If you’ve got a long weekend coming up, or you’d like to take a vacation but don’t want to book a flight, consider a Texas roadtrip.
Texas is a big state, and it can be overwhelming to choose where to go. But we’ve put together a sample itinerary through three cities, offering enough to see and do to make your journey one to remember. What connects these itineraries is the presence of luxury boutique hotels by Houston-based Valencia Hotel Group. Their collection includes big hotels like one on San Antonio’s Riverwalk — but also smaller places like a new 165-room hotel coming to Lubbock, and featuring outdoor porches with rocking chairs. That one is set to open this summer.
We’ll start in Irving, where you can find the Texican Court. It was inspired by the movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” The Texican Court has a retro feel, much like the roadside hotels of the 1950s and 1960s. But don’t let the vintage vibe fool you: this hotel is full of modern amenities.
Many overlook Irving as just a suburb of Dallas. But since the 1960s, Irving has been transforming from oil fields into a thriving community, full of Texas charm. Irving is the only place in Texas where you can get an authentic Venetian gondola ride. Miles of canals wind through residential, restaurant and shopping districts. It’s also home to the largest equestrian sculpture in the world, and the Ruth Paine Museum – where Lee Harvey Oswald slept and stowed his gun the night before he shot President John F. Kennedy.
Next,pack up the car and head about three hours south to College Station. Here, you’ll find Cavalry Court. Located in Century Square, the hotel pays homage to Aggie history with its décor and barracks style. Guests will enjoy outdoor fire pits as well as large and beautifully appointed rooms.
Even if you’re not a fan of the Texas A&M Aggies, you might appreciate the history of a behind-the-scenes tour of Kyle Field. There, you can learn about the famous 12th Man, and get access to places usually reserved for athletes and coaches. While you’re on campus, head over to the somber, yet beautiful Bonfire Memorial and consider a tour of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.
When you’re hungry, stop in at the famous Dixie Chicken for Southern fare. Then step outside to check out Bottlecap Alley. Generations of students have lined the alleyway with bottlecaps from both beer and sodas – it is a great place to snap a photo. Another good dining option is the headquarters of Grub Burger Bar; their burgers and handspun spiked shakes never disappoint.
From College Station, head to the state capital. The Lone Star Court has a retro vibe. Enjoy a drink outside or roast some marshmallows after dinner. The hotel’s perfect location next to The Domain makes it very walkable for food, drink or enjoying north Austin entertainment.
Sites worth visiting in Austin include the Blanton Museum. It’s the home of the Alejandro Diaz “Make Tacos Not War” sculpture and the Ellsworth Kelly exhibit. Take a stroll down South Congress Avenue where you’ll find Texas-sized shopping opportunities and more Tex-Mex than you can possibly eat.
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You can learn more about these and other Texas destinations in the travel issue of Texas Lifestyle magazine.