Thirty miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico and with direct access to the Guadalupe River, Victoria is a great place to get outside.
But the town also has a vibrant arts and culture scene and keeps in touch with its distinct historic roots; it was founded in 1824 by empresario Martin Dé León as the only Mexican colony in Texas.
You can’t go wrong with these three itineraries for maximizing a day (or more!) in Victoria.
Row with the flow in the great outdoors
Before you venture outside for a day at the river, fuel up with a hearty breakfast at local fave Ramsey’s Restaurant. Their morning staples include huge waffles, Western omelets, and made-from-scratch biscuits topped with sausage gravy.
Then it’s off to beautiful Riverside Park for paddling. Flow Paddle Co. will set you up with kayaks and assist with load-in and load-out.
But don’t skip exploring the park after a morning of kayaking. There are more than 600 acres of walking and biking trails, the Riverside Golf Course, two disc golf courses, and the Memorial Rose Garden, which has 1,050 rose bushes representing 105 varieties in a multitude of hues.
For birding, the park's Athey Nature Sanctuary is abundant with birds and wildlife and features a birding deck at the historic Hiller House, complete with feeding stations, interpretive displays, maps, and comfortable seating.
Located right on the Guadalupe, PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant & Bar is a natural destination for dining. They have an incredible menu, and their outdoor patio features one of the most beautiful views of the river you’ll ever find.
Cap off the night at Aero Crafters. They have 22 craft beers on tap, signature cocktails, and great live music as well as outdoor entertainment like corn hole, washers, giant Jenga, and more.
Relive history on a grand tour
Begin your day of historical significance with a caffeine fix at The Box Coffee Bar, a walk-through espresso station and a downtown favorite which is housed in a former ATM kiosk.
Then hop in the car for the Old Victoria Driving Tour, a self-guided tour with more than 80 historically significant homes and properties, many listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
On your drive, you’ll definitely notice the 1892 Victoria County Courthouse, a Romanesque structure that is considered as one of the most beautiful courthouses in Texas.
For lunch, head to the oldest deli in Texas: the family-owned and -operated Fossati's Delicatessen, founded in 1882.
Then soak up 13,000 years of Gulf Coast history at the Museum of the Coastal Bend, which features exhibits on the early peoples of the region up through the history of Texas ranching.
For extra credit, head to nearby Goliad to see the Mission Espiritu Santo, an incredibly restored Catholic mission with state park guides who'll walk you through Texas' early history.
Also nearby is Presidio La Bahia, a Spanish fort established hundreds of years ago to protect the Mission and the surrounding ranchland.
After a historic day, sign up for some surf and turf at Sky Restaurant or carb up at Joe's Pizza & Pasta, a local go-to for Italian cuisine.
For a nightcap, head to Moonshine Drinkery & Bar, a modern-day speakeasy in historic downtown that has a unique menu of handcrafted cocktails you won’t find anywhere else.
Indulge in local arts & culture
Start your day on the right note at Huvar’s Artisan Market for a delicious breakfast. Try the “Bis-quit-it” — a buttermilk biscuit stuffed with bacon, fried egg, panko-crusted brie cheese, and house-made raspberry jam.
While downtown, pop into local shops like Santa Rita Market and Casa De Luna, cultural gifts stores with clothing, jewelry, handbags, hats, and more; Peaches & Tortilla Mercantile with its vintage and trendy styles; and Texian Books/Bethune & Son for fantastic literary finds as well as quality outdoor and professional gentlemen’s clothing, gifts, and accessories.
For more art, you will also want to visit the Nave Museum, located in a majestic Greek revival temple designed in 1932, and the Five Points Museum of Contemporary Art that features work by national and regional artists.
Cap off the afternoon with some vino in a beautiful country setting at Gulf Breeze Winery, Victoria's first winery, before heading to KB’s BBQ. It’s one of the joints on the Great Coastal Texas Barbecue Trail and boasts all the ’cue standards along with dishes like smoked meatloaf or stuffed avocado — plus live music on Thursdays and Fridays.
Another can't-go-wrong option is Greek's 205 Bar downtown, with live music on the patio and some of the best steaks in town.
Make sure to swing by the newly restored Schroeder Hall, too, which is just outside of Victoria. It’s the second-oldest dancehall in Texas and plays host to live bands every weekend.
For more inspiration and to build your itinerary — complete with accommodations, eats, attractions, shopping, and nightlife — head over to Explore Victoria Texas.