In my opinion, the state with the most interesting small towns is Texas. I recommend travel time in Boerne, Bryan, Bandera, Brenham, and Bastrop for starters. And, no, not all Texas towns starting with the letter B are worth visiting. On our 2019 trip to Texas, we went to Bastrop for the 2nd time and were as impressed with it as we were the first time.
Bastrop, which has a growing population of about 9,000, is really benefiting from proximity to Austin. Only about 25 miles from this go-go city with its airport between them, Bastrop is attracting residents who want to get away from Austin’s explosive development but stay close to it.
Bastrop, like Austin, is on the other Colorado River, an 862 mile long watercourse that, unlike the Colorado that begins in Colorado but ends in Mexico, Texas’ Colorado never leaves the state while being ranked as the USA’s 18th longest river. It and its historic bridge and riverwalk are considerable Bastrop attractions.
Bastrop began when a fort was built on the Colorado in 1804, but it wasn’t until 1823 that it actually attracted settlers and was called Mina. A con man began it. An imposter named Philip Bogel came to Texas with a colony grant and said he was a Dutch nobleman with a title, the Baron de Bastrop. He started a business and rose to become a government negotiator, a founder of Galveston, and a state representative.
People came to Bastrop to plant cotton, mine coal, and cut timber from the Lost Pine Forest. Because early residents tended to be bankers, doctors, and successful business types, many impressive homes were built. Many remain. Bastrop’s neighborhoods contain over 100 historic homes like the Crocheron-MCDowall House above. It was built in 1857. A walking tour map is available at the visitor center. Some of these homes can be toured, some are for sale, and a couple have become B&Bs. Many of Bastrop’s downtown commercial buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. One of them is a still functioning restored opera house that is a community treasure with shows almost every month. Newsies is coming this summer. The Bastrop County Guide lists 53 attractions, including many parks.
Texas towns I wouldn’t include are Laredo, Wichita Falls, El Campo, West, Weatherford, and Beaumont. Granbury and Fredericksberg are fun Explore and get to know Texas.
PS Brenham’s main attraction, Blue Bell Creameries, seems to be back in business after a listeria scare. It is said to be the 4th best selling ice cream brand in the United States despite the fact that it’s still not available in 27 states. Blue Bell has made sensational ice cream since 1907.