It’s no secret that Texas is hot! While Texas is known for reaching triple digits in the summer, the fall brings a welcome change as cooler temperatures make their way into the Lone Star State. Thankfully, these cooler temperatures equate to loads of reasons to visit Texas in the fall!
As a native Texan, I must admit that fall is my favorite time of year! Fall in Texas brings the changing of leaves on the trees, loads of Texas festivals, the Texas State Fair, pumpkin patches, football games, and multiple opportunities to explore the outdoors. So whether you want to do some leaf peeping or enjoy the fun carnival-style food at a festival, Texas has you covered.
1. Visit The Texas State Fair
A visit to the State Fair of Texas should be on everyone’s Texas bucket list. The larger-than-life, 3-week event is iconic throughout the world thanks to the fair’s “spokesperson,” Big Tex. People come from all over the country to enjoy concerts, carnival rides, art and car shows, and, especially, delicious fair foods.
The Texas State Fair typically starts at the end of September and runs through the middle of October. Visitors can enjoy livestock shows and carnival rides before eating their fill of fried delicacies.
The fair grounds are located on 277 acres at Fair Park in downtown Dallas. Of the entire park, 200 acres are concrete or asphalt, making the majority of the fair easily accessible. Of course, a lot of walking and standing is involved to navigate the fairgrounds, so keep that in mind prior to your visit.
Pro Tip: One of the major events of the Texas State Fair is the Red River Showdown, an annual football game between the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma. The fair is extremely crowded on this day, so I would advise choosing another day to visit. Please visit the Texas State Fair website for more information and a complete schedule of events.
2. Admire The Fall Foliage At Lost Maples State Natural Area
Granted, there are numerous areas throughout Texas to view fall foliage, but none seem to be as grand as Lost Maples State Natural Area. Perhaps this is because Lost Maples has over 2,000 acres filled with trees — especially maple trees — that turn to vibrant hues of red, gold, and orange this time of year. I just love to see the fall colors reflecting off of the Sabinal River that runs through Lost Maples. It is a truly breathtaking sight.
In addition to the incredible fall foliage, Lost Maples also offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy some outdoor recreation such as hiking, fishing, camping, birding, and more.
3. Check Out The Texas Renaissance Festival
Fall in Texas also brings one of the most anticipated events of the season, the Texas Renaissance Festival. During the festival, which is held annually in Todd Mission, Texas transforms a 55-acre lot of land into a 16th-century English town.
The Renaissance Festival, which lasts 9 weeks, is like stepping back in time to the days when kings and queens ruled the land. Visitors can enjoy dressing up in period costumes while enjoying artisan workshops, carnival-style food, 20 stages of entertainment, and weekly themes.
The fairgrounds are natural terrain, so some areas do contain uneven surfaces that can change due to weather conditions.
Please visit the Texas Renaissance Festival’s website for the most up-to-date information on themes, operating hours, and ticket prices.
4. Attend The Addison Oktoberfest Celebration
The rich German heritage in Texas is celebrated year-round in towns like Fredericksburg and Muenster, but in the fall, no one celebrates it as big as Addison. “Recognized as one of the most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations outside of Munich,” according to the festival’s website. Addison Oktoberfest is definitely one of the fun reasons to visit Texas in the fall!
The annual festival spans 4 days in September, starting on the same day as Munich’s Oktoberfest. Visitors can expect to experience loads of German culture during their visit. The festival stages host numerous entertainers performing traditional Bavarian music, dancing, and merriment.
There are also numerous competitions that take place at the festival. These competitions include traditional Oktoberfest games like Bier Maiden Stein Carrying and Bier Barrel Rolling alongside less traditional competitions like the Biergarten Bingo. Of course, there is plenty of German food and beer to enjoy as well.
The Addison Oktoberfest is held in Addison Circle Park, a 10-acre city park in the heart of the city. Since the festival is held in a city park, there are some areas that are not easily accessible due to the natural terrain of the surface.
Pro Tip: If you are wanting to visit Addison Oktoberfest, be sure to look into the hotel packages that are offered every year. These packages are great deals as they usually combine a hotel stay with event tickets and goodies for an incredible price.
5. Jam Out At The Austin City Limits Music Festival
The Austin City Limits Music Festival is held annually in the fall and is one of the state’s biggest music festivals. Drawing national and local artists to its stages, Austin City Limits is so big that it takes place over two weekends and on multiple stages.
Visitors to this festival have an opportunity to see over 100 performances during the event, which is held in Austin’s Zilker Park. See the full lineup of performers and get more information by visiting the festival’s website.
Pro Tip: Purchase your tickets well in advance for this festival as it often sells out.
6. Go Hiking At Big Bend National Park
Fall is the perfect time to explore Texas’s Big Bend National Park. The park, which is located in the Chihuahuan Desert, gets extremely hot during the summer months. The fall, on the other hand, brings about cooler temperatures, making it the perfect time to explore.
Autumn in Big Bend means that you can hike, kayak, or take a scenic drive all while being surrounded by the changing colors of the desert landscape. Just note that this is one of the most popular times to visit Big Bend, so make your accommodation plans well in advance.
Pro Tip: Big Bend is a huge national park. Always be sure you have plenty of water and that you are properly equipped for your activities before setting out for the day.
7. Attend A Football Game
Dallas And Houston
While the fall season ushers in cooler temperatures into the Lone Star State, it also ushers in one of the state’s favorite times of the year, football season! Heck, Texas is so big that it is home to two NFL teams, the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans.
On most any given day of the week, you can find some sort of football game being played in Texas. Whether it is a high school game under the Friday night lights or a professional team, Texas delivers. For the ultimate Texas football experience, see if you can find a small Texas town having its homecoming celebration. It’s fun to see the Texas tradition of the girls wearing their football mums. Some of the homecoming mums have been known to cover the entire front torso of the girls. I mean, everything is bigger in Texas, right?
8. Visit A Texas Pumpkin Patch
Nothing says fall quite like the emergence of pumpkins. While there are pumpkin patches all over the great state of Texas, one of my personal favorites can be found at Sweet Berry Farms in Marble Falls.
After choosing your perfect pumpkin from their enormous selection, hang out for a while and enjoy all of the other fun events Sweet Berry Farms offers. Their annual Harvest Festival is home to a giant Texas-shaped corn maze, hay rides, pumpkin painting, a pick-your-own-flowers field, and more.
The farm also offers concession stands serving up some delicious treats. Try their homemade ice cream (especially the peach flavor), it is a crowd favorite for sure!
Visit their website for more information.
Pro Tip: Sweet Berry Farms is a working farm, so the activities mentioned above are on natural terrain that is uneven and can change based on the weather conditions.
9. Attend A Thanksgiving Day Parade
Head to downtown Houston on Thanksgiving Day to see the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. As one of the oldest Thanksgiving Day parades in the country, the Houston parade draws thousands of visitors to the streets of downtown. The parade, which covers over 20 city blocks, features spectacular floats, fun marching bands, and unique balloons for spectators to enjoy.
Pro Tip: The Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade is a popular event and gets extremely crowded. If you are planning on attending, be sure to check the parade routes and recommended parking areas before heading out. You can find more information here.