#TravelTuesday Guest Post: What Not to Miss in Texas from a Texan

Texas is a huge state. I have visited San Antonio, the Hill Country, and Austin. I would love to return one day with the kids to see more of this massive state.  When Ken Myers approached me about authoring a guest post, we came up with this great travel piece on his favorite things to see in Texas. I love what he put together for us. And to learn more about Texas, visit the state's tourism website. 

By: Ken Myers

Living in and around Houston there are quite a few places of interest to visit. We are in close proximity to the Hill Country, Galveston, Corpus Christi, lush forests, some great state parks and recreation areas and even NASA. There are loads of places to go for entertainment and relaxation in Texas. After all, Texas is 268,820 sq miles of state, you could spend years exploring Texas and probably not see all it has to offer.

Visit Houston 

  1. Houston – The bustling oil town is home to many family-friendly activities. The Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo, usually around late February, is the largest in the world and offers many concerts, showcases, and feats of roping and riding that will thrill adults and kids alike. Another great place for kids is the Houston Zoo, a huge collection of animals of all kinds. From the sprawling aviary to the dark and foreboding nocturnal creature caverns, to the huge children’s area with petting zoo and animal interactions, this zoo is one to check out. The huge museum district is also a great place to visit with the largest and most complete T-Rex fossil in the world located at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Take a walk through the eons and see how the fossils change from small sea creatures to towering dinosaurs. Interactive exhibits are also par for the course in the Science Museum. The Children’s Museum is great for younger kids and is located right across the street from the Art Museum. They have discount and free days too, for extra wallet-friendly fun.

  1. NASA - For those of you who are interested in outer space the Space Center of Houston or The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is a great place to visit when you are in Texas. They have shows, exhibits, and interactive presentations that are sure to please anyone who has an interest in outer space. They have tours of the center and many items on display that were used in actual missions.

  1. Galveston - Just a short trip from the Space Center is Galveston, Texas. The Gulf water is warm and the beaches are nice but not the prettiest beaches in Texas. The town has The Strand which offers many shops and cafes that take in several blocks of the city. It is a great way to spend a day just walking about and seeing what the shops have to offer. During the Christmas season, the have Dickens on the Strand and the city is turned into a scene right out of a Charles Dickens story. During Mardi Gras season the strand turns into a full on Mardi Gras celebration taking on the look and feel of New Orleans. There are amusement parks and water parks as well. Moody Gardens is one of the family favorites to visit with an aquarium, a rainforest, and a 3D theater along with a water park that has a mock beach of its own.
Corpus Christi
Visit Corpus Christi, TX

  1. Beaches - Corpus Christi, Texas has really nice beaches as does South Padre Island, Texas. These are the most popular beaches in Texas, not only for sun bathing and scavenging for seashells but the fishing is good as well. Deep sea fishing and sailboat excursions are also very popular. Spotting sea turtles and bird watching are also great past times. Even surfing is not out of the question at Mustang Island!

Visit Austin
Photo credit by: John Cabuena www.facebook.com/flipintexfotos

  1. Austin - Austin, the state capital of Texas, is the place to go if you love music, food, and the night life. Austin also has some wonderful lakes and hills and the views off of those hills onto the lake can be breathtaking. There are all different kinds of people gathering together to just have a great time. When the lakes are up the fishing is great too. The capital building itself is worth seeing too, as it is made of pink granite and resembles the White House.

Visit Dallas 

  1. Dallas- Fort Worth – They are two different cities, but over the years they have grown together to form one huge metroplex. Although traffic can get a bit hairy, there are some things worth seeing in Dallas. For example, they have the Dallas World Aquarium with species from 14 countries. Sharks, manatees, and other species are displayed and make for a great educational environment. There is also a Six Flags amusement park in nearby Arlington. Fort Worth has the stockyards which will give you a great view of the things Texas is famous for: Longhorns and horses. They have stables, rodeos, a museum, and many shows.

  1. Railroads – In Grapevine, just south of Dallas, is a vintage railroad. They specialize in wine, offering many tastings and other wine-themed activities. Also southeast of Dallas is Palestine, home of the Texas State Railroad. This kid-friendly steam engine railroad ride is fun for the whole family. Enjoy a leisurely ride and a picnic at the end that your kids will remember forever.

San Antonio
Visit San Antonio 

8.   San Antonio - San Antonio is the place to go to get some of the Mexican flavors mixed in with a little Texas. Tex-Mex food can be found all over San Antonio along with some traditional Mexican food as well. The San Antonio River Walk is a nice way to spend the evening while you are there. You can walk along the river, have your choice of cafes to dine in for dinner, take a boat ride down the river, or just sit and soak in the ambiance. San Antonio is also the home of Sea World and Shamu the Killer Whale plus many other great attractions. You can also check out the Alamo, the center of Texas independence and the great battle where Davy Crockett was killed. Market Square is another great attraction as an open air market that sells all kinds of things in a fun and festive atmosphere. Six Flags Fiesta Texas, a large amusement park, is located within San Antonio also for those with kids.

Hill Country Blue Bonnets
Visit Greater San Antonio 
  1. Hill Country – North of San Antonio lies the Hill Country. In the spring millions of bluebonnets, the state flower, populate the hills and add a beautiful blue glow to the whole area. Other wildflowers are also prevalent and the mild weather lets you enjoy the outdoors freely. You are also more than likely to spot a longhorn steer or two! Many German immigrants populated this area a long time ago and brought their food and culture with them. Visit historic Fredericksburg and enjoy dining in a Rathskeller and at a German bakery that is to die for as well as shopping at tons of antique stores. Nearby there is rock climbing at Enchanted Rock, a large boulder really, but a fun climb for kids and adults who don’t like sheer rock faces. There are also many hidden small parks with waterfalls and creeks that make for great swimming holes and wading adventures. Speaking of water, river tubing is a huge part of the Hill Country culture. Take an inner tube down the lazy Guadalupe River and enjoy the water or find a more adventurous river and go rafting. There is always something to do in the Hill Country.  

  1. Parks and Forests – Near Corpus Christi is King Ranch, one of the largest ranches in the world, with a size bigger than Rhode Island. With pecan and citrus groves, cotton and sugar fields, hunting, bird watching, nature tours and all kinds of wildlife, there is much to see and do here. Near San Antonio, the Natural Bridge Caverns offer tours to view the ancient rock formations and caves, a rock climbing tower, and a zip line for extra excitement. Nearby they also have a wildlife ranch that allows you to drive through and see exotic animals like zebras and ostriches. With a petting zoo, this safari-like adventure is great for animal lovers. There are much other fun and scenic places to see in Texas, from deserts to swamps and anything in between.
All in all, there is not enough time to cover everything you need to see in Texas. After all, it is huge! If you can, try to visit during the cooler months of late September through May. If you must come during the long summer months of June, July, and August be sure to be careful in the heat, stay hydrated, and wear lots of sun block! Texas is a great place to live and a fun place to visit, so come check it out soon!

Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.

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