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Written by Texas Highways

jucys 917Walking into Jucy’s Hamburgers, at the corner of McCann and US 80 in Longview, the first thing I notice is the vibe, or lack thereof.

ARS GMNP 20170614 9 17Guadalupe Mountains National Park

“It feels so small at first, until you hit the trail and start to explore. It is pure Texas wilderness—a high mountain desert with the soul of a bygone era that we Texans have yet to forget or leave simply to the history books. Here, we hold on dearly to the past we love.” – Andrew R. Slaton

pins 917Padre Island National Seashore

“Aromatic, salty air blew in off the water. Pelican formations cruised the shoreline. Seagulls and other shorebirds searched for food, and every minute the light transformed, making the water, clouds, and sand change colors. It’s a special place with rare species and isolated, undeveloped beaches—a national treasure and nature at her finest.” – Kenny Braun

sowFollow photographers Kenny Braun, E. Dan Klepper, and Andrew R. Slaton as they explore our picks for the top nine natural wonders of Texas—and capture each one as never before.

Backstage Whitewater 1Whitewater Amphitheater has been called the Red Rocks of Texas, because like the Colorado concert favorite, the 5,600-capacity venue on the Guadalupe River is set into a glorious natural landscape. Both employ highest quality sound and lights and attract top talent.

bats 8178

Observing bats emerge from their roosts is one of the most exciting encounters that nature has to offer. Texas happens to be the perfect place to capture the seemingly choreographed exodus. Here are a few.

MermaidTank1It’s not every community that can fondly recall the good ol’ days when mermaids would swim and play in the local waters, but San Marcos can. And lately, the city has been doing more than just remembering its quirky history with these aquatic maidens. There is, once again, a thriving mermaid culture throughout San Marcos because, after a bit of an absence, the mermaids have returned.

DudeRanch817Even the quality of light looks different here, I think, watching as my boys amble down from a rusty wagon, whooping and hollering among the horses, donkeys, and a lone pot-bellied pig at Rancho Cortez in Bandera.

Chisholm Trail buffs frequently clash over the trail’s history, beginning with a basic question of whether it ever really was in Texas. The hubbub peaked in 2001, when reaction to a Texas Historical Commission brochure attracted the attention of a New York Times reporter.

vaquero

Ever since the 1999 debut of his first album, Singer/Songwriter, country crooner Aaron Watson has been blazing his own trail up the charts with songs that draw from his hometown roots and Texas musical heritage. Watson began writing songs and playing guitar as a teenager in his hometown of Amarillo. After attending Abilene Christian University, he ventured to Nashville to try his luck with the major record labels. But the labels told him that his sound— modern honky-tonk with splashes of rock, gospel, and Tejano—lacked commercial appeal.

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