Moving to Texas Guide: Fast Facts about the Lone Star State
We created this moving to Texas guide to help those who are in the very early stages of identifying areas within the United States to move. This guide outlines some of the most important things to know before moving to Texas. We hope you enjoy this introduction to Texas and learn something amazing about this fabulous state!
Moving to Texas Guide on the Geography of Texas
The first thing you need to know before you move to Texas is just how BIG it is. We’re keeping this post fairly general about the state itself, just so you can get a good idea of whether or not Texas is the right fit for you. But know going in that the area of Texas encompasses a massive 268, 597 miles.
In fact, Texas is the second largest state in the United States, second only to Alaska. The next thing you need to know is how DIVERSE the land in Texas is. The state of Texas is divided into 4 main physical regions based on geographical typography: the Gulf Coastal Plains, the Great Plains, the Interior Lowlands, and the Basin & Range Province. The Gulf Coastal Plains is the largest natural region in Texas – the cities of Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and even Houston are all found within this region. Most likely, when you move to Texas, this is where you’re going to live.
The North Central Plains is where you’ll find many of the famous Texas cattle ranches. Fort Worth is the largest city in this region. The Great Plains is a dry area in West Texas with Amarillo standing out as one of the largest cities in the region. The western most region of Texas is the Basin & Range Province. This region encompasses part of the Rocky Mountain system and is home to Texas’s true mountain range. El Paso and Big Bend National Park are two major points of interest in this region.
Texas is DIVERSE
Similar to the variety in its geography, some folks may be surprised to learn that Texas has a very diverse culture. When people unfamiliar with Texas picture what it’s like to live here, they probably envision a desert-like land, complete with people riding horses to work, wearing cowboy boots, and maybe even a cowboy hat. While this is still a thing in Texas, it’s not even close to portraying the true picture of Texas residents. This is especially true the closer you get to the larger cities. In fact, according to WalletHub, Houston is the most diverse city in the United States!
If there’s one word we could use to best describe Texas residents, it would have to be: FUN. Texans love to get out and explore where they live. Whether you live in the Hill Country and are going on winery tours, hitting up a brewery, cheering at a football game, or exploring the many gorgeous parks, Texans are always finding fun and amazing things to do.
Moving to Texas Guide on the Texas Weather
When most folks think of Texas, they think of the HEAT. This is definitely true in certain regions of Texas –we’re looking at you Gulf Coastal Plains – but not all of the four regions of Texas follow this stereotype. In fact, the western area of Texas, including cities like Amarillo, Lubbock, and El Paso have annual snowfalls.
Granted, the snow in this area is minimal (Amarillo sees the most at 17.8 inches, which compared to Chicago’s average of 36 inches, is nothing), but if you’re looking for a place in Texas that never sees snow, you’ll need to double check the area’s historical data. Most folks considering a move to Texas are looking at San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, or Houston. If this is you, then you’re joining a Gulf Coastal Plains community, and can expect to see minimal, if any snow.
The weather in Texas can be unpredictable. Hurricanes do hit this state, so if you plan on moving near the coast, you will want to read up on how to prepare for a hurricane and get all the necessary supplies. Flooding is another area of major concern for most Texas residents, so before you buy a house, you’ll want to check the flood plains to see what level of risk you face. In addition, tornados frequent the northern half of the state during tornado season.
Northeastern Texas has the potential to see earthquakes of 7.0 or higher in magnitude. The Basin & Range Province also sees 5.0-5.5 magnitude earthquakes every 50-100 years. Otherwise, Texas is in low risk of earthquakes, but small ones do tend to happen. Certain areas in Texas are also at a high risk for wildfires, specifically west of Austin and San Antonio, depending on the rain activity of the year.
Despite these elements, Texas ranks up there as one of the best places to live, weather-wise. While the summers can get hot in certain areas, the mild temperature in winter makes up for it. Most days in Texas are filled with grand blue skies and beautiful sunsets; it really is a gorgeous place to live!
Employment Opportunities in Texas
Are you looking for an amazing new career? Texas is hiring! At the time of this article, the economy and number of available jobs in most metro areas of Texas continues to grow. An increasing number of companies and large employers are moving their headquarters to locations in Texas, including 8VC, Oracle, and even Hewlett Packard. Because of this growth, you are likely well-suited to find a job in Texas, regardless of your vocation.
Important State Symbols in Texas
The Texas flag is called the “Lone Star Flag” and features a single star backed in blue, next to two horizontal stripes, one white and one red. In 1933, a pledge of allegiance to the Texas state flag was launched and is as followed: “Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to the, Texas, one stat under God, one and indivisible”.
Important plants in Texas include the state flower, which is the beautiful bluebonnet, and the state tree, the delicious pecan tree. Famous animals in Texas include the mockingbird, which is also the state bird, the nine-banded armadillo, the state small mammal, and of course, the Texas Longhorn, the state large mammal. The more you research Texas, the more you will realize how fitting all these state designations are. Bluebonnet season is famous in this state and you’re never really an official resident until you’ve taken your picture in a field of them.
Lesser-Known FAQs about Moving to Texas
There are a lot of factors to consider when moving to a new state. We included this FAQ for some the less-common items we think you’d want to know before you make your move to Texas.
Q: What is the capital of Texas?
A: The capital of Texas is Austin. The state capital building in Austin is an architectural gem and it’s unique exterior sparkles from its Texas red granite composition. All new Texans should take some time to tour this amazing piece of Texan history at some point.
Q: What is there to do in Texas?
A: Finding things to do in Texas is an entirely different blog post in and of itself. Texas boasts an abundance of land and an equal abundance of opportunities to discover something amazing. If there’s one thing you need to know about Texans, it’s that they love to socialize and have fun. Depending on the weather, you’re likely to find a Texan exploring a nearby park, taste-testing at a new brewery or cidery, shopping, or just relaxing by the pool.
Q: How do Texas public schools rank nationally?
A: As one of the largest states in the United States, the quality of education can vary distinctly depending on where exactly you look in Texas. Overall, according to study by US news, Texas public high schools rank 19/50 in a national average.
Q: Do you have to pay state income taxes in Texas?
A: Texas is one of 9 states in the U.S. that does not collect state income taxes. This is one of the most amazing things about living in Texas and significantly simplifies doing your taxes. Texas also does not charge any formal property tax and chooses to leave the property tax rate up to local taxing units. However, this is where living in Texas can get expensive. In Harris County, for example, the average property tax rate is 2.03%, which is nearly double that of the US average. Moreover, Texas has a 6.25% sales tax rate, with local taxing agencies again choosing to add additional taxes on top. Harris County, for example, adds an additional 2% tax on all sales, bringing the sales tax in this area to 8.25%.
Q: How do you purchase alcohol in Texas?
A: You must be at least 21 years old to purchase alcohol in the state of Texas. Texas has five “completely dry” counties in which there are no sales of alcohol anywhere in the county; every other county in Texas has the option to purchase alcohol per the state norms. Beer and wine are available for purchase in grocery stores from 7AM to midnight, Monday through Friday, 7AM to 1AM Saturday, and 10AM until midnight on Sunday (starting 10/01/2021). Hard liquor is a bit more difficult to purchase in Texas and can only be sold in “package stores”. Popular liquor stores in Texas are Specs and Total Wine. Both of these brands are completely closed on Sunday.
Q: What is it like to vote in Texas?
A: Voting laws in Texas vary depending on the county in which you live. However, Texas does offer early voting options, which help make it easier to cast your vote. Most urban areas in Texas use electronic voting machines which utilize technology to simplify casting your vote. Harris County, for example, offers a website detailing the current wait times at polling locations.
Q: How long do I have to update my driver’s license when I move to Texas?
A: You must update your driver’s license to the state of Texas within 90 days of your move. This is also an ideal time for you to register to vote. The process of updating your driver’s license differs depending on which county you plan to live in, but this usually painful process has been made easier thanks to technology. Texas residents can request appointments online and, in some areas, even check into their appointment, joining the line virtually, before they leave their home or office.
Q: How long do I have to update my car license plates after I move to Texas?
A: You must update your car’s registration and plates within 30 days of moving to Texas. The first step in registering your car is to get your vehicle registered by a certified Texas Department of Public Safety inspection stations. Most mechanic shops have this designation, and it should be pretty easy to find one near you.
Q: What’s it like driving in Texas?
A: No matter where you live in Texas, you’ll probably need a car to get anywhere. While some of the larger cities offer public transportation, most Texas drive themselves due to the size of the cities and state itself. Texas has a typical maximum speed of 70 miles per hour, but if the Texas Transportation Commission deems a road safe, the max speed limit can be set as high as 85 MPH. The average speed in urban areas, however, tends to cap out at 60-65 MPH.
Because it sees so many different types of drivers, people driving in Texas, especially in urban areas, need to stay alert and practice safe driving practices. Per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s 2021 safety report (based on an analysis of the US Department of Transportation’s data), Texas drivers are the worst in the country, seeing a high number of fatal car crashes and leading the country in the number of alcohol-related incidents. Texans tend to pay over $400 more than the national average for car insurance, which reflects the dangerous road conditions.
Q: Are there places to live in Texas that are walkable?
A: Certain neighborhoods and areas in Texas are definitely walkable and would require minimal car use. This is especially true in urban areas of Dallas, Austin, and Houston. However, even within the city limits this the exception, not the rule. In almost every scenario, moving to Texas means you’re going to be driving a lot.
Is Texas the right state for you to move?
Texas is a charming state and, despite the growth in recent years, still has that small-town feel with Southern Hospitality. Filled with some of the friendliest people you’ll meet, Texas has a lot to offer most people. With a diverse population and typography, there are a variety of communities and places to call home. It’s worth researching the many different cities and regions of Texas to find your ideal area.
However, no place is perfect, and Texas weather can be a deal breaker for most. In the most populated areas of the Gulf Coastal Plains, the heat can become so extreme that it can be unbearable. During these times, you’ll likely confine yourself to the inside safety of air conditioning. In this area, summers are equivalent to winters in the north. It takes time adjusting to the high heat conditions and the heat can even be a challenge for native Texas.
We hope you enjoyed our moving to Texas guide and introduction to the Lone State. Does Texas make the list of places you’d like to move? If you’re not quite convinced yet, try reading our 5 best reasons to move to Texas. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!