At its prime in the springtime, it is a state known for being larger than life, but is everything really bigger in Texas? At first glance it would seem so, with the state spanning more than 261,000 square miles; in layman’s terms, this makes it even bigger than the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany combined. Of course, for most, the first thing that springs to mind when considering Texas is rodeo, cowboy hats and huge portions, and certainly you will come across these, but there is more to Texas than meets the eye.
Visit a swimming hole
An activity that immediately jumped out at us is to visit a swimming hole, which are dotted all over the state. One of the most beautiful is Hamilton Pool near Austin, a natural pool that formed when the rock above an underground river collapsed thousands of years ago, resulting in a 50-foot waterfall flowing freely into a shaded pool; it truly is breath-taking, and lucky for us, open to the public. Another location is Jacob’s Well in Wimberley, which surprisingly seems to be somewhat unknown, and can be found shaded by shrubs and trees allowing visitors to hide from the Texas sun if necessary. Many jump into the well from the rocks above, which leads into underground caves over 150 ft deep, but exploring these is, of course, not recommended.
See the Austin bats
Yet another unique Texan experience is watching the millions of bats that fly over and around Congress Bridge in Austin. The colony travels to Austin to give birth to their pups in March and have to feed frequently, meaning that around this time of year you have a good chance of spotting the 750,000 mother bats in the evening, however later in the year the population doubles once the pups are older.
Visit Johnson Space Centre
“Houston, we have a problem.” Or, we will, if you skip a trip to the Space Centre in Houston, the visitor centre of NASA’s Johnson Space Centre, where astronaut training, research and flight control for NASA missions are conducted. During your visit you’ll be able to take a tram tour of the 1600 acre Johnson Space Centre, also taking you through Rocket Park where the Saturn V rocket and many others are housed. There are also an array of space-related attractions including exhibits of artifacts from space missions and interactive activities exploring what it’s like to live in space, among many others.
Eat some Texan food
Of course you couldn’t go to Texas without consuming a ridiculous amount of delicious and incredibly unhealthy food at some point during your stay. Anyone who is a fan of the TV show ‘Man v. Food’ may be aware that there have been various Texan restaurants featured on the show, including Big Lou’s Pizza in San Antonio, known for having a 42 inch pizza on the menu, Juan In A Million in Austin, where the challenge is to eat as many 1lb breakfast tacos as possible in one sitting (the record is 9!), and Lulu’s Bakery and Café in San Antonio, where you can get your hands on a 3lb cinnamon roll!
Visit a ranch
You may not have thought it, but the cowboy lifestyle is alive and well in Texas, and you can experience it yourself. A visit to ranch is a must on a trip to Texas as they’re dotted around all over the state, and many of them aren’t the dusty old farmhouses you may imagine – some are practically luxury! Many ranches offer accommodation alongside activities such as horseback riding, hiking and rodeo, among many others (depending on the ranch you stay at).
What sunglasses will you be taking with you to Texas? We are thinking about taking something typically American. Some Aviator sunglasses would look right at home in Texas, like these from American sunglasses experts Randolph Engineering
Will you be launching a rocket over and seeing if everything really is bigger in Texas?