26 USA SPECIAL TEXAS
March 2017 Travel News
LIVE LARGE IN BIG BOLD T
EXAS is big and bold. The diversity of the state allows visitors to combine outdoor adventure activities in the myriad of national and state parks, or experience the Wild West and cowboy lifestyle followed by some time in one or more of Texas’ premier cities.
There is something for everyone, once you grasp the lay of this vast and vibrant land. Each of its seven varied regions offers its own dramatic landscape, storied history, and opportunities for exploration and adventure.
The Panhandle Plains are in the northwestern corner of Texas where the landscape is rugged and flat, changing to reveal dramatic canyons such as the stunning Palo Duro Canyon – second only to the Grand Canyon in size. Amarillo is one of the largest cities in the region with ranching and farming as the main industries.
Big Bend Country is the most remote part of the state, but arguably the most beautiful. Hailed as one of America’s largest national parks, Big Bend National Park covers more than 800,000 acres along the Rio Grande River in West Texas. In addition to the region’s two national parks – Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountain National Park – visitors will discover old forts, abandoned mining camps, quirky historic towns and luxurious ranch resorts. El Paso is at the western tip of the state, where Mexico, New Mexico and Texas meet. It’s a blend of the Wild West, colorful Mexico and the heritage of Native Americans.
The Texas Hill Country features rolling countryside and a strong European heritage with settlers from the United Kingdom, Germany and central Europe. Many of the state’s dude or guest ranches are located here, near Bandera and Kerrville. Austin, the state capital, has a delightful mix of youth, sophistication, culture, live music and eclectic dining and shopping options. Outside the town of Fredericksburg is Enchanted Rock State Park, named for the 425-foot, 640-acre granite dome, where visitors can camp, hike, rock climb, stargaze and view interesting birds and wildlife. The South Texas Plains expand from San Antonio to the Rio Grande River, with changing scenery from rolling countryside to desert that is a delight for birdwatchers in the Rio Grande Valley, bargain hunters who visit the border towns, and history enthusiasts touring The Alamo and Mission Trail in San Antonio. Located between Corpus Christi and Brownsville, King Ranch – larger than the state of Rhode Island – is the country’s largest ranch and one of the largest in the world.
The 600-mile Texas Gulf Coast is protected by barrier islands stretching from Galveston to South Padre Island. Texas is also a resting place for over 600 bird species, more than any other state.
In addition to a world-class bird-watching experience, adventurers who hike, bike, kayak or even camel trek their way through Texas will find opportunities to chase rare butterflies, spot an endangered ocelot, enjoy dolphin watching excursions or watch sea turtles make their nests. Fishing is a major sport in Texas, given the more than 90 freshwater lakes and saltwater bays, and enthusiasts will enjoy
The diversity of the state of Texas allows visitors to combine outdoor adventure in the state’s dramatic landscape and city living and world famous cuisine
everything from tournament fishing for black bass to fly fishing for rainbow trout. Deep-sea fishing excursions from South Padre Island, Corpus Christi and Galveston offer fishermen a chance to bring home a prize catch from a day in the Gulf of Mexico. The Lone Star State offers numerous swimming, rafting and scuba diving adventures, such as premier diving destination Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
In Houston, nicknamed Space City, visitors can choose from a plethora of dining and cultural options in the Museum District and 17-block Theater District. For shopping enthusiasts, the country’s fourth largest city offers a wide variety of choices for any budget, including the famous Houston Galleria, Rice Village, or Harwin Drive for bargain shopping. Houston is also home to NASA and the Johnson Space Center, and it hosts the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, the world’s largest such event held annually in February or March.
The Prairies and Lakes Region is dominated by the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, which – with its vibrant
nightlife, cuisine, shopping and culture – is likely one of the first areas tourists visit. Dallas was made famous by the TV soap “Dallas” and today is a vibrant sophisticated city with a superb nightlife and more restaurants and shops per capita than New York City. In Fort Worth, visitors can experience the city’s western heritage at the historic stockyards, by watching a herd of longhorn cattle driven down Exchange Avenue, or enjoying country and western music at Billy Bob’s Texas, the world’s largest honky tonk.
The Piney Woods offer a landscape filled with forests and streams, lush meadows and quaint historic towns. For the plant lover, this region offers amazing azalea and rhododendron displays in the spring, and is a significant rose cultivation area for the entire United States. The region’s four national forests draw visitors for their beauty, peace and outdoor pursuits. Caddo Lake, located in the northern part of this region, offers tours through its cypress swampy environs and is a haven for canoeing, fishing, and nature photography. Visit travel.texas.gov
for more information.
Kick off your US holiday in style!
THIS summer, all American Airlines’ flights from Dublin to the United States will feature fully lie-flat seating Business Class, in addition to new menus created by award-winning chef and restaurateur Maneet Chauhan. Maneet is famous for her worldly cuisine, inspired by foods from around the globe. These enhancements are part of American’s ongoing $3billion investment into all aspects of the customer experience, both in the air and on the ground.
American, the world’s largest airline, operates up to four daily services from Dublin to New York JFK, Philadelphia, Charlotte and Chicago. American also operates Summer seasonal services from Shannon Airport to Philadelphia, where customers can make easy
connections onto over 115 destinations throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Washington DC’s Capitol Building
True local flavour in US Capital...
MONUMENTS and memorials, eclectic neighborhoods, true local flavor – Washington, DC is a place unlike any other. It’s your home away from home with free museums and America’s front yard.
Eastern Market is a Capitol Hill institution offering farm-fresh produce and famous buckwheat pancakes at Market Lunch every day of the week except Monday. On Sundays, local artisans and crafters come out and sell their wares.
Experience America’s past through a wide variety of exhibits at the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, an expansive, free-to-visit addition to the National Mall. For less than $10, learn fascinating Civil War history at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum.
Love walking through the gardens in spring and summer? So it throughout the year at the US Botanic Garden located just steps from the US Capitol Building. Admire a world of orchids, desert plants and a primeval garden with ancient plants.
The nation’s capital is in the midst of a craft beer craze. You can tour popular local breweries DC Brau and Bluejacket for free on Saturdays, the sit down and enjoy their delicious brews. Visit ChurchKey, which offers 555 different craft beers, then check out the in-house brew works at the District Chophouse & Brewery or Gordon Biersch Brewery.
The half-smoke sausage at Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street is one of DC’s most famous foods, while G by Mike Isabella serve up sandwich perfection from 11am-5pm. Get your fast-casual fix from Le Pain Quotidien or homegraown spots like Sweetgreen and Burger Tap & Shake. Grab a cup of coffee at Dupont Circle cafe- bookstore mainstay Kramerbooks & Afterwords, or veg out with vinyl at Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe in adams Morgan, which often hosts free concerts. Over on 14th Street, dig through the crates at SomRecords.
Make your way through the vast array of downtown bars offering money-saving happy hour specials. Sip craft brews and cocktails at City Tap House and Penn Commons. Put on your walking shoes and check out DC by foot, wa walking tour company that host free, kid-friendly tours from autumn through winter. Take in the signs while learning monument- themed fun facts and trivia.
for more information.
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