mountains National Park is the other one, equally beautiful and filled with wonders for lovers of the outdoors. It is home to Guadalupe Peak, the highest in the state, hence the nickname “Top of Texas.” Thanks to its canyons, mountains, dunes, and desert, it’s the perfect place for a day with Mother Nature's treasures. It’s always a leg day in this part of the US because hikers will be challenged, four-wheel drivers will be put to the test, and wildlife watchers will be busy observing. It's an outdoorsman's office.

RELATED: 10 Best Steakhouses Worth Saddling Down For In San Antonio

3 Relax In Rothko Chapel

They say to travel with a purpose, and Rothko Chapel in Houston might be the perfect place for that. This chapel cum museum was named after American artist Mark Rothko. His 14 black paintings are displayed inside, the perfect pieces for when tourists want to be with themselves, meditating maybe. The non-denominational chapel is a refuge for weary travelers, and everyone is welcome. It might not be the usual spot for tourists, but those curious enough to check this out will have a worthwhile time being quiet and away from it all.

2 Drop By The Natural Bridge Caverns

The Natural Bridge Caverns are the largest of their kind in the state and are famous for limestone formations. The place is tourist-friendly, so even first-time spelunkers will have a fun time exploring its chambers. It’s easy because there are pathways. Tours are offered daily, with some starting 180 feet underground. As they explore the cave, tourists can check out unique formations, bats, and other wonders of the world below the earth. Those looking for adventure can even try a wild caving tour. Texas is indeed thrilling.

1 Learn New Things At Johnson Space Center

For an out-of-this-world experience, sort of, tourists should drop by NASA’s Johnson Space Center. This Houston attraction is the leader in science and space education, so it’s the perfect place for families with kids. It’s home to various exhibits of rockets, spacecraft, spacesuits, aircraft, the International Space Station, Mars, and the mission to bring humans back to the moon. They also offer unique experiences, like a session with an astronaut -- ideal for kids who want to venture into space someday. Tourists should visit the Johnson Space Center; it’s not rocket science.