They say everything is bigger in Texas, and in many ways, it’s true. Texas’ total area is twice the size of Germany, stretching 790 miles long and 773 miles across. The Lone Star State is home to more than 29 million people, and it ranks as the country’s second-most populous state, behind California. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas attracts about 1,000 new residents every day.
So, what’s it like living in Texas, the home of former presidents, famous musicians, and folk heroes? Read on for some insight into what it’s like to be a Texan, and check out the state’s varied mix of 55+ communities.
Savor a Slice of Pie Anytime
Deep in the heart of Texas (in Cedar Creek, to be exact), you can treat yourself to a freshly baked pie whenever the craving strikes. Outside the Berdoll Pecan Candy and Gift Company store, there's a vending machine that’s restocked daily with homemade, full-sized pecan pies. You’ll spend $3 less by going inside, but locals appreciate the convenience of a 24/7 vending machine.
Go Batty for Bats
Austin is home to the world’s largest urban Mexican free-tail bat colony in North America. Bat season runs every year from March through November, giving locals and tourists a spectacular show when the bats emerge from the Congress Avenue bridge about 20 minutes before sundown every evening. Austinites know to check the weather and viewing times before heading out to see the winged creatures.
Keep Your 'Eye' on Things
In the heart of Downtown Dallas, you won’t only see glittering skyscrapers—you’ll also spy a giant eyeball. Simply called “Eye,” this fiberglass sculpture stands 30 feet tall and was purchased by the swanky Joule hotel as part of its expansive art collection.
Browse Unique Finds
You know what they say: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In South Austin, Texans can tour the famous Cathedral of Junk, which houses about 60 tons of discarded items. Visitors can get a look at an eclectic hodgepodge of items such as bicycle parts, lawnmower wheels, and other castoffs. The destination is a hotspot for school-age kids and retired citizens alike.
Traffic and Trucks
While Texas posts the country’s highest speed limit (you can legally drive 85 mph on Texas State Highway 130), you won’t always get to put the pedal to the metal. With so many Texans on the roads, the state naturally experiences frustrating traffic congestion. Austin has some of the world’s worst traffic, with drivers spending 25 percent more time behind the wheel than drivers in other cities, according to TomTom.
Also, Texas has a lot of trucks, y’all. One in four new vehicles sold in Texas is a truck. The Lone Star State buys more pick-up trucks than any other. According to the Texas Standard, no other state even comes close when it comes to truck sales. You’d have to add California, Florida, and Oklahoma together to get even remotely close to second place in truck sales.
The Nation’s Nicest People
While you might think Texas’ state motto is “Don’t mess with Texas,” that’s actually the iconic slogan from an anti-littering campaign. Texas’ motto is simple: friendship. Texans are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Texans tip their hat to their neighbors and don’t hesitate to say howdy to new folks in town. The Lone Star State ranks among the country’s friendliest states, coming in behind only Minnesota, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
Football and Food
Texans take football seriously. The state boasts more than 1,400 football-playing high schools, including Eagle Stadium in Allen, which can seat 18,000 spectators. This stadium cost nearly $70 million to build, making it one of the most expensive high school stadiums in Texas.
As for food, Texans know how to eat. From Tex-Mex to barbecue, Texas contains more than 48,000 dining and drinking establishments, according to the Texas Restaurant Association. When it comes to states that serve up the best food in the country, Texas ranks No. 1, according to Thrillist.
Living in Texas
From the natural beauty to the friendly culture and people, Texas is unlike anywhere else. Want to hang your hat in the Lone Star State? Here’s everything you need to know about moving to Texas.