Saturday, March 15, 2008

Travel: Spring Break Destinations

Winter is over and spring has started to set in. SPRING break is here guys. And all of us are looking forward to go out somewhere, explore and have fun to break the monotonous life at school. So here are a few places that you might want to visit without taxing your pockets heavily and without putting in a lot of time for it. Texas is what I have in my mind.

Typically, there are two distinct regions Spring Breakers gravitate to in Texas – one is the Gulf Coast and the other is the Hill Country. Both of these regions offer a host of activities, with most of the fun being focused in or around the water. Indeed, water sports and activities dominate the time Spring Breakers aren’t spending drinking or in clubs.

Hill county region is the heart of the Lone Star State. Here, you’re not only in the middle of Texas, but you’re also at the center of everything Texas has to offer. You’ll find beauty all around you. The Hill Country is home to rolling hills that dominate the region, a breathtaking display of wildflowers found along roadsides in springtime, year-round lush green landscapes and plenty of splendid lakes and rivers beckoning you to take a dip or cast your line. This region begins in west Texas in Crockett County, and stretches east to Austin, the state’s capital in Travis County. Mills County is the region’s northern point, and Kinney, Medina and Uvalde counties make up the southern border. , the jewel of the region, is host to many outstanding attractions and points of interest. History buffs can state their desire for knowledge at places like the granite dome of the State Capitol building, which is taller than our nation’s capitol, the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum or the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. While you’re here, don’t miss the University of Texas at Austin campus (one of the largest in the country) and Zilker Park with its famous spring-fed Barton Springs pool. Do a little browsing at the eclectic shops found along South Congress Avenue.There is, of course, no shortage of shopping opportunities everywhere you turn. Starting in San Marcos, you’ll find Prime Outlets and Tanger Outlet Center, which is the largest factory outlet complex in the state. Just north of San Marcos in the town of Buda, you’ll find Cabela’s, the eye-popping outdoor recreation mega-store that’s so large there’s a two-story mountain and gigantic fresh-water aquarium inside its two-story layout. There are also great antique stores found in cities like Burnet, Wimberley, Dripping Springs and more. If water sports are more to your liking, you’ll find plenty of opportunities here. There are almost two dozen magnificent state parks here, most of which are located along lakes or rivers. So, if you like to fish, swim, water-ski, pitch a tent and camp near a lake or river bank, you’re definitely in the right region. But there’s so much more, beginning with the exciting Schlitterbahn water park in New Braunfels. Located alongside the spring-fed Comal River, Schlitterbahn features all kinds of water rides and activities for the whole family. It has been recognized as the top water park in the country for seven consecutive years. There’s also the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in Stonewall, which features the reconstructed childhood home and final resting place of the President. Down the road in Fredericksburg, you’ll find the National Museum of the Pacific War, which tells the story of Admiral Chester Nimitz and features displays and exhibits detailing the American and Japanese battles in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. The region is also filled with heritage and historical museums, amazing underground caverns, historic structures providing a glimpse into the lives of early Texas settlers, wineries offering tours of their vineyards and wine-making facilities, wildflower and nature attractions, dude ranches that allow guests to relax or have a true cowboy experience, and plenty of venues to enjoy some quintessential Hill Country cuisine and music. Be sure to read thoroughly through each city’s listing within the Hill Country region to learn about the wide array of destinations that await you. Enjoy the heart of Texas and have a great time in the Hill Country!

The first thing that comes to mind about the Gulf Coast region is precisely that; the coast along the Gulf of Mexico. And no wonder, since there are more than 624 miles of coastline stretching southward from the Louisiana border to the Mexican border near Brownsville. The warm water of the Gulf beckons visitors who want to swim, fish, sail, sunbathe, build sand castles, surf or just take a relaxing stroll on the beach.

Searching for some solitude? Look no further than the[[ North Padre National Seashore – which has the longest undeveloped stretch of barrier-island beach in the world – or, if you prefer to be where the action is, join the crowds and party-like atmosphere up and down the coast during Spring Break, or in Galveston and Port Arthur during Mardi Gras.

Get up early in the morning to cast lines off a pier or head into the Gulf for some deep-sea fishing. Spend the afternoon lying on a beach enjoying the warmth of the sun and listening to the lulling sound of the waves breaking on the sand. Take a walk along the sand as the sun sets, enjoying the peace of day’s end as sunbeams make their final plays across the water. In the evening, head out to a local waterside restaurant to enjoy fresh seafood and the dark ripple of the waves at night.

However, the Gulf Coast is not just about the sand and surf. From the dsun-kissed valley near the Texas-Mexico border to the swamps in Orange, and everything in between, the region has something that appeals to every kind of traveler.

If you enjoy wildlife watching, you’ve definitely come to the right place. The Rio Grande Valley is the nation’s number one bird-watching destination, and most of the Texas Coastal Birding Trail stops fall within this portion of the state. Some of the birding opportunities include seeing tropical birds in Harlingen, stopping at the Matagorda County Birding Nature Center, Paradise Pond Birding Habitat or Los Ebanos Nature Preserve, catching glimpses of the endangered whooping crane that winter at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, and visiting Rockport-Fulton in September for the Hummer/Bird Celebration to see the migrating hummingbirds.

For history buffs, travel back to a different time in Texas with a visit to one of many sites of profound historical importance. Visit the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site in Deer Park, where Texas avenged its Alamo defeat and won its independence from Mexico. See Spindletop in Beaumont, which set off the oil boom in Texas in 1901 and brought in the modern era of petroleum production.

For museum lovers, the region is rich with art museums, heritage museums, and historic homes and buildings that preserve history. Tour homes, mansions and plantations, and see examples of everyday life and culture in the 1800s and early 1900s. Houston’s museum district is ranked among the five best in the nation, and its Museum of Fine Arts is the sixth largest in the country.

With Texas’ largest city, Houston, and its surrounding metropolitan area, along with Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Harlingen, Port Arthur, Beaumont, the Brazosport Area and Bay Area Houston, there are plenty of opportunities for people who want for modern day activities like shopping, visiting art museums, attending theatrical performances, splashing around at water parks, and enjoying rides at amusement parks. For a truly out-of-this world experience, visit NASA/Space Center Houston and have some fun learning about our nation’s space program.

With so much to see and do here, it might be hard to decide where to start, but you don’t want to miss a thing. So, be sure to review the following pages to learn more about the cities and attractions found within the area, and use the information to plan your adventure.

Whether you are a beach or water fan, history buff or living for the present, urbanite or nature-lover, the Gulf Coast has something for you to enjoy!

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Aritra Sur

1 comment:

ravi ramenani said...

good observation dude...keep going......