OccasionalTourist • A Travel Photo Album

Texas

I suppose when most people think of Texas they think of cows, cowboys and oil rigs. And there's certainly some of that here, but Texas is a big place, and there's lots of other stuff to see and do. Here are a few photo albums from my trips around Texas.

I generally find Houston to be the epitome of ugly sprawl, but it does have a few nice spots. Clear Lake City, about 20 miles southeast of Houston, is home to the Johnson Space Center, and the visitor's center there (Space Center Houston) well worth a visit, especially if you have kids. (I don't have photos of the Space Center yet, but wanted to mention it.)

Just next door to Clear Lake is the Kemah, with its main attraction, the Kemah Boardwalk. I remember when the Kemah waterfront was little more than a collection of smelly fish shacks and a few rickety old restaurants. But in 1998 the Landry's corporation came in and bought the entire waterfront, and remade the 14-acre stretch into a modern, clean, beautiful entertainment spot. Now there are over half a dozen restaurants here, plus a waterfront hotel, amusement rides, a miniature train, marina, and numerous little shops on and near the boardwalk.

A bit further down the road is Galveston (another 30 miles from Clear Lake, or 50 miles southeast of Houston). The main attractions here are the Strand, Moody Gardens, and the beach (although Galveston's beaches aren't anything to write home about. They're more like mud flats. You have to go down to South Padre Island to find Texas' nicest beaches.)

Central Texas has plenty to see and do, between San Antonio's famous Riverwalk (which I've unfortunately not been to yet, but hopefully will soon), and Austin. New Braunfels and Gruene are just northeast of San Antonio. New Braunfels is home to the Schlitterbahn, the "world's best water park". Nearby Gruene is a popular tourist spot, with its famous "Gruene Hall", Texas' oldest dance hall.

The best time to visit central Texas has to be spring. The weather is pleasant (with temps usually in the 70's and 80's F), and the hills are ablaze with colorful wildflowers. I've taken a lot of photos at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Wildseed Farms and the Fredericksburg Herb Farm.

And last but surely not least there's the Texas Renaissance Festival, held for 7 weekends every year in Plantersville (about an hour's drive north of Houston). The Texas Renfest is among the largest (if not the largest) in the country, with over 330 permanent shops and entertainment stages nestled amid 54 acres of east Texas pineywoods.

There are 5 sub-albums here. Click on a thumbnail to view photos from that album:

Galveston
Galveston
Kemah Boardwalk
Kemah Boardwalk
New Braunfels and Gruene
New Braunfels and Gruene
Wildflowers
Wildflowers
The Texas Renaissance Festival
The Texas Renaissance Festival