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Written by Lois Rodriguez

Visitors to McAllen have a wide array of activities to choose from—including birding at Quinta Mazatlan, a 1930s adobe home where more than 150 species of birds have been documented; checking out the art scene developing on Main Street; and exploring the city’s 17th Street Entertainment District, where restaurants, nightclubs, and even a restored 1940s theater generate excitement.

Mardi Gras—“Fat Tuesday” in French, celebrates the final day of indulgence before Lent. In the United States, the most famous Mardi Gras fetes occur in New Orleans, but many Texas towns and cities get into the Mardi Gras spirit, as well–especially in Southeast Texas, where influences from Louisiana abound.

One of Texas’ most popular parks, Garner State Park enchants visitors with its dramatic scenery on the southwestern edge of the Edwards Plateau—high mesas, steep canyons, and hilltop vistas.

Lockhart

Named by the 76th Texas Legislature in 1999 as the Barbecue Capital of Texas, the Central Texas town of Lockhart lives up to the honor with some of the best-regarded ’cue joints in the state.

Some 90 miles west of Fort Worth, Possum Kingdom Lake sparkles along the upper reaches of the Brazos River.

If I were to dream up the perfect kingdom, it would be a land of flowing rivers, abundant vineyards, smoky barbecue, and maybe even some gold. I searched for all of this and more on a recent day trip to the Texas Hill Country and the aptly named town of Kingsland.

In the Fort Worth Cultural District, fans of culture, art, and history will find plenty to keep them busy year-round. Here are some upcoming exhibitions to consider on your next trip:

Marsden Hartley Fishermen’s Last Supper, Nova Scotia, 1940-41, Oil on hardboard. Collection Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York, gift from the estate of Roy R. Neuberger

Photo courtesy of McKinney Convention and Visitors BureauWe explore McKinney’s Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center in our March issue, but there’s a lot more to do in this fast-growing city besides explore nature. Shopping, for one: In McKinney’s historic downtown area, a roughly 10-square-block area surrounding the Collin County Courthouse, dozens of locally owned retailers offer jewelry, cosmetics, gifts, clothing, antiques, hats, and artwork.

The flea-market phenomenon known as Canton’s First Monday Trade Days dates to the 1850s, when traders brought dry goods , produce, and livestock to sell on the courthouse square.

Illustration by Michael Witte.

Babs Rodriguez unpacks a lifetime of travel memories. Here's the full story from the March 2014 issue of Texas Highways.

Like fraternal twins with different personalities, the North Texas cities of Dallas and Fort Worth—roughly 30 miles apart by car or train—offer almost everything a traveler could want in an urban vacation, from outdoors adventures to art, history, fine dining, nightlife, and museums.

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Dallas

Whether you favor a team in the game, or just looking forward to the commercials and half-time, Super Bowl Sunday is as good a time as any to throw a party. And every party needs a few spicy snacks.

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