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  1. Default Texas Roadtrip - Information appreciated!

    Hi All - This is my first post after reading the site for a little while.

    My wife and I are taking some time off to do a camping/motel roadtrip through West Texas. We have 21 days for the trip(mid-April through the first week of May). Day 1 and day 21 are to drive to and from the Los Angeles Area, so those are basically 2 (very) long travel days to get to West Texas.

    Our broad itinerary takes us through the El Paso area, Terlingua, Big Bend NP, Amistad Recreation area, Del Rio, San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth, and then back West. We like to do a mix of some cities, but mostly want to experience nature and smaller "real" towns. We love the desert and cowboy country.

    We're looking for any information from folks who have been through that area - what are must see's? must places to eat/visit? Is our itinerary reasonable, or are there much better ones? We also would love to get input on some good honky-tonks in that area, as we are big country music fans (a big reason for wanting to visit Texas). We've never been there before.

    Thanks to anybody who is willing to give us some pointers!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Terlingua's Starlight Theatre

    Quote Originally Posted by sven View Post
    This is my first post after reading the site for a little while.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    We're looking for any information from folks who have been through that area - what are must see's? must places to eat/visit? Is our itinerary reasonable, or are there much better ones? We also would love to get input on some good honky-tonks in that area, as we are big country music fans (a big reason for wanting to visit Texas).
    Plan to have dinner at the Starlight Theatre in Terlingua -- great food and local musical talent. Here is some info as well about the local hot springs.

    Some colleagues run the Texas Escapes site -- great local info there too.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Desert and Cowboy Country Start Well Before the State Line

    Sven, it's over 800 miles from LA to El Paso. That's 14.5 hrs of driving. That's not a very long travel day, that's two days. But my real concern is that you are defeating the stated purpose of your trip by blasting through some of the best the southwest has to offer just to get to West Texas. Yes West Texas has things to offer and you list some of them, but so do California, Arizona and New Mexico. If you even take two days each way, you'll get to see some of the attractions you're now planning on passing by. If you take three days, even just going one way, you can really start to savor your trip and still have 15-16 days in West Texas. So, that said, here are a few of the attractions with a desert or cowboy theme that are close to I-10 and which you are currently planning on ignoring as you simply get from Point A to Point B:

    Joshua Tree National Park
    Saguaro National Park
    Kartchner Caverns State Park
    Fort Bowie National Historic Site
    Chiricahua National Monument
    Cochise Stronghold
    Ghost Towns in southern New Mexico
    Rockhound State Park
    White Sands National Monument
    Carlsbad Caverns National Park

    For my money, those are every bit as "desert and cowboy" as West Texas, and it would be a shame to miss them all. You've got 21 days - Spread them out a little!

    Last edited by AZBuck; 03-04-2007 at 12:04 PM. Reason: Changed Link

  4. Default

    While I am a relocated, HOMESICK, Texan from San Antonio . . . I may be a little biased as to your stay in San Antonio. There is so much to do there . . Sea World, Six Flags/Fiesta Texas, The Alamo and the Mission route, The Wax Museum and Ripley's Believe It or Not right across from the Alamo, The Riverwalk, Market Square (El Mercado to us locals) and the list goes on and on. But above all, you MUST eat there! As a homesick Texan can tell you, there is no better food than that found in Texas! BBQ, Tex-Mex - you just HAVE to eat there!!! Brisket, fajitas, carne guisada, chili, sweet tea, pecan pie, pan de dulce, enchiladas, frijoles borrachos, and on and on and on!!! I noticed you are going in April. You really should consider Fiesta time in San Antonio. It's a week worth of parades, parties, food, food and more food! That's one sure way to capture the spirit of San Antonio. Enjoy your trip!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-04-2007 at 11:42 AM. Reason: Link Format

  5. Default

    Forgot to mention San Marcos - outside of San Antonio on the way to Austin. MAJOR shopping there at a HUGE outlet mall, also outside of San Antonio is Natural Bridge Caverns, Wonder World, Cascade Caverns, Aquarena Springs! (See I told you I'm biased!!)
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-04-2007 at 11:40 AM. Reason: Link Format

  6. #6


    North and west of San Antonio is the Texas Hill Country. Scrap the drive to Ft. Worth and spend a day or two between Fredericksburg, Bandera, Mason, Kerrville or Canyon Lake. There are some fantastic places to camp (Concan, Frio River) and some great BBQ in those small towns.

  7. #7

    Default Tips from Austin area


    I live in the Austin area. If you are passing through, I highly suggest stopping along in both Austin AND San Antonio.

    Depending on how much time you have to spare, I highly recommend stopping to see the BUCKHORN Saloon and museum in San Antonio. The kids absolutely ADORE this place and the museum is AMAZING. You can park your car/truck for a few bucks across the street from this museum and WALK to the river walk from there (just a block or two) and by all means, take that river cruise! Hang on to your ticket stubs as this will save you money on discounts at other area attractions. The Alamo is a few blocks down the street as well. Enjoy experiencing that gorgeous town and those eclectic shops!

    While driving to Austin, avoid the WONDERWORLD cave and rides. It is CHEESY. BUT, stop in San Marcus and enjoy their OUTLET MALLS right off of I-35, and their glass bottom boat rides on their aquarena. Really beautiful country through here - massive trees and hill country.

    Here in the Austin area, keep in mind that we are the LIVE MUSIC CAPITAL of the world -- Lots of places for you to honkey tonk and to catch a band in action. Stick around in the evenings when the bats come out. Not just from the Congress Bridge (by the State Capitol) but also from surrounding bridges and towns. So much to see and do, and I hate to leave everything out.

    If you are passing through Fredericksburg, stop and enjoy this gorgeous German town. If you are taking Interstate 35 to Ft.Worth, Texas, you might want to rest a bit in Waco and enjoy the Dr. Pepper Museum, the Texas Ranger museum, or even, what the heck, stop in CRAWFORD TEXAS, to Bush country! My family and I went there while Cindy Sheehan was holding down the fort. Quite an interesting sight!

    If you have time to spare, you can visit the DINOSAUR state park before you reach Ft.Worth. Lots of fossilized dinosaur footprints.

    And of course, in Dallas/Ft. Worth, you are in HONKY TONK land! I've lived there too and am partial to the Dallas area. Lots of great places to eat!

    If you need additional information about WEST Texas (the nitty gritty part of Texas/Deserts, and oil rigs) give me a holler. I can recommend the sand dunes outside of Odessa Texas, the canyons around Amarillo. (San Angelo is a neat town too.)

    KEEP in mind, Texas is NOT all deserts!

    Have fun on your trip!


  8. Default Thanks!

    Wow - thanks to all of you for giving me some fantastic tips and hints about our trip! We'll definitely take it a little slower to also enjoy the drive to/from the West Texas area, and we'll try to incorporate quite a few of your suggestions into our planned itinerary.

  9. #9

    Default more suggestions

    I know you already have tons of input about what to see and do in Texas. Here's my two cents worth.

    West Texas is very isolated. There are some great things to see. But remember that there is a lot of nothing between them. Make sure you have snacks and gas at all times. Are you camping or staying in hotels? Sometimes they charge way too much for the accomodations. But you can't be picky when its the only hotel in 100 miles. I definitely recommend you stop at Big Bend National Park. It is one of my favorite places in the country.

    I live in Fort Worth. There are lots of things to do around here. Billy-Bobs and the stockyards, lots of great museums, a very laid back relaxed atmosphere. Arlington has Six Flags. Dallas also has lots of great museums and resturants, and a more upscale atmosphere.

    If you do make it to Fort Worth I recommend dinner at Joe T Garcias resturant near the stockyards. The food is great and the atmoshere is fun. Its mostly outdoor seating and the resturant was once a house that has, over time, grown into a large resturant. There is still a swimming pool in the middle of the yard, they only serve two things at dinner (fajitas or a combo plate) and they only take cash.

    And maybe lunch at Kincades in the historic district. It used to be a grocery store that evolved into a hamburger joint. Get there early because they get busy at lunch and they are open in the evenings a few nights a week. They only take cash too.

    But on my vacations I always try to make it out to the Hill Country. Austin, San Antonio, Fredricksburg, San Marcos, New Braunfels, Gruene.....

    I recommend stopping in Gruene (outside of New Braunfels) for an afternoon and evening. Its a small, popular town. There are some great antique shops then have dinner at the Gristmill (which was once a functioning mill on the Guadalupe river - which is popluar with toobers when the weather is warmer) and then see a show at Gruene Hall.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-06-2007 at 01:48 PM. Reason: Preferred URL Format

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Joe T Garcias

    Great Suggestions! Thanks for the local intel! Joe T's has been one of our favorite places for many years.


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