The United States of America is one of my absolute favorite countries. This summer we traveled through the second largest of the 52 states – Texas! The so-called Lone Star State is hard to beat in versatility, as you will also read in this travel guide. Unique sand dunes, beautiful national parks, vibrant cities and sandy beaches on the Gulf of Mexico – all this could not be missing on my road trip route. For the road trip we rented a Ford Mustang. Now I wish you a lot of fun reading.
The Monahans Sandhills State Park was our first stop on this unique road trip. What looks like an endless desert on the pictures is actually not a desert at all. The sand dunes, up to 21 meters high, are part of a semi-arid ecosystem. The strong wind blows the sand into these typical lines. Not only because of the heat, but also to watch the beautiful sunset from the sand dunes, I recommend you to visit this unique state park only in the evening.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is one of countless national parks in the USA. The name of the park comes from the Guadalupe Mountains, which were an underwater reef about 260 to 270 million years ago. The 2’667 meter high Guadalupe Peak, which is located in the Guadalupe Mountains, is also the highest point in Texas. The picture above shows El Capitan peak behind me. The Guadalupe Mountains are of course suitable for hiking, but since it is over 40 degrees in the summer, you should start early in the morning and be careful. It is best to inform yourself about the official site of the national park – also about possible current dangers.
The region around the Guadalupe Mountains National Park is largely untouched except for the roads. Accordingly, there are neither gas stations nor grocery stores along the way, so be sure to buy everything you need if you plan to spend the night in the park. We chose to glamp in Dell City, from which the Guadalupe Mountains are visible. In Dell City you will find a small store and two gas stations.
Thanks to the seclusion, you will be rewarded with a view of the starry sky that is second to none.
Welcome to Texas sign
At the state border to Texas you can find these cool signs – according to the motto “Everything is bigger in Texas” this of course also applies to the welcome sign. For me a cool photo spot, which could not be missing at all. Moreover, the signs are surely on your route through Texas.
A Prada store in the middle of the desert? This store is no ordinary Prada store, but an art installation. This special work of art was created by the artists Elmgreen and Dragset. The unusual Prada store is located along US Route 90 2.3 km northwest of Valentine and about 42 km northwest of the town of Marfa. Since the artwork was on our way to our next destination, we made a quick photo stop.
Big Bend Nationalpark & Terlingua
Big Bend National Park was a must-see on our road trip through Texas. The park was named after a big river bend of the Rio Grande. By the way, this river forms a 1500 km long part of the border between the United States and Mexico. In addition to numerous hiking opportunities in the park, there are also many beautiful viewpoints, which are easy to reach by car even at high temperatures. It is important to buy a ticket at the entrance of the park. The one for Big Bend National Park cost 30 US dollars.
The park is recognized by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve. The park is home to a large part of the Chihuahua Desert. The climate of the area is very extreme and especially in summer it is very hot and dry. Therefore we decided to do two smaller hikes. One hike I would like to recommend to you is the Santa Elena Canyon Hike, but also for this hike you should start already in the morning. The first section leads through the river, so it is worthwhile to take water shoes, otherwise it has worked well with us barefoot. However, the river level was just probably rather low.
Near Big Bend National Park is Terlingua. The small town, known as a ghost town, offers numerous overnight accommodations, shopping opportunities as well as restaurants and bars. That’s why we decided to do some very special glamping on the hill above Terlingua. In this old school bus.
Going to sleep with the stars and being woken up by the sunrise. A unique experience. Here, too, the night sky enchants with incomparable starry splendor. The Milky Way is visible to the naked eye.
But be sure to check in which moon phase you plan a glamping, because at full moon the moon shines so brightly that the stars are less visible. Our time at new moon was perfect.
Caverns of Sonora
On the way to our next destination are the Caverns of Sonora. The Caverns of Sonora are considered a National Natural Landmark, which is second to none. I have already visited some caves in Switzerland and Europe, but I have never seen such a breathtaking variety of calcite crystal formations, especially helictites. The guided tour lasts 45 minutes and was a welcome change at 40°C outside temperature.
The first city on our road trip, which we visited, was San Antonio. The seventh largest city in the USA was founded in 1718 as a Spanish mission and colonial outpost. The picture above shows “The Alamo” – a place steeped in history, where the Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836. This battle was crucial to the Texas Revolution. Because as you may not have known, Texas belonged to Mexico until the Republic of Texas was established. Later, Texans joined the United States of America.
San Antonio is a very diverse city, a visit to the famous Riverwalk should be part of your day as well as night program. There you will find countless restaurants, bars, stores and much more. A very nice photo motif can be found at the Tower of America, the so-called “Wings of Mexico” are an Instagrammer hotspot.
Banderas “The Cowboy Capital of the World”.
What would a trip to Texas be without a visit to a ranch? Bandera is a small town in Texas Hill County and calls itself the Cowboy Capital of the World. You can find numerous ranches where ranch stays can be booked. We opted for a half day program, the only ranch that offered this was Rancho Cortez. The program included a horseback ride, lasso throwing, feeding the longhorn cattle, a hayride, dinner and the campfire. There are also two pools on the ranch and other animals such as goats. I was especially impressed by the “real” cowboys we met, who move from ranch to ranch to work.
In the evening there was by chance one of the traditional and local rodeo’s in town. Of course we could not miss this. Since it had many local guests, it was not like a tourist attraction and therefore all the more exciting to us.
Austin is the capital of Texas and home to the Capitol. The government building is open to everyone, and there are free guided tours every half hour, which I highly recommend.
I really liked Austin, a great city, with countless beautiful places to discover. In particular, there are numerous parks, which invite you to rest and relax. Austin is located on the Colorado River, Lady Bird Lake is a river-like reservoir and is perfect for a relaxing afternoon. Don’t miss The Contemporary Austin, an outdoor sculpture exhibit.
To rest up after a day of exploring, I’m always on the lookout for the best hotels. I definitely found one in Austin and highly recommend the Hotel Canopy Austin Downtown by Hilton. Located in downtown Austin, you have the perfect starting point to discover the city.
The interior of the hotel is super stylish and I immediately felt at home. The rooms are beautifully bright. I slept wonderfully in the comfortable bed. In the hotel you will also find a restaurant, a bar and a fitness center. With a 24-hour reception and room service.
My personal highlight is the rooftop pool, whether in the morning right after getting up or in the afternoon to cool down after an exciting sightseeing tour through the city – the perfect refreshment. We didn’t have to worry about parking either, thanks to the in-house valet parking. The great ambiance and friendly staff made our stay a great experience. Book your room now at Hotel Canopy Austin Downtown by Hilton!
Texas offers beautiful national parks and vibrant cities, as well as a gorgeous coastline with great sandy beaches. We decided to take a side trip to Galveston Island. As the name already says, it is an island. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, the Texas beaches are great for relaxing and having fun. We visited the beach in front of the Galveston Pier. The latter is of course also worth a visit in the evening, whether for dinner, a cotton candy or a ride on the Ferris wheel. Galveston Island is also home to several water parks for those who like a little action.
Our second last stop of this Texas road trip led us to Houston. The largest city in the USA in terms of area is also the most populous in Texas. Besides numerous parks like the beautiful Bayou Park, museums, restaurants and recreational attractions, Houston is famous for the Houston Space Center. The world famous saying “Houston…. we have a problem” by Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert is no coincidence. I can absolutely recommend a visit to the Houston Space Center, on one of the free tours we were allowed to sit in the original room where the relatives of the astronauts sat during the 1st moon landing. In addition, the other exhibits such as a space shuttle, suits of astronauts, etc. convey interesting facts about space travel.
By the way, you can skate in Houston even at 40°C outside temperature in the famous shopping center “The Gallerias”. There is also a tunnel system in downtown Houston where you can find stores, restaurants, bars and much more.
Dallas was probably the first Texan city I knew – at least by name. I remember very well how I used to watch Dallas with my grandmother at her home at the end of the 90s. At that time the USA was still far away for me, all the more I love to travel to distant countries now. We started our discovery tour in Dallas in the Downtown Dallas Historic District.
There is a lot to discover in Dallas. Be sure to check out the Dallas Art Museum, admission is free and there is art from all over the world to discover. Also very impressive is the Natural History Museum – from real dinosaur bones to a beautiful crystal exhibition, there is much to discover and learn. Also fun is a visit to the Dallas Aquarium.
The W Hotel Dallas is the perfect place to discover the city. Comfort, luxury and service are the top priorities here. We stayed in the beautiful WOW Suite with a unique view of the city. The spacious, modern suite offers comfort to feel right at home. Located on floors 9 through 14, the WOW Suites consist of a living room and bedroom with panoramic views of downtown Dallas and the American Airlines Center from a private 158-square-foot terrace. The spacious living area is an inviting place to linger.
The terrace also offers a wonderful atmosphere to end an eventful day in Dallas. The most beautiful place to enjoy the sunset, however, is the infinity rooftop pool with a breathtaking view of Dallas. There’s also a steam room for relaxation, and you can indulge in massages and treatments at the AWAY® Spa. There is also a gym with a breathtaking view.
The Villa Azur provides culinary delights during your stay at the W Dallas. Whether delicate pancakes for breakfast, a cool drink or a delicious dessert in the restaurant or at the bar you will find treats all day long. With these delicious impressions, I wish you an unforgettable stay at the W Hotel Dallas – Victory.