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planning a trip to Texas
Old 01-05-2015, 09:40 PM   #1
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planning a trip to Texas

We are taking a trip to Texas from Minnesota to see if snowbirding may be in our future. We plan to make it a three week trip. We will be camping in our fifth wheel camper along the way. Admittedly I am not real well traveled.... I don't enjoy the complications of air travel and crowds so we generally stay fairly local (not to mention w*rk cuts into my life so much yet!). I like my vacations to start when I leave home not when I reach the destination. With this in mind I am looking for input as to what you may recommend that we stop and take in along the way or some interesting things to do in Texas.

As of right now we don't even have a definite positive final destination in mind but are thinking Port Aransas or maybe South Padre area. We don't know for sure. We like to avoid busy areas, We like history, biking, hiking, fishing but mostly going to just check out the area for the future. Can anyone offer any interesting places to visit or things to do or areas a kid from the north woods should avoid?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:47 PM   #2
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When are you planning on making the trip? That can make a difference in what you should see - or avoid.
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:58 PM   #3
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Leaving home on February 6th.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:04 PM   #4
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Wow! There is so much of Texas... It is almost like saying "I'm going to Europe. What should I see."

I am somewhat partial to the Gulf region... the Corpus Christi area is actually quite nice and you will love it. Of course, San Antonio is my favorite city in Texas (and in the top 5 anywhere) but I guess that is kinda in that same area. Nevertheless, there are few places in Texas that I wouldn't suggest you look into... well, maybe the Border towns but that's another story.
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Old 01-06-2015, 06:08 AM   #5
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We are taking a trip to Texas from Minnesota to see if snowbirding may be in our future.
This is exactly my plan for my FIRE days, with an RV, as I am from MN too. It's too bad you are not there today, with temperatures going to reach well below zero, with windchills -40 below.

I have been to San Antonio, a real nice city. My mother lived there for a year or so. I looked at Alpine TX on the map, as it is a nice high-altitude get away, similar to Prescott, AZ but more remote. Dallas/Ft Worth area, near the race track was a nice bustling yet uncrowded area.

I did a bit of hunting on some ranches about an hour away from San Antonio, so there is a lot of land, and a lot of things to do in the outdoors if you want.

Galveston was nice when I visited there, and so was Liberty Texas, near Houston. Try a few places. Try a few states. Texas is like a blast furnace in the summer.
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Old 01-06-2015, 07:24 AM   #6
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It wasn't clear whether you wanted to base yourself in one site for the duration or if you wanted a travel guide. If you go to Port Aransas you'll have good saltwater fishing opportunities and the beginning of the better beach areas. Corpus is the closest "big" city and its not real big. There are a few Spanish missions scattered around but not as many as in San Antonio. San Antonio is about 3 hours from Port Aransas and Houston is about 4 so they are both doable but long daytrips. There aren't really any tourist worthy sites in Houston but it has the normal cultural facilities.

If you want to "see" Texas, I recommend San Antonio, Fort Davis/Marfa Area, Big Bend, Austin and Fredericksburg. You could cruise around the state and spend a week or more in each area. If you have specific outdoor interests, let me know what they are.

Texas has a travel guide available with a lot of information on things to see and do. Order it. It's free.
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Old 01-06-2015, 07:42 AM   #7
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I'd recommend you avoid is I-35, at least until you are south of San Antonio. A frequently used snowbirder route is US 79 from northeast TX to northeast of Austin, then US 77 south.

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Leaving home on February 6th.
Springtime usually hits south TX in the last half of February, so you might get a taste of it before heading back. The area around Fredericksburg (Hill Country) can be nice in the Spring if we get enough rain over the winter, which looks promising at this point. You might plan on heading through there on your trip home.
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Old 01-06-2015, 08:51 AM   #8
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In the town of Onalaska, there is a very nice KOA campground right on the lake. Very nice, by East Texas standards, restaurant there. There is a little hole in the wall place about six blocks away that does great fried shrimp. Lake Livingston is great for Bass and Catfish. February is touch and go as far as temperatures go. However, might just seem like swimming weather to someone from Minnesota. Area is mostly flat, so biking is not a problem. Houston is about 1.5 to 2 hours south, Galveston 2 to 2.5 hours away.
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Old 01-06-2015, 08:53 AM   #9
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Sounds like fun. Texas is huge. We have a few business locations there and love the visits.

Question...if you are leaving 2/6 with a 5th wheel aren't you concerned about weather? How far are you driving until you stop?
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:07 AM   #10
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There are some nice wineries in the Hill Country area around Fredericksburg. If you get to South Padre Island you might want to check out the sea turtle rescue. Sea Turtle, Inc. - South Padre Island - Rehabilitation, Education, Conservation - Kemp's Ridley Turtle Rescue
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:41 AM   #11
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If you stay until March you can attend the largest rattlesnake festival:

http://traveltips.usatoday.com/rattl...xas-61591.html

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Old 01-06-2015, 10:07 AM   #12
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I'd recommend you avoid is I-35, at least until you are south of San Antonio. A frequently used snowbirder route is US 79 from northeast TX to northeast of Austin, then US 77 south.
++++1... I-35 is insane with truck traffic and endless construction between Hillsboro to Temple.


Quote:
If you want to "see" Texas, I recommend San Antonio, Fort Davis/Marfa Area, Big Bend, Austin and Fredericksburg.

Texas has a travel guide available with a lot of information on things to see and do. Order it. It's free.
another suggestion totally on the money IMHO.... I think y'all :cool smiley: will enjoy our state...lots of friendly folks, great food and good times. Cheers!
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Old 01-06-2015, 10:45 AM   #13
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Three weeks won't be enough! I'd park the RV on River Road in New Braunfels, it's a wonderful, scenic biking road, you can fly fish, and Gruene Hall is right around the corner. Then you are midpoint between San Antonio where the rodeo with major music acts will be going on and Austin with all the museums and history. Lots of biking, we are riding today! Also easy like an hour driving distance to Wimberly, Fredricksburg, Luchenbach,, Lockhart-must do BBQ! Then you can take a couple 2-3 day trips to Port Aransas (not much going on!) and stunning Big Bend. Also I can take you sailing on Canyon Lake. Just FYI, it's not that warm this time of year, it will barely break 60 today. Die 35 was not so bad coming from Dallas during the holidays, take the loop around Dallas as there is construction downtown, and then the toll roads around Austin. Do not go thru Austin during rush hour!!!!! I'd add a couple more weeks and take a weeks cruise out of Galveston/Houston too! PM me if you want more info, I could go on and on!
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Old 01-06-2015, 11:00 AM   #14
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... and then the toll roads around Austin.
While this is excellent advice from a traffic standpoint, Texas toll roads are not RV-friendly when it comes to cost. The toll for a vehicle towing a two-axle trailer is steep.

For example, taking the toll road off I-35 North at Georgetown and looping around Austin to I-35 on the south (53 miles) costs $32.07...'only' $24.12 if you have a TxTag account. https://www.txtag.org/en/tollCalc/site.html
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Old 01-06-2015, 11:03 AM   #15
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We are from northern Michigan, and this will be our 5th winter spent in the Rockport area. We are usually down there from around mid-January thru mid-to-late March or so. We like Rockport because it is a fairly small town, yet has everything we need, along with great fishing and birding opportunities. We rent a house down there, right on one of the saltwater bays. Weather can be cool at times, but very nice at times also (and in any case, it's a heck of a lot warmer than Minn./Mich).

I know you say you'd like to take your time on the trip down, but considering that you're leaving Minn. in early February, you could be driving through some fairly nasty winter weather for your first day or two (keep an eye on the weather forecast). We prefer to get down to at least Arkansas before we slow down too much (which gets us out of the possible winter storm areas), but after that we often take our time.

There are many nice areas in NE Texas that we drive through on the way down (2 or 3 National Forests)........sometime we plan to spend a little more time in that area
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Old 01-06-2015, 11:16 AM   #16
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Do not go thru Austin during rush hour!!!!!
Or when SXSW lets out... or both at the same time. That is the worst experience ever.
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Old 01-06-2015, 11:40 AM   #17
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Used to live in San Antonio area, lot of fun things to do there. Approx halfway between SA and Houston, few miles south of I-10 stop by Shiner, TX and visit the Shiner Brewery there!

The hill Country starts just north of SA and is a real nice area to see and visit.

In late Feb the humidity will be lower and not as bad as summer.
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Old 01-06-2015, 11:48 AM   #18
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If you are into bird watching the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park World Birding Center | Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park has some awesome opportunities to see birds that are not found anywhere else in the US, like Green Jays and Common Chachalacas. They have blinds you can go into and sit and watch as birds come to feeders.
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Old 01-06-2015, 11:59 AM   #19
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Lot's to see and do all over Texas but if you want to stay away from the busy areas that means staying away from Dallas/Ft Worth, Houston/Galveston and the San Antonio/Austin areas. Agree with others that said to avoid I35, especially from Dallas to San Antonio.

Lot's of campgrounds around the state but it's probably best to buy a recent campground map. If you'd like to see a lot of heavily wooded/forested areas then drive thru North East and Central East Texas down highways 259/59. If you are going to South Padre Island, then you might want to visit the Rio Grand valley area towns for a taste of the difference in cultures.

As others have mentioned, Big Bend is another interesting area to visit but it is a long drive from "everywhere". Roads are good and very little traffic once you get within a few hundred miles of Big Bend. A lot of hiking trails and a lot of off paved road driving through-out the park, if you like that sort of thing. Some of off road driving is best done with a 4 wheel drive truck. I've been on all of them several times and it is interesting and fun. Good maps are available for both on and off road driving in the park. When I go off road driving there, I've always brought along extra gas (just in case) but so far I've never needed it.

http://www.nps.gov/bibe/index.htm

Have fun.
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Old 01-06-2015, 12:29 PM   #20
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Used to live in San Antonio area, lot of fun things to do there. Approx halfway between SA and Houston, few miles south of I-10 stop by Shiner, TX and visit the Shiner Brewery there!

The hill Country starts just north of SA and is a real nice area to see and visit.

In late Feb the humidity will be lower and not as bad as summer.
I've never visited the Shiner brewery (it's probably interesting) but I have drank their beer. (Once) With the exception of Budweiser there is nothing quite as bad.
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