If you have ever tried driving across the state of Texas from the Louisiana border to the New Mexico border, then you know that everything truly is bigger in Texas!
That drive, by the way, is estimated by the LazyTrips website, at 12 hours along 1-10 with normal traffic, and with stops for food and fuel at iconic Buc-ee’s, it will take 14 full hours.
Of course, the “fast route” across Texas is in the northern part of the state which only takes drivers almost nine hours with no stops.
Road-tripping across the Lone Star State combines two of the things we love about Texas: fun facts and traditions.
For the record: It’s a fact that Texas is the largest of the “lower 48” states at a whopping 268,597 square miles (only Alaska is a larger state - at 663,300 mostly chilly square miles).
And stopping at a Buc-ee’s convenience store, with its beaver mascot, food and drink options, and “world famous” restrooms is a real Texas tradition.
Stump Your Friends: 10 True Texas Facts!
The next time you head to trivia night at the local watering hole, tuck these 10 true Texas facts away in your memory:
- The name “Texas” comes from a Caddo tribe word “teycha” which translated into friends or allies.
- Texas is home to the largest rose garden in the world in Tyler spanning 38,000 bushes and 600 different varieties over 14 acres.
- The “Six Flags of Texas” represents various forces in the land's history that ruled over the area including Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America.
- Dr. Pepper was not only invented in Texas in Waco but the top-secret recipe is split in half and stored at two different Dallas banks!
- Texas has more bat species than any other U.S. state with the South Congress Bridge in Austin home to the largest urban bat colony, and Bracken Cave in San Antonio home to the largest bat colony in the country.
- The world’s first rodeo was held in Texas on July 4, 1883, in Pecos. And the state is home to the world’s largest rodeo with 2 million-plus attendees each year to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
- The hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900 is America’s deadliest natural disaster with 130 miles per hour winds killing more than 8,000 people.
- It’s no secret that Texas is the country’s top oil producer, but the state is also the No. 1 exporter of sheep, horses, citrus, corn, and pecans.
- Frozen margaritas were invented in Texas when Mariano Martinez ran the margarita ingredients through a soft-serve ice cream maker in 1971 after being inspired by a 7-11 Slurpee machine.
- The first spoken word from the moon on July 20, 1969, was … “Houston”!
How Many of These 10 Texas Traditions Do You Know?
From football to food, Texas has a lot of traditions. Here are some of our favorites:
- Friday Night Lights: High school football is not just a sport in Texas but almost a religion with the popular book and television show “Friday Night Lights” coming to life each week in the fall across the state in towns small and large. One head coach said: “Texas high school football is one of a kind compared to what he’s seen in other states. Texas high school programs are close to Division 1 college programs in many ways … funding and facilities are bigger and better; more coaches are generally hired on staff; and the enthusiastic fans and local support is outstanding.” Another Texas tradition associated with high school football in the state is the unique Homecoming mums.
- Life in the Fast Lane: Texans must cover great distances around the state so most of the time 55 mph will not cut it. You will find some high-speed limits posted including some stretches that are 85 mph, the highest in the nation!
- Texas Chili (No Beans!): Texas chili and chili cook-offs around the state are a tradition but you better remember there are NO beans in Texas chili. “If you know beans about chili, you know that chili has no beans! Thundered Wick Fowler, journalist and chili fan from Texas where (beanless!) chili was made the official state dish in 1977.
- Texas Two-Step, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls: This iconic dance step, called the “poor man’s foxtrot” can still be found in honky-tonks and dance halls across the state. The square dance may have gotten the state’s official designation as the state dance, but the two-step is king and can be found across 19th century dance halls and honky-tonk hideaways as couples gracefully shuffle to the music.
- State Fair of Texas: The longest running fair in the U.S. is a Texas tradition where generations have waved “howdy” to “Big Tex” and enjoyed a corn dog, giant turkey leg, or fried Oreo!
- Wildflowers: Texas, with a big shout out to Lady Bird Johnson, has some of the most amazing wildflowers in the country and a Texas tradition can be found when they bloom each year as families stop on the highways and byways to take photos amongst the beauty.
- Tex-Mex, Beef, and Tacos: A Texas tradition can be found in these great foods. Says the appropriately named “Beef Loving Texans” website: “A testament of that Texas culture can be found in restaurants, food trailers, and backyards all across the state. You see, in these parts, Tex-Mex is its own food group, and tacos are ingrained in the history and fabric of Texan families.” How important are tacos in Texas? Texas Monthly has a full-time “Taco Editor” on staff who is a James Beard Award winner! And when you are talking Tex-Mex and tacos – Texas-born and bred beef must be on the menu.
- Cowboys Boots (and Cowboys!): Texas is still home to working Cowboys on some of the biggest ranches in the world and from the country to the city, almost everyone in the state has (or ought to have!) a pair of cowboy boots. Those in the know, have at least an “everyday” pair and a “dress” pair.
- Texas BBQ or Barbecue: Not only is BBQ a Texas tradition but the state is so big that there are different styles in different regions from barbacoa in South Texas to chopped beef in East Texas to brisket cooked low and slow in Central Texas. And beef reigns supreme over pork according to Thrillist: “The preference dates back to the cattle industry, but culturally you can chalk it up to bigger-in-Texas palates and arguably higher-quality beef available in the state.” And don’t forget the white bread with that BBQ order, another Texas tradition.
- Whataburger: California may have In-and-Out, but Texans love their Whataburger. Which is right up there with Buc-ee’s, HEB , and Blue Bell when it comes to Texas favorite brands.