Texas beckons

We know Texas has cowboys and oil and ranches and longhorns, but there’s more—lots more

The Alamo historical site in San Antonio, Texas
The Alamo historic site in San Antonio, Texas, is the most visited historic site in the state. — Bambi Chicque photo

Texas: it’s big, bold, rich and steeped in history. Peppered throughout the state are many cities and sites that celebrate its rowdy and remarkable past and its booming present.

NASA Space Centre in Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas, is home to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Centre, familiarly known as the NASA Space Centre. — Shannon Moore photo
  1. Amarillo, known as the Yellow Rose of Texas for the Spanish origin of its name, is also known as Bomb City because it has the only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly plant in the U.S.
  2. Austin is the state capital and known as the live music capital of the world.
  3. Brownsville is a vibrant tourist destination with a downtown that reflects the influences of Spain, France and Mexico.
  4. Dallas is a commercial and cultural hub known for its Cowboys, Stars and Mavericks sports teams. Among many galleries and museums is the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, commemorating the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
  5. El Paso is situated on the north bank of the Rio Grande River, across from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. According to Wikipedia, the El Paso-Juarez region has the largest bilingual, binational work force in the Western Hemisphere.
  6. Houston, the state’s largest city, is known for the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Centre—including the NASA Visitor centres—and the Museum of Fine Arts.
  7. Fort Worth is home of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, four universities, the headquarters of several multinational companies and many examples of western heritage and traditional architecture and design.
  8. Galveston is uniquely located on Galveston Island and Pelican Island in the Gulf of Mexico. It contains a large and historically significant collection of 19th-century architecture.
  9. San Antonio is home of the Alamo, a former mission and the most popular historic site in Texas, commemorating the legendary defeat of a small band of patriotic Texans by superior Mexican forces.
  10. Waco is home of the Official Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

Along with history, industry and oil, Texas also has palm trees, beaches and dolphins. The state has 367 miles (590 kilometres) of Gulf of Mexico coastline, with no privately owned beaches—all are open to the public.

South Padre Island, which is linked to the mainland by the 2.5-mile (4 kilometre)-long Queen Isabella Causeway, has 34 miles (almost 55 kilometres) of beach and is known as the Sand Castle Capital of Texas. The island is home to the critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. Sea Turtle Inc. is supporting the survival of the turtles by providing educational programs for schools, tourists and civic groups.

Atlantic Green Sea Turtles are among those found on South Padre Island, Texas.
Atlantic green sea turtles are among those found on South Padre Island, Texas. — Vince Smith photo

If you’re considering a visit to the Rio Grande Valley, a review of the RV South Texas website will give you plenty of ideas for sites to visit, fiestas and other events to attend and places to stay. Cowboy wannabes might like to explore the options on the Top 10 Texas Dude Ranches website.

Canadians who vacation in the U.S. between November and April are typically called Snowbirds, but the state of Texas stakes a claim on its regular winter visitors, calling them Winter Texans.

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