Texas

The USA’s second-largest state, Texas, is home to over 16 million cattle which shape the lives of many of its 23 million human inhabitants. Known mainly for its oil wells, beef is also big business, and some of the state’s more intriguing laws stem from it; it is just as illegal to graffiti another person’s cow as it is to steal its milk. However, there is more to Texas than just beef and oil.
 
With its cosmopolitan cities, wide open spaces and beautiful natural assets, Texas offers visitors many diverse and exciting travel experiences. NASA’s mission control, the Johnson Space Center, is a must-see when in Houston. Austin boasts the state’s most vibrant live music scene and hosts the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival – a three day event in October at Zilker Park.
 
Be spoilt for choice in San Antonio. History buffs should head to the Alamo where Davy Crockett and his small crew held out a 2500-strong Mexican army for 13 days before succumbing to their force. The Riverwalk tempts with its fabulous dining and shopping options, while the Spanish Governor’s Palace is resplendent in its architectural beauty.
 
A visit to Texas is not complete without at least a touch of cowboy culture. See a rodeo, visit a dude ranch or just indulge in a huge Texas T-bone steak.

History & Culture

Texas has a fascinating history, having the flags of six nations fly over it since the 1500's; Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States and the United States. Of course before, and through, all this were the Native American cultures. Each of these incarnations have left their mark on the state and it makes for an interesting mix of history.

One of the most well known historical sites in Texas is The Alamo, where in 1836 a hardy group of 200 "Texians" including Jim Bowie and Davie Crockett held out against the 1500 strong Mexican army for 13 days until they were slaughtered to the last man. "Remember the Alamo" subsequently became the catchcry of the Texians, who ultimately forged a state independent of Mexico. 

The Alamo
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The Cowboy Way

Texas is synonymous with the cowboy and it can be hard to get away from this icon. From Texas's great football team, The Dallas Cowboys, to the stockyards in Fort Worth and the big hats, you are likely to encounter just about everywhere that this is definitely cowboy country, and it is worth getting a dose of it in some way or another. The King Ranch is bigger than the state of Rhode Island!

The Stockyards in Fort Worth have a cattle drive every day through the main street and this area is home to numerous cowboy-themed bars, restaurants and attractions. There's usually a rodeo happening somewhere where you can see rough and tumble cowboy skills demostrated up close or you can even get right into the spirit and spend some time at one of the many dude ranches scatterd around the countryside.

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Bright Lights, Big Cities

Texas is the second most populous state in the US and has its fair share of exciting cities.

Austin, the capital, is famous for it's live music scene and quirkiness, infact the unofficial city motto is "Keep Austin Weird". It is also one of the safest cities in the US and has a very high level of citizen involvement. Austin also has a burgeoning food scene.

Houston is the largest city in Texas and is the fourth largest in the US, in square kilometres houston is HUGE! Built around the oil industry there isn't a lot for the tourist, but it does act as a good base. One major attraction in Houston though is the Space Center where you can experience all things NASA ... a great place to take the kids!

Dallas & Fort Worth have merged into what is basically a single entity. This area offers a diverse range of experiences and has the largest number of restaurants per capita in the United States. One of the main attractions is the Fort Worth Stockyards where there are cattle drives through the main street every day and cowboy themed bars, restaurants and entertainment.

San Antonio is an attractive and vibrant city with a lot to offer the traveller. It has a significant Hispanic population and this is reflected in the vibe of the place. The Alamo is the symbol of Texan independence and is one of the must-see's while you are in San Antonio, but there are also fine museums and art galleries. The river walk snakes through the city and is definitely worth a stroll.

Houston

Barbecue, Barbecue, Barbecue?

You haven't had barbecue until you've had Texas Barbecue! Brisket with coleslaw, beans and potato salad is the mainstay but other Texan barbecue staples are goat and lamb.

Barbecue is not the only cuisine you'll find in Texas, however. Tex-Mex is a Texan take on Mexican food and chili is the state dish. Down home cooking stems from the German influence and chuck wagon cooking, and then there is the ubiquitous chicken fried steak.

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Chuck Norris, Texas Ranger
Chuck Norris was made an honorary Texas Ranger in 2010. The Texas Rangers is the oldest state-wide law enforcement agency in the US.