Best Towns to Live in Texas 2016
Second in size (268,581 square miles) and with several major urban areas as well as many small towns, Texas has a lot to offer. Texas shares borders with Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, as well as Mexico to the south. Austin, Houston, Dallas, and El Paso, Texas are the most populous cities in the state. A 2015 population estimate brings Texas to 27,469,114 inhabitants. The state’s terrain greatly varies by region, from prairies, grasslands, and forests to deserts, swamps and coastlines as well as diversified wildlife. Texas has the second highest gross state product in the country, including major energy, technology, and commercial industries.
Our ratings were compiled by combining census, education, wealth , happiness and internal RentApplication data to create a unified rating system for all of the towns in Texas. Ranked below are the top towns.
#1 Sugar Land
World famous Sugar Land is located within the greater Houston area of Fort Bend County. Sugar Land is one of the wealthiest and quickly-developing cities within the state. In fact, the city experienced a 42% job growth rate between 200 and 2007. Major industries include sugar refinery, chemical and energy efficient companies.
#2 College Station
College Station is located in the Brazos Valley, East-Central Texas. According to the 2010 census, there are 93,857 residents in College Station. Paired with its neighboring city, College Station and Bryan, Texas make up a combined metropolitan area of 228,660 people. Texas A&M University is located in College Station, which has put the city on the map in terms of education and job opportunity.
In Houston’s metropolitan area sits Conroe, Texas of Montgomery County. The city was once primarily involved in the oil and lumber industries. The city is well-connected to other major urban areas via nearby public highways. Each year, the city puts on several cultural and arts festivals.
Boerne boasts an atmosphere great for families and couples alike. The city is located in the center of the state, in Kendall County, Texas and within the greater San Antonio area. Two of Texas best known caves are located in Boerne: Cave Without a Name and Cascade Caverns. Only fifteen minutes away in San Antonio are attractions such as Sea World, the Alamo, the River Walk, and the Rim. 10,471 people live in Boerne as of 2010.
#5 Lago Vista
Lago Vista is a small city of 6,041 (2010) in Travis County, Texas in the center of the state. Lake Travis is to the south, and Austin is 20 miles southeast. Lago Vista has consistently ranked high as one of the best cities to raise a family. Its flourishing economy is based on business, retail, education, and government.
Texas Legislature has referred to Forney as the “Antique Capital of Texas.” It’s located in Kaufman County, in the Dallas-Forth-Worth metropolitan area. In 2010, 14,661 people were residing in Forney. Residents enjoy recreational activities at a number of the city’s sports fields.
Situated in the heart of Brazos Valley, Bryan, Texas border College Station and has a population of 76,201 (year 2010) people. Bryan-College Station combined is among the largest metropolitan areas in the state. Bryan is home to many sports facilities, for sports including baseball, track, tennis, and golf.
Just 30 miles from Forth Worth Texas, Granbury is within the limits of Hood County and has a population of 7,978 according to census records. Local attractions include the Daniel Harris Home, the Ashton House, and the Granbury Opera House marquee.
Named after James Kerr, a major in the Texan Revolution, Kerrville is also within Kerr County. As of 2009, 22,826 people were living in Kerrville. Kerrville is best regarded for its parks and proximity to the Guadalupe River. Throughout the year, many local festivals spring up, including the Kerrville Folk Festival. The Museum of Western Art and the Mooney Aviation Company are other notable features.
Brenham is located in Washington County, Texas. It’s roughly the halfway point between Houston and Austin. The county is regarded as the birthplace of Texas since it is here that the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed. All approximated 16,297 residents are lucky enough to enjoy one of Brenham’s major industries: Blue Bell Creameries ice cream.
This coastal city is split between Galveston Island and Pelican Island. According to a 2012 estimate, 47,762 people live in Galveston, an area of about 208.3 square miles. It’s generally located in the Houston area. Today, local economy relies heavily on tourism, healthcare, shopping, and financial businesses. Many structures in the old part of town have made the National Register of Historic Places.
Taylor, Texas can be found in Williamson, County Texas. It’s a small town of approximately 15,000 residents. Taylor is a well connected city, via public highways as well as public transportation; both Amtrak and Greyhound transport services.
In Gillespie County of central Texas, sits Fredericksburg with a population of 10,530 (2010). A economy based primarily in agriculture, Fredericksburg’s tourism industry is also growing. Together, this agri-tourism industry introduces visitors and locals alike to farms of wildflower seeds and lavender, as well as brewpubs and vineyards.
The bordertown of Ingleside rests between the counties of Nueces and San Patricio. As of the 2010 census, 9,387 inhabitants reside. This small town is the site of many green area, community parks, and bay areas with boat access.
#15 San Angelo
Sometimes nicknamed the “Oasis of West Texas” or the “River City,” San Angelo offers green landscapes and fresh water. The city is home to Angelo State University, Fort Concho, and Goodfellow Air Force Base. The metropolitan area includes 118,182 people. San Angelo arts and culture scene includes the San Angelo Museum of Art, San Angelo Symphony, and the San Angelo Civic Ballet.
At the very northeast edge of the state, Sherman, Texas is in Grayson, County and had a population of 38,521 in 2010. The first electric interurban railway was built between Sherman and Denison in 1901. Today, the city is well-connected to other major urban areas, including Dallas, which is located 65 miles away.
Proud locals have given the city of Stephenville (among other cities in the state) the title of “Cowboy Capital of the World”. Stephenville is home to Tarleton State University, as well as several public elementary, middle, and high schools.
Keene is a small town of 6,106 in Johnson County, Texas and with an area of4.93 square miles. Keene Independent School District as well as two private grade level schools provide educational services.
#19 Marble Falls
Marble Falls is situated in Burnet County, between the cities of Austin and San Antonio, Texas. The population was 6,077 according to a state census in 2010. The Highland Lakes on the Colorado River can be found in Marble Falls, among the largest group of lakes in all of Texas.
Near to the Rio Grande, Edinburg is about 37.4 square miles in area, located in Hidalgo County. A recent population estimate lists the city of Edinburg at 81,000 residents. In addition to primary and secondary education, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s campus is also in Edinburg.
Henderson is at the intersection of many major transportation arteries, including Texas State Highway 64 and US Route 79. The city’s roots are in Rusk County of northeast Texas. In 2010, the population was 13,712 residents. The city holds historical significance, including many buildings and landmarks dating back prior to the American Civil War.
Levelland is a northwest city in Hockley County, Texas. The city’s economy relies on major industries like cotton farming and petroleum manufacturing. The city’s population was 13,542 in 2010. The third week in July, Camp Bluegrass puts on a series of public concerts at the South Plains College Campus.
Founded in 1871, Lindale, Texas has a rich history, especially during the American Civil War. In the years that followed, the city’s first post office and railway system were built. Today, the Smith County Texas city with5,024 residents is known for its International Festival of the Equestrian Arts and International Quadrille Championship.
The city of Vernon is located in Wilbarger County, Texas. Just about 11,000 residents live in Vernon. Major employers in the area include Tyson Foods as well as other meat processing companies, and North Texas State Hospital. Every May, the city puts on the Santa Rosa Roundup Rodeo.
Only a small town of 6,953 residents. Monahans belongs mostly in Ward County, Texas, but a small portion spills over into Winkler County. The Monahans Sandhills State Park hosts family activities as well as special events. The Texas-New Mexico Railroad makes a stop in Monahans, Texas.
“Home of the Ruby Red Grapefruit,” in Hidalgo County at the state’s southern tip, is home to the Texas Citrus Exchange and is a major fruit cultivator. Each year the city holds a fruit and citrus-theme parade for its 80,452 (2012) residents.
Plainview Texas, population 22,194, is home of Wayland Baptist University. This northern Hale County city has, in the past, had a prevalent peanut plant and beef processing plant. The Commercial Historic District belongs on the National Register of Historical Places.
#28 Port Isabel
Located at the very southern tip of the state, Port Isabel is a weekend vacation destination for many. Once a major cotton exporters, today, the port town offer beach family fun, scenic panoramic views, and access to the Port Isabel Lighthouse. Although only 5,006 people reside in the small town, many more flock to the port each year to watch for dolphins, enjoy a day at the spa, or visit the city’s history museum.
#29 Mount Pleasant
Mount Pleasant of Titus County is the largest in the area with a size of 12.7 square miles. There are about 15,564 residents in the city as of 2010. Many buildings within the city are protected under the National Trust for Historical Preservation. Recently, a project to improve a freeway bypass was completed.
Brownwoods is located in central Texas, in Brown county. The city has a population of 19,288 as of the 2010 census. In the past, the city has served as the site of US army’s Camp Bowie. Nearby Lake Brownwood contains a variety of fish, only seven miles away. In addition to public primary and secondary institutions, Brownwood is also home to Howard Payne University.
Thirty miles from Austin, Bastrop, Texas is made up of 7,218 residents. Bastrop County is located along the Colorado River, and the city stretches from east to west bluffs. The lake functions as a cooling pool for a nearby power plant, as well as a recreational area for locals. The Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort opened in the city ten years ago, and currently employs roughly 600 workers, plus an additional 175 employees seasonally.
#32 Gun Barrel City
Gun Barrel City is located in Henderson County, in the northeast region of the state. It had a population of 5,672 in 2010. The city got its name in the 1920s and 30s during prohibition went outlaws would come into town, guns in their holster. Today, however, Gun Barrel City is know as the primary entry point to Cedar Creek Lake, and used for fishing and boating.
One of the fastest-growing suburbs in the Austin area, Manor, Texas is located in Travis County. Only a couple years ago, had a population of 5,000 residents, although that number has since grown. Manor, Texas has been the site of several movie sets, including What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Manor is saturated with many parks and recreational areas.
Although the town of 8,000 inhabitants may be considered rural, Commerce is also hosts the Texa A & M University -Commerce campus. The university is a four-year school with over 12,000 students. The city is about 60 miles from Dallas, and is well-connected to the area’s biggest interstate highways.
Lockhart is located in Caldwell County, Texas. One of the first major industries in the city–cotton–flourished with the arrival of the railroad, which allowed for trading. The town’s public library houses the oldest library in all of Texas. Several movies were filmed here, including scenes from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. The city has a population of 12,698 residents.
Anna, Texas is in northern Collin County and has a total area of 14.1 square miles. Nearly 8,249 inhabitants live within the city. Anna is about 40 miles north of Dallas, and is also the meeting point of US 75, State Highway 5, and State Highway 121.
Hutchinson County is home to Borger, Texas, with a population of 13,251 at the 2010 census. Historically speaking, Borger is known as a forerunner in the oil drilling business. The city today remains an important shipping port for petroleum products and fresh produce.
Cleburne, after General Patrick Cleburne, is situated in Johnson County, Texas. Cleburne’s main industries included agriculture, which expanded even further when a railway was built connected eastern Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The city’s biggest employers today include the rail business, local hospital, and retail chains.
Claiming a long history as a rail town, the Texas and Pacific Railway began in Sweetwater in 1881. Over time, Sweetwater has maintained an economy of cotton, oil, and cattle. The 10,920 residents enjoy such attractions as the Pioneer Museum. The city has often been referred to in popular songs television, and film.
The city of Denison was established at the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT) in Grayson County, Texas. The first electric interurban railway ran between the cities of Denison and Sherman for the first time in 1901. Denison, a city of 22,682, has oftentimes made travel magazine’s lists of the most desired vacation destinations in Texas.
Harlingen lies in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley in Cameron County. 64,849 (2010) people live in the city. The city is only 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and covers more than 40 square miles. The cost of living is the lowest in the entire United States. Recreation includes the Valley Race Park and World Birding Center.
The self-proclaimed “Heart of Texas,” the city of Brady belongs to McCulloch County and houses 5,528 residents. Brady is historically a farming and ranching community. Each year on Labor Day, Brady celebrated with a music festival and local cook-off.
The city’s namesake comes from James Bonham, who was present during the Battle of the Alamo. The city is located in Fannin County, Texas. In the past, during World War II, the city has provided aviation training grounds to troops headed to war. Once the city connected to the Texas and Pacific Railway, Bonham sprung up and greatly expanded by way of churches, colleges, public schools, saw mills and power plants. Today, the city welcomes 10,127 residents.
Diboll of Angelina County, Texas in the eastern region of the state had a population of 5,359 during the 2010 census. Situated amongst long-stretched pine trees, Diboll was named after J.C Diboll, a local logging and lumber salesman. Today, the business is still a significant source of revenue for this small town.
#45 Rio Grande City
Forty-one miles from McAllen, Texas, Rio Grande City in in Starr County. The Rio Grande City-Carmago International Bridge connects it with other neighboring urban sprawls. At one point, during the invasion of Mexico, the city of Rio Grande was crucial in the passing off of soldiers and supplies as well as frequent steamboat traffic.
Sanger, Texas is located in the northeastern part of the state. Over a hundred years ago, the city was established as a stop on the Santa Fe Railroad. Agriculture became the most viable income source, including livestock and the production of oats, maize, and cotton.
Lampasas, Texas is located in central Texas, with a population of 6,681. The city’s land was rewarded to John Burleson for his involvement in the Texas Revolution. Every summer in July, Lampass hosts the Spring Ho festival. Nearby Mineral Wells attract visitors hoping for some natural healing or merely an afternoon of relaxation.
#48 Del Rio
Val Verde County Texas marks the location of Del Rio city. The city of 40,549 is connected to other nearby cities via the Ciudad Acuña International Bridge. Additionally, Laghlin Air Force Base can be found in Del Rio, the busiest US Air Force training grounds in the world.
Thanks to the oil boom following the Great Depression, Seguin, Texas, bounce back from a small town dependent on farming and ranching, to a city independently thriving. Today, the city of 25,175 is frequented due to many popular attractions including ZDT’s Amusement Park, Pape’s Pecan House and Nutcracker Museum, and the Max Strarcke Park.
Victoria, Texas is located 30 miles away from the Gulf of Mexico and has been deemed “The Crossroads” because of its relative proximity to Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. The University of Houston-Victoria can be found here. Local economy is a mix of education, retail, health, and agriculture. An estimated 66,094 people live in Victoria as of 2014.