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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

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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.

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The main entrance roads to Big Bend National Park offer about 50 meandering miles of glorious scenery.

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Writer Bob McCullough takes Texas Highways readers on a culinary trek through Castroville (February 2014 issue), where Alsatian influences extend beyond pastries such as stollen and kugelhopf to regional specialties like parisa, a raw meat dish similar to steak tartare.

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Located along Old US 67, now Van Zandt Road near Glen Rose, this structure of rock, petrified wood, and multicolored brick is what remains of the abandoned “Outlaw Station,” a filling station and Prohibition-era speakeasy.

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No. 37Every Texan should experience the primordial mystery of Caddo Lake State Park. With its ghostly, century-old cypress trees draped with gray-green Spanish moss, cozy cabins built in the 1930s, and a history that encompasses pearl hunting and steamboating, a Caddo getaway works efficiently to re-set your perspective. Stay at the park, or find lodging and dining in the nearby towns of Uncertain, Marshall, and Jefferson.

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The same natural beauty and fertility that first attracted Native Americans and some of Texas’ earliest settlers to the pine forests on the Colorado River still make Bastrop a welcoming escape today. Bastrop capitalizes on its rich heritage with historic neighborhoods and a downtown full of restored buildings that house charming shops and cafés.

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Countdown-40

Those who take time to explore the “Hub City” will find a notable wine scene, thanks to the High Plains’ bounty of vineyards, an influential music scene, and a fascinating selection of museums. Few cities honor their heritage as enjoyably as Lubbock, home to museums focused on Buddy Holly, windmills, agriculture, and—a favorite top destination nominee for a number of TH readers—the National Ranching Heritage Center.

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The Texas Highways Readers' Choice Top 40 Travel Destinations

Last fall, we asked Texas Highways readers to share their favorite places in the state for our Texas Top-40 Travel Destinations. And share you did—by phone, email, Facebook, and through many amazingly detailed letters. Thousands of TH readers helped to shape the final list, which we will divulge throughout 2014, Texas Highways’ 40th-anniversary year.

 
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A longtime hub for innovation in energy and medicine, Houston has come into its own as a vacation destination in recent years.

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Marble Falls’ picturesque setting along its namesake lake proves enticing enough, but travelers stick around this Hill Country town for the live music, classic cafés, art galleries, intriguing shops, and annual events that range from a soapbox derby to drag-boat races.

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Bald cypress  trees flourish on Caddo Lake, as seen near Big Pines Lodge. (Photos by J. Griffis Smith)

My boyfriend seems unusually skittish as he peers into the utter blackness beyond our cabin door at Caddo Lake State Park. I’ve prepared two hot cups of ginger tea for us to sip on the porch in the crisp night air. But Marshall, willing only to open the door a crack, suggests that we enjoy our tea in the cozy confines of the cabin’s interior.

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