Scenic Texas is a nonprofit focused on the preservation and beautification of Texas towns and cities. One way it achieves that is through the Scenic City Certification Program, which recognizes cities for their commitment to maintaining scenic roadways and public spaces. This Weekend Trip Tip is all about visiting certified cities.
Scenic Texas has five levels of certification, ranging from Recognized to Platinum. In 2019, it recognized, or upgraded the certification of, 21 Texas cities. Today, there’s more than 80 total, and many are along Interstate 35 and in the Houston metro area. They range from big cities such as Arlington to tiny Argyle.
Nacogdoches and Dayton are “Recognized” cities – mainly for their historic preservation and city beautification efforts.
The next step up is Bronze, and includes Beaumont on the Gulf Coast for its commitment to landscaping road medians. Marble Falls in Central Texas is Bronze, too, for its innovative Wayfinding Sign Project that helps visitors find their way around downtown.
College Station and Grapevine have Silver status. So does McAllen; Scenic Texas recently upgraded it from Recognized in 2016 because of its graffiti removal program and changes to its stormwater system to prevent flooding.
Gold is the next level, which goes to the small city of Cuero for updating local codes for street signs. South Padre is also Gold because of reduced development on local beaches. It also buried utility lines and did away with billboards.
The top rank is Platinum, and includes cities like Southlake and Fairview. Fairview earned Platinum status for historic preservation, with a special focus on the railroad that once ran through town. The city also requires that all construction projects include public art.
To plan a trip to any of these or other certified cities, or to view them on a map, visit sceniccitycertification.org.