Those who haven’t lived in Texas before often have preconceived notions of what the state is like. Texas is often thought of as the last vestige of Wild West culture-and in some areas of the state that is the case. However, Texas is as varied in entertainment as it is in climate. You can enjoy the barbecue lifestyle one day, then visit a museum or space station the next.
When you move to Texas, there is no shortage of fun activities to try. Each section of the state has its own unique environment and attractions, and if you’re willing to drive a few hours, you can explore even more.
The following list of attractions is divided by length of time needed for maximum enjoyment. Some places are a quick stop if you’re driving on I35, while others require at least a day. Each provides a small glimpse of what it means to be a Texan. As you settle in and start exploring your home, visit some of these Texas favorites.
If you’re driving through Texas, you can find these fun places right off the highway:
• Buc-ee’s. This chain of gas stations is a Texas staple, and it’s location in New Braunfuls (just off I-35) is more of a shopping center/tourist attraction than gas station-although with 120 gas pumps, you can also get all the fuel you need. Be sure to pick up some caramel corn “Beaver Nuggets” and beef jerky while you’re here.
• Czech Stop. Being right off of I-35 in West, Texas, this bakery is dedicated to promoting Czech culture (mainly through cuisine). Czech Stop is open all day and night, so no matter what time you’re driving by, stop in for a fruit, cream cheese, or jalapeno sausage kolache.
• “A Tribute to Courage.” You can’t miss this nearly 80-foot-tall statue of early Texas politician Sam Houston when you’re driving past Huntsville. You can pull off the highway to see the statue up close and learn more in the visitor’s center.
If You’re in Town
Some activities aren’t really road-trip worthy, but are fun if you happen to be in the area. You won’t have to dedicate much time to enjoying them.
• Cattle Drive. Fort Worth is known for its stockyards, a section of the city dedicated to celebrating Historic Texas culture. Not only can you enjoy country music and southern food, but if you come at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., you can also see a herd of real Texas longhorns wander through the city.
• Bat Bridge. This one is down in Austin, the Texas capital. If you stand on Congress Avenue Bridge in the evening from March through November, you may be lucky enough to see an entire colony of bats take flight. If you don’t feel like standing around all evening, you can take a river cruise to learn more about the city and catch a glimpse of the bats from the water.
• River Walk. While this can certainly be part of an extended vacation, you don’t need to stay in downtown San Antonio all day to enjoy the river walk. Known as the “American Venice,” you can ride a boat through downtown San Antonio and admire the sights, or you can stroll along the banks and visit the stores and restaurants you pass.
Saturday plans are always exciting when you decide to visit one of these locations.
• Fossil Rim. Texas has many zoos, aquariums, wildlife rescues, and botanical gardens, but Fossil Rim stands out. Here, the (non-predator) animals aren’t separated by cages; they walk right up to your car. Drive through the park and get up close and personal with deer, oryx, zebras, and giraffes. Visit this safari and conservation center in Glen Rose.
• Space Center Houston. If science and technology are more your style, visit the home of NASA and ISS Mission Control. Learn about the history and future of space travel, see what life is like as an astronaut, and get a good look at pieces of the moon.
• Guadalupe River. To cool down from the Texas summer heat, try tubing on the Guadalupe. You rent a tube, take a shuttle down to the river, and float for at least a mile. While there are some areas with higher flow and rapids, this isn’t white water rafting. Lay back and relax as the water pulls you along, or bring a cooler and have a mid-river picnic.
The Texas Experience
While most of the activities listed here are available all year round, don’t forget about the ones open for only a month or two. The State Fair of Texas, which features live music, a carnival, barbeque cook-offs and much more, is open throughout October. Texas is also home to two large Renaissance festivals, one open in May and one open through October and November.
Moving to Texas provides a world of possibilities to new residents. Embrace the unique Texan culture by exploring all sides of the state.
For more information about how to make your move to Texas as easy as possible, talk to your Bekins agent.