These were the now famous, but politically incorrect, words uttered by Davy Crockett to his Tennessee constituents, after he had lost his re-election bid to the House of Representatives in 1835 and before setting off on his adventure to Texas. Text: Andrew Cannon, Valo Travel Service.
And there is indeed a lot of adventure to be had in the Lone Star State. Texas doesn’t necessarily spring to mind when people in the Nordics are thinking about a vacation in the US, but for those of you that have ticked California, New York and Florida off your bucket list you could do worse than turn your gaze towards the big skies of Texas. And Texas is already a very popular tourist destination: According to the U.S. Depart- ment of Commerce1, the State of Texas ranks 7th in terms of the number of foreign visitors, and according to Euromonitor International2, it ranks 2nd, behind California, in terms of US domestic visitors.
But where to go and what to do?
Texas is not one of those places you can easily tick-off the list with just one vacation, as the Lone Star State is truly as big as its reputation, being the 2nd largest State in the US, after Alaska. To put things in a European perspective: Trying to cover all of Texas in one vacation would be pretty much like trying to cover Hamburg, Prague, Vienna, Rome and Paris in the same trip… doable, but…
Taking a bite out of Texas this spring
Instead of trying to cram too much in, our recommendation would to focus on one part of the State and save the rest for another trip. But which part of the State to visit? If enjoying nature is the primary focus of your vacation and you want to get away from it all, then the south west corner is the place to go, being as it is home to the impressive Big Bend National Park3. If on the other hand you want to have a vacation filled with a variety of experiences, then we would highly recommend the Houston-Austin-San Antonio area of the State.
Golf, food & wine, historic sights, horses, museums, live music and shopping
If mixing and matching some of these ingredients sounds fun, then this corner of Texas could provide you with a great vacation. We’ve put together the outline for an itinerary, which is built around golf, but even if you aren’t interested in golf, there are certainly lots of other things to do on such a trip. The circuit can be done either way and we would recommend looking at the dates of the events you are most interested in and matching the direction of the circuit to that.
Texas in the spring
“I must say as to what I have seen of Texas, it is the garden spot of the world. The best land & best prospects for health I ever saw is here, and I do believe it is a fortune to any man to come here”. Another quote from Davy Crockett, this time in a letter to his children in 1836.
I imagine Davy Crockett was talking about Texas in the spring. More than 5000 species of flowering plants are native to Texas, and in March and April millions of wildflowers spring into bloom. The bluebonnet is said to be to Texas as the tulip is to Holland, and in particular the sight of swath of bluebonnets on a hike or drive in the early morning light is indeed a wonderful sight, and there are many scenic drives and hikes in the area to choose from in order to enjoy the wildflowers. The weather5 in this part of Texas in Mar- ch and April is what the English would call “very pleasant indeed” on average, although there is certainly a chance of showers. Texas weather is, however, notoriously unpredictable and subject to extremes, which are hidden by the average. So, if you want guaranteed perfect weather, this is not the best place for you, but if you are willing to take the weather as it is, then this is a great place for an active outdoor/indoor vacation.
If all that wine and fresh air is too much, then it’s probably time for some shopping therapy. Outlet malls are a great place to replenish your wardrobe with clothes from top quality labels at deeply discounted prices. The San Marcos Premium Outlets17 offers almost 150 such shops with more than enough choices for women, men and the kids alike.
More live music
“You don’t know the Lone Star State until you’ve experienced Gruene Hall” said Miranda Lambert. High praise indeed from one of the top stars of country music! Gru- ene Hall18 is almost 140 years old and is Texas’ oldest, and maybe most famous dance hall, or at least the most iconic. With live music every night, it’s a great place to spend a night or two soaking up the atmosphere and listening to live music, the quality of which is always exceptional. You could even get on the dance floor and try your own country music moves.
Getting wet on the way to San Antonio
The Schlitterbahn20 waterpark opens for the season in March, so depending on the dates you are visiting, and the weather, you might want to consider visiting the water park, especially if you are travelling with kids or like the thrill of waterslides yourself.
Get your culture fix
After spending all that time outdoors or in case it rains, you can brush up on your culture, as Houston is home to a number of great museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts30 and the Contempory Arts Museum31. If you enjoy culture of a more musical bent, then the Houston Opera and the Houston Ballet both offer high quality productions. Houston also makes sure that there is a lot for kids to do on a rainy day, with the Children’s Museum of Houston32 and the Houston Museum of Natural Science33 in particularly highly recommendable. Finally, the Houston Space Center34 is great for both adults and kids alike and worth a full day at least. As there are more than 400 things to do, it is worth planning in advance in order to make the most of your time and to reserve tickets for certain attractions and experiences. For adults, one highlight will be seeing the original mission control room and for kid meeting a real astronaut might inspire them to go into space!
How long do you need?
We wouldn’t recommend spending less than 10 days in Texas on this type of holiday and 14 days would allow for a more comfortable pace. If you can get closer to 20 days that would certainly allow you to experience a lot of what this part of Texas has to offer and spend time relaxing as well.
Hello Friend, welcome to Texas!
Texas is said to have gotten its name from the word, “tejas”, used by natives of Texas, including the Hasinais and Caddo tribes, who used it as a “hello, friend” greeting. If you take time to talk to the locals during your holiday in Texas, I am sure you will agree that the people of Texas are friendly indeed and that will be part of what makes a vacation in Texas a memorable experience for many.