Texas Swagger: Unraveling the Lone Star State’s Unapologetic Pride

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If you’ve ever been to Texas, you’ll notice, besides all the pickup trucks and the cowboy hats, that Texans take a lot of pride in their home state. There are other places in the country that have a strong sense of regional or local pride, but Texas seems to top them all. In fact, for some Texans, the only thing bigger than Texas is their love of the Lone Star State.

What’s the Big Deal?

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All this Texas exceptionalism leads some people to ask what the big deal is. Here are 12 of the top reasons why Texans have such pride in their home state. Even if you don’t walk away sold that Texas is Heaven on Earth, hopefully, you’ll have a better appreciation for why Texans love their state so much.

1. The Immensity of Texas: Size Matters

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Texas is by far the largest state in the “Lower 48.” Even though some Texans refuse to believe that Alaska is more than twice as big, Texas is still a huge state. If you were trying to drive from the eastern border to El Paso or from the tip of the northern panhandle down to the southernmost point, you’d be in for a really long day. It’s no wonder that most people do it over two or three days.

2. The Lone Star Legacy: An Independent Spirit

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Many of the first Americans to settle in Texas, when it was still part of Mexico, came with nothing and made something of it. Before Texas was a U.S. state, it was an independent republic after breaking away from Mexico and winning a bloody revolutionary war to gain that freedom. That independent spirit lives on today.

3. A Tapestry of Cultures: Rich History and Heritage

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In Texas, there’s also a rich history built by Native Americans, Mexicans, and American settlers alike. Today, the legacy of all those people lives on in history textbooks, music and dining, and the broader culture.

4. More Than Just Cowboys: Geographical Diversity

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Some people who have never been to Texas picture an endless flat landscape punctuated by oil wells and longhorn cattle. In reality, there is a great deal of geographical diversity in the state: mountains and desert in West Texas, storied rivers like the Red and the Rio Grande, the Hill Country in Central Texas, thick forests in East Texas, the beaches and wetlands of the Gulf Coast, and more.

5. Wallet-Friendly Living: Low Taxes

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Texans love the fact that their state is among those without a state income tax. Instead of that, the government gets most of its funding through property taxes, sales taxes, and various fees. You might argue that the government’s getting its money one way or another, but many Texans will point out that they have more control over how much they pay in taxes.

Jorey Bernstein of Bernstein Investment Consultants says, “Texans relish the advantage of living without a burdensome state income tax. Instead, they wield control over their tax contributions through property taxes, sales taxes, and various fees. This unique financial landscape empowers Texans to shape their fiscal destiny while benefiting from tailored financial services and comprehensive offerings.”

6. Affordable Living: Relatively Low Cost of Living

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Texas has long been a place that people relocate to because of generally sunny weather, bargain housing prices, and other factors, like no state income tax, that make the cost of living lower than in many other states. This has led to a population growth explosion in recent years, and the cost of living, especially in home prices and property taxes, has gone way up in the largest metro areas, but it’s still lower than in other states with huge, diverse economies like California and New York.

“Texas effectively uses a ‘consumption tax’ which allows Texans to control the taxes they pay,” says Jonathan Bird, CFP at Farnam Financial. “They can lower their tax bill simply by spending less and reducing their property ownership.”

7. A Haven for Entrepreneurs: Business-Friendly Climate

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Part of the huge population growth is due to a generally business-friendly climate. By design, the Texas government places less of a regulatory burden on businesses than many other states do. As a result, many businesses get started or relocate there.

8. A Land of Opportunity: Strong Job Market

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Because Texas is such a business-friendly state, there is a strong job market there, especially as tech and engineering firms have increasingly set up shop there. That job market, the generally mild winters, and the lower cost of living have attracted a lot of new residents.

9. Southern Charm: Hospitality and Friendliness

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Despite a stereotype of being ornery (really, it’s more being stubborn), Texans actually place a premium on hospitality and friendliness. Neighbors and strangers still help each other out, people smile at and welcome you, and even when there are disagreements, people tend to handle them courteously, even if they never give an inch. If someone is being rude, it’s not unusual to hear someone else say, “That’s not very Texan of you!”

10. Centers of Excellence: Renowned Colleges and Universities

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Texas has numerous renowned private and public colleges and universities. They attract top students, professors, and researchers from all over the world. Several of these schools are considered among the top in the U.S., and they’re always at the forefront of research, instruction, and innovation.

11. Speaking Texan: A Unique Dialect

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Okay, Texans don’t actually have their own secret language, but they do have their own way of saying certain place names, and if you don’t say them the Texas way, natives know you’re not a real Texan. (They’ll still be nice to you, though.) Here are some examples, with the Texan pronunciation in parentheses: Manchaca (man-shack), Pedernales River (Per-den-al-iss), Burnet (burn-it), Boerne (burn-ey), and Amarillo (they pronounce the l’s when the proper Spanish sound is a y). If you point out that they’re saying them wrong, they’ll might just smile and say “Bless your heart.”

12. A Culinary Delight: Barbecue

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If you go to Texas, you have to go to a barbecue joint, if just for the cultural experience. Naturally, Texans think their barbecue is the best, and if you mention places like Kansas City, Memphis, and Carolina, you’ll probably won’t get anywhere (but they’ll be friendly about it). Whether or not Texas barbecue actually is the best, a lot of it really is very good, and it’s worth going back for.

12 Best Barbecue Joints in Texas

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In Texas, barbecue isn’t merely a meal; it’s almost religion. Dining at a Texas barbecue joint is often as much a cultural experience as it is a religious one, and people leave their differences and their politics behind when they walk through the doors. Texans take their barbecue very seriously, especially when it comes to brisket, pork ribs, and sausage. And they don’t pay short shrift to things like sides and sweet tea, either.

While no one will ever agree to one definitive ranking of the 12 best barbecue joints in the state, a lot of names come up repeatedly, and they’re listed in this article.

12 Best Barbecue Joints in Texas

Discover the Lone Star State: 11 of the Best Places to Live in Texas

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From energetic college towns to seaside escapes and from small-town comfort to bustling metropolitan buzz, this state has something to offer everyone. Students, families, retirees, professionals, and people of every stripe should have no trouble finding their next home in one of the best places to live in Texas.

Discover the Lone Star State: 11 of the Best Places to Live in Texas

Texas Theme Parks: 10 of the Best Options Your Family Will Love

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Saddle up for some fun while we dig our heels into ten of the best Texas theme parks worth hollering about.

Texas Theme Parks: 10 of the Best Options Your Family Will Love

The 7 Best Flea Markets in Texas

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The best way to browse a flea market? With your favorite people, of course! Whether you spend an afternoon or an entire weekend, heading out to one of Texas’s best flea markets can be quite a fun adventure!

The 7 Best Flea Markets in Texas

15 Safest Cities in the U.S. (6 Are in Texas)

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Whether you’re thinking of relocating or planning a vacation, learning what cities are on the “safe” list is a smart move. Interestingly, six of the top 15 cities are in the Lone Star State.

15 Safest Cities in the U.S. (6 Are in Texas)

This article was produced by Our Woven Journey. Featured Image Credit: The Art of Pics/Shutterstock

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Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.