We teach our children to share our world by involving them in our interests. For this columnist that meant making travel a keystone in her son’s life.
In summer, the Gulf of Mexico turns a vibrant blue-green at South Padre Island. On the shoreline, squealing children splash each other alongside hand-holding couples, and surfers tug their boards out to catch a wave.
The arrival of summer inspires mixed emotions in Texas. There’s no getting around the heat of our most extreme season, a months-long series of blistering days that test the endurance of even the proudest and most stoic among us. But it’s the high summer temperatures—along with late sunsets, school vacations, and a blessed number of swimming holes—that also make the season special. For generations, Texans have embraced the summer not because it’s inevitable, but rather because it’s packed with opportunities for recreation, travel, and fun. It’s in that resilient spirit that we scoured the state to bring you our list of unbeatable activities to shunt the summertime blues and enjoy your best summer ever.
Childhood summer vacations spent on the sand at Port Aransas passed far too quickly. Even though my sisters and I would collapse from exhaustion at the end of long, hot days romping in the waves, we’d nevertheless complain mightily when Mom knew we’d had too much sun and insisted we go inside the screened-in porch of our beach cottage to play Monopoly.
I confess. I am a dreamer. A grasshopper in an anthill world. Each month, as soon as I pay the bills, I take the money left over and go hiking or mountain biking. Maybe go fishing. Or pitch a tent, build a campfire, and cook out. Some folks who know me substitute my sobriquet “grasshopper” with the more definitive “bum.” They can say what they will, but I prefer to live outside.
Giant fingers reach upward from the sand toward a lad cowering among beanstalk leaves eight feet up in the air. A soldier lies face down in the sand, surrounded by tombstones of fellow fighters from 20th-Century wars. A green-tailed mermaid slithers toward you—wearing plastic sunglasses. A machine straight out of science fiction churns out waves—of sand.