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Written by Texas Highways

The Battleship Texas resting in the waters of Buffalo Bayou

The USS Texas, America’s last existing dreadnought, is in danger. Docked in the brackish waters of Buffalo Bayou east of Houston, the hull of the battleship is corroded and leaking, which threatens its existence as a Texas landmark.

nautical escapes

We love the idea of taking a boat ride—the cool breezes, sparkling waters, and rare perspectives you just can’t see from shore. Not everybody has a boat, though. For the otherwise landlocked, here are nine Texas cruise experiences—from spotting dolphins on a paddleboat to serenading your sweetie on a gondola—that make getting out on the water a summer treat anyone can enjoy.

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Savoring Summer South Padre-Style

Much as you’d like to summon the proverbial “lazy days” the season suggests, it’s often a stressful—and expensive—juggle of child care, camps, and fleeting windows to accomplish far too much. However, last summer I was determined to mark my kids’ vacation with a few iconic—maybe even extraordinary—experiences that embody the best of summer’s promise. 

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1979 72 Sam Maverick Portrait

Deep down, every true Texan wants to be a maverick. Whether your folks have been here for centuries or you just arrived this morning, a disposition to be different from the herd—to mosey through life unbranded—slips into your psyche on Lone Star soil.

Chet Garner dressed like a hippie on Lake Travis

Texas summers are so hot, the only choice a daytripper has is to head straight to the nearest body of water and stay submerged for as long as possible. On just that sort of sweltering day, I took a drive to visit one of the Hill Country’s most popular lakes, Lake Travis, just 20 miles outside of Austin. I found plenty of ways to get wet, and a whole lot more.

Illustration of the Astros players in orange jerseys

It’s a good time to be the Houston Astros.

After several tough seasons of rebuilding and an unpopular move from the National League to the American League, the team capped its recovery last fall with its first World Series title.

The Houston Astros

The Houston Astros regular season runs through Sept. 30, including a home series against the Texas Rangers July 27-29 at Minute Maid Park.

They did it with a roster of charismatic young players who breathed new life into fans across Houston and beyond. But as they were coalescing into a contender last summer, Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, leaving the city desperate for a break in the clouds.

The Astros answered the call.

A signature "Lip Locker" burger sits on a plate

Korean food joints are popping up all over Texas, but when Kitok Moore opened her first and only restaurant in Waco in 1975, she wasn’t sure the townsfolk were ready for cuisine from her native land. She stuck to standard Texas diner fare and even hesitated calling the joint Kitok, keeping up the signage of previous tenant The Burger Factory during the transition.

The beer hall is full on a busy day at Krause's Cafe

At Krause’s Cafe and Biergarten in downtown New Braunfels, the writing’s on the wall. But rather than an ominous warning, the sausage recipe painted on the building’s exterior, along with murals of Krause family members, reflects New Braunfels’ German heritage and how this restaurant, established in the late 1930s, plays a starring role in that history.

Gabriele Rendon holds out a freshly-made raspa

The Raspas Dictionary
A handy guide to the terms you need to know when ordering the cold treat.

The surest sign that summer has arrived in the Rio Grande Valley is the line at the raspa stand stretching around the block. While the shaved-ice concoctions have caught on in cities across Texas, the Valley remains the undisputed mecca. At roadside stands in every city and town—no matter how small—you can find flavors that range from classic mango and creamy tres leches to extreme, Instagram-worthy delicacies topped with gummy bears, Oreos, Kool-Aid powder, or even pickles.

Interior of Interabang Books

A long-smoldering literary scene is catching fire in Dallas, with its book festivals, writing conferences, and poetry readings, not to mention a resident first lady in Laura Bush who founded both the Texas and National book festivals. But the dearth of independent bookstores in a city known for its vibrant retail scene always put a damper on its bookish aspirations—until now.

Chairs along the shoreline of Lake Granbury.

When Jim Leitch and his wife, Cathy Casey, opened the Inn on Lake Granbury in 2005, they couldn’t predict their new business would dovetail with the fresh energy now infusing Granbury. While the two are too modest to claim credit, their subtly sophisticated lodging helped shift the appeal of this lakeside destination just southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth.

Outside gathering area at Sawyer Yards

Just northwest of downtown Houston, a sprawling complex of factories and warehouses that once churned with heavy industry now fosters a different kind of production as the home of Sawyer Yards—quite possibly Texas’ largest concentration of working artists. And on the second Saturday of each month, the complex opens the doors of its 400 studios to give the public a taste of this burgeoning artistic epicenter in the city’s historic First Ward.

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