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    15 Surreal Places In Texas You Need To Visit Before You Die

    The stars at night are big and bright...

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    Jay Fleckenstein / BuzzFeed

    1. Hamilton Pool Preserve

    Located about 23 miles west of Austin, Hamilton Pool is an extraordinary natural pool that formed thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river collapsed. During the hot summer months, it's a popular swimming spot to many of the local residents.

    2. Big Bend National Park

    Known for its wide open landscapes and breathtaking views of the Chihuahuan Desert, the Big Bend National Park covers about 801,163 acres of west Texas on the border of Mexico.

    3. Gorman Falls

    Deep within Colorado Bend State Park, Gorman Falls descend an astonishing 65 feet from a natural shelf of limestone and mineral deposits. Although access to the falls is restricted due to the fragility of the area, the gorgeous hike to this spot is absolutely worth the journey.

    4. Palo Duro Canyon State Park

    Referred to as "the Grand Canyon of Texas", the Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the country at 120 miles long and 20 miles wide. It's second to only — you guessed it — Arizona's Grand Canyon, which clocks in at 277 miles long and 18 miles wide.

    5. Caddo Lake

    Located in the wetlands on the border of Louisiana and Texas, Caddo Lake is home to one the largest cypress forest in the world. The lake was named after the Caddo Nation, a people whose ancestors settled in the region around 900 A.D.

    6. Monahans State Park

    The Monahans Sandhills are a series of mesmerizing sand dunes located near the New Mexico border in West Texas. The park is comprised of 3,840 acres of sand that is constantly transforming due to wind patterns and rain.

    7. Caverns of Sonora

    Between 1.5 to 5 million years ago, the Caverns of Sonora began forming its enchanting array of calcite crystal formations approximately 155 feet below the surface of the Earth. Upon first visiting the cave, the founder of the National Speleological Society, Bill Stephenson, is quoted to have said: "This is the most indescribably beautiful cave in the world, its beauty cannot be exaggerated, not even by a Texan."

    8. Padre Island National Seashore

    Besides its notable collection of 16th century Spanish shipwrecks, the Padre Island National Seashore is home to around 380 bird species, and the nesting ground for a colony of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. There's nothing cuter than a baby sea turtle!

    9. Medina River

    Located in the Medina Valley of south central Texas, the Medina River winds about 116 miles through limestone bluffs before merging with the San Antonio River just southeast of San Antonio. This beautiful river is lined with bald cypress trees, live oaks, and rugged cedar.

    10. Santa Elena Canyon

    The Santa Elena Canyon is a spectacular sight deep within Big Bend National Park. This towering geological formation rises to 1,500 feet over the Chihuahuan desert and is split in two by the powerful Rio Grande River.

    11. Willow City Loop

    Just outside of Fredericksburg is this scenic 13-mile road that spans breathtaking fields of wildflowers, creeks, and rolling hills. Perfect for a Sunday drive!

    12. Devils River and Dolan Falls

    This is the most unspoiled river in Texas and home to around 94 miles of some of the best kayaking and canoeing in the state. Its remote location keeps this river far from people and is perfect for escaping civilization for the weekend.

    13. Cave Without a Name

    Don't be fooled by the lack of a descriptive name here — this cave in Kendall County is testament to the sheer beauty of Mother Nature. In 1939, a state-wide contest was held to name the cave. One submission to the contest was a young boy who suggested that the cave "was too beautiful to have a name". And so the cave is known to this day as the Cave Without A Name.

    14. Enchanted Rock

    Fredericksburg is home to one of the most peculiar and extraordinary spots in the Lone Star State. The Enchanted Rock is a monumental pink granite rock that spans 640 acres and rises to over 1,825 feet above sea level. The view from the top is priceless.

    15. Lost Maples State Natural Area

    Five miles north of Vanderpool is 2,906 acres of pristine Texas landscape called the Lost Maples State Natural Area. Running along the the Sabinal River, this region of Texas is known for its bigtooth maple trees, crystal clear streams and springs, and mountainous limestone geography. It truly is a wilderness wonderland.

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    Jay Fleckenstein / BuzzFeed

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