First Trip to Texas -

Old Feb 8th, 2016, 05:51 AM
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First Trip to Texas -

Hi everyone,

My partner and I are from the UK and are planning to come to the USA in October, touring through Texas, then Louisiana and to the Florida panhandle in 3 weeks.

We have come up with itinerary for our Texas leg of the trip and wanted to hear what you think and whether we have split our time up right. We are looking to go to the Texas State fair while in Dallas.

We are not massive museum lovers and enjoy walking the towns and cities and trying great food and meeting the locals. We are in our 20s.

Dallas 2 Nights

Fort Worth 1 Night

Frederickburg 1 Night

Visit Austin day trip

New Braunfels 1 Night

San Antonio 2 Nights

Bandera Ranch 2 nights

Houston Clear Lake 2 Nights

Thanks.
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Old Feb 8th, 2016, 07:25 AM
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Where are you coming into Texas from? Do you intend to rent a car? I am guessing you are not paying a drop off fee on the car.
It is possible to take a train (Sunset Limited) from San Antonio to New Orleans and rent another car there for your trip across the Gulf Coast.
The Sunset Limited only runs 3 days a week between Los Angeles and New Orleans.
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Old Feb 8th, 2016, 09:01 AM
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I'm biased since I live here, but Austin deserves an overnight stay - at least. I would take a night from another destination - probably from New Braunfels.

Also, you're doing a bit of backtracking with your current itinerary. After DFW, I would suggest the following:
Austin - 1 or 2 nights
Fredericksburg - 1 night
Bandera - 2 nights
San Antonio - 2 nights
then onto Houston.

The Hill Country (including Austin and San Antonio) is the prettiest part of Central/East Texas and IMO deserves the majority of your time in our state.
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Old Feb 8th, 2016, 09:06 AM
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I'd definitely spend the night in Austin. The nightlife is fantastic and the Austin food scene is one of my favorites. Tons of outdoor music venues- it rivals New Orleans, easily. My favorite restaurant is Snack Bar. The food is interesting and delicious.
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Old Feb 8th, 2016, 09:59 AM
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Thanks for your responses.

Tomfuller - We will be renting a car indeed, but we want to stop at Houston & Lafayette before New Orleans. We were planning on taking the car all the way through and are aware of the one way charges by the time we get to the Florida Panhandle ��

Lolo - That suggestion looks awesome, however what has thrown us a bit at the moment is we would like to visit Austin and experience it's famous night life and scene however, we are going during a massive music festival at the beginning of October which we are not attending. The accommodation in the center is sky high, so if we did see Austin, have you any cheaper accommodation options in areas nearby?
Also, the reason for Bandera being after SA was we were planning to stay 2 nights at a ranch, however one of those days would fall on a Sunday so alot of the activities are off (horse riding and such). What has just struck me, could we stay in Bandera and go for a day trip and evening in SA? Or does SA deserve much more time?

Hobbert - Thanks for the tip!

Thanks
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Old Feb 8th, 2016, 10:56 AM
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The Sunset Limited leaves San Antonio at 6:25AM on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. It arrives in Houston before noon.
Renting another car before you leave Houston might make sense.
I have enjoyed San Antonio much more than time in Houston.
The Riverwalk has several good Mexican restaurants some with tables by the water.
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Old Feb 8th, 2016, 11:17 AM
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Don't bother with Amtrak. Geez, Tom Fuller gives out train information like he's getting a cut from Amtrak and for everyplace outside the Northeast corridor (DC to Boston), Amtrak is anywhere from mediocre to awful. Plus, you're going to be staying somewhere in the country, right (see below re: dude ranch) after San Antonio and before Houston? How the h--l does a train help you in any way? (And a slow train at that - why take a 5-1/2 hour train ride for a three-hour drive? That's stupid).

Get a car in Dallas. No need to have a night in FW, you can drive to and from easily enough because it's less than 45 miles from Dallas.

What is "sky high" for accommodation? You can get a hotel outside the center of Austin even during ACL for decent prices far under $200 per.

What's "Bandera Ranch"? Is that the Mayan Dude Ranch outside San Antonio? If so, be clear on that - googling "bandera ranch" gets apartment recommendations in Euless, a DFW bedroom community.

Why not just stay four nights in San Antonio and day trip to Fredricksburg and New Braunfels instead of changing hotels all the bloody time? That's a waste of energy.
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Old Feb 8th, 2016, 11:40 AM
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I considered the idea of staying at Fort Worth as I have heard some people say the traffic from Dallas and FW can be a challenge.

Car is the one thing we are going for.

By sky high in the center of Austin I mean $300+ a night, so hence why I was enquiring what places out of the center were nice and easy to get to the key areas.

I was saying Bandera Ranch to generally refer to the dude ranches yes. This is something we would love to do.

I agree about changing hotels all the time, but that is why I've come here, as google maps is an insight to travel distances but I don't want rely on it solely. So if you think it is not too bad to got from SA to Fredricksburg that is something we can consider.
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Old Feb 8th, 2016, 12:52 PM
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You will love the State Fair. Depending on where you stay in Dallas, consider taking the DART train (green line) to the fairgrounds. It drops you off right at the gate and saves a lot of hassle parking -- not to mention the $15 to $20 parking fee. If you are not vegetarians, don't leave the fair without having a Fletcher's Corny Dog!!
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Old Feb 8th, 2016, 01:51 PM
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>

It's about 70 miles (110 clicks). In Texas, that's nothing - you can run that in about an hour.

>

Just get on Google maps and look at I-35 north of downtown Austin - there are tons of hotels along the highway within a few miles of the city. The traffic will suck, but that's true in Austin even without ACL.

>

The traffic from FW to Dallas can be terrible. It can also be no big deal. Even if it is bad, it's only about an hour or so. And you're unlikely to go around too much of FW if you're not into museums - its museum district is one of the main attractions.
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Old Feb 8th, 2016, 02:33 PM
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Ah, yes, I didn't consider that you're here during ACL. It'll be expensive downtown (and crowded), but I wouldn't let that deter you from spending time here. Do you know what dates you'll be here yet? Can you spend time in Austin during the week vs. on the weekend? You'll be fighting regular rush hour traffic but will miss the traffic that comes with ACL, home games at UT, Grand Prix...

With a quick search on Oct 7-8 I am still seeing some hotels under $200 per night, many much lower than that. You'll probably want to look for hotels near the airport or in the Arboretum/Gateway area.

BigRuss has some good points. San Antonio would work as a base to New Braunfels, for sure, and to the Hill Country. New Braunfels is a VERY easy drive from San Antonio and like I alluded to earlier, not worth a night on its own. Fredericksburg is a little less than 2 hours from Austin and I believe a similar distance from San Antonio. It's a beautiful drive from either city. If you decide that Fredericksburg is too far, you can still experience the Hill Country with day trips from SA/Austin. We really like the Wimberley/Blanco area, which is between San Antonio and Austin. Also, you could easily do a day trip to Marble Falls/Llano from Austin. Llano is about 2 hours away but Coopers is there, and that's the best BBQ I've ever had - well worth the drive. They did just open a location in Austin but the experience at the original Cooper's is part of its allure.

I also had to look up Bandera Ranch
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Old Feb 8th, 2016, 03:02 PM
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Wow so much info, thank you!

Looking at all this, we might be tempted to pull one of the 4 nights in New Orleans into Texas to get some valuable time in these places.

Lolo, amazingly enough we were looking at Austin from 6th to 8th maybe as arriving in Dallas on Monday potentially.

So, looking at this we could consider:
Dallas/Fort Worth - 3 nights
Austin - 2 nights
Bandera - 3 nights
San Antonio - 2 nights
Houston - 2 nights
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Old Feb 9th, 2016, 08:18 AM
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Why not go to Bandera for the weekend and then situate yourself in Austin or SA for 4 nights during the week between the two halves of ACL?
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Old Feb 9th, 2016, 09:05 AM
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I agree with BigRuss, you are 20-somethings...trust me, you will LOVE Austin.
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Old Feb 9th, 2016, 10:35 AM
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Coming from the UK, you've probably never seen a rodeo. If you're in the Dallas/Fort Worth area over the weekend, please check out the Cowtown Rodeo

http://www.cowtownrodeo.com

Even if you don't do the rodeo, please visit the FW Stockyards -- it's "our" history.

http://www.fortworthstockyards.org

And you could do some "boot-scootin'" at Billy Bob's too!

Agree with others - driving between Dallas/Fort Worth is easy - yes, you may have traffic, but nothing horrendous
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Old Feb 9th, 2016, 10:36 AM
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While in FW, you might also consider going to the Downtown area of Sundance Square. Nice restaurants, clubs, bars and nice pedestrian area.
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Old Feb 9th, 2016, 10:37 AM
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How can we get this to work to the number of nights in our itinerary though? Plus the route to be logical to move onto Houston last?
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Old Feb 9th, 2016, 10:41 AM
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Sorry guys my last post was for BigRuss and AustinTraveller.

Thanks Jill. Unfortunately we are turning up to Dallas on a Monday so I guess we'll miss the rodeo?. We originally considered a Friday but the flights were expensive plus being the first weekend of the state fair, we were not sure this would be a great idea!
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Old Feb 9th, 2016, 11:17 AM
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I think that the itinerary you proposed last night looks great. Only suggestion is to take a night off of Bandera and add it to Austin or San Antonio...unless you decided to use Bandera as a base to other parts of the Hill Country? I don't know much about the dude ranch there so maybe 3 nights is the right amount of time there, but I still think you could use an extra night in one of the aforementioned cities.

If you are worried about not having enough time in Texas - is the rest of your route set in stone? Is there any wiggle room there?
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Old Feb 9th, 2016, 12:02 PM
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Hi Lolo,

Our problem isn't so much a shortage of nights, as we have taken one night from New Orleans to put into Texas and would love to finish with 3 days (4 nights) on a beach after Lafayette and New Orleans.

I think we will be happy with 2 nights in Austin to be honest as we do not want to take them off anywhere else...however is there any ideas of best places in Austin to stay as the first night is the night before ACL (so not too badly priced) however our second night would fall in the first night of ACL (the 7th). We were looking in North Austin around the Arboretum as they seemed sensibly priced but not too out of the way? I have heard a lot about SoCo but havent looked into prices yet.
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