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Texas Trails

This state is like touring the American Southwest and the Deep South in one holiday

Texas Trails

9 Nights From €1259 (Per Person)

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United States 3 Fly Drive Holidays

Texas

Photograph of Texas Trails

This state is like touring the American Southwest and the Deep South in one holiday

Texas Trails

Dallas (Texas) - Houston (Texas) - Corpus Christi (Texas) - San Antonio (Texas) - Austin (Texas) - Dallas (Texas) 

If you’ve ever wanted to visit the Deep South and the American Southwest, but don’t have time to do both trips – go to Texas.  There, you’ll find both.  Even though it is often associated solely with the cowboys and red dust of Southwestern deserts, Texas is filled with the diverse landscapes of both the American South and the Southwest.  You’ll see terrain that ranges from the Southern coastal swamps of Louisiana to the piney woods of South Carolina, the rolling plains of the Midwest and rugged hills more like the New Mexico mountains than the south. Less than 10% of the land is desert.  In the far Southwest, the desert and mountains are home to Big Bend National Park. 

Along with geographic diversity, cultural diversity also reigns in Texas.  The state has been ruled by a multitude of different countries.  Spain was the first, which claimed Texas as a part of its vast holdings in the Southwest.  Mexico controlled Texas when it wrenched independence from the Spanish.  France even had a short-lived colony here before Texas won its independence from Mexico and became an independent Republic.  In 1845, Texas was annexed to the United States as the 28th state, only to leave with the Confederacy in 1861.  Just when things were settling down, oil was discovered in the Lone Star State in 1901 and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Today, Texas has more Fortune 500 companies than any other state, and its economy has diversified significantly.  A number of world-class museums have emerged and renowned cultural performances are regular events.  It will be especially fun to enjoy the food, music and festivals that come with the different cultures.  Austin’s musical heritage is incredibly diverse, from blues, country and zydeco, to classic and modern rock.  Texas celebrates its heritage in small towns and authentic historic districts that have been carefully restored.  And, like so many things in Texas, Big Bend National Park is one of a kind and larger than life.  Don’t miss it!

 


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Texas Trails

Itinerary

 Day 1: Arrive Dallas    

It looks nothing like the television show by the same name and certainly didn’t just come off the ranch, but when you know that “Live Large—Think Big” is the city’s motto, you'll appreciate Dallas.  The city just spent $354 million just on the performing arts portion of the new 19 square block Dallas Arts District.  In a city already famous for bold statements—from big hair to Big Tex, the inflatable cowboy who presides over the state fair, the Dallas Arts District, is of a piece.  And true to form, the Nasher Sculpture Museum and the Tramell Crow Museum of Asian Art live up to the very highest expectations. 

Day 2:  Explore Dallas
Of course, this is Texas, so you can expect great contrasts.  You can take a trip to Southfork Ranch where the television show Dallas was filmed.  You can have your own real ranch experience not too far out of town as well. Next door, Fort Worth is the site of the stockyards, where cattle are still bought and sold, but where the rest of the district has been turned into great pubs and entertainment.  If you’re less inclined to rough it, you can explore the neighborhoods of Dallas, which range from southern antebellum to posh contemporary, and enjoy world class shopping at the original Neiman Marcus store downtown.  Plan to enjoy dinner at the Mansion on Turtle Creek.  History buffs can visit the Sixth Floor Museum, from which Lee Harvey Oswald fired those fateful shots in November 1963.

Day 3: Dallas to Houston

On your way from Dallas to Houston, take time to stop in Tyler, a delightful town still securely anchored in the antebellum south.  Then blast off at the Johnson Space Center, where you can get up close and personal with NASA at the actual home of most US astronauts.  Regular tram tours take you through a good deal of the working facility to observe payload bays, track live updates on current flights, touch space rocks and marvel at a full scale model of the space shuttle. Then, moving back two centuries, visit the San Jacinto Battleground State Park where General Sam Houston defeated General Santa Ana in 1816 (and we all thought it was at the Alamo!).  

Day 4: Explore Houston
They say that if it’s natural history, it’s likely represented at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences.  The Menil Collection, housed in a specifically commissioned steel and cypress building, is one of the greatest private art collections in the US.  It features modern, tribal, ethnic, and surreal art, along with antiques, a Rothko Chapel, and a Byzantine Museum.  If neither of these strikes your fancy, there are hundreds of other things to see and do in Houston.

Day 5: Houston to Corpus Christi   
As you cross the causeway to Galveston Island, the pyramids of magnificent Moody Gardens rise up on the western side of the island.  Moody Mansion, completed in 1895, is the epitome of south Texas Victorian architecture and it, along with the nearby 1893 Bishop’s Palace, are two of a handful of historic structures that survived Galveston’s devastating 1900 hurricane.  Take time to relax on the Kemah Boardwalk right on Galveston Bay.

Farther south off Corpus Christi, remote Padre Island National Seashore stretches 75 miles south. Take to the water yourself for fishing, jet skiing, kayaking, windsurfing or sailing.  Inland, you can explore coastal marine life, naval history, and South Texas ranching.  The Texas State Aquarium features hundreds of the marine animals found on Padre Island and other coastal areas. Not to be missed are the Battleship Lexington, King Ranch and the National Museum of History and Science.  

Day 6: Corpus Christi to San Antonio
Although the Alamo remains at the top of the list of San Antonio attractions, Riverwalk, the delightful public park at the river’s lined with restaurants, clubs, hotels, galleries and museums, ranks close behind.  You can spend countless hours along the river, strolling and dining amidst lush foliage in this tranquil environment, popping up now and again to explore different parts of the city. 

Day 7: Explore San Antonio
San Antonio missions San Jose, San Juan, Espada and Concepcion have all been preserved as landmarks as a part of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.  Theme park lovers can play at Seaworld San Antonio and Fiesta Texas, which boasts the only “floorless” roller coaster in the southwest.   You can also visit HemisFair Urban Park, Tower of the Americas and the San Antonio Zoo.  History lovers will enjoy the University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, and the King William Historic District.   

Day 8:  San Antonio to Austin
Legends run big in Texas and Austin is no exception.  The Texas state capitol stands higher than the US Capitol.  It is surrounded by no less than nine historic districts. At the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library, you can experience life as it played out on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.  Nature paints a beautiful picture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  Barton Springs Pool flows at a constant 68 degrees. 

On the music scene, there are more than 200 hundred clubs with live music every night, along with world-famous music festivals – the most famous of which is Austin City Limits, named for the recording studio of the same name.  You can visit the Texas State History Museum to learn the myths, legends and facts about Austin’s musical heritage through one million items illustrating the state’s history.  Perhaps the most unique attraction in Austin is the nightly spectacle of more than 1.5 million bats departing from beneath the Congress Street Bridge at sunset.  

Day 9: Austin to Dallas
On your way back to Dallas, plan to take the scenic route through Texas Hill Country.  Crystal streams lined with beautiful cypress trees and acres of Texas bluebonnets that rise out of the landscape like a mirage.  This semi-arid region looks more like Tuscany or Provence than the Lone Star State.  Rock walls and stone buildings, rivers, peaches, and towns with unusual names give way to winding roads, winding rivers, wildflowers, forts and ghost towns.  Try some authentic German food in historic Fredericksburg. 

Day 10: Depart Dallas 

 

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