Last-minute summer road trip: Visit the San Antonio Zoo
Technically, summer starts June 21 and ends Sept. 22. But for most people, the season actually begins on Memorial Day weekend and ends with the arrival of Labor Day. Meaning, the finals days of summer are upon us and there are only a handful of weekends between now and Sept. 5 to get out of the house and soak up the last rays of summertime sunshine.
Mother Nature’s Texas to-do list: These classic hikes showcase our state’s wild splendors
If Mother Nature made a to-do list for Texas, we’d venture to guess that these hikes would be on it. They capture much of what the Lone Star State’s wild backyard has to offer. Breathtaking mountain vistas? Check. Splendid canyons? Check. Deep forests and swampy lowlands? Check and check.
Texas time machine: Step back in time with these vintage photos of Big Bend National Park
Located along a distinctive bend of the Rio Grande on the U.S.-Mexico border, the 801,832-acre wonderland of gorges, mountain peaks, canyons and mesas known as Big Bend National Park is often referred to as Texas’ Gift to the Nation.
Bliss in abundance: Breathtaking Texas travel destinations that rival international getaways
Modern life comes with its conveniences, but it’s also got its fair share of stress. Chances are your phone’s constantly buzzing with breaking news, work emails, traffic alerts and the like. And even if you only occasionally peek at your phone, the stress of so many alerts and updates may have left you feeling a bit burnt out. An escape from the mind-numbing hubbub of city living could probably do you some good.
West Texas travel guide: This is what you need to do when you go to mile-high Fort Davis
Modern life comes with its conveniences but it’s also got its fair share of stress. Chances are your phone’s constantly buzzing with breaking news, work emails, traffic alerts and the like. And even if you’ve only occasionally peeked at your phone, the stress of so many alerts and updates may have left you feeling a bit burnt out. An escape from the hubbub of city living could probably do you some good.
Be Still, our Texas hearts: These converted silos on Vrbo are the stuff of country living dreams
Nestled on 10 acres about eight miles outside the tiny Texas town of Round Top, the cottages are built in and around converted, vintage silos. With interiors that look like they’re pulled straight out of a Chip and Jo fixer upper, the three one-bedroom structures are the stuff of country living dreams. “My husband and I had a wonderful time during our stay at the silos,” wrote Renee, who stayed in August 2019. We would stay again!”On Vrbo, Joy boasts the title “Premier Host,” a designation reserved for rental hosts considered a cut above the rest. Why blab on and on about these one-of-a-kind accommodations when we can let these photos talk the talk for us?
6 Texas daytrips to drive away the winter blues
Here are a few daytrips that make getting away a safe and easy adventure. Head south on Farm-to-Market Road 563 to Anahuac and pick up Farm-to-Market Road for 10 miles to Double Bayou. Rectify that with a driving tour of the east side of Texas’ big bay, the beginning of a coastal circumnavigation of Houston. Directions (from San Antonio): Two and a half hours via Interstate 37 South, South Padre Island Drive, and Park Road 22. Directions (starting from El Paso): Drive an hour and 45 minutes on US 62/18 to Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
Greet the seasons: Thins to do each season in Texas
Discovery Green, a 12-acre urban park in downtown Houston, welcomes skaters to its ice rink until Jan. 31. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands transforms into an ice rink through Jan. 18. Brazos Bend State Park has a variety of wildflowers: ten petal anemone, Texas frogfruit, coreopsis, Mexican hat, plains wild indigo, wine cup, and showy primrose. East Texas’ state parks at Daingerfield, Atlanta, and Caddo Lake are filled with red maple, sugar maple, and sweetgum trees that generally show their colors in late October. Resaca de la Palma State Park and Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park are great places to observe the golden yellow fall color of cedar elm and sugarberry, and the orange-red color of anacua.
Need a laugh? Vote for the funniest submissions from TxDOT’s highway road sign contest
A handful of Texans have proven they’ve got a knack for funny and informative humor and now they might just make the big time. The department has since whittled down the entries to 10 finalists, three of which will go on to win the contest, pending public consideration. HO HO HOPE YOUR SEATBELT IS FASTENED / HO HO HOPE YOUR PHONE IS PUT AWAY. RELATED: You have to see these hilarious highway signs spotted in Texas----Which entry did you like the best? Share your favorite road sign idea in the comments below.
Do something different this holiday season
The year 2020 has been far from ordinary, so why not do something equally unexpected this holiday season? New destinations and novel attractions offer ways to break from tradition and try something different. Open Dec. 4-20, the show features more than 70 life-size animatronic dinosaurs roaming the parking lot of Katy Mills Mall. If you enjoy light shows but have had enough Christmas lights, head to Bee Cave just west of Austin for the inaugural Bee Cave Buzzfest, a free light spectacular presented by the Bee Cave Arts Foundation at Hill Country Galleria. The show runs Dec. 17-19 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and unlike typical holiday light shows, this one takes its inspiration from the glowing creatures of the deep sea.
5 places to explore in McKinney, a Dallas-area hidden gem
Many folks think of McKinney as just another DFW suburb, but no matter how close McKinney is to Big D, it’s worthy of a day trip all its own. McKinney has history, a lively square, and plenty of personality to keep a traveler entertained and well-fed all day long. Collin County History MuseumPioneer Collin McKinney was such a pivotal figure that the county took his first name and the town took his last name—an accolade not even Sam Houston or Davy Crockett can claim. This museum sits inside the old 1911 post office and mixes new technology with treasured artifacts to create an interactive history lesson. Heritage Village at Chestnut SquareOn two city blocks sit more than half a dozen historic homes and buildings, including the 1854 Faires House, the oldest house in McKinney.
2 ways to expand your horizons on Texas private lands
I’ve booked a night at Hudspeth River Ranch via Explore Ranches, an online platform that offers guests overnight stays at top-tier private ranches in Texas, California, Colorado, and New Mexico. Explore Ranches’ properties tend to run more expensive due to the size of the accommodations and the various optional amenities. As kids, Sarah and Abbey Strunk sipped the waters that bubbled from the limestone creekbed on their family’s Hudspeth River Ranch. Kleberg, Explore Ranches’ co-owner, has a personal connection to this mission. If you want to protect Texas land, you need to collaborate with landowners.
Need a digital detox? Book a yurt at this off-the-grid getaway overlooking Big Bend
The scenic campground consist of five luxe yurts perched on a 392-acre mesa overlooking Big Bend National Park. We didn’t want to leave.”Another lodger was equally amazed by the site’s unobstructed, 360-degree views of Big Bend National Park. “We could not have asked for a better place to spend the week,” wrote Robin, who stayed in July 2020. Yurts at The Local Chapter start at $421/night. The Local Chapter (The Local Chapter)The Local Chapter (The Local Chapter)The Local Chapter (The Local Chapter)The Local Chapter (The Local Chapter)The Local Chapter (The Local Chapter)The Local Chapter (The Local Chapter)The Local Chapter (The Local Chapter)The Local Chapter (The Local Chapter)The Local Chapter (The Local Chapter)The Local Chapter (The Local Chapter)The Local Chapter (The Local Chapter)The Local Chapter (The Local Chapter)The Local Chapter (The Local Chapter)----What do you think about this est Texas retreat?
In appreciation of the kolache: Texans travel-worthy companion, humble and tasty
The Texas Kolache Trail has made these Czech treats destination-worthy, but outside of towns such as West and Ellinger, you can still find some excellent eats, say along the Austin-to-San Antonio Interstate 35 corridor. Dos Gatos Kolache Bakery in San Marcos divides its menu into “Texas Kolaches” (the ones with meat or savory veggies) and “Czech Kolaches,” those with fruit, cream, or cheeses. While some bakeries serve klobasnek that look like pigs in a blanket, they are more like puffy pastry rolls. There will be no powdered sugar spilled, no grease from a fast-food burger, no unseemly shirt stains, unless you somehow topple a blueberry kolache onto yourself. Appreciate the travel-worthiness of road kolaches.
Where to see Fall foliage in Texas
The fall foliage season is upon us, providing colorful scenery in every region of Texas. The latter park’s website notes fall color is coming slightly earlier this year because of cold weather in September. East Texas provides plenty of opportunities for fall foliage lovers, with its heavily wooded areas. David Creech, director of SFA Gardens, notes the best time to see the Japanese maples in fall color is the end of November and early December. Finally, fall foliage in the Lower Rio Grande Valley usually doesn’t arrive until December and goes into January.
Top 3 barbecue joints to visit on your next trip to Taylor
A trip to Taylor provides the essentials of any Lone Star diet: slow-smoked barbecue and cold local beer. Louie Mueller BarbecueKnown as the “Cathedral of Smoke,” this spot is one of Texas' most beloved barbecue joints. Since Louie Mueller first started serving barbecue in 1949, it’s been a no-frills kind of place. The separate bars and jukeboxes tell the story of segregation in Taylor, but also how the community found common ground in great local barbecue. Davis Grocery and BarbecueCheck out this under-the-radar grocery store and barbecue stop if you’re still in the mood for a snack.
Houston’s Rothko Chapel, freshly restored, offers a welcome sanctuary of contemplation
Since 1971, the nondenominational Rothko Chapel has served as a quiet oasis for contemplation amid Houston’s bustling Montrose neighborhood. Visitors can witness the new transformations when the chapel reopens to the public on Sept. 24. When the chapel opened in 1971, it had a skylight, but the light was too intense and washed out the paintings. What do you hope visitors take away from their experience at the chapel? The chapel is a statement about the power of contemplation and action, about interior transformation and social transformation.
6 Tommy Lee Jones films that’ll take you on the ultimate Texas road trip
This crime caper finds Jones portraying a Texas Ranger who goes undercover at the University of Texas. Texas Monthly’s Skip Hollandsworth decreed it one of the worst films ever to have been shot in Texas. And, so we head deeper into far West Texas. Along with Fort Davis, Alpine appears in The Good Old Boys, but Jones' real-life shenanigans overshadow the town’s appearance in that film. While much of the movie was shot on the director’s far West Texas ranch, one publicly accessible exception is Lindsey’s Cafe, formerly known as the Sands Restaurant.
What you need to pack to have a perfect backpacking excursion at Texas trails and state parks
I’ve backpacked the John Muir Trail—a 200-mile route through California’s Sierra Nevada—along with routes in Montana, and of course, my home state of Texas. But Texas also offers scenic backpacking opportunities in centrally located parks like Lost Maples State Natural and Pedernales Falls State Park. Your list of essentials should include cookware, a campstove (I use one a Snow Peak Gigapower the size of a Snickers bar) and fuel; a filtration system to purify water; water bottles or bladders; a headlamp; matches; first-aid; hand sanitizer; small knife; toilet paper; and sunscreen. Freeze-dried meals are light and packed with the calories and sodium you need if you’re hiking all day. Colorado Bend State Park has walk-in sites .6 miles from a parking lot, and Pedernales Falls State Park has spots a 2-mile hike in.
13 of the quirkiest Airbnb listings you can rent in Texas
You can find one-of-a-kind Airbnb listings across Texas, from a clothing-optional yacht to a German-inspired castle, and even a couple of converted train cars. Why stay in a run-of-the-mill motel when you can bunk in this old-timey train car turned Airbnb? West Texas Airbnb listing (Airbnb)Capacity: 1 bedroom, 1 bed, 1 bath, 2 guestsPrice per night: Rates from $85Location: TerlinguaAhoy, adventurers! Fulfill a Texas rite of passage and glamp it up in style at a Texas Airbnb so Texas it can actually contain your overbrimming love for the Lone Star State. If so, weve got the perfect Texas Airbnb for you: Its known as The Nest and its part-tree house, part-cabin.
Chill out in Waco: Score some B&B bliss at these 6 spots
Waco is home to Baylor University, Cameron Park, and, of course, The Silos at Magnolia Market. 2211 Colcord Ave., WacoThis property features two guest rooms in the two-story Georgian house and a separate carriage house suite. 1945 Fort Graham Road, WacoThis peaceful cottage sleeps five and features a fully-equipped kitchen, fireplace, and patio. 2425 Colcord Ave., WacoThis 1913 home feature two fireplaces, tall ceilings, and hardwood floors. 211 Clay Ave., WacoThis modern hotel has all the amenities one could want, from a resort-style pool to a shuttle service to an on-site bistro.