TEXANS ARE BIG ON SMALL TOWNS. THREE FOURTHS of us live in noisy, congested cities; no wonder we grow wistful at the thought of peaceable streets and picturesque Squares. Thus, when Texas Monthly set out to assemble this special issue, we didn’t have to debate the why of small-town appeal. We did, however, have to decide just how large a town can be and still qualify as “small.” Although we eventually decided on a population of 30,000 or less, only 4 of the 98 towns we spotlight have more than 20,000 residents.

So much for the bigger-is-better argument. But, hey, this is Texas; we’ve definitely got more small towns than any other state. Drive, we say, and sample our state’s finest natural resource: its small towns.

(See the Directory for a list of small towns featured in this article.)