My Texas Bucket List
We are four weeks into being Texans, so I thought it was about time to share my Texas bucket list. As always, I'm a bit ambitious. I may not get to everything in 13 weeks, but I'll damn sure try!
COVID has definitely put a damper on things, but there are still many ways to enjoy Texas SAFELY! On my list, I've even included things that I know I won't experience this go-round, either due to it being out of season OR COVID. Enjoy!
Houston has been one of the biggest surprises thus far in our travel journey. I don't really know exactly what I was expecting, but this was not it. Houston seems to be the odd city out in Texas, compared to Austin, Dallas - Fort Worth, and San Antonio. Houston was described to me as too hot, too crowded, too much crime, too much traffic, etc. What was not mentioned to me was that I would be eating the best Mexican food of my life, the margaritas hit a little bit better, the beach is only 45 minutes away, I'm a short drive away from numerous fun cities, and there is more to do than I can accomplish in a 13-week assignment. This city is awesome, and I'm only at the beginning of exploring all that it has to offer. I may not be able to enjoy all of the things on this list, ie Astros game, but I can sure enjoy watching them play at The Original Ninfas with a $1 margarita in hand! I'll probably turn into a taco here shortly, but I'm totally ok with that.
Galveston, a small, coastal town, about 45 minutes south of Houston is worth mentioning. Besides the beach, the historic town has several attractions for a weekend getaway. A few attractions to look into are Moody Gardens, Schlitterbahn Waterpark, and the Galveston Historic Square.
I just visited Austin for the first time this past weekend, and it is so my kinda place! Austin brings me such a feeling of home and reminds me so much of Nashville. Unfortunately, I did not get the full experience thanks to COVID, but I think a second visit is warranted regardless. There is so much to do and many of the activities are an all-day affair. That being said, you could easily spend four or so days here ..... if you pace yourself ;) Austin is an outdoor enthusiasts paradise, a foodies heaven, a music lovers dream, and a partiers playground. Although it is HOT in the summer, there are plenty of ways to cool off. Not on the list, but you can even buy day pool passes at many of the hotels in Austin. I cannot wait to visit, again, when things are back to "normal", ie get the real experience of Sixth and Rainey Street. In the meantime, floating the San Marcos River, zip-lining, lounging on Lake Travis, and eating good are still available to you.
San Antonio is definitely a city I plan on spending ample time exploring. Rich in culture, San Antonio is one of the oldest Spanish colonizations of the European settlements in Texas and has a 300-year history that stretches back to Spanish Texas. One of the most well-known spots of San Antonio is the River Walk. Filled with lodging, restaurants, spots to enjoy a drink, it offers fun for everyone. For those of you who enjoy a good history lesson, I highly recommend taking the riverboat tour. Grab a drink and enjoy the ride and hearing all about old-time San Antonio. If you can, do the boat ride at night - way better .. and less hot! I also find it worth it to lodge somewhere along the River Walk. We found affordable options overlooking the river and just a walk downstairs to all of the happenings. It is also an easy walk to another main attraction, the Alamo, which according to my mom has become way better over the years.
There is so much to do outside of San Antonio. Just an hour and ten minutes away, you can visit the precious town of Fredericksburg, home of Texas German. In the heart of wine country, there is much to do in Fredericksburg. An entire day could be spent going in and out of antique stores, retail shops, and eating/drinking. The rest of your time can be spent at different vineyards in Texas Wine Country, which if I'm not mistaken is second to California's wine country. A fun time to visit would be in October for Fredericksburg's October Fest. Close to Fredericksburg is Luckenbach, Texas. There is not much to this two-building town, but it becomes a music venue on occasion and it's CUTE!
Oh, Dallas! You can't visit Texas and NOT visit Dallas, or Fort Worth for that matter. Their culinary scene, sporting events, and nightlife - they reak Texas pride and rightfully so! This large US city has so much to offer tourists and locals alike. I have only been to Dallas once, and I'm so ready to go back. Of the items on the bucket list, I have been to the Sixth Floor Museum - AMAZING! There are also JFK assassination tours for those of you into conspiracies, probably once of the more famous conspiracies to date. Bishop Arts District is also an awesome stop made better with Lockhart's BBQ and Emporium Pies! Luckily Ford's sister has called Dallas home for the last three years, giving us all the best recommendations. To note for all you fashionistas, Dallas also has some of the greatest consignment stores I've come across, To Be Continued Consignment being one of my favorites.
Heading outside of Dallas, you should spend a couple of hours in Waco, Texas. You may know this city as being the home of Magnolia Market, Chip and Joanna Gaines's home and garden shop with food truck and bakery options. Magnolia Table, their restaurant right down the road is actually pretty darn good, too.
Besides lingering around the big cities of Texas, there is still much more to explore in Texas. A few other things on my Texas Bucket list include -
Big Bend National Park
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Monahans Sandhills State Park
By the time it's all said and done, I will have probably added tons of other things that I accidentally stumbled upon. Forget something good? I want to know about it. I would also love to hear about some of your experiences at any of these destinations. Drop it in the comments below! I'll be sure to share my experiences at some of these places in a later post.