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.
Texas Highways Photo Editor Griff Smith highlights his favorite techniques to make portrait photos really shine. Recorded at Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham, Texas.
From bluebonnets and Blue Bell to burgers and the Birthplace of Texas, Brenham and surrounding Washington County should be on your A-list of day-trip excursions.
One morning recently, a young tour guide was steering a group of visitors through the Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham, explaining the ways that the company makes the dream-food that Time magazine has called "the best ice cream in the world." Her descriptions were going smoothly until she made a statement that dropped the jaw of a man in the group. "Beg your pardon, young lady," the man interrupted. "Did you say it takes the milk of FIFTEEN THOUSAND cows to make one day's supply of ice cream?" He sounded incredulous and skeptical at the same time. He was having trouble getting a mental picture of that many cows. "No, sir, I'm sorry if it sounded that way," she replied. "It's FIFTY thousand cows."
When it comes to food, Lone Star pride stretches across Texas. Around the state, large commercial ovens, kettles, and steamers cook up flavors that please palates from the Gulf Coast to the Red River and beyond. Pickles, ice cream, tamales, candy, and more—if you plan your travels right, you can dine along the way solely on made-in-Texas fare.