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  1. Default South Texas Road Trip in November

    Hi, we're planning on flying from the UK, into and out of Houston and want to visit Memphis, Austin, The Alamo and spend a few days relaxing at the coast. We have 14 days and don't mind driving, but would hate to miss glorious views and interesting places off the beaten track. We're planning on staying at mid priced hotels along the way.
    Any tips greatly welcomed, and warning of any midges, mosquitoes etc as I suffer dreadfully when I'm bitten :(.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Obvious (and Not So)

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You can, of course do your loop drive in either direction, clockwise or anti-clockwise, that suits you, and you can have your beach time either at the beginning or end of your trip, again as suits you. But I will describe my recommendations assuming you are going clockwise and will have your beach time at the end.

    Starting in Houston, the biggest attraction for most people is NASA headquarters southeast of town in Nassau Bay. I'm not sure whether general visitors are allowed on site anymore, but there is a huge museum, Space Center Houston just outside the NASA facility from which you can take tours of the Johnson Space Center (a tad expensive though). Besides that, Houston has a wealth of Museums, zoos, aquariums, etc. that should help satisfy whatever interests you may have.

    In San Antonio, the two obvious draws are the Alamo and the River Walk. My wife and I also enjoyed a short tour of the many old Spanish missions in town. we also took the time to swing west a bit and visit the LBJ National Historic Park which includes both his boyhood home in Johnson City and the LBJ Ranch in Frederick.

    Austin is most well known for its music scene and I would certainly take advantage of the many venues that city as to offer. Austin would also be a great place to sample some barbeque. Now barbeque is practically a religion throughout the South with each region claiming that its unique style is unquestionably the best. In Austin, take in at least one dinner at the Salt Lick in Driftwood to get a good taste in an authentic atmosphere.

    Austin to Memphis is more than a day's drive, so you should plan on an activity or two along that stretch and certainly an overnight's stay somewhere. Exactly where will depend on how many stops you make and how much time you spend at them. Stops to consider would include the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Crater of Diamonds State Park outside Murfreesboro AR where you can dig - and keep - actual diamonds, as well as smaller state parks in Texas and Arkansas.

    Most people go to Memphis for the express purpose of visiting Graceland, but there are a number of other points of interest to check out while you're there. If music and Elvis are why Memphis is on your itinerary, be sure to take in a club or two on Beale Street to get a flavor of today's Memphis music scene, and visit Sun Studio to see where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins among others all got their start. And Mud Island will give you a unique perspective on the 'Old Man River', the Mississippi.

    Memphis back to Houston is another long segment, and I'm going to suggest that you make it even longer by 'detouring' to Tupelo MS via US-78 and visiting Elvis' boyhood home and then getting on the Natchez Trace Parkway down to the Jackson MS area and then head over to Vicksburg to visit a major Civil War battle site. From there you can head down along the river to Natchez and visit some of the older antebellum plantation homes. Finally continue down into southern Louisiana and head back to the Houston area using the Creole Nature Trail. And before your flight back to the UK, take in the beaches at Galveston Island.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Johnson Space Center is a fabulous place to see if you are interested in space history. Buy your tickets online before you go and it will be less than $20 each (cheap, especially compared to Kennedy Space Center/FL which is 2x that). It includes up to two tram tours - Red Tour and Blue Tour. Blue Tour takes you to the Historic Mission Control, the Saturn V Rocket Building, and passes many places along the way. Red Tour takes you t the Astronaut Training Facility and the Saturn V Rocket Building and passes other things. The museum is fabulous, especially the historic area! You see a wonderful 17 minute movie about the history of the space program then they let you into the museum's historic area. We spent an entire day at this museum and felt it was well worth it. If you are REALLY into space history, spend the extra $5 on an audio tour. You get a little iPod type thing and a set of headphones, when you see something that interests you, you key in the number and get far more information told to you by one of the astronauts. (When I heard Wally Schirra's voice on one of them, I shed some tears, because my husband and I had met him back in 2004. Of course he is gone now. He was such a nice guy, and cracked some wonderful one-liners at us!)

    Anyway, I highly recommend Johnson Space Center -- but AZBuck is right, the only way you will get on the actual center property is on the tram.


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