Hit the Road
6 surprising reasons to return to Waco this spring
If we're talking claims to fame, Waco has many. For one, it's home to Baylor University, the largest continuously operated university in Texas (since 1849!).
Thirt-six years later, Dr Pepper was invented here. And it also boasts the oldest suspension bridge in Texas that's still open to foot traffic (that would be the Suspension Bridge, built in 1870). The bridge is currently being renovated, but will soon be back and better than ever.
But not everything that makes Waco famous is historical — there are plenty of exciting developments in the here and now, and perhaps even a few that are new since your last visit.
Here are six reasons to take trip to Waco in the near future:
Meet me at Magnolia
Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines transformed the city when they opened Magnolia Market, a mecca of home goods and decor that has since grown to include Magnolia Home and other Shops at the Silos, with another expansion currently in progress.
Eateries also abound, from Magnolia Press and Magnolia Table to Silos Baking Co., ready to feed fans from all over the world.
Mark your calendar for Spring at the Silos in March and Silobration, the destination's all-out birthday bash and concert held the last week of October.
Catch a wave
Waco Surf is one of the largest inland surfing and water sports facilities in the country. Book a room at its hotel, cabins, or Surf Houses, or take advantage of onsite RV hookups when it opens for the season in March.
The resort’s two-acre surf lake uses PerfectSwell surf-generating technology to guarantee you’ll always get the perfect ride, plus there's a wakeboarding cable park, the world’s longest lazy river (or at least one of them), and the famous Wedge Slides.
Get back to nature
Located on the Brazos River in the heart of Waco, the 416-acre Cameron Park is open year-round for hiking, biking, and exploring.
Pay a visit to the 52-acre Cameron Park Zoo, a natural habitat zoo located within the park that houses everything from lions and Sumatran tigers to Komodo dragons and tortoises from the Galapagos Islands.
Speaking of the Brazos River, the inaugural Waco Rowing Regatta drew teams from all around the globe in 2022, and this year is sure to be even bigger. Kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and canoeing are also popular river activities.
Explore and learn
From the Dr Pepper Museum to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum, there's no shortage of knowledge available here.
Drop into the Black Gospel Archive & Listening Center at Baylor University or watch artisans work at Homestead Craft Village.
You can also visit the nation’s first and only recorded discovery of a nursery herd of Pleistocene mammoths at the Waco Mammoth National Monument.
Visit the Doris Miller memorial, honoring WWII hero who was born and raised in Waco and became the first African-American to be awarded the Navy Cross for his bravery during Pearl Harbor.
Bite into cool food hall concepts in Union Hall and Route 77 Food Truck Park, where there's a flavor and cuisine to suit every palate.
Be sure to come hungry to the Texas Food Truck Showdown, set for April 1, 2023, which welcomes around 40 food trucks from all across the country and serves more than 25,000 people each year.
Stay a while
You'll see plenty of familiar hotel names in Waco, from the Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn to Hotel Indigo.
Also popular are the many short-term rentals in the area, including Magnolia's Hillcrest Estate and Magnolia House.
Discover more things to do in Waco here.