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The Great Texas Escape - 13 days

Day 1 - Fort Worth Arrival

Welcome to where the west begins. Branded as the "City of Cowboys and Culture", Fort Worth - the only city in the U.S. where cowboys and culture co-exist harmoniously - welcomes visitors to experience the great American West along with rich arts and culinary treasures. Upon arrival, pick-up your rental car and transfer independently to your hotel. This evening, stroll through Sundance Square which boasts 35-square-blocks of shopping, dining, nightlife and performing arts venues.

Day 2 - Fort Worth

This morning, discover the Water Gardens, an architectural and engineering marvel where you can experience three distinct water features as you wander through this relaxing urban park. Afterward, experience the sights, sounds and smells of 19th-century Texas at Log Cabin Village. Or, if museums are your thing, the Cultural District houses five internationally recognized museums in a beautiful park-like setting. And no trip to Fort Worth would be complete without a stop in the Stockyards National Historic District. The Stockyards is where you can celebrate the Old West by watching the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive, enjoy a hearty steak, famous barbecue or Tex-Mex, embrace your inner Texas with a visit to Billy Bob’s Texas - the largest honky-tonk anywhere, or catch the Stockyards Championship Rodeo every Friday and Saturday night. These are just a few examples of where you can rustle up adventure in Fort Worth.

Fort Worth Stockyards

Fort Worth Stockyards

Day 3 - Fort Worth to Austin

Venture off the beaten path today and on to US-281 enabling you to explore some charming Texas towns en route to Austin. This scenic route will add a little time to your journey, but it assures minimal traffic and maximum fun. The capital of Texas and "Live Music Capital of the World", Austin is a stage. With 250+ music venues representing every style, fitting a quintessential musical experience into your visit is an absolute must-do. So when you head out this evening, be sure to bring your sense of adventure and wear comfy shoes along with your dancing pants.

Day 4 - Austin

In order to claim you’ve actually experienced Austin’s food culture, we recommend starting your day with an iconic breakfast taco served in restaurants throughout the city. After you’ve fueled up, take a guided tour of the Texas State Capitol. Built in 1888 and the city’s most visible man made attraction, this pink granite building stands as a symbol of the legendary spirit of Texas. Visit the LBJ Presidential Library for a glimpse into the life, work, and legacy of America’s 36th President. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on the outskirts of town makes for a great afternoon outing and has numerous trails and plantings that keep the original flora of the state flourishing. If you want to get a sense of Austin’s vibrant outdoor life, there may be no better place than Lady Bird Lake. And, for a truly fascinating experience, head to the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to witness the city’s 1.5 million Mexican Free-Tailed Bats emerge from underneath the bridge from April through October.

Texas State Capitol

Texas State Capitol

Day 5 - Austin to San Antonio

Today we recommend heading west and joining TX-165 so you can revel in all that’s beautiful about Hill Country … rolling hills, wildflowers, majestic live oaks, and lots of two-lane road. Rejoin US-281 and arrive in San Antonio, quite possibly Texas’s most beautiful city. Remember the Alamo - the city’s most widely recognized landmark? It’s here, sitting in a plaza right downtown. A symbol of Texas’ fight for independence, the Alamo is treated not as a museum or an attraction, but as a shrine: men are asked to remove their hats and voices are expected to be hushed. It’s a powerful feeling that you must experience for yourself.

Day 6 - San Antonio

The Alamo is by no means the only thing to see in San Antonio. In fact, the Mission Trail is a great place to explore centuries of history and culture with visits to the four other missions of San Antonio, all now UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The heart of the visitor area, however, is the River Walk. This festive, almost magical place, winds through downtown at 20-feet below street level providing scenic pathways and waterways for the city’s cultural and historic sites as well as a picturesque link between restaurants, hotels and shops. For a taste of Mexican culture, you can head a few blocks over from the River Walk to Historic Market Square where you can peruse shops selling crafts and jewelry, dine on Tex-Mex food and enjoy Spanish music and mariachi bands.

San Antonio Riverwalk

San Antonio Riverwalk

Day 7 - San Antonio to Galveston

Today it’s on to the Texas Gulf Coast for some island time. Sitting on a barrier island near the northern end of Texas coastline, Galveston is a sandy playground heralded in Victorian times as the "Playground of the South". With more than 30 miles of shoreline, this is where you will find sun-drenched historic charm that encourages lingering. Moody Gardens and its iconic pyramidal structures provide a fun place to spend the day. This vast compound includes an aquarium, beachfront water park, rainforest habitat, science museum and more.

Day 8 - Galveston

Kick off your day with a stroll through The Strand Historic District. A shopping area defined by the architecture of its 19th-century buildings, this is where antique lovers, art aficionados and shoppers of all kinds will discover beautiful and interesting objects. Relax with your toes in the sand or ride along the shore by horseback at East Beach. Walk back in history at the Bishop’s Palace where massive front doors open to reveal an interior of equally impressive beauty, or visit The Bryan Museum which houses the largest collection of its kind in the world. Once the sun dips down, one of the hottest places on the island featuring a myriad of attractions for all ages is Pleasure Pier.

Galveston Pleasure Pier

Galveston Pleasure Pier

Day 9 - Galveston to Houston

Today, en route to Houston, we suggest a stop at Space Center Houston where you can go behind the scenes of America’s exciting space program at NASA Johnson Space Center. See the original Mission Control, the actual facilities where astronauts train, and consider spending time with a NASA astronaut while enjoying a delicious lunch. Continue to Houston, the fourth largest city in the U.S. chock-full of exciting things to do.

Day 10 - Houston

Spend the day exploring this unique city. Take a stroll through the historic Heights District, rich with character-filled architecture, funky boutiques and delightful restaurants. If it’s culture you’re looking for, the pedestrian-friendly Museum District houses 19 cultural institutions in a beautiful park-like neighborhood. Make your way through the River Oaks area which contains some of the most coveted (and expensive) real estate in the city. This evening, grab a bite in one of the many award-winning restaurants, or if you’re looking for a safe way to hit the nightlife scene, check out the Wave, a service that shuttles folks around the city’s primary nightlife areas.

Houston Skyline

Houston Skyline

Day 11 - Houston to Dallas

From Houston, it’s on to the "Big D" where you’ll be met with a hearty helping of Texas hospitality. The city of Dallas has something for everyone. From glittering skyscrapers and a past rich in the stuff that American legends are made, to prize-winning architecture and the best shopping in the Southwest, "big things happen here".

Day 12 - Dallas

Dallas’ many neighborhoods and entertainment districts have everything you can imagine for an exciting and diverse visit. Explore the life of President John F. Kennedy at The Sixth Floor Museum. Get an in-depth look at 8 years of presidential history at the George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum. Stand amongst massive bronze longhorn sculptures at Pioneer Plaza. Meander through time at Dallas Heritage Village. Enjoy world-class architecture as you wander through the Dallas Arts District, step into the Dallas Museum of Art, or experience breathtaking 360-degree views of Dallas from 470 feet up at the Reunion Tower’s GeO-Deck. The choice is yours.

Dallas Pioneer Plaza

Dallas Pioneer Plaza

Day 13 - Dallas Departure

Return your rental car at the airport prior to your departure, or consider extending your trip with a visit to Wildcatter Ranch. Only minutes away you can escape the city and discover the beauty of the North Texas Hill Country at this Texas guest ranch complete with western-styled guest rooms, horseback riding, guided activities, therapeutic massages and first-class authentic Texas cuisine.

This top drive was provided by Visit Dallas.