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Texas in Pictures: 15 Beautiful Places to Photograph

Written by Brad Lane
Feb 6, 2020

The Lone Star State has several photogenic features. From grotto swimming pools to natural bridge caverns, the varied terrain of Texas is in focus at the most beautiful places to photograph. Texas rivers carve their way through the landscapes, and the Texas Hill Country offers undulating environments to explore. The Guadalupe Mountains of Texas also stand out in photos, and the Franklin Mountains add a scenic backdrop to El Paso.

1. Big Bend National Park

Balanced Rock in Big Bend National Park

In West Texas and adjacent to the Mexico border, Big Bend National Park cannot be confined to a single roll of film. Unique rock formations, the Chisos Mountains, and the Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River are frequent subjects of photographs in Big Bend. Hit the park's hiking trails and see unique places like Santa Elena Canyon and Balanced Rock, which often receive the most photographic attention.

Accommodation: Best Places to Stay near Big Bend National Park

2. Franklin Mountains State Park, El Paso

Wildflowers at the base of the Franklin Mountains

Dividing the city of El Paso, the Franklin Mountains are some of the most photogenic peaks in the state. The best place to access the elevated terrain is Franklin Mountains State Park on the north side of the city. Hiking and mountain biking are two of the most popular activities at the state park, as is rock climbing. Sunset photos from Franklin Mountain State Park are often worthy of a frame on the wall.

3. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Fredericksburg

Rock formations at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

At the heart of Texas Hill Country, Enchanted Rock is one of the most popular state park units in Texas. Several archaeological sites surrounding this immense granite dome suggest that the area has been popular for thousands of years. Alongside the grand view atop the rock, several large rock formations in the 1,600-acre state natural area catch the camera's attention.

4. San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio River Walk at night

Each year, over 13 million people visit the San Antonio River Walk, one of the central attractions of downtown San Antonio. Also known as the Paseo del Rio, the San Antonio River Walk hosts dining, shopping, and cultural establishments. This 15-mile urban waterway is photogenic during the day, but the illuminated storefronts make for a striking image at night.

San Antonio is also one of the best places to visit in Texas, particulary for culture and dining.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in San Antonio: Best Areas & Hotels

5. Hamilton Pool Preserve, Dripping Springs

Hamilton Pool

A historic swimming hole 30 miles west of Austin, Hamilton Pool inspires photographs with its natural appeal. Hamilton Creek plunges from a limestone ledge at Hamilton Pool, creating a 50-foot waterfall that makes for great photos. A lush forest defines the rest of the preserve's 232 acres. Reservations are required to visit Hamilton Pool in the summer.

6. El Capitan, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

El Capitan at Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Home to the four tallest peaks in the state, Guadalupe Mountains National Park is an adventure destination in West Texas. The peak of El Capitan in the national park isn't the tallest, but its imposing stature makes it one of the most photographed. Visitors can hike to the base of El Capitan from the Pine Springs Visitor Center. Several other hiking trails and campgrounds can also be accessed from the Pine Springs Visitor Center.

7. Guadalupe River State Park, Spring Branch

Cypress trees at Guadalupe River State Park

Less than an hour drive north of San Antonio, this popular state park centers around four miles of the Guadalupe River. Activities like boating, fishing, and swimming are popular on the water. The state park also features hiking trails and campgrounds. The scenic shore of the Guadalupe River, complete with intricate cypress trees, develops extra color in the fall.

8. Padre Island National Seashore

Sunrise on the Padre Island seashore

A popular day trip from Corpus Christi, Padre Island National Seashore encompasses the longest tract of undeveloped barrier island in the world. This wild habitat produces a variety of vibrant pictures. Sprawling sand dunes and a churning tide are often in focus at Padre Island National Seashore. Sunsets that reflect off the Gulf of Mexico also make for excellent pictures.

9. Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Rose garden at Fort Worth Botanic Garden

A lovely natural area in Fort Worth, this botanic space features over 20 specialty gardens. The Rose Garden is a favorite manicured section at the facility. It features a historic Shelter House surrounded by blooming colors. The Japanese Garden is also often photographed at the botanic garden, especially when autumn temperatures add some new colors to the scene.

Accommodation: Best Hotels in Fort Worth, Texas

10. Galveston Island

Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

The island city of Galveston is a popular summer spot for beach activities. As well as sunbathing and swimming, photography is also popular along the abundant shoreline. The downtown district of Galveston poses for pictures with stately architecture and prominent attractions like Pier 19. One of Galveston's most entertaining features, the Historic Pleasure Pier, features amusements for all ages.

11. Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

In the Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon is one of the largest canyons in the United States. Also referred to as "the Grand Canyon of Texas," Palo Duro Canyon is a 30-minute drive from Amarillo and one of the area's big attractions. Visitors can drive to the bottom of Palo Duro Canyon on a paved road. Some of the best photos come from the rim, though, at places like The Canyon Gallery and Visitor Center.

12. Monahans Sandhills State Park, Monahans

Monahans Sandhills State Park

The dunes at this preserve, a small but photogenic state park in West Texas, offer a unique perspective. Sledding the sandhills is a popular thing to do when visiting, and the entire state park can also be explored on foot. Rippled by the wind and glowing come sunset, the shifting sandhills provide grounds for creative photographs. The state park also offers a campground to capture it all better.

13. Natural Bridge Caverns

Natural Bridge Caverns

Located less than an hour northeast of San Antonio, this underground attraction is the largest known show cave in the state of Texas. The only way to see the cave formations within the caverns is on a guided tour. Four different trips are available that range from family friendly to crawling on your hands and knees. Cameras are allowed on the tours, but tripods are not permitted.

14. Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Fall pumpkin tunnel at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

On the shore of White Rock Lake near downtown Dallas, this urban natural space features 66 acres of photogenic landscapes. Notable gardens at the arboretum include the aptly named Color Garden and the exploratory Children's Adventure Garden. Something new is in bloom every month of the year at the Dallas Arboretum, and the facility hosts seasonal events that also inspire great photos.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Dallas: Best Areas & Hotels

15. The Alamo

The Alamo

Adjacent to the San Antonio River Walk, the Alamo is deeply rooted in Texas history. Involved in the Texas Revolution of 1835, the Alamo stands today as a sharp contrast to the surrounding modern city. Sunsets bloom over the stone structure of The Alamo on summer evenings. Historical reenactments at The Alamo offer photos that look like they came from a different era.

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