Do you miss exploring the vast landscape of Big Bend, stargazing from your truck bed, or venturing through small Texas towns? So do we, and although we may be temporarily confined to our homes, it doesn’t mean you can’t escape—albeit virtually—to beloved Texas destinations. On Instagram, readers often share their favorite travel photos from our great state using the #TMWanders hashtag, so we recently put out the call for photos to be considered for our downloadable gallery of Texas Monthly video backgrounds. We received some beautiful options, many of which included touching stories behind the photos.

With many Texans working from home or having to quarantine away from family and friends, videoconference applications, such as Zoom, have become powerful tools to help connect people while navigating life during the coronavirus pandemic. Browse the gallery of our hand-selected submissions, read the stories behind them in the photographer’s own words, and download your favorites to transport yourself to Palo Duro Canyon State Park under the stars or escape to the bluebonnet-lined main street of Ennis on your next videoconference call or virtual happy hour. 

To download, right click the photograph and select “Save Image As,” choose a destination to save the photograph, and click “Save.”  Zoom background showing up backward? To undo, go to settings, select “Virtual Background,” and uncheck the “Mirror My Video” box on the bottom of the window.