Texas Travel Guide
Home on the Range
By the editors of Kaboose.com, with Margaret Soria
When you think of Texas, chances are images of cowboys and cactus come to mind. But do you think of championship golf, forests with pine trees and more than 600 miles of sandy beaches? Texas has all of this and much more.
The Prairies and Lakes Region in north-central Texas is a place where visitors can find cowboys and cattle along with all the amenities of big cities. Dallas offers its visitors exciting nightlife, outstanding cultural arts, and more shopping centers per capita than any other city in the United States. Fort Worth, better known as “Cow Town,” preserves the flavor of the Wild West with daily cattle drives through the historic Stockyards District. And for the golf enthusiast, resort and public courses abound.
The Hill Country region in the central portion of the state is known for its rolling hills, outdoor recreation and live music. Nature lovers can enjoy water-skiing, hiking, or just floating lazily down a spring-fed river. Austin, the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World,” is also the state capital. Here, visitors can enjoy historical sites such as the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum or the Children’s Museum.
The Piney Woods region in the northeast corner of the state is home to four national forests and an abundance of Southern charm. More than 600,000 acres of pine forests and waterways offer visitors ample opportunities for fishing, hiking and camping. Quaint, historic towns such as Jefferson, Marshall and Tyler are popular for their antique shops, historic 19th century homes and bed & breakfast inns.
Major cities, hideaway resorts, and beautiful wildlife refugees cover more than 600 miles of coastline in the Gulf Coast region. In Houston, the largest city in the state, visitors can soak up some culture in the Museum District, cheer professional sports teams, and explore the final frontier at Space Center Houston. A short drive from Houston is Galveston, which allows visitors to step back in time to the Victorian era with its stately restored homes and popular Strand shopping district. Further down the coast, Corpus Christi and South Padre Island are perfect for water sports, deep-sea fishing, windsurfing, or just soaking up some sun.
The South Texas Plains region is a colorful mix of cultures. Historic missions, mariachis, and other cultural influences of Mexico and Spain are common sites in this region. Throughout San Antonio, Laredo, and other South Texas cities, historic battle sites of Texas’ independence – such as the famous Alamo – stand side-by-side with modern shops and nightclubs. The famous Paseo del Rio, or River Walk, in San Antonio is a serene spot for shopping and dining.
The Big Bend region, tucked into the southwest corner of the state, contains both desert landscapes and mountain peaks. The crown jewel of the region is Big Bend National Park, which has more than 800,000 acres of wide open spaces for hiking and camping, along with rafting the Rio Grande River. More than 450 bird species have been identified in the park, as well as rare animals such as ringtails, black bears and mountain lions.
Texas’ northernmost region, the Panhandle Plains, has a landscape that rivals the Texas in your mind. Miles of rolling plains and scenic Palo Duro Canyon, with more than 15,000 acres of red-rocked beauty offer breathtaking vistas. Here, you can get your kicks on Route 66, stroll the Texas Walk of Fame in the birthplace of Buddy Holly, visit historic frontier settlements and see some of the largest ranches in the state.