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Wild West Texas

Cities in tour: El Paso, Hueco Tanks, Juárez (Mexico), Fort Davis, Presidio, Lajitas, Big Bend, Terlingua, Alpine, Langtry, Del Rio, Brackettville and Uvalde

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Texas Mountain Trail

Cities in tour: El Paso, Van Horn, Marfa, Presidio, Big Bend Park, Study Butte, Alpine and Fort Davis

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Texas Hill Country Trail

Cities in tour: San Antonio, Kerrville, Fredericksburg, Johnson City, Llano, Austin, San Marcos and Wimberley

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Lone Star Heritage

Cities in tour: Amarillo, Hereford, Canyon, Lubbock, Pecos, Odessa, Midland, Wichita Falls, Denton, Sherman and Gainesville

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Texas Pecos Trail

Cities in tour: Midland/Odessa, Monahans, Fort Stockton, Ozona, Langtry, Del Rio, Brackettville, Rocksprings and Junction

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Texas Brazos Trail

Cities in tour: Austin, Salado, Temple, Waco, Groesbeck, Marlin, College Station, Caldwell and Elgin

Texas Brazos Trail
Austin and Salado

History and beauty connect in the capital city of the Lone Star State. Hills, lakes and hike and bike trails are as plentiful as high rises and politicos. A must-see attraction on the Brazos Trail is the massive State Capitol constructed of famous pink granite. Courteous tour guides offer tidbits and trivia of the state’s inspirational history in one of its most revered settings. Take time to hear your echo in the massive Rotunda and explore the lovely Capitol grounds. Nearby is the new state-of-the art Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum which features exhibits and interactive experiences for all ages. Don’t miss the Texas Spirit Theater’s “Star of Destiny” presentation. Full of sensory surprises, the production is a brief history of the Lone Star State complete with special effects. You’ll literally feel the earth shake as a Texas gusher comes in and the wind blasts through the theater during the re-telling of the Galveston hurricane at the turn of the century.

Near the Capitol complex and the Texas State History Museum is the Governor’s Mansion , built in 1856. Public tours of the residence of the Governor and First Lady are available Monday through Friday. Discover the influence of Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, at two special sites. The LBJ Library and Museum on the grounds of the University of Texas display memorabilia and exhibits from a historic presidency, including a replica of the Oval Office in the White House. On the Southern edge of Austin , the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center hosts visitors who delight in the native flowers and actual vegetation championed by the former First Lady from Texas. The spacious center offers exhibits, garden displays and walking trails on 42 acres.

Another feature of the Capital City is the famed bats who live under the Congress Avenue bridge across Town Lake. About 1.5 million bats exit their roosts under the bridge each evening about dusk to feed at night. Though they can be viewed in spring and summer, late summer seems to be the best viewing time.

Long considered a scenic jewel in Central Texas, Austin is blessed with beautiful hill country settings and lovely vistas. If your travel plans fall during the summertime, take a dip in Barton Springs in Zilker Park or Hamilton Pool Preserve , both long treasured swimming holes for Austinites.

Lastly, discover why Austin bills itself at the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Venues to suit any musical fancy are abundant.

A short drive off of IH35 on 79, Taylor is famous for its mouth-watering barbeque. Consider a stop for lunch. Heading north on IH35, you’ll come to a charming town, Salado , less than an hour’s drive from Austin. Today’s visitors find a fascinating variety of shops and galleries. Antiques, crafts, Texas rustic wares and chic women’s fashions can be found in the many quaint shops throughout the town. At Pace Park, you can have a picnic in a tree-shaded area beside picturesque Salado Creek. The site was once an Indian campground, and ruts from settlers’ wagon wheels still appear in the bedrock of the creek just north of the park. A trip to Salado would not be complete without a visit to the Stagecoach Inn , once a prominent stop on the Chisolm Trail in the late 1800s. The original inn was host to such frontier notables as General George A. Custer, Robert E. Lee, Sam Houston and Jesse James. The primary old frame structure today is restored as a popular restaurant beside a modern motel.

Temple and Waco

All aboard! Follow the Texas Brazos Trail tour to Belton, Gatesville and Temple , just up the road from Salado. Temple, a former railroad town pays homage to its early days with the Railroad and Heritage Museum, housed in a restored 1910 Santa Fe Depot. Exhibits are devoted to the early days of railroading in Texas, and pioneer farming and ranching. The museum boasts a retired steam engine and other railroad equipment. A new feature is the Medicine & Science Discovery Center of Central Texas, also housed in the museum. The feature is dedicated to providing hands-on experiences for children in the science of medicine and lets visitors learn about Texas’ diverse medical community.

Temple is also home to the Czech Heritage Museum where Czech contributions to the ethnic diversity of Texas are highlighted. Preserved artifacts include a Bible, circa 1530, a handmade dulcimer, Old-World costumes and quilts more than 150 years old.

Designated as the “Wildflower Capital of Texas” in 1989, Temple affords ample opportunities to view Texas’ best blossoms. Visit in March or April when flowers are at their peak and self-guided tours and weekend events are held.

Located in the heart of the Brazos River Valley, Waco is noted as the home of Dr. Pepper, Texas Rangers and Baylor University. The fountain drink first mixed at The Old Corner Drug Store in the 1880s was actually called a “Waco” by early patrons. Later named Dr. Pepper, the new drink was improved after two years of testing and blending by R.S. Lazenby. The new flavor went on sale commercially in 1885. It has remained virtually unchanged for more than a century. The Dr. Pepper Museum is housed in the original 1906 bottling plant and features a restored soda fountain where you can order the favorite beverage and see memorabilia and interactive displays. Extended hours are offered in the summer.

Another prime attraction honors the Lone Star State’s elite law keepers, the Texas Rangers. The Texas Rangers established a temporary fort in Waco in 1837. Today, the Homer Garrison Memorial Texas Ranger Museum features a replica of the original fort, guns and weapons from the Old West, Indian artifacts and Western art. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame commemorates the rich Ranger history and heritage. It is also headquarters for present Texas Ranger company F. The Texas Ranger complex is located in a nice city park that offers excellent picnic facilities, a fishing pier and overnight camping.

Nearby Waco’s Texas Sports Hall of Fame highlights nationally known Texans for their sports accomplishments. These include golfers Byron Nelson, Lee Trevino and Babe Didrikson Zaharias; boxer George Foreman and baseball’s Nolan Ryan.

For a change of pace, Lake Waco is a recreational paradise with 60 miles of shoreline. Thousands of visitors each year partake of year-round fishing, boating and camping. In town, a beautiful scenic riverbank meanders along the Brazos River from Fort Fisher Park past a suspension bridge and through Cameron Park to Herring Avenue.