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Written by Lois Rodriguez

Casting my line into the water, I smiled to think I was no bigger than the little girl across from me when I last tried my hand at fishing. I sat on the pier, thinking about how much my grandkids would like this place.

It’s the sound that captures most people’s attention: the roar of 10,500 gallons of water per minute hurtling down the four-story sides that surround the Active Water Pool at the Fort Worth Water Gardens.

Ready to hit the water? The Texas Paddling Trails program has you covered, with currently more than 60 designated inland and coastal trails available for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.

In our September issue, Terri Schexnayder recounted a recent adventure at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, Texas. Writer Grace Carrier has discovered another jewel in the Athens area: the award-winning New York, Texas ZipLine Adventure at Shultz Mountain Ranch.

In the September issue, writer Jennifer Babisak explores Galveston’s Oasis Juice Bar, which specializes in fresh-squeezed juices, locally made kombucha, and smoothies galore.

Stargazing can be an out-of-this-world experience, but here in Texas, there are a few places that are able to magnify that experience even more.

39B-Nac

81You probably learned in school that six flags have flown over Texas: French, Spanish, Mexican, Lone Star, Confederate, and United States. But when it comes to Nacogdoches, an East Texas city named for a band of the Caddo tribe that settled here around A.D. 1250, you can add three more, which flew in the 1800s as part of short-lived rebellions.

39A-BB71If only the German immigrants who first settled Fredericksburg in 1846 could see what they started.

51B Schlitterbahn

91The allure of a New Braunfels getaway is particularly strong during these dog days of summer, when the town’s two scenic rivers—the Comal and the Guadalupe—beckon for a refreshing dip.

As a photographer for some 20 years, I have captured Texas’ people and places on numerous occasions, but my passion lies in shooting our wide-open spaces. I’ve photographed in the Hill Country and the Big Bend, on the High Plains and the Gulf Coast, and I still experience a fresh sense of awe every time I turn my lens to the state’s great outdoors.

Fritz Hanselmann

A common thread runs among this year’s group of Extraordinary Texans: Each of them has pursued a dream, and each has tapped various sources of inspiration and creativity—including the great state of Texas itself. We hope these dreamers and doers will inspire you to dream big and to live as an extraordinary Texan yourself.

As travelers fly by on I-35, some may be unaware that one simple exit could take them to the heart of Williamson County and what’s known as the “Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas.” Georgetown is a place where the coffee’s fresh, the scenery’s beautiful, and the history is as rich as the enchilada gravy.

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