Texas — Overview
The Lone Star State is truly its own man, strutting around the American Southwest as if it owns the place. The old slogan “everything is bigger in Texas” is true to some degree, and an ingrained fact for any true Texan. This translates to a lot of fun on the menu for visitors who enjoy cowboys, honky-tonk dancing, and a warm desert environment.
There is a lot to see and do here, even if you aren’t a closet cowboy at heart. Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio are all fantastic big cities with all the trimmings. Historic attractions like The Alamo are here as well as the world’s largest stockyard and rodeos in Fort Worth. There’s even a superb local music scene at play in the capital Austin. But no matter where you roam in Texas you can expect a warm welcome and plenty of big Texan bravado.
For many Americans, they either love Texas or are annoyed by it. Texans truly believe they are special people, but that’s part of this state’s charm. They don’t hold back here, living large and speaking openly. This reflects in their amazing cuisine, love of going to the bar, and appreciation of music. Everything seems to be done on a large scale. While things aren’t exactly cheap in the big cities, you have a full range of accommodation to work with that includes five-star historic hotels and modest motels.
One of the highlights of Texas is its 600 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. The beaches around Padre Island and Galveston are fantastic for all kinds of recreation and balmy all year round. Head inland and national parks like Big Bend and the Guadalupe Mountains offer miles of trails for an intimate experience with the Texan desert. Peppered in between all of this are lots of towns and big cities that will provide all the amenities needed for a great trip.
But Texas is a very large state, and all of its cities are separated by driving distances that involve several hours. If you want to see anything of this place you’ll need your own vehicle. This is true even if you only plan to visit one city. Attractions like The Alamo are well outside of town, as are all of natural highlights and state parks. There are usually good deals on weekly car rentals, available at every airport in Texas.
- Get yourself some new top-of-the-line cowboy boots, a hat or classic Western apparel at authentic stores around Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston like Western Warehouse
- Wiggle your toes in the glorious sand of Padre Island National Seashore, a 70-mile stretch of beach and dunes on the Gulf of Mexico
- Spend a night out honky-tonk dancing at legendary bars like Gilley’s in Dallas or Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth
- Witness world-class rodeo excitement at one of Texas’ big stock shows in Fort Worth or Houston
- Spend a weekend on a real working dude ranch around San Antonio or out in West Texas to see how cowboys really live
- Stroll San Antonio’s lovely River Walk, where bars and restaurants line the water and pleasure boats cruise by
- Imagine you’re in outer space at NASA’s Space Center in Houston, part theme park, part working space center