Driving the Lone Star State

Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 10:32 AM
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Driving the Lone Star State

Planning to arrive in Texas, Dallas, in Feb 2003 from London. Never been to Texas before and will have 2 weeks to explore. What things/places are a must see? What is the weather like at that time of the year. How best to get arround, car, bus or train?
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 10:41 AM
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The best way to get around is in a car. Trains are almost non-exsistent and buses, well lets just say they tend to be on the "scary" side. If you are intent on seeing Texas and nothing but I would suggest spending your first couple of days in Dallas/Ft Worth and take in both sights in these two cities. Next make your way down I-35 to Austin, and spend as much time as it takes you to sober up here. Austin is a wonderful city, very "Texas" and I think it would have everything you are looking for in a Texas vacation. After Austin, continue down I-35 to San Antonio which will give you a very nice flavor for the Tex-Mex culture. If you feel real adventuours and want to see Mexico, Laredo is only 2 hours south from San Antonio. Places to avoid in Texas: Gulf Coast (it is dirty, and ugly), Houston (a dump, and great place to be stuck in traffic) and anything in the west (imagine a table top, now imagine it stretching as far as the eye can see, there you have been to the Panhandle). Enjoy your trip!
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 11:08 AM
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I'll agree with Eric that you need a car to get around, and that Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio are good places to see.

However, I don't recommend going across into Laredo. It is a typical Mexican border town with bars and junky souvenier shops. You will also have to answer a lot of questions from the US INS when you re-enter since you are not a US citizen. Honestly, for that "Mexico" experience, just go to the El Mercado in San Antonio!

There is one part of Texas that you MUST see: the Hill Country. This is west of Austin and San Antonio. It is a wonderful part of Texas with beautiful scenery, friendly people, and good food.
Spend some time in Fredricksburg, Gruene and Bandera!

Weather in February can be iffy. Texas is well-known for its ice storms that shut down major cities, but hopefully, we'll have good weather for you. Be sure and check the web for the forecast during your trip so you'll know what to pack.
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 11:15 AM
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You can click on this link to view travel info about Texas

Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 11:16 AM
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If you get a chance, rent the movie "Lone Star" from your video store. It's an interesting tale of Texas. Poor thing. Texas. How did you get so lucky?
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 12:15 PM
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Pat, I was born in Houston, Texas, and despite what some ignorant people have said, there are many exciting things to do in Houston and the surrounding area. There are a number of world class museums in Houston. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is the most visited science center in the nation. with it's butterfly house, tropical rainforest, and Burke Baker Planetarium. Space Center Houston and Moody Gardens should also be on your list. They are within an hour's drive of Houston. We also have some of the finest restaurants in Texas.

Houston's weather in February should be mild, but could also be cold and rainy.

The following website may be of some help:
Old Jul 6th, 2002, 09:04 AM
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Folks, Pat is coming from London, not the Sahara Desert ! "cold and rainy" in February? Let me translate for you --- in Texan 'cold' means when temps fall below 60 degrees! I'm up in Dallas and find that February weather is quite pleasant.

As to getting around, no question, MUST rent a car in Texas.
Old Jul 6th, 2002, 09:14 AM
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Oh Eric---the Palo Duro Canyon is beautiful in Amarillo--and don't forget Amarillo is home to the "cadillac ranch"..definetly something you won't see anyplace else. But..Amarillo is too far away from everything else. Why not stroll over to East Texas--Caddo Lake to a town called Uncertain? Cool restaurants along Lake Caddo complete with cypress trees and spanish moss. I say avoid West Texas unless you like tumbleweeds and snakes.
Old Jul 6th, 2002, 09:42 AM
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I second avoiding west texas. I've lived in both West (Lubbock) and East (San Antonio) Texas. I believe the San Antonio, Austin, Dallas trip will be much more enjoyable. I also wouldn't go to Laredo or any other border town unless you want to say you went to Mexico then go during the day and leave.

You will definitely want to eat your way through texas. The texmex food and the bbq seem to be the food that Texas is known for.

If you're in San Antonio you will want to see the Alamo and the river walk. In fact you might want to stay in a hotel on the riverwalk while you are in San Antonio.
Old Jul 6th, 2002, 09:44 AM
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I agree with bettyk, Houston can be a fun place to visit espec. if you like restaurants etc. Weather in Feb usually very pleasant too. Gulf coast nice in parts, get on down to Port Aransas & Corpus Christi. A car is essential wherever you go. Also in Feb, won't be too hot out west, if you want to drive and drive head for Big Bend National Park, it's wild and spectacular.
Have a great trip,
p. (expat Brit in Texas)
Old Jul 6th, 2002, 10:39 PM
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January and Febuary are the coldest months of the year here in Texas. I don't know about South Texas, but Dallas/Ft. Worth is not always pleasant in February. You are likely to see ice. I would try May or Oct. to come to Texas. These are the better months.
Old Jul 7th, 2002, 10:50 AM
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Texas is usually nice in February. I guess the big bluebonnet display is in March, but you might get a bit of it. West Texas is not going to be so hot and dusty in February as some posters indicate; it's just a long drive.

Places a British visitor might like:
- Space Center Houston
- Rockport (migrating birds stop here for a rest after crossing the gulf of Mexico, boat trips to see endangered whooping cranes)
- Brownsville (border town, seafood and TexMex, possibly the beach, but watch out for the spring breakers later in the month!)
- The Hill Country (definitely; you could spend the entire 2 weeks there)
- Palo Duro Canyon (very out of the way, but like the Grand Canyon)
- Big Bend National Park (mountains and desert right up next to each other, worth the long detour)
- Davis Mountains State Park (beautiful hills and an observatory)
- Caddo Lake (mysterious and creepy, great for canoeing)
- San Antonio (Riverwalk and great Mexican culture)
Old Jul 7th, 2002, 11:02 AM
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Within 1-2 hours of Dallas, I would suggest Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and a meal at Rough Creek Lodge. You could overnight at either one if you like. Agree with Rockport/Port Aransas and associated birding as good places to try in February. The most fickle part of February in Texas is the weather is a wild-card.
Old Jul 7th, 2002, 11:58 AM
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Just curious, what do you Texans think of Crawford and the surrounding area -- what is the surrounding area called?
Old Jul 7th, 2002, 07:19 PM
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Old Jul 7th, 2002, 08:11 PM
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forget about traveling by train. Its not like England. I lived in Texas for 16 years and never once saw a passenger train. True!
Old Jul 7th, 2002, 08:30 PM
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Texas is the size of France. You are going to have to focus if you want to enjoy the trip.

Skip anything west of Ft Worth. There is nothing there to see.

Do Dallas, Ft Worth (they are 2 different cities even if they are 35 miles apart), Austin (LBJ Library), San Antonio (riverwalk, Alamo) and Houston area.
Old Jul 7th, 2002, 08:43 PM
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Texas is 30% larger than France!
Old Jul 8th, 2002, 04:18 AM
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Hi Pat there has been some great advise here. I live in Dallas and have all my life. First of all, Dallas and Fort Worth are fun to visit but you do not need a lot of time. You do not need much time to explore Dallas and Fort Worth. You could do each one for a day. Austin,San Antonio and The Hill Country are very nice. Right now however there have been devastating floods in some of the most scenic areas so if I were planning a trip I would check on accomodations. Some places have been destroyed by the flood waters. February is a cold month for us Texans. Maybe not by your standards but it can be. Our weather changes a lot and can be very inconsistent. I would definitely dress in layers if I were you. Oh also that might save you time and possibly money is that there is an airline called Southwest. They offer very cheap and reasonable fares. If you are planning a trip from Dallas to San Antonio you are looking at around 5 hours give or take. So to save you some time it might be cheaper and faster to buy a ticket. You definitely need a car in Texas. Period. Within the cities I would not recommend the bus.
In Dallas a must see would be the Sixth Floor Museum. It is a museum that is dedicated to John F. Kennedy and gives historical information about the assasination. It is located in downtown Dallas. If you like to shop (especially since you have the British Pound) you will find that Dallas has wonderful shopping. Northpark has some good upscale shopping. Also there are some trendy spots in Dallas that have sprung up. Fort Worth is fun. The stockyards are fun to see. Also the Amon Carter Museum is great. It has some wonderful western art. The Kimball Museum is also very nice. Unlike a lot of British Museums there are entrance fees.
I do not recommend going into Mexico to one of the border towns..not a good idea. Very dangerous.
Skip West Texas, there is nothing to see unless you want to see a lot of nothing. Most of all have a nice trip.
Keep posting with other questions.
Old Jul 8th, 2002, 05:24 AM
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Crawford--you mean the Hill Country? Near Waco . That is where President Bush's ranch is located. I wouldn't bother with Crawford. See Austin/San Antonio instead.

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