Texas is one of the most visited states in the US, and for good reason. From its rich history to its tasty cuisine, there is a lot that is unique about Texas. Below are just a few tips for visiting the Lone Star State that will help you make the most of your visit.
Time it right
The most popular time to visit Texas is in the summer, but it’s arguably the worst time. The heat can be very intense and hotel prices are at their highest. The likes of San Antonio and Dallas can also get very crowded, meaning longer queues for attractions and more time spent shuffling around. Obviously, there are certain events in Texas that only occur in the summer, but if you’re not interested in these events you may want to consider looking into when fall starts in Texas. During fall, the temperature becomes cooler, prices fall and the crowds reduce – making it all round a great time to visit.
Many people underestimate just how cold Texas can get in the winter. If you’re travelling between November and March, make sure to bring some warm winter clothing. Obviously, if you’re travelling in summer, you’ll want to wear cool and loose clothing.
Hire a car
Texas is a very big state that is full of large sprawling cities. Getting anywhere takes time – which is why it’s worth hiring a car. While many of Texas’s city’s have reliable public transport systems (and in some cases even free transport such as Dallas’s free trolley), you’ll get around faster and more efficiently in a car.
Bring your hiking boots
Of course, there are some instances where you may want to go for a walk in Texas. The state has some stunning national parks such as Big Bend, where you’ll find an array of scenic hiking trails. In these instances, you’ll want your hiking boots. Check out this guide to some of the best hiking trails in Texas if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure.
Choose the right city
Most people visiting Texas stay in one of its cities – but just which city should you visit? Each of Texas’s cities offers a different vibe. Choose San Antonio if you’re looking for history or romance – attractions like The Alamo and The River Walk are its biggest pull. Choose Austin if you love music venues, restaurants and bars. Choose Houston if you’re looking for family-friendly attractions or somewhere to shop until you drop. For sports and rodeos, consider Dallas – Fort Worth as your destination.
Book in advance
Hotels in Texas can book up quickly. Similarly, popular restaurants can get booked up far in advance. This is why it’s worth booking as much as you can early. Book your hotel several months ahead and book tables at renowned restaurants a week or two ahead. Certain attractions may also be worth buying tickets for in advance to help you skip the queues.
Try the local food
There are certain dishes that Texas is renowned for, and that you must try when visiting. Just what are these foods? Barbecued food is probably the biggest one – nowhere does beef brisket like the Texans. There’s also Tex-Mex, which is a mix of Mexican cuisine and American food. Make sure to taste a tex-mex chili con carne (it’s different from a Mexican version).
Soak up the history
There’s so much history in Texas to explore. Beyond The Alamo, there are fascinating and important historical buildings such as Mission Concepcion, The San Jacinto Monument and Port Isabel Lighthouse. For more recent history, make sure to check out The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas where you can learn about the assassination of John F Kennedy.
Get off the beaten track
The best Texas attractions aren’t always the touristy ones. Allow yourself some time to explore some of Texas’s more offbeat attractions – you can find some great examples here at Atlas Obscura. You may also stumble across some amazing attractions simply by taking a walk through some of Texas’s cities.
Know the laws
Make sure that you know the local laws in Texas. What may be legal back in your home state may not be legal in The Lone Star State. In fact, Texas is known for having some pretty wacky laws (although they’re unlikely to affect your stay in Texas – unless you were planning to sell your eyes).
Tione is a full-time student and a Blogger. When she is not in class she is actively working on her blog.