Cities Journal

Top 20 Small Cities In Texas


Almost everything about Texas is big. It is a big state, its cities are big, with big people live in big houses on big properties. When you go to restaurants in Texas, you get big portions and the biggest steaks you can imagine. We are not being nasty or anything, but even people in Texas seem to be a bit bigger than in the rest of the country.

However, as every real Texan will tell you, the true spirit of this big state is in its smaller cities and towns that have been around for a long time and where the atmosphere of a different America can still be felt in the air and in the ground. These are the places we are talking about today – the best small places in Texas.

1. Nacogdoches

Besides being a real handful to spell, Nacogdoches is also the oldest city in all of Texas, with a population of barely over 32,000. It is also the county seat of the Nacogdoches County and one very special little city.

It was originally a Spanish settlement, populated by mostly missionaries who were looking to baptize the Native American peoples living in the area at the time. It transitioned perfectly to an American city, blending its unique Spanish heritage with the hospitality for which the southern U.S. is famous for.

For a city of such a tiny size, Nacogdoches is sure packed with things to see, mostly historic monuments and sights of interest, such as the Oak Grove Cemetery, the Stone Fort, Old Stone Fort Museum, the Old University Building, Camp Tonkawa, Durst Taylor House and the Hotel Fredonia.

If you are visiting this gorgeous little city for the first time, your first stop should definitely be the Nacogdoches Historic Town Center and Visitors Center where you will be able to best plan out your stay.

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  • GoFaster58

    Full of red poppies? 99% of the poppies are on the east side of IH35 and you have to know where they are to find them. There’s really not that many. By the time of the Red Poppy Festival most of the poppies have faded away.
    GT is not made up of primarily retired people either. A lot of people have moved here from all parts of the nation for jobsin Austin. Georgetown is very diverse with people of all nationalities. Most of Sun City is not within the city limits.

  • Lindsey Moreno

    These people are on crack if they think Port Arthur is a good place to live. Sure if you want to end up in a ditch I guess.

  • Ashley Crawford

    This is my hometown! I’m in the military and I have a British husband. Every time we go home to visit he swears up and down that this is what he expects of small town America. It is welcoming, has great small events, a terrific high school, a great local government, and a train directly to Dallas’s diverse downtown.

  • Texas Native

    Most of these “small cities” are suburbs of the largest cities in the state – the only reason they’re “small” is due to their proximity to all the “big city” amenities that they don’t have to build for themselves. Not a very representative list of real “small city” Texas.

  • Redheaded Stepchild

    I don’t know who chose the photos for each of the named cities, but the deciders didn’t do anything to make the named cities look good. Sheesh.

  • shyhorse

    Baytown? Port Author? PLEASE! What about Nacogdoches or Jefferson! These to cities have more history and interest than all the cities mentioned combined!

  • booksbenji

    My Dear misinformed, delusional, high on THC friends, Baytown is on the east side of Houston , on the ship channel. Sugerland is in sw Harris county, way far from any body of water other than rice paddies & TDC&J farms & prisons. BTW< get a office in TEXASb that way you will not mistaken for dumb YANKEES!!!!!

  • booksbenji

    Baytown, Texas is found in the Gulf Coast region of Texas near Sugar Land. Y’all are just about 100 mile off base, pls next get a good compass & GOOD TEXAS MAP!!!!! Sugerland has only rice paddies, TDOJ&C prison farms was the all water is. Y’all can reach me @[email protected] or 432-312-1652. I was born in HARRIS County & Houston.

  • booksbenji

    Are yu’all deleting my posts???

  • txdar

    Port Arthur, really? You couldn’t PAY me to live in Port Arthur!

  • TexasHorseLady

    Um, no. Georgetown is NOT made up “primarily of retired people”, though Sun City is in Georgetown. Georgetown is a small Texas town, home of Southwestern University (one of the better universities of its size in the country), that has been around since the mid-1800’s and is home to a wide range of people – families, college students, single professionals, and, yes, some retired people. Someone didn’t do their homework. .

    • Tiffany W


  • Jeff White

    Rowlett? If you want a vanilla, generic, cookie cutter suburb, then this is your place. Not sure what criteria your writer was using, but there is nothing particularly special about Rowlett, Mansfield, DeSoto, Baytown or Port Arthur.

  • pixieme

    DeSoto is the “hood”. How it got the name All American I can’t begin to imagine. We all left because it’s not the kind of place to raise your kids.

  • Tiffany W

    Georgetown is NOT primarily retired people?? There was a lot of families there BEFORE Sun City and anyone from there would be insulted at calling Georgetown – AKA Sun City!!!

  • gfc14

    The Baytown area has a booming economy, lots of new businesses, well paying job growth and relatively low cost of living… DEAL WITH IT! :)

  • Clay

    They couldn’t have picked a worse picture to represent Port Arthur. Unless there are worse pictures to be taken of that place. How does Port Arthur make it over towns like Sugar Land or Schertz?

  • Michael Seale

    Baytown? Lived there (here) most of my life..and uh…it kinda sucks. Know why you only took a picture of the bridge? Because that’s how you leave!!’s the only half nice looking part. Just a little to the right and you would see what Baytown really is. Refineries/plants. Our mall is nearly dead and abandoned, our population has outgrown our streets, and anything we get new, eventually falls to what i call the “Baytown Curse”. It starts off awesome, then our people turn it to crap. Check out the theater in the mall for a prime example.

  • Byron Williams

    I like how my comment that was critical but by no means out of line or inappropriate was never approved by the moderated.

  • Csmith

    I am sure Baytown is larger than 450 acres since Baytown Exxon Refinery and BOP encompasses thousands of acres. Baytown is no where close to Sugar Land.

    Who would want to live in Port Arthur; no one based on the picture you posted.

  • Nancy Seibert

    Let`s talk about the small city of Silsbee, Texas 25 miles North of Beaumont and dying daily. It could be a wonderful little town but there is just no more pride in it as there used to be. I guess after the graduates from Silsbee High School graduated in the 60`s, they all left to make their fortunes elsewhere. I guess the most recent news or national event which included Silsbee was after Hurricane Rita when fox news Shepard Smith was in Beaumont, survived the night there with a trip to St. E Hospital with a bump on the head from a garbage can lid thrown by the storm, then when the storm was through he drove North to the outer limits of Silsbee and with the SILSBEE sign right there over his right shoulder called it SLIISBEE, Texas. Anyway, everything seems to be dying here instead of growing. Now I know a lot of people do not like growth and change but hey, I am proud of our town and want to see more of it renewed. Thank you! Now will someone please help this old lady off her soap box.

  • Joe Gutierrez

    The only good thing to come out of Port Arthur Texas was Janis Joplin.

  • Joe Gutierrez

    The best thing to come out of Port Arthur Texas was Janis Joplin.

  • Hicktorian

    I don’t know where you are from, but I am very embarrassed that the best they could come up with was a pic standing in a mechanic’ parking lot shooting a rail crossing. What about the Street of Ten Friends, the college, the “port”, ANYTHING!

  • Perceptions

    My comment was removed because I complained about the picture they chose for Cedar Park.

  • Pingback: DeSoto listed in best small cities in Texas | Chapel Hill HOA()

  • helen

    You must not have been there for a long time! The rice paddies/sugar beet fields are being covered with housing developments. [I’m not sure the prison farms have survived; as soon as all the “nice people” moved in, they wanted the farms out.]

    Baytown/Port Arthur is the source of Houston’s polluted atmosphere; the only way to enjoy them is to live in Victoria [or further away] on Exxon dividends!
    Better yet, Nacogdoches…lots of pine trees, a state university and the only drawback is that you have to learn to spell it.

  • OdinsAcolyte

    Nice little review if small Texas towns. I have been to almost all of them and lived in one of ’em for a spell.
    I used to love to go to Ft. Davis for the mountains and they had a wonderful music festival for a few years.
    I miss it so. I always wanted to live in the West Texas mountains (by the way the article needed to mention Alpine too!). There are so many other small towns too. So many blowing away in the wind. There are some beautiful towns located in what appear to be secret valleys. There are anomalies of nature too. You can spend your life in Texas and never see it all.

    • Tasogle

      Don’t forget Marathon the gateway to Big Bend NP and home of the Gage Hotel and the “Marathon to Marathon”. Best scenery ever for a run or a 3K walk.

      • OdinsAcolyte

        The entire region, including Marathon, has had my heart since I was three years old.

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