STAY SAFE & TRAVEL
Texas is synonymous with cowboys, vast open spaces, and major metropolitan cities. However, Texas is also known for incredible scenery, diverse cultures, and a variety of activities suited for any vacation type. Whether you’re looking for gorgeous outdoor endeavors like hiking or sailing, exploring the rich history throughout the state, or enjoying the famous cuisine and nightlife, Texas has something for everyone.
Indeed, “everything is bigger in Texas.” It’s the second largest state in the U.S., and with that comes a variety of experiences and terrain. On one end you’ll be in the high desert, and on the other end you’ll be at a coastal resort town. There is much to see and almost too many places to go for planning your Texas experience, but we will give it a try!
Click below to explore these Texas areas:
EXPLORE MORE TEXAS
For more Texas travel inspiration, be sure to check out this useful guide from Best Western. Explore Texas by region, things to do, and even an A-Z guide to Texas with some excellent hotel options at each stop.
We must start with Dallas, the fabulous center of the Lone Star State. If you’re looking for a rustic cowboy experience with country music and Stetson hats, you’ll have no problem finding it. On the flip side, the city is also a hotspot for fantastic arts, nightlife, and cuisine.
Start at the Old Red Museum to learn about the city’s origins, which happens to be near where the infamous JFK assassination occurred. Dealey Plaza is right there, which served as the first post office and court in town. Shift gears and head to the Arts District, with over 20 blocks of galleries, boutiques, music and more. Sports fans will want to tour AT&T Stadium, home of the world-famous Dallas Cowboy, or head to a Rangers game in nearby Arlington. At night head to one of their famous steakhouses for a prime cut of beef, then head to the Uptown and Deep Ellum districts for a bevy of clubs and bars to dance the night away.
Head south 200 miles to the state capital and one of the nation’s most popular and ever-growing cities, Austin. It is the place for music lovers (The Live Music Capital of the World) and techies (dubbed Silicon Hills by startups and corporations in the area). Topping it all off with their renowned slogan of “Keep Austin Weird” and you have a unique and hip place to spend a few nights.
Start at the capitol building and stroll over to the University of Texas campus, not just for the pristine grounds but its cultural and sports-minded influence on the entire area. Their downtown is perfect for walking around and offers a variety of shopping, restaurants, and galleries. Parks and trails are abundant throughout the city, making Austin a true outdoorsy destination. At night there are more Texas BBQ joints than you can shake a fork at, and as a traditional college town there is plenty of nightlife and entertainment keep you going throughout the night.
If you’ happen to be in town, make sure to see the famous SXSW and Austin City Limits Festivals that take over the entire city.
About an hour and a half south of Austin is San Antonio, perhaps the most picturesque city in the state, and home of the famous Alamo. Obviously, we recommend a tour of this historical mission that was defended by famous pioneers like Davey Crockett and James Bowie. The city’s famed River Walk is the absolute best way to experience the city, whether by a stroll or by one of their boat tours or taxis. It runs through the center of town and connects you to all the highlights. Stop for lunch and a show by one of the street performers.
From the River Walk you can visit both Brackenridge Park and the San Antonio Museum of Art. Brackenridge is their Central Park, with botanical and tea gardens, jogging trails, athletic fields, a zoo, and a museum. The Museum of Art boasts an incredible collection of creativity from an assortment of different cultures.
Finally, a stop along the Pearl District is a must, with a variety of boutique shops, restaurants (including the Culinary Institute of America), and entertainment venues.
SAN ANTONIO HOTELS:
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND & CORPUS CHRISTI
South of San Antonio we head to the coast. South Padre Island may be famous for Spring Break, but it is also a fantastic destination for couples and families as well. It’s a popular resort town that offers warm water and views of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s definitely not a large destination, but we love it for its small beach town feel. For adventure seekers, you can surf, jet ski, and parasail. For those looking for a more relaxed time, stroll Padre Boulevard and hit up all the small stores, restaurants, and ice cream shops.
From there, head 175 miles up to Corpus Christi, the Gulf Coast Capital dubbed “The Sparkling City by the Sea.” Little known fact: The city has unique high wind speeds and is famed for extreme events like kiteboarding, sailing, and wind surfing. There are over 190 miles of shoreline, meaning there is plenty of beach to explore. A highlight is a visit to the USS Lexington Museum on the bay, an actual WWII aircraft carrier they filmed Pearl Harbor on. For those into indoor activates stop by their top-rated aquarium, museums, and malls.
For those interested in Ornithology, birdwatchers often flock in this town they also call “America’s Birdiest City.” We didn’t even know that was a word! Stop by the visitor information center to pick up a birding guide, then visit the many refugees to get your feather on.
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND & CORPUS CHRISTI HOTELS:
Next we head east roughly 200 miles to Space City, due to its role in exploration of the cosmos. As America’s fourth largest city, Houston is a cosmopolitan destination with something for everyone.
It starts at famous Space Center (“Houston, we have a problem”) where astronauts train for life in the stars. Explore actual rockets and spacecrafts that explored the stratosphere, tour training facilities, and if you’re lucky you can witness Mission Control in action. You can spend days here but give enough time to see the rest the city has to offer. Downtown’s Historic District offers dining, shopping, and entertainment, and it starts at Market Square Park. Everyone comes here to soak up the sun and enjoy local performances. The Museum of Natural Science offers everything from space stations to real dinosaur skeletons, the aquarium is a major draw and offers a Ferris Wheel with specular views of the skyline. IF you have a chance take in a baseball game at Minute Maid Park. The home of MLB’s Astros is located in the heart of the city.
LUBBOCK & AMARILLO
Finally, we head northwest to the Texas Panhandle to finish our trip. We start in Lubbock, nicknamed “Hub City” and home of Texas Tech. Known as a legendary music mecca (the Original Live Music Capital of Texas), not only did Buddy Holly originate here, but so did Mac Davis, Natalie Maines, and the Josh Abbot Band. Start at the Buddy Holly Center, where you can see a slew of memorabilia about the tragic rock star from “The Day the Music Died.” Being summer, the Lubbock Water Rampage will cool you off with their 2,400-ft. waterslides, wave pool, and lazy river.
Nightlife begins and ends with the music scene, as well as it’s notoriety for being well-known college town. Don’t worry, there are plenty of fine restaurants, art scenes, and theaters to distract you. For something a little different, head to the 1950’s themed Stars & Stripes Drive In, one of the tops in the nation. We recommend the famous Chihuahua Sandwich with your movie!
From Lubbock we end north two hours two Amarillo. Amarillo is famous for a few things, one being a destination on the renowned Route 66, and perhaps most oddly for its Cadillac Ranch. Created back in 1974, this random assortment of 10 Cadillacs buried nose-down in the ground actually attracts thousands of visitors a year. Amarillo also next to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the second largest canyon in the country and a true sight to beyond. You can visit by car, bike, foot, even horse and explore the dozens of miles of trails.
While it offers theaters and art, it’s a true mecca for cowboys as one of the biggest cattle-shipping capitals of the world. Speaking of cowboys, we’d be remiss to not recommend a dinner at the Big Texan Steakhouse, famous for the 72oz Steak Challenge. If you eat a salad, baked potato, shrimp cocktail and 72 ounces of beef in one hour you get it FREE. They take this challenge seriously, so no cheating!
LUBBOCK & AMARILLO HOTELS: