There's a popular cliché―everything's bigger in Texas. Well, that's certainly true, considering several, amazing activities it offers.
Located in the South Central United States, Texas is the second-largest U.S. state. Austin is the capital of Texas, while Houston is its largest city. San Antonio and El Paso are major cities and Dallas-Fort Worth is the largest metropolitan area (also the fourth-largest in the US). Texas contains diverse landscapes that range from prairies, grasslands, swamps, and woods to rugged hills and rolling plains. It has a long history as the center of American cattle industry. It is for this reason that most of the world associates Texas with the image of a cowboy.
The to-do list includes visits to historical sites and architectural marvels, and shopping and dining in some of the best malls and restaurants. Your Texas vacation would be incomplete, if you don't experience the rugged Texas terrain, the amazing aquariums, and water-parks. If you are having a hard time figuring out what to do in Texas, here's some help.
Texas State Capitol: If you are visiting Texas for the first time, you should not miss the chance to tour the State Capitol. It is located on 11th Street, between Lavaca and San Jacinto, in Austin. The State Capitol was completed in 1888. In the year 1986, it was designated as a National Historic Landmark. The things to see in the State Capitol are the legislative chambers and the House Chamber, which is the Capitol's largest room and can hold 150 representatives when the House is in session. You will also get to see the original flag from the Battle of San Jacinto and other artifacts that are on display. The grounds of the Capitol Complex display several monuments, including the one dedicated to the heroes of the Alamo. Visitors are offered a free walking tour of the Capitol on all days, excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Easter.
The Alamo: Previously known as Mission San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo is considered as the most famous Texan shrine in San Antonio. More than 2.5 million people visit the Alamo every year. The Alamo, established in 1718, was the first Spanish mission that was founded to educate the Indians. It came to be known as the 'Cradle of Texas Liberty', after a small band of Texas volunteers defied the powerful Mexican Army of General Antonio López de Santa Anna for 13 days. Although they suffered defeat, their death came to symbolize the virtues of courage and sacrifice. Located at 300 Alamo Plaza in downtown San Antonio, the Alamo is open everyday and admission is free.
Riverwalk: The Riverwalk is San Antonio's famous shopping and dining district. It is one of the most exciting places to visit in Texas. Located along the winding banks of the San Antonio River, the Riverwalk is also known as the 'American Venice'. It is dotted with a number of classy restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, and shops. Enjoy the beauty of Riverwalk in a boat or on a leisurely walk.
Texas State Aquarium: Attracting over 500,000 visitors every year, the Texas State Aquarium provides an out of the world experience for the old and young. The Aquarium features the most exotic species of fish as well as the ones endemic to the Gulf of Mexico. Programs like 'You Otter Know This', 'Dive Encounters', 'Dolphin Presentations', 'Birds of Prey', and 'Reptile Report' are a great hit with the kids. The Aquarium is located in Corpus Christi. The best time to visit the State Aquarium is during summer. The Aquarium is open to visitors every day of the year, except during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Forbidden Gardens: Inviting tourists to discover the mysteries of Imperial China, Forbidden Gardens was built in Houston in 1997 by a real estate mogul from Hong Kong. The attraction covers an area of 40 acres and depicts 2,000 years of Chinese history. Behind the courtyard, you will see tiny model palaces and people. Models of the Forbidden City of Beijing, the Temple of Heaven, the Calming of the Heart Lodge, and canal city of Suzhou are a delight to the visitors. You can see a pit filled with little pink terra-cotta men, representing Emperor Qin's 6,000-men army. The Forbidden Gardens give you a glimpse of public life and culture of ancient China in modern-day Texas.
Lake Somerville State Park: Experiencing the great outdoors on a horseback is also a very good activity. You don't have to be a cowboy to experience the thrill of trail rides in the rugged and wild Texas terrain. Lake Somerville State park is located between Austin and College Station and is a great family getaway. The trails are great for fun activities like horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, and outdoor photography. You can also tour the entire park in a canoe.
Canyon Lake: Located on the Guadalupe River in Comal County, Texas, the Canyon Lake has 80 miles of breathtaking shoreline. The Canyon Lake shoreline has 8 public parks, which offer facilities for camping and trekking. The parks are a delight for nature lovers; you can observe a variety of sea birds and white-tail deer grazing in the grassy slopes. The Guadalupe river offers the best river tubing experience in the whole of Texas.
Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts: The 65-acre Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort in New Braunfels, Texas, is undoubtedly one of the world's biggest waterparks. Located on the banks of the Comal River, the waterpark has a wide variety of slides and water rides which include the three uphill water coasters, the Torrent―a tidal wave river, and the Boogie Bahn surfing attraction. The best thing about this resort is that it offers on-site lodging to visitors. With more than 40 thrilling water rides, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort truly offers an experience of a lifetime.
SeaWorld: The world's largest marine-life theme park, the SeaWorld tour, is one of the fun things to do in Texas. Enjoy a variety of shows featuring beluga whales, penguins, seals, sea lions, and the amazing Orca whales. Some of the popular shows and exhibits include 'Believe', 'The Cannery Row Caper', 'Cool Vibrations', and 'Viva!'. Visitors can experience the Antarctic wilderness on a moving walkway, that offers a view of over 200 penguins. It also has a collection of the world's most exotic and dangerous sea creatures like the sting rays, tropical fish, eels, and sharks.
Galleria Mall: The Galleria Mall, a 1,400,000 square feet shopping center in Dallas, is a must visit for all the shopaholics. Shop until you drop in some of the best boutiques like Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Tiffany & Co., Gucci, Nordstrom, etc. The mall also has an ice-skating rink, five movie theaters, and a number of world-class restaurants. If you are looking for antiques, you should visit the Historic downtown Plano for some amazing antique crafts, folk art, and Scandinavian pottery. Some other centers like the Collin Creek Mall, Grapevine Mills, and the NorthPark Center offer great shopping experiences.
With so many things to see and do, your vacation in Texas will be fun-filled, adventurous, and exotic. So, what are you waiting for?