Flapper dresses in Forreston, vintage pedal cars in Kingsville: An array of eclectic emporiums have some amazing things in store.

IF IT’S ERUDITION OR ENLIGHTENMENT you’re seeking, we refer you to the rest of the magazine. You’ll find no high-minded ideals herein; our subject is merely that materialistic and endlessly pleasing pastime known as shopping. An excursion to any one of the following towns will provide not only laid-back browsing sans crowds but also an opportunity to drive Texas’ back roads. Our list includes at least two day-trip destinations from each major Texas city except El Paso, where shoppers tend to head across the border for bargains. We chose to omit Fredericksburg because—although it is certifiably small and wonderfully shoppable—its streets and sidewalks have grown off-puttingly thronged. Besides, you know about F-burg. Most of the 24 towns we visited, on the other hand, are full  of comparatively undiscovered delights.

Before you pile into the car, however, keep a few points in mind. First of all, remember that the towns may be small, but the prices in the stores are not. Rural dealers are well aware of their goods’ worth. Dickering is still permitted, but be polite about it: “Could you give me a better price

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