Cowboy culture in Texas has a long and proud history. Visitors who want to saddle up for an authentic cowboy experience in Texas will have their pick of options, from a weekend stay at a dude ranch, a visit to the rodeo, or shopping for the perfect pair of cowboy boots. Here are some recommendations for great cowboy-themed trips.
Visit the Cowboy Capital of the World
Bandera, Texas, a rural town nestled in the rolling hills of Texas Hill Country, is the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” a nod to its geographic importance in the last big cattle drives of the 19th Century. You can make a reservation at one of the town’s many dude ranches, such as Mayan Dude Ranch, Dixie Dude Ranch, and Rancho Cortez, enjoying simple bunkhouse accommodations, trail rides, and mess hall-style eats, signaled by a dinner bell.
Go to a Rodeo
Is this your first rodeo? No worries: Texans are happy to indoctrinate you. Typically held January through March, rodeos are held across the state in Fort Worth, Houston, San Angelo, Austin, and elsewhere, and they include impressive entertainment line-ups with concerts and children’s activities, in addition to traditional livestock shows and rodeo events.
Grab some breakfast with the ranchers
Cowboys still exist throughout Texas and you can experience the cowboy lifestyle first-hand at the Mayan Dude Ranch in Bandera. With its picturesque views and friendly hospitality, you can enjoy a charming western themed cottages and a modern swimming pool for a Texas Hill Country getaway. It doesn’t get much more authentic than an early morning trail ride to the cowboy breakfast. Eggs, bacon, sausage, and delicious biscuits and gravy are cooked over a campfire by a couple of friendly ranchers. If you’re lucky, you might hear some unforgettable cowboy folk songs.
Get yourself a hat—and boots
If you come to Texas seeking some western flair, you might as well leave with some, too. Many handcrafted hats and boots are still made in Texas, from the custom-fit cowboy hats at Catalena Hatters in Bryan to the luxurious, hand-stitched Lucchese cowboy boots in El Paso. Stores across the state carry these items, and they’re also available to order online.’
Walk with the herd in Fort Worth
Witness a historic cattle drive at the Fort Worth Stockyards. Held every day at 11:30 AM and 4:00 PM, this is a must-see if you’re in Texas. Part of the Chisholm Trail, this experience embodies Western heritage. After the cattle drive, explore The Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District and grab a bite to eat with some cowboy flare. Visitors can also buy some cowboy souvenirs and dance the night away at Billy Bob’s Texas, the world’s largest honky tonk.