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Texas

General   Weather   Airports   Attractions   Activities  

Introduction

Texas ©Brian Stansberry

Home to an estimated 16 million cattle, the vast and varied state of Texas, second largest state in the US, has plenty of people too in its half-dozen huge cities. It has often been said that everything is bigger and better in Texas, and visitors who have explored the state tend to agree.


Between its Gulf Coast in the southeast and the Red River boundary north of the Panhandle there are plains, rolling hills, lakes, soaring mountains, bogs, beaches and desert. In Texas' large cities like Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio it is possible to swap the bright lights for a day at the ranch at the drop of a cowboy hat, or soak up culture at a world-class art gallery before taking a stroll through a scenic park. Outside the urban enclaves Texas has 23-million acres of woodlands, including four national forests and 125 state parks, from the great pine forests of the south and east to the rugged mountains of the west.


Most are aware that Texas is home to the largest oil industry in the US, but visitors are generally surprised to discover that the state has one of the country's biggest wine-growing regions too; that Austin is a musical Mecca; that Texas is leading the country in high-tech production; and that it is at the heart of a gourmet movement with some of the nation's finest restaurants within its borders.


Historically the Texas plains were the haunt of Native American tribes like the Comanches and Apaches. The Spanish put in an appearance in 1519 but only began settlements in 1690. In the ensuing centuries Texas became a conglomeration of settlements of various immigrant groups, becoming an independent republic for 10 years with its characteristic Lone Star flag, before acquiring statehood in 1845.


The word Texas is a corruption of a Native American term for 'friend', and the friendliness of the cosmopolitan Texan people is the cherry on the top for a state that has something to cater for everyone's interests, whether it be space flight or rodeo riding.


Climate Info

Texas is a very large state, with an incredibly diverse topography and therefore the Texas climate is hard to pinpoint. The Gulf Coast has a typically maritime climate, with hot, humid summers and mild winters. The central and northern areas are more continental, with hot summers and cold winters. Dry and hot conditions exist along the Mexican border in the southwest, and in the northwest, in the Texas/Oklahoma panhandle, winters are colder with snowfall a common occurrence. The state has two principal seasons - summer usually runs from about April to October, and winter begins in November, lasting until about March. In summer, temperatures can range from 96°F (36°C) in El Paso in the southwest, to 91°F (33°C) in Amarillo in the panhandle, to 88°F (31°C) on the Gulf Coast, while winter temperatures in the same three areas can range from 29°F (-2°C), to a more mild 48°F (9°C) on the Gulf Coast. The rainfall is Texas can vary too, with the western areas experiencing the least amount and east and southeast along the Gulf of Mexico experiencing the most. The Gulf Coast is susceptible to hurricanes, and tornadoes also occur, and the state has experienced severe floods, as well as droughts.


Getting Around

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (or DART) has a large light rail network with four different lines, allowing people to get around the main downtown area with ease. DART also operates an extensive system of buses that covers a wider area; however, multiple transfers are usually necessary and it is a slow way to travel. Both systems run daily from around 5am to midnight.


At the end of the day, the easiest and most convenient way to get around Dallas is by car. As with most cities in the central and western parts of the US, urban sprawl has created a wide, flat city with areas of interest spread across many miles. Traffic tends to be heavily congested during rush hour, which lasts from 7.30am to 9am and from 4.30pm to 6pm, but a little forward planning allows one to avoid the worst of it.


Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

LocationThe airport is situated 18 miles (29km) from downtown Dallas and 24 miles (39km) from Fort Worth.
Time DifferenceGMT -6 (GMT -5 from March to November).
Contacts

Tel: +1 972 973 8888.

Transfer terminals

The Skylink airport train provides fast connections between the five terminals inside of security. The airport's Terminal Link van service may be used for passengers needing to transfer to another terminal after they have exited security.

Getting to city

Charter buses, limousines and Dallas Area Rapid Transit public buses are available at the airport; schedules and information are available from the Visitor Information Centres in the baggage claim areas. A free shuttle service links all the terminals to the CenterPort/DFW Trinity Railway Express Station about 20 minutes away, from where there are regular departures to Dallas Union Station and Fort Worth.

Car Rental

Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, E Z Rent, Hertz, National and Thrifty operate from the airport. A Rental Car shuttle bus ferries passengers to the Rental Car Centre.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis into the city are available from the upper level of Terminals A, B, C and E, and on the lower level of Terminal D. An assistant is available to help passengers at the taxi stands from 8am till midnight, and phone calls can be made to request a taxi after hours.

Airport Facilities

The airport is well supplied with ATMs and currency exchange and all terminals feature shops, restaurants and business services, including fax and internet facilities. Additional facilities include barber shops and shoe-shine services.

Car Parking

Please note that the airport's Remote and Express Parking fill early during the holidays. The airport encourages travellers to park at the Terminal Parking, which provides convenient, closed-in parking that is a short walk to the departure gate. Parking fees at Dallas Fort-Worth start at $3 for the first two hours and go up to $24 per day.

Websitewww.dfwairport.com


Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)

LocationThe airport is situated eight miles (13km) from downtown Austin.
Time DifferenceGMT -6 (GMT -5 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
Contacts

Tel: +1 512 530 2242.

Getting to city

The MetroAirport bus serves the airport every 30 minutes from the stop outside baggage claim. The trip takes 20 to 30 minutes to the city. Several hotels offer free shuttles, and taxis and car rentals are available too.

Car Rental

Onsite rental companies include Avis, Budget, Hertz and Enterprise.

Airpor Taxis

Taxi companies servicing Austin-Bergstrom airport include Yellow Cab, Austin Cab, ATX Co Op and Lone Star Cab. A trip from the airport to the CBD should take about 20 minutes. The minumum fare is $12.30.

Airport Facilities

Postal services are available at the airport, and there are several ATMs in the terminal. Shops include newsagents and a gift shop, and there are numerous restaurants and bars to choose from. There is also artwork on display, and live music performances on selected dates. The Business and Technology Center in the east concourse offers foreign currency exchange, standard airline trip insurance and internet access. There is also an on-site airport hotel.

Car Parking

The parking garage opposite the terminal charges $3 per hour and up to $23 per day. Lot A has similar rates up to $11 per day, and is a short walk to the terminal. The Long-Term Economy Lots charge $7 per day and are connected to the terminal by a free shuttle service.

Websitewww.abia.org


George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)

LocationThe airport is situated 22 miles (35km) north of Houston.
Time DifferenceGMT -6 (GMT -5 from March to November).
Contacts

Tel: +1 281 230 3100.

Transfer terminals

The free Skyway, an above-ground automated people mover, links the terminals for passengers who are inside security. A free, below-ground Subway train provides inter-terminal transportation to those who are outside of security.

Getting to city

Numerous shuttle services, including minibuses and limousines, are available from the airport to downtown Houston and a variety of other destinations, including the Gulf Coast resort city of Galveston. SuperShuttle shared-ride service picks up from any home or business. The Houston Metro offers public bus services from the south side of Terminal C, including an express airport bus. Courtesy vans are operated by various hotels and there are courtesy telephones in the baggage claim area.

Car Rental

The airport is served by major car rental companies that operate from a consolidated car rental facility, reached by shuttle bus from the terminals. Companies represented include Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty.

Airpor Taxis

Metered taxis are available outside each terminal. A $2.75 departure fee will be added to the meter, plus $1 should the journey be between 8pm and 6am.

Airport Facilities

Facilities at the airport include dozens of food and beverage establishments from formal dining to fast food. There are also many newsstands and speciality shops throughout the airport. Duty-free shops are available in the international terminal. ATMs and currency exchange are available throughout the airport. Disabled facilities are good.

Car Parking

Parking rates start at $3 per hour with a $20 daily maximum, and parking lots are located near all the terminals.

Websitewww.fly2houston.com


San Antonio International Airport (SAT)

LocationThe airport is located eight miles (13km) from San Antonio city centre.
Time DifferenceGMT -6 (GMT -5 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
Contacts

Tel: +1 210 207 3433

Transfer terminals

A covered walkway connects the terminals.

Getting to city

VIA Metropolitan Transit Bus 5 connects the airport to the city. Buses run frequently between about 5.30am and 9.30pm. The journey takes about half an hour by bus. Shuttles, taxis and rental cars are also available at the airport.

Car Rental

Car rental companies at the airport include Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis are available at the airport and usually don't need to be pre-booked.

Airport Facilities

Airport facilities include ATMs, bars, restaurants, duty-free shopping and other shops, a shoeshine service, a lost and found, art exhibitions, a chapel and emergency medical services.

Car Parking

Parking is available in the Green Lot and the Parking Garage at daily rates of $8 and $11 respectively. There is also a Cell Phone Lot for pick-ups and a Red Lot for overflow.



El Paso International Airport (ELP)

LocationThe airport is located four miles (6km) from downtown El Paso.
Time DifferenceGMT -7 (GMT -6 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
Getting to city

Sun Metro has a scheduled route to the airport 7 days a week, with slightly shorter service times on Saturday and Sunday. Regular fares are $1.50. Commercial shuttles are available by advance booking. Many local hotels offer free transfers.

Car Rental

Car rental companies at the airport include Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis are located directly outside the baggage claim area and are available 24 hours a day. Companies authorised to work from the airport include Border Cabs, Sun City Cabs and United Independent Cabs.

Airport Facilities

Terminal services include shoeshine, restaurants and coffee shops, a business centre, a shopping centre, several giftshops and newsagents.

Car Parking

Short-term parking is charged at $1 per hour up to $15 per day. Long-term parking is $5 per day. The first 10 minutes is free in all lots.

Websitewww.elpasointernationalairport.com


William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)

LocationThe airport is seven miles (11km) from downtown Houston.
Time DifferenceGMT - 6
Contacts

Tel: +1 (713) 640 3000.

Getting to city

The Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority operates bus services between downtown Houston and William P. Hobby Airport. Route 88 serves the airport, buses leave from zone 13 outside the baggage claims area. Buses operate every 30-40 minutes between around 5am and 12.30am during the week and around 6am and 1am on Saturdays. Fares start at $1.25.

Car Rental

Car rental companies including Thrifty, Alamo, Dollar, National, Hertz, Enterprise, Budget and Avis all operate at Hobby Airport. Rental booths are in the baggage claim area on the lower level of the terminal.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis are available on curbside zone 3 outside the arrivals part of the terminal. Cabs operate on a flat rate based on various zones within Houston. Fares range from $26.50 for downtown Houston in Zone 2 to $72.30 for a taxi to Bush Intercontinental Airport in Zone 8.

Airport Facilities

Facilities at the airport include ATMs, currency exchange facilities, public call boxes, mailboxes, luggage carts, phone charging facilities as well as shops and restaurants.

Car Parking

The parking garage is connected to the terminal and costs $5 for up to two hours and $9 for up to five hours, or $20 per day. Another option is the Ecopark lots, which cost roughly $12 or less per day.

Websitewww.fly2houston.com


Dallas Heritage Village


The city of Dallas' history is preserved in a living museum nestled in 13 wooded acres just south of downtown, known as Old City Park.


This historical village consists of 38 buildings and houses, including a working farm, elegant Victorian homes, a school, church, general sto
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Tours of buildings in Dallas ©Leaflet



Sixth Floor Museum


The assassination of President John F. Kennedy is commemorated in the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza where the 1963 shooting took place. Most chilling of the exhibits is the window area in the former Texas School Book Depository building from where sniper Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly
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Sixth Floor Museum located at the former Texas School Book Depository ©Weatherdrew



Fort Worth Stockyards


Fort Worth is one of the best places to experience the romance and mystique of the American Wild West, and the Stockyards National Historic District is the ideal starting point. The district encompasses 15 blocks packed full of exciting 'cowtown' attractions, from rodeos to cattle drives
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Fort Worth Stockyards ©Lyndi & Jason



Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth


Fort Worth's Modern Art Museum is second only in size to it's counterpart in New York, and is the oldest art museum in Texas, having been chartered in 1892. It was initially conceptualised by a group of 25 women keen to make the town more than just a centre for cows and horses. The colle
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Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth ©Andreas Praefcke



Cattle Raisers Museum


Established in 1979, the Cattle Raisers Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the cowboy and cattle ranching industry of the southwest. Use has been made of talking mannequins, interactive exhibits, authentic artefacts and theatre presentations to bring alive the legends and lore o
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A Texas Longhorn cow. ©Ed Schipul



Fort Worth Zoo


Fort Worth's Zoo started off quite humbly in 1909 with one lion, two bear cubs, an alligator, a coyote, a peacock and a few rabbits. since then the zoo has grown and is now ranked as one of the top five in the United States, home to more than 5,000 animals living in natural habitat setti
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Zebra at Fort Worth Zoo ©Awesomenessiscool



Don Harrington Discovery Center


Focusing on physical, earth and life sciences, the Don Harrington Discovery Center is set in a 51-acre park with a lake and picnic area. The centre boasts more than 100 hands-on activities and a recently renovated Space Theater. There is also an aquarium on site featuring both saltwater
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Don Harrington Discover Center ©Who What Where Nguyen Why



Amarillo Museum of Art


The Texas Panhandle's one and only accredited art museum is the Amarillo Museum of Art. The museum was established in 1967 by a group of community leaders who felt that those living in the Amarillo area deserved a proper art musuem, and in 1972 the museum opened its doors to the public.
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Amarillo Museum of Art ©Anonymous Cow



Palo Duro Canyon


Starting about a million years ago a branch of the Red River carved a massive canyon through the northern Texas plains. The walls of the Palo Duro Canyon, meaning "hard wood" canyon and named after the hardy juniper trees that grow in the canyon's sides, plunge down 1,000 feet (305m) at
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Palo Duro Canyon. ©Leaflet



Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center


The visitor's Space Center is attached to the headquarters of America's manned space programme, Nasa's 'Mission Control' that directs the space shuttle project and guided the pioneering astronauts. The Space Center, Houston's most popular tourist attraction, is located at Clear Lake, 20
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Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center ©John Cummings



Museum District


Set within a scenic part of central Houston is the city's Museum District, featuring 19 varied and interesting institutions and numerous restaurants set among some lovely green spaces like Hermann Park, all within a 1.5 mile radius of the Mecom Fountain. One of the highlights in the area
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Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum ©Argos'Dad



The Orange Show


For a touch of the bizarre call at the Orange Show to see how obsession can become art. A former postman spent 26 years of his life assembling a collection of weird and wonderful objects and meshing them together into a labyrinth of passages and staircases, almost all of it orange. The r
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The Orange Show ©Ed Uthman



Sam Houston Historical Park


The Sam Houston Historical Park near the city's visitor centre in Bagby Street provides visitors with a large as life look at Houston history. The 19-acre park features seven of the city's oldest buildings that have been restored and relocated here.


The oldest building is a s
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Sam Houston Historical Park ©i_am_jim



Bayou Bend


The magnificent muted pink mansion in the marshy elbow of Buffalo Bayou in Houston's River Oaks area was the home of Miss Ima Hogg, a woman much loved in the community until her death in 1975, at the age of 93. Miss Hogg and her two brothers bought the woodlands estate in 1925 and for tw
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Bayou Bend Estate ©Postoak



National Museum of Funeral History


At Barren Springs near Houston's International Airport is the unusual private museum run by a major funeral company in the United States, dedicated to funeral memorabilia. It is the largest musuem dedicated to funerary practices in the Unites States, and probably the world.


C
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Funeral history to be explored at the National Museum of Funeral History ©Rklawton



Texas State Capitol


Austin's impressive pink granite capitol building is rivalled only by that of the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Encircled by its original wrought-iron fence topped with gold Lone Stars and standing proudly in a hectare (three acres) of ground, the domed building was constructed in 1882 o
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Texas State Capitol ©Gerritcap



Zilker Park


The 140-hectare (347-acre) Zilker Park, donated to the city by the German immigrant who gave it its name, is Austin's most popular public recreational area, dominated by its ancient spring-fed natural swimming pool, known as Barton Springs, which Native Americans believed to have healing
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Zilker Park Historic District ©Airainix



Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center


Texas hill country is renowned for its glorious spring blooms, and former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, founded this centre dedicated to the study and preservation of native plants in 1982. There are 72 hectares (178 acres) of wildflowers in display gardens, which includes a garden desi
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Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center ©Margaretwmiller



Governors Mansion


The opulent plantation-style mansion that is home to the Texas State governor is one of the oldest buildings in the city, dating from 1856. Although it is still very much lived in when the governor is in town, the mansion is open to the public for limited hours each day and many historic
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Governor's Mansion ©Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0



Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art


A major stop on national art circuit tours, the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas in Austin is ranked among the top 10 university art museums in the country. Highlights here are the Suida-Manning Collection of European paintings that features 250 works by the Continental m
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Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art ©Zereshk



Congress Avenue Bridge


One of the more unusual tourist attractions in Austin, or in fact anywhere, is the nightly flight of millions of Mexican free-tailed bats emerging from their roosts under the Congress Avenue Bridge. The bridge was revamped in the 1980s and regularly-spaced crevices underneath the new str
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Congress Avenue Bridge ©Stuart Seeger



Guadalupe Mountains National Park


The rugged wilderness of the Guadalupe Mountains in west Texas was originally a barrier reef under the waters of an ancient sea. Today fir trees and pockets of lush vegetation cling to this mountain range rising from the desert. Formerly the home of the Apache nation, the National Park i
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Guadalupe Mountains National Park ©Leaflet



Dallas Holocaust Museum


The Dallas Holocaust Museum, Centre for Education and Tolerance, is a non-profit organisation dedicated to teaching the lessons of the Holocaust and memorialising its victims. It provides guided tours for groups, audio tours for individuals, public lectures and exhibits.


The
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Remembering the Holocaust ©Yad Vashem



The Alamo


The Alamo has assumed mythological significance in American culture. The Alamo was originally built as a mission by Spanish priest in 1724, and was named Mision San antonio de Valera. In 1794, the Spanish missionaries secularized the land and gave it to the converts living there in order
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The Alamo ©Daniel Schwen



Riverwalk


The centre of San Antonio's shopping and dining district, the Riverwalk winds its way for five miles (8km) along the banks of the San Antonio River. Visitors can explore the Rivercenter Mall along the way and take a stroll around La Villita Historic District.


An equally good
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River Walk ©Kkmd



Six Flags Fiesta Texas


The city's biggest theme park and one of the best-known in the United States, the place keeps raising the bar with the recently added water rides to enhance its theme park rides, roller coasters and musical shows. Avoid eating a large meal before embarking on the Superman Krypton Roller
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Six Flags Fiesta Texas ©Chris Hagerman



Buckhorn Saloon and Museum


Reanimating the spirit of the wild west, the Buckhorn saloon contains over 8,000 wildlife exhibits, wax effigies, horns and other western memorabilia. The saloon was opened in 1881 by a young Albert Friedrich, who soon discovered that many travellers in the wild west had little cash on t
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Buckhorn Saloon and Museum ©Billy Hathorn



Spanish Governors Palace


Described by National Graphic as the most beautiful building in San Antonio, the diminutive palace once served as the headquarters for the Spanish rulers of this region. The ten-room building is built in the Spanish Colonial style, and although the exact date isn't know, it could have be
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The Spanish Governors Palace ©Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht



Texas Hill Country


The rolling, rugged hills that begin on the northern outskirts of San Antonio are known as the Texas Hill Country. The region is known for its natural beauty, carpets of flowers in spring, and abundant woodlands. Key attractions include Enchanted Rock, an enormous granite dome located 15
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Texas Hill Country ©Wing-Chi Poon



Corpus Christi


Corpus Christi is a resplendent South Texas coastal city, with a small population and a laid-back atmosphere. Just 143 miles (230km) from San Antonio on Interstate 37, and boasting its own international airport, travellers to Texas would be sorely remiss to pass up the soft sea breezes a
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Corpus Christi ©Simiprof



Six Flags Over Texas


The first of the Six Flags theme parks, Six Flags Over Texas has been a consistently popular family attraction for over 50 years. Situated in the small town of Arlington, midway between Dallas and Fort Worth, the amusement park is an ideal family day-trip destination. The park offers som
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Six Flags Over Texas ©Mbrstooge



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