East Beach Live concerts and revelry on the weekends on the hard-packed sand of this fun beach. The new themed gardens and viewing hill at Hermann Park are also worth a stroll. Booking ahead is always recommended. Barrier islands with windswept dunes and public beaches stretch down 367 miles of coastline. To say this place is windswept is an understatement: Bird Island Basin, on the lagoon side of the park's barrier-island home, is a mecca for windsurfers. Big Thicket National Preserve Cypress swamps, desert sands, hardwood forests and coastal plains together in one amazing area.
More than 261,000 sq miles, in fact: that's larger than Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands combined. Migratory species, including numerous waterfowl, overwinter here as well as in the valley. In colder weather, musicians move inside the general store, which is also the post office and a saloon. Camp at the ranch site and you'll be privy to many more private pickin'-and-singin' circles. Beer-swilling country folk bet on where the poop will land while listening to live music. Waxahachie The historic downtown district here is filled with early-Victorian, Queen Anne and Greek Revival beauties.
Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travelers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. Looking for more extensive coverage? For much more on getting around, see the Transportation chapter. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. Guadalupe Mountains National Park High-country hiking in far-northwest Texas; fall colors in McKittrick Canyon are stunning. In addition to Western shops, there are several in-theme restaurants and bars.
In the west, three mountain ranges top more than 7000ft, and Big Bend National Park is the state's premier trekking and primary rafting destination. Think laid-back, pick-up truck and boot-scooting town meets high-powered, high-cultured and high-heeled metropolis. The old steam train that was once used to take the herds north now offers tourist rides. Whenever heading into the backcountry, map out your route and be ready to show it to park rangers. Cool, not cold, weather in Big Bend means it's a great time to hike. Live Music The city easily earns its title of 'Live Music Capital of the World. Wealth from oil and energy companies supports luxurious shopping areas but you can also enjoy down-home fun, although don't underestimate the sauna-like summers.
If you want a real treasured dive, try there. The Offbeat Orange Show for Visionary Art hnoon-5pm Wed-Sun Jun-Sep, shorter hours other times A wacky art-car parade, a beer-can-covered home and a mazelike orange house curated by visionaries in Houston. If you're lucky there will be a Friday-night dance on at the 1880s hall. Texas' position on the central migratory flyway and the valley's southern locale make this both a stopover and wintering grounds for transient species. At the corner cafe on a Saturday morning you'll hear 'em hotly debating the stats and stars of last night's game — and they're talking about the local high school.
Washington-on-the-Brazos Tour the site where the declaration of Texas independence was signed and experience an 1850s living history farm. It sure is fun to watch the kids and some adults get their pennies flattened on the wheelhouse rail. Some parks also, or only, have walk- or hike-in tent sites — one has a canoe-in site. For partying, Austin is the place, with its endless live-music concerts and an outdoorsy, alternative vibe. When little ones get bored, entertain them at mid-island amusement parks.
Although Big Tex, the 50ft-tall cowboy that welcomed fairgoers starting in 1952, burned down in 2012, there's still the state's largest Ferris wheel, a midway full of carnival rides, livestock and other animal shows — plus all those crazy fair foods to try. San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site Learn about the last battle in the Texas war for independence, then take an elevator up to view the site. In spring the roadsides and fields are colored with Indian paintbrushes and Texas bluebonnets. History — powerful and tragic — is alive here. Important Numbers Most, but not all, numbers require you to dial the area code, even when you are within the city. You can go far at Padre Island National Seashore too, but remember there is no shade and no freshwater available. May z Buccaneer Days Festival Arrr! If you want a real treasured dive, try there.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Get a primer on wildflowers at a botanical garden named for the First Lady who beautified state highways with them. Lonely Planet Texas is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Texas' preeminent wilderness experiences are at Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks, both in the state's western half. Washington County Take the rural route, past bucolic ranches and, in spring, bluebonnets. Exchange Rates For current exchange rates, see www. Even if you don't attend formal firework displays, you may see some: many counties allow private fireworks.
Grab a Shiner Bock beer and listen to guitar pickers and singers under the giant live oak tree. Low Season Dec—Feb A Some theme parks are closed for the season. A Head to West Texas and parts of the Hill Country in fall for leaf-peeping. In the west, three mountain ranges top more than 7000ft, and Big Bend National Park is the state's premier trekking and primary rafting destination. This is small-town Texas life at its best.