Saturday, October 18, 2008

Travel: Fix your travel plans

Midterms, assignments, deadlines!!! If you are looking forward to that Thanksgiving break- you are on the right track. Yes, some of you are going to show off by going to exotic places for the break, but for those of you who are considering some place that could leave some money in your pocket, why not explore Texas. Two distinct Texas regions pop into the picture- Gulf Coast and the Hill Country.

The Hill County region, heart of the Lone Star State, is home to rolling hills, a breathtaking display of wildflowers found along roadsides in springtime, year-round lush green landscapes and plenty of splendid lakes and rivers. This region begins in west Texas in Crockett County, and stretches east to Austin. History buffs can quench their desire for knowledge at places like the granite dome of the State Capitol building, the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum or the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Of course, while you’re here, don’t miss the famous UT- Austin campus. Down the road in Fredericksburg, you’ll find the region filled with historical museums, amazing underground caverns, historic structures providing a glimpse into the lives of early Texas settlers, wineries, wildflower and nature attractions, and plenty of venues to enjoy some quintessential Hill Country cuisine and music.

But if that’s not what you want, then why not explore the Gulf Coast? The coast along the Gulf of Mexico- a 624-mile stretch, beckons visitors 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. If you enjoy wildlife, this is your 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. 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, the place that set off the oil boom in Texas in 1901 and brought in the modern era of petroleum production.

With so much to see and do, it might be hard to decide where to start, and where to end. 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.

-Aritra Sur

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