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Written by Texas Highways

Outside the Laredo Water Museum

What do I look like?” my 5-year-old daughter, Ana, asked when she emerged from her bedroom dressed in blue stretch pants and a sparkly violet T-shirt. I shrugged my shoulders, and she crinkled her brow in disapproval at her father’s lack of with-it-ness. “I’m a water droplet!” she proclaimed. “Now let’s go to the water museum.” 

Horseback riding on the beach

I get my first clear view of South Padre Island from the summit of the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway. At 85 feet above Laguna Madre, the bridge reveals the island stretching majestically on a north-south line, like a thin ribbon of sand floating in a cobalt sea.

Sunset in Rockport

Our annual Coastal Issue is different than the one we had in mind when we began planning it last summer. The impact of Hurricane Harvey on coastal communities was so severe it left many people uncertain about the coming tourism season. In many of these small towns, tourism is the primary industry and vital to their recovery. We quickly realized one way we could help: spreading the word that beloved destinations like Port Aransas and Rockport-Fulton are ready for visitors.

A diver jumps off the diving board at Balmorhea State Park

Balmorhea State Park in West Texas is celebrated for having the world’s largest spring-fed pool. Unfortunately, on May 14, the park announced that the pool will be closed indefinitely due to structural damage of the concrete beneath the diving board, which supports the walls of the pool.

Joe Lansdale at a book signing in Kilgore in May

Nobody writes like Joe Lansdale, because Lansdale writes like everybody he knows is dead. Tempering his twisted imagination with a strong social conscience, the wildly inventive and rapid-firing East Texas storyteller is the author of nearly four dozen genre-defying novels and more than 400 short stories. On average, he says, it takes him just three to four months to write another book—and if he could pick up the pace, the rest of us would be obliged.

People enjoying sunset on the beach in Port Aransas

Port Aransas likes a party, and residents won’t let the effects of Harvey interfere with that tradition. April brought the annual SandFest, one of the nation’s largest native-sand sculpture competition, and before that, February’s Whooping Crane Festival drew birding enthusiasts from around the world.

Men working on boat designs at Farley Boat Works

Hurricane Harvey’s Category 4 winds, along with a 6-foot storm surge, met their match in the backyard of Farley Boat Works. While countless boats across the island were strewn far from their moorings by the hurricane or sunk in waterways, a 60-foot schooner named Lydia Ann moved less than a foot in its construction cradle, its hull, deck and “doghouse” cabin largely intact.

Diners outside La Playa Mexican Grille

“Tacos + Margaritas = Happiness”

So says the handwritten sign that greet post-Harvey diners at La Playa Mexican Grille, a testament to owner Greg Villasana’s optimism. 

Feet hang over the water at Camp Tonkawa Springs

Austin photographer Kenny Braun’s first book was a sumptuous portrait of surfer culture on the Texas coast. Published in 2014, it was aptly titled Surf Texas. So when Braun decided his next project would travel farther inland to explore the spectacular scenery of the state—from Big Bend to Caddo Lake and high-plains panoramas then back to his beloved ocean horizons—he figured the book could be called Turf Texas.

Follow along on Instagram this week as Kenny Braun takes over and shares photos & stories from his new book.

2018 Texas State Travel Guide

Whether you enjoy communing with nature in a state park or perusing cultural artifacts in a museum, the 2018 State Travel Guide can help you plan a top-notch Texas trip. Order a free copy of the guide today to get ideas on how and where to experience our beautiful Lone Star State and have the best summer ever.

Order your 2018 Texas State Travel Guide »


Kids dive into the lake at Daingerfield State Park

Independence Creek Preserve is located in southwest Texas

Daingerfield State Park

33o 00' 29.25" N
94o 41' 53.53" W

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