Abilene Travel Guide

Plan your trip to Abilene, Texas with this comprehensive travel guide. Discover the best places to visit, eat, stay, and how to get there.

Introduction to Abilene

Abilene is a city located in the North Central Plains region of Texas, in the United States. It is known for its rich Western history, abundant outdoor recreation, and charming downtown. Visitors can expect a warm welcome and a range of interesting attractions and experiences.

List of Places to Visit in Abilene

Abilene has a diverse range of attractions, catering to all interests. Here are some of the top places to visit:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Frontier Texas! - an immersive museum that tells the story of West Texas, from its early inhabitants to the present day.
  • The Grace Museum - housed in a historic hotel, this museum features a variety of contemporary art exhibits and a range of interactive programs.
  • The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature - showcases original artwork from some of the world’s best children’s book illustrators.
  • Buffalo Gap Historic Village - a collection of restored buildings that provide an insight into life on the Texas frontier.

Natural Attractions of Abilene: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • The Abilene Zoo - a 16-acre zoo that is home to over 1,000 animals from around the world.
  • Lake Abilene - a popular spot for fishing, boating, and picnicking.
  • The Abilene State Park - offering hiking trails, fishing, camping, and birdwatching opportunities.
  • The Big Country Balloon Fest - a yearly event that features hot air balloons, music, and food.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Abilene

Abilene is well known for its hiking and biking trails. The following routes are great options for outdoor enthusiasts:

  • The Cedar Creek Waterway Trail - an easy 1.5-mile trail that follows the Cedar Creek through the city.
  • The Redbud Park Trail - a 1.6-mile trail that circles the lake, offering scenic views and birdwatching opportunities.
  • The Kirby Trail - a 4-mile trail that meanders through woods and prairies, offering a peaceful escape from the city.

Best Things to Do in Abilene: Activities and Tours

Abilene offers a range of activities and tours, suitable for all interests:

  • The Buffalo Gap Historic Village Guided Tour - a 90-minute guided tour of the restored buildings, providing an insight into life on the Texas frontier.
  • The Abilene Trolley Tour - a 90-minute tour of the city, including historic downtown, the zoo, and museum district.
  • The Abilene Escape Room - a fun and challenging activity that involves solving puzzles to escape a themed room within a set time limit.

Week-Long Itinerary for Abilene

Visitors to Abilene can easily fill a week with activities and adventures. Here is a suggested itinerary:

Day Activity
1 Explore historic downtown, including the Grace Museum, and Frontier Texas!
2 Visit the Abilene Zoo and Lake Abilene
3 Take a guided tour of the Buffalo Gap Historic Village, followed by a hike at Abilene State Park
4 Take a drive to nearby Fort Phantom Hill Reservoir and enjoy the scenic views
5 Explore downtown Abilene and experience the local shops and restaurants.
6 Take a hot air balloon ride at the Big Country Balloon Fest or attend the West Texas Fair and Rodeo
7 Join a guided ghost tour of the city and learn about Abilene’s haunted history

Food and Drink Scene of Abilene

Abilene has a great food and drink scene, offering a range of options to suit all tastes and budgets.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Chicken Fried Steak - a Texas speciality, served with cream gravy and mashed potatoes.
  • Barbecue - Texas is renowned for its barbecue, and Abilene has plenty of options to choose from.
  • Kolaches - a pastry that is popular in Texas, filled with fruit or sausage.

Local Beverages

  • Dr. Pepper - this iconic soda was invented in Waco, Texas, and is still popular throughout the state.
  • Texas Wine - Texas is home to the second largest wine-producing region in the United States. Abilene has a range of local wineries to visit.
  • Craft Beer - Abilene has several craft breweries, offering a range of delicious beers.

Where to Stay in Abilene: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Abilene has a range of accommodation options, catering to all budgets and preferences. Here are some suggestions:

  • The Sayles Ranch Guesthouses - luxury guesthouses in a historic setting, offering a range of amenities.
  • Holiday Inn Express and Suites Abilene - a budget-friendly option that offers comfortable rooms and a range of facilities.
  • The Firehouse Hostel - a unique and affordable option, located in a historic downtown building.

What to Buy in Abilene: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Abilene has a range of local products that make great souvenirs or gifts. Some suggestions include:

  • Texas-shaped items - everything from coffee mugs to cutting boards, Texas-shaped items make great souvenirs.
  • Art by local artists - Abilene has a thriving art scene, and visitors can find unique and interesting pieces to take home.
  • Texas and Western-themed clothing - Western wear is still very popular in Texas, and visitors can find a range of clothing items to take home as souvenirs.

Local Culture and Customs of Abilene

Abilene has a rich Western history, and visitors will see evidence of this throughout the city. People in Abilene are generally friendly and welcoming to visitors.

Best Time to Visit Abilene

The best time to visit Abilene is in the spring or fall when temperatures are mild, and outdoor activities are comfortable. Summers can be hot and humid, and winters can be cold and unpredictable.

Do’s and Don’ts of Abilene


  • Do visit Frontier Texas! - This immersive museum is one of Abilene’s top attractions.
  • Do try the local cuisine - Abilene has a range of delicious food and drink options to sample.
  • Do explore the outdoors - Abilene has plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities.


  • Don’t forget the sunscreen - The Texas sun can be strong, and visitors should take precautions.
  • Don’t miss the local events - Abilene has a range of festivals and events throughout the year.
  • Don’t be afraid of the locals - Texans are friendly and welcoming, and visitors should not hesitate to ask for help or advice.

Safety and Health

Safety in Abilene

Abilene is generally a safe city, but visitors should take standard precautions to protect themselves and their belongings.

Health in Abilene

Abilene has several hospitals and medical centers, making it easy to access healthcare if needed.

Getting to Abilene: Transportation Options and Logistics

Abilene is easily accessible by road or air.

Airports Near Abilene

  • Abilene Regional Airport - located just a few miles from downtown Abilene, this airport offers daily flights to Dallas and Houston.

Bus Stations Near Abilene

  • Greyhound Bus Lines - offers regular services to Abilene from major cities in Texas.

Other Options

  • Driving - Abilene is easily accessible by car, with interstate highways connecting it to other major cities in Texas.
  • Rental Cars - several rental car agencies operate at the Abilene Regional Airport and throughout the city.

How to Get Around in Abilene

Abilene is an easy city to navigate, with several transportation options available:

  • Public transportation - Abilene has a bus system that operates throughout the city.
  • Taxis - several taxi companies operate in Abilene, providing a convenient way to get around.
  • Rental Cars - rental cars are available throughout the city, and are a great option for visitors who want to explore the surrounding areas at their own pace.

Where to Go Next from Abilene: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Abilene is located in a great region of Texas, with plenty of nearby destinations to explore. Some suggestions include:

  • San Angelo - located to the south of Abilene, this city offers a range of museums and outdoor activities, including the San Angelo State Park.
  • Fort Worth - about a 2-hour drive from Abilene, Fort Worth offers a range of attractions, including the Fort Worth Zoo and the Fort Worth Stockyards.
  • Big Bend National Park - located in southwest Texas, this park is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, camping, and stargazing.


Abilene is a charming and welcoming city that offers a range of activities and attractions for visitors. From its rich Western history to its abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are planning a weekend getaway or a longer stay, Abilene is definitely worth a visit.