There is no disputing that the state of Texas is large. In fact, it is larger than any country in Europe. Not only is it big in size, but it’s got a huge personality, history and story – one we are sure you are going to fall for – big time! Just get under the skin of cowboy country and you’ll realise there is way more to Texas than BBQ, ranches, music and hot weather.
Texas’ journey as an American state is fascinating. Spain was the first country to try and settle the area and it went back and forth between them and France for many years. Between 1690 – 1821, it was under Spanish rule. However, when Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, the Spanish were pushed out and Mexico created ‘Mexican Texas’ as part of a new nation. Several disputes led to the Texas Revolution in 1836 and ultimately to Texas becoming an independent territory called the Republic of Texas. Mexico refused to recognise independence, so invariably the United States authorised the annexation of the Republic of Texas in 1845. Texas subsequently declared its secession in 1861 and joined the Confederate States of America. And that, as they say, is just a snapshot! To find out the rest of the story, you're going to have to go to Texas to find out! Luckily we have just the holiday………….
Price per person includes:
All Bon Voyage holidays can be totally tailor-made.
To order your larger-than-life map of Texas click here
Begin your Texas adventure on a high with a visit to the
As you'd expect, shopping in Texas is also supersized! The Galleria in Houston is Texas' largest shopping centre and chock full of retail bliss with. With more than 400 superb shops and restaurants, you'll be blown away by the sheer scale. There is also a full-size ice rink, a state of the art children’s play area, two swimming pools, multiple tax-free reimbursement locations for international guests and several beauty salons.
If you want to escape the buzz of the city, head to the coast and Galveston Bay. Just 30 minutes from downtown Houston, you'll find the Kemah Boardwalk, a 35-acre coastal getaway featuring themed restaurants, retail shops and amusements.
TEXAS FACT: In 1973, the Manned Spaceflight Center was named in honour of the late President, and Texas native, Lyndon B. Johnson.
Distance: 162 miles
A big city with a small town heart, Austin lives and breathes its title, Live Music Capital of the World® with music in many forms available through out the city, year round. But, it's not all about music, there’s a lot more to Texas' state capital, including a real foodie culture with everything from fun food trucks to gourmet restaurants. There is also plenty of outdoor adventure, vintage shopping, sports, amazing art and one hell of a nightlife scene.
For a walk on the wild side, visit Austin's Museum of the Weird. Created by artist-entrepreneur Steve Busti, the museum lives in the back of his store, the “Lucky Lizard” and features many curios including a feejee mermaid, cyclops pigs, a hand of glory and a two-headed chicken!
For a real spectacle, if you are visiting between March and October, be at Congress Avenue Bridge just before sundown to view the largest urban colony of bats in North America. An estimated 1.5 million bats wake up from their daily slumber and take flight from underneath the bridge to eat and drink.
TEXAS FACT: The soft drink Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco, Texas.
Distance: 80 miles
The most historic city in Texas and once home to the Comanche Indians, this riverside area drew the attention of the Spanish missionaries who founded Mission San Antonio de Valero in 1718. Later this mission converted into a military outpost and was renamed The Alamo, the site of a pivotal event during the Texas Revolution.
Only steps from The Alamo, San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk is a 15-mile urban waterway full of sightseeing opportunities, boutique shopping and an endless choice of bars and restaurants. It serves as a very pleasant way to navigate the city. Hop aboard its river barges for a guided tour, or take a romantic cruise through the city at night when the Riverwalk comes alive with sparkling fairy lights and lanterns.
When you’re not strolling along the Riverwalk, mooch the King William Historic District, the Villita Historic Arts Village and the Historic Market Square (the largest Mexican Market in the USA). The trendy Pearl District has a reputation for unique stores and hip restaurants and the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park & Mission Trail, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers a fairly flat 16-mile bike trail..
In the evening head for the Roman Catholic San Fernando Cathedral, the burial site of the heroes of the Alamo and one of the oldest cathedrals in the USA. The cathedral is on Main Plaza and in the evening it becomes the stage for one of San Antonio's most visually compelling attractions, known as The Saga.
Free of charge every evening, this video art installation, created by Xavier de Richemont, is a 24-minute video, with choreographed music and narration, projected after dark onto the side of San Fernando Cathedral.
TEXAS FACT: King Ranch in South Texas is larger than the entire state of Rhode Island.
Distance: 70 miles
On your way to Hill & Wine Country, stop at tiny Luckenbach. With a population of only 3 people, it's home to a gift shop, cowboy hat store and one very famous stage! This hamlet was settled in the late 1840s and 1850s by German farmers, including Jacob and August Luckenbach.
In 1970, the local legend John “Hondo” Crouch and a few partners responded to an ad that offered the town for sale. Envisioning a town where music and magic get made, Luckenbach quickly became a venue for some of the USA’s most passionate country performers with daily performances on the hamlet's stage. In the 1970s, Luckenbach was a popular hang-out for none other than Willie Nelson.
Today, people from across the world drink beer underneath 500-year-old oak trees and listen to music in the memorabilia-studded bar. There are daily 'Picker Circle' performances from local musicians of all abilities at 5pm and larger events with country music greats throughout the year..
Fredericksburg boasts a delightful Main Street with nods to its German origins still visible. This is also the epicenter of Texas Wine Country with more than 40 wineries and boutique tasting rooms located in town.
Consider a jaunt out to Enchanted Rock State Park for amazing stargazing opportunities. Check the calendar for 'Rock Star Parties' where you can take guided hikes under the stars and learn about the constellations at the same time.
TEXAS FACT: In 1942, the BBC banned the song "Deep in the Heart of Texas" in factories, as the clapping portion of the song was seen as a hazard around heavy machinery.
Distance: 53 miles
Head further into Texas Hill Country to 'The Cowboy Capital of the World' - Bandera. You've two days here to fulfill your cowboy dreams on a family owned ranch where you'll have a 'rootin', tootin' time' experiencing cookouts, horseback rides and all manner of cowboy life.
If you want to party like a cowboy, head into town in the evening for some good 'ole Texas two-stepping at Arkey's Blue's Silver Dollar or the 11th Street Cowboy Bar.
TEXAS FACT: The oldest law enforcement agency in North America are the Texas Rangers.
Distance: 259 miles
Leave Eastern Texas behind and transition from lush ranchlands into wide open spaces, rural communities and sparse populations. This is great road-tripping country, just you, the vast sky and the empty road ahead.
Break your journey for mouth-watering BBQ in sleepy Sonora and stop a while in Ozana to visit the monument of legendary Davy Crockett, the hero of the Alamo. Inscribed at the base of the statue is Crockett's motto, "Be sure you are right, then go ahead."
Located deep in the heart of West Texas, Fort Stockton is a town where you can experience some frontier history. Once upon a time, soldiers of the 1st and 8th Infantries were stationed at this West Texas outpost to protect travellers heading west to Mexico and California from San Antonio. Plan to tour the frontier military fort established in 1858 in the National Register Historic District and the historic Old Pecos Country Jail (pre-booking essential).
Built in the 1880’s as a water-hole for cowboys and Texas Rangers, head for the Grey Mule Saloon, now owned by Mesa Vineyards, the largest wine producer in the state. It's a great bolt hole for wine-tasting in authentic cowboy-themed surroundings.
TEXAS FACT: Texas boasts more than 72,000 miles of highways.
Distance: 155 miles
Take the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to the stunning Santa Elena Canyon and view steep limestone cliffs carved by the Rio Grande. Or, take the scenic Lost Mine Trail that covers nearly 5-miles and climbs to over 1,000 feet with interpretative guides to indigenous plants, animals and Big Bend geological formations available on the way.
TEXAS FACT: The word "Texas" is derived from the Hasini Indian word for friend.
Distance: 122 miles
Take the opportunity for some final hiking before getting in the car and heading north to the town of Alpine. Set at an altitude of almost a mile above sea level, Alpine enjoys low humidity and cool summer nights and provides a base to explore Fort Davis. Native American Indians, bandits, soldiers and ranchers have all contributed to a community rich in history and culture.
At the McDonald Observatory you can see one of the world's major astronomy research facilities with an array of fascinating exhibits.
In nearby Marfa it's all about live music, film festivals, art galleries and the world-famous Marfa Lights! Also known as the Marfa Mystery Lights, these red, blue and sometimes white lights were first noticed in the 19th century in a remote, uninhabited area zooming across the plains at terrifying speeds. To this day they can't be explained. Marfa also has some quirky places to eat including the Lost Horse Saloon, Buns N' Roses and Planet Marfa. Fine dining it ain't, great food it is!
TEXAS FACT: The Texas State Capitol is taller than the U.S. Capitol by 15 feet.
Distance: 335 miles
Continue on through the Barrilla Mountains, vast skies and wide open roads to Lubbock and the birthplace of Buddy Holly. Stop in Odessa to visit the George Bush Childhood Home Museum and the Odessa Meteor Crater. Formed 62,000 years ago, and first discovered in 1892, it was believed that it was caused by gas trapped under the earth. In the 1920's D.Moreau Barringer finally recognised the depression as a meteorite crater.
A must-do in Lubbock is the Buddy Holly Center. Learn about the legendary rock 'n' roll singer who died in a tragic plane crash on 3rd February 1959. Ever since, this date has been referred to as 'the day the music died'.
The lesser-known Silent Wings Museum tells the story of the glider pilots of WWII who landed their crafts in some of the most dangerous war zones. The majority of these heroes received their wings in Lubbock at the South Plains Army Airfield, now home to this museum.
In the evening check out the Dixie Dog Dinner or Miss Anne's for great Texas burgers and an old-fashioned shake, followed by the latest movie at the retro Stars & Stripes Drive-In Theatre. It doesn't more American than this.
TEXAS FACT: There’s a dialect of German that’s only spoken in Texas
Distance: 164 miles
Just shy of Amarillo and gauged into the Texas Panhandle, the vast Palo Duro Canyon, is the second largest canyon in the USA at 120 miles long. One of the last refuges for the Comanches and Kiowas, Palo Duro was the site of a harrowing battle during the Red River War that pushed American Indians out of the Texas Panhandle and made way for the cattle ranch era. There are over 30 miles of hiking trails and in the summer months it's home to TEXAS Outdoor Musical in the amphitheatre.
You're now entering Route 66 territory and a must-stop is Cadillac Ranch. This art installation pays homage to the American Automobile with ten half-buried Cadillacs nose-down in the earth. Travellers are encouraged to spray paint their own graffiti on the cars. Stop for a bite to eat in the retro MidPoint Cafe in Adrian, the official half-way point of Route 66. Then cruise into Amarillo early evening and enjoy the neon Route 66 signs that light up the 1950 motels that line Amarillo Boulevard. Enjoy a few drinks and live music at the Gold Light Cantina, a Route 66 style roadhouse.
Distance: 258 miles
Take a nostalgic drive along ‘the Mother Road’ today and let the golden age of the American road-trip unwind in front of you. In Texas, stop in Mclean for one of the best -preserved ghost towns on Route 66 and also Shamrock, home of the Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Cafe. Built in 1936, this Art Deco gem was a popular stopping point for Route 66 travellers and is one of the most architecturally creative buildings along this length of the road.
Cross the border into Oklahoma, which boasts the longest stretch of Route 66. The excellent National Route 66 Museum in Elk City is a definite stop for Route 66 buffs as it celebrates the entire length of Route 66 - not just the Oklahoma section. In Oklahoma City head for Bricktown in the evening for eclectic boutiques, live music, piano bars and chic wine bars set in repurposed warehouses.
TEXAS FACT: The USA has three power grids: One for the East, one for the West and one for Texas
Distance: 199 miles
Whilst Dallas is the commercial and cultural hub of the area, Fort Worth makes for a more funky base and is the perfect blend of cattle-drive town and modern city. It is what Texas is all about: rodeos, cattle-drives and attractions dedicated to cowgirls and boys. Pull on your boots and head on down to Billy Bob’s, the world’s biggest honky-tonk. Take a saddle seat at the bar and order a cold beer then dine on juicy steaks at The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro where even the chefs wear cowboy hats! Or saunter around the Western-era shops, steakhouses and saloons in the historic Stockyards district.
In the evening head to Lil’ Red’s Longhorn Salon for some line-dancing, or set off to the Coyote Drive-In Movie theatre to munch on corn dogs and nachos as you watch the latest flick.
TEXAS FACT: Fort Worth's Texas Motor Speedway is one of the largest racing facilities in the nation.
Before your flight home from Dallas, head into the ‘Big D’ and visit the Sixth Floor Museum. Located in the Dallas County Administration Building, formerly the Texas School Book Depository, it was from the 6th floor on 22nd November 1963, that Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots that fatally wounded JFK. Today, this powerful museum examines the life, times, death and legacy of President John F. Kennedy.
If you aren't quite ready to return home, this holiday can be extended to include the Deep South, Florida beaches or even more cowboy country out West. All Bon Voyage holidays are tailored-made, so let us know what your big Texas holiday looks like!