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What's best to do/see in Texas?

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Scottsville, New...
posts: 5
reviews: 28
What's best to do/see in Texas?

I'm traveling to Dallas/Irving, Texas for a business trip and taking an extra week to visit and see "heartland" Texas in November (4th to the 11th). I'm a connoisseur of cigars, love moonshine (in moderation), and Pitmaster BBQ'ing, western movies, national parks (Yellowstone, Smokey Mountains), and rodeos. I love good/unique food and shopping in local shops (antiques too). I grew up on a family farm and love country scenery. I don't care for urban or city life when I'm on vacation (a city is a city) but crowds don't bother me.

I'm willing to travel around Texas up to eight hours away from Dallas but anything more than four hours of driving would have to be something pretty spectacular.

Any suggestions on where to go and what to do?

Carlsbad Caverns or Big Bend?

What's the best BBQ in the area?

Any ghost towns or western reenactment places?

Any unique tobacco places?

Any distilleries?

Anything I'm totally missing out on that I ought to see?

Thanks!

Edited: 9:40 am, July 02, 2013
Austin, Texas
Destination Expert
for Austin
posts: 4,146
reviews: 169
1. Re: What's best to do/see in Texas?

Head south to Austin and the Hill County! Austin is about a three hour drive from Dallas, and while it is a city, it's a special one and you can make it your base for exploring the Hill Country. Some of the best BBQ in the state is in Austin (Franklin's) and surrounding areas (Lockhart bills itself as the BBQ Capital of the World). There is also a growing craft distillery industry in the Hill Country (check out Garrison Brothers in Hye). If you venture a little further, Bandera, Texas is the Cowboy Capital of the World and will provide all sorts of cowboy-related activities. I love Big Bend, but it is a long drive from Dallas and I think you would get just as much enjoyment out of visiting Austin and the surrounding areas.

Czech Republic
Destination Expert
for San Antonio, Lubbock
posts: 9,829
reviews: 52
2. Re: What's best to do/see in Texas?

http://titosvodka.com/ Austin

http://shiner.com/mobile/ Shiner brewery, Shiner Tx

mysanantonio.com/life/food/article/Growing-n…

BBQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oo75DalsVOw

Rodeos, honky Tonks, Tex-Mex food, BBQ.... enough aorund DFW area but once you know where you wanna go, posters can give more specifics

look at a map, you could do DAL then Ft. Worth then take HWY 281 towards San Antonio and then to SA or towards Austin area and then back up towards DFW..

Bandera, Fredricksburg, Luckenbach, Johnson City areas

for ex. LBJ working ranch-National Park

tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/lyndon-b-johnson

www.texashighways.com is a good source

Edited: 11:18 am, July 02, 2013
Czech Republic
Destination Expert
for San Antonio, Lubbock
posts: 9,829
reviews: 52
3. Re: What's best to do/see in Texas?

cigarplaces.com/state/texas-cigar-bars.aspx

Houston
Destination Expert
for Houston
posts: 2,209
reviews: 234
4. Re: What's best to do/see in Texas?

If you've got an extra week to see "the heartland of Texas", it might be well worth your time to take four days to visit the Big Bend area. Yes, it's pretty much a full day's drive out there (even with speed limit much of the way at 80 or 85 mph, best observed, as local gendarmes are unforgiving). Terlingua is pretty much a ghost town (there are a few people living there, but it's just a very few), and the scenery in the BBNP (Big Bend Nat'l Park) is spectacular. At that time of year you can probably book reservations at Los Chisos Mountain Lodge, the only place to stay within the park itself. If you'd prefer something more luxurious, you can find nice quarters in Marathon and in Marfa. Worth a stop in that area is the observatory near Fort Davis.

As for BBQ, the best, as previously stated, is definitely in the Austin/Lockhart/Luling area--don't bother eating it anywhere else, as that's the cream of the crop. West Texas' best food is Mexican food and steaks. (Some of the best Mexican food I've eated was in Presidio, Texas--dirt cheap, too!) One suggestion, since you're apparently a connoisseur of fine spirits: take your own liquors if you go, as the liquor stores in that part of the state don't have much selection.

Welcome to Texas!

Aubrey, Texas
posts: 10,451
reviews: 144
5. Re: What's best to do/see in Texas?

Put III Forks on the list of restaurants to visit in Dallas. It has fine steaks, a great bar and a cigar lounge.

A road trip out to Big Bend NP is doable in your time frame. It's a long trip but worthwhile. On the way you can see literally the Texas heartland. The suggestion of US281 by tejashombre is a good one. It goes down the middle of the state through scenic rolling ranch and farm land to the Hill Country with nice small towns on the route. Along the way is Hard Eight barbecue in Stephenville which is very good.

One itinerary is Dallas or Ft. Worth to Fredericksburg via I20W, 281S and 290W from Johnson City. There's a good winery, Becker, at Stonewall. Spend the night in Fredericksburg. We've not found a particularly fine restaurant there. Silver Creek has good food and a good beer selection, however we've not been there outside warm months. Check Yelp for reviews. From Fredericksburg it's roughly six hours to Panther Junction, Big Bend NP. Returning to DFW you could take a more direct route via I20 and Abilene.

Here's a link of things to do in Far West Texas tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i18352-Far_West…

And here's a link to a recent article on Texas distilleries. mysanantonio.com/life/food/article/Growing-n… I recently checked on Dripping Springs Vodka which I like but the distillery south of Austin doesn't have tours.

Edited: 8:53 pm, July 02, 2013
Aubrey, Texas
posts: 10,451
reviews: 144
6. Re: What's best to do/see in Texas?

Forgot to mention that if you want to visit Big Bend without all the driving time, fly to Midland-Odessa, rent a car and drive. From the airport it's under four hours to Big Bend according to Google Maps. And do stay in Chisos Mountains Lodge if possible.

Houston
posts: 19
reviews: 54
7. Re: What's best to do/see in Texas?

I recommend you see the Hill Country, an area roughly bounded by Austin, San Antonio, and Kerrville. Austin has a great music scene in the 6th Street area of downtown. San Antonio has a neat Hispanic culture to it and the downtown River Walk is a must see. As for cigars you need to find you some Kinky Friedman stogies. You can buy them at most good cigar shops. I enjoy the Utopia.

Fort Worth, Texas
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
posts: 12,224
8. Re: What's best to do/see in Texas?

sure central austin is nice and ecletic..but greater austin is surburban sprawl just like any other city..if going to hill country go to fredericksburg..or maybe even luckenbach

Fort Worth
posts: 2
reviews: 14
9. Re: What's best to do/see in Texas?

30 miles from Dallas to the west is Fort Worth. It is a mid-sized city. It has a very rich and continuing western heritage. There is a western portion (Stockyards) located just north of downtown. The city cowboys walk the longhorns down Exchange Street every morning and bring them back every night. Great photos. There are real western stores--in that area. I like The Best Hat store in that area (i am not affiliated with them) but there are some very famous other stores. In that area, I like the barbecue at Coopers. I get the pork chop because I don't like beef barbecue. In December, the Futurity is held. It is a series of cutting horse competitions and auctions. The real rodeo here is held in January. Although, there is a small rodeo held throughout the year in the Stockyards. There is a well done Cowgirl Hall of Fame Museum and next door the Science museum has a nice section on ranching life. So, I would start in Fort Worth and head to another city after a day or so.

Edited: 10:34 pm, July 21, 2013
South Carolina
posts: 98
reviews: 58
10. Re: What's best to do/see in Texas?

I know this is an old post, but where exactly in Presidio did you have the best Mexican food you had ever eaten, Gene T, and what was it? I'll be passing through there in April and am in the market for some good TexMex or straight Mexican lunch. Your advice would sure be appreciated.