What? Tascosa Drive-in Theater located in Amarillo. Home of the Double Features and Tuesday night specials.
Why? Since the 1970s drive-in theaters have been on a rapid decline. This small gem that runs alongside Dumas Highway still has 1950s-style diner and toilets intact.
What? Texas Air and Space Museum in Amarillo.
Why? Run by two retired pilots with planes from all eras, this is a love letter to the legends of air travel.
What? Artpace and FLIGHT are just two of many amazing small art spaces in San Antonio.
Why? There’s a thriving core of artists in the region. With support for independent galleries springing up all over the place, now is the time to appreciate their experimental, original and innovative work. You might even find something to take home as a souvenir.
What? Hippie Hollow Park (McGregor Park) is located at Lake Travis, northwest of Austin. After the Woodstock era of the 1960s, the spot was picked as a perfect location to bathe in the nude. Since 1983, it has been the only official clothing-optional location in Texas.
Why? Texas has a reputation for being one of the most conservative states in the United States, so a stark naked splash here — despite being completely legal — feels like a rebellious statement worthy of the Flower Power revolution.
What? The painstakingly recreated Falkenstein Castle that could have been pulled straight from the pages of a fairy tale.
Why? The castle should be visited for its backstory alone, but it’s also a great opportunity to see authentically rendered European architecture in the most unusual of places. Its positioning on the highest hill in Burnet means you can fully appreciate its 174,240-square-foot surroundings and take in views that stretch to 30 miles on a clear day. This is a private facility with no public tours so call in advance.
What? Watch jammers and blockers battle it out at an action-packed roller derby bout.
Why? The adrenalin-packed sport has become increasingly popular across the world in recent years, but its alive and kicking to an extreme degree in Austin. Though first-timers may initially be confused by the rules, they’ll be the ones hollering loudest at the referee within half an hour. Whether you pick the Hellcats or Holy Rollers, make sure you scream your support from the sidelines — but be warned of the odd skater skidding off the track.
What? SoCo (South Congress) in Austin.
Why? Quirky pop-up restaurants, artsy boutiques, street food served out of silver airstreams, blinding neon lights — it’s a trendy paradise.
What? Honky-Tonk music at the Broken Spoke.
Why? You can’t leave the South without trying your hand — or rather foot — at line dancing, and this local institution has been heralded as the best place to experience a hoedown in the entire nation. Past visitations from Clint Eastwood and the British Royals' entourage should signal that this is not a place to ignore.
What? South Padre Island is a coastal haven.
Why? Texas isn’t usually associated with relaxing seaside spots, which makes a detour to this beachy locale an unexpected treat. Plus, being only 10 miles from the Mexican border, you might want to jaunt over the state line. It's probably best to avoid South Padre during Spring Break, when thousands of excitable teenagers take to the sands.
What? Texas’ many roadside oddities e.g., the Beer Can House, the Gingerbread Man Monument, the Toilet Seat Museum, the Big Fork, the Giant Armadillo and the Hutto Hippos. Whatever you can dream up, chances are you can find it – supersized – in Texas.
Why? Because half of the time, you won’t believe these things actually exist unless you see them with your own eyes.
What? Jacob’s Well in Wimberley – the perfect (and very literal) pit stop.
Why? This natural spring, which has become a popular spot for locals, hides the pathway to an incredibly complex underwater cave system that is a must for adrenaline-seeking scuba fans. If staying above water is more your thing, just kick off your shoes and dip in your toes for instant refreshment.
What? Smoked sausages, beef brisket, potato salad, slaw and a fine craft beer in a distinctly German-inspired town such as Fredericksberg or New Braunfels.
Why? The state’s German heritage is such an integral part of the archetypal Texan taste that it would simply be rude not to indulge in some Bavarian barbecue. Be sure to check out local listings for regular Oktoberfest-style celebrations.
What? "Living Black & White" plays at The Pegasus in Dallas.
Why? It’s not every day you get to test your little gray cells, and while this "black-and-white movie brought to life" may sound a little gimmicky, give it a try and you’ll likely find yourself hooked in by the ever-twisting murder mystery plots. New productions are staged regularly.
What? The largest urban bat population in the world (more than 1 million) takes flight every night from March to November from under the Congress Avenue bridge.
Why? It’s an awesome sight that you’re unlikely to witness elsewhere, unless you have a particular fondness for dark caves.
What? Waterloo Record shop – once voted one of the Top 5 record shops in the world – is stocked to the hilt with albums for every eclectic taste and has regular all-day parties dedicated to promoting local artists. It’s a veritable hive of raw talent.
Why? Austin has recently (and somewhat boldly) trademarked itself as "The Live Music Capital of the World," but with an array of talented Texans such as Buddy Holly, Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Beyonce, it’s a claim it can almost certainly back up.
What? A bona fide Bandera Dude Ranch.
Why? Watching Western movies won’t make up for riding across the sweeping plains on your own cowboy adventure. Start your day with a cookout and top it off by staring up at the stars in the vast Texas skies. Hi-Yo, Silver!
The Mayan Dude Ranch and Silver Spur Ranch are highly recommended.
What? NASCAR racing at the Texas Motor Speedway.
Why? As national sports go, you can’t get much more American than NASCAR. And while we don’t allow such reckless driving in our rentals, we would highly recommend getting your high-speed kicks responsibly right here.
What? Texas’ spooky side has countless cemeteries (Oakwood, Concordia), ghost tours, the Karen Silkwood's glowing grave, Lee Harvey Oswald’s resting place, the National Museum of Funeral History, Dead Man’s Curve, as well as local legends like the Ring of Children, the Banshee, Bolivar Lighthouse, Loretto’s Tower and San Marco’s Pike House.
And for those without nerves of steel: Munster House, the grave of Ol’ Rip, Pancho Villa’s trigger finger and the Big Bopper’s casket.
Why? A seemingly statewide fascination with death-affiliated sites and spine-chilling stories has created morbid attractions to visit. It’s a great alternative look at the region’s unique history.
What? Booked Up in Archer City houses an incredible collection of over 200,000 scholarly and rare interest tomes, most of which can be purchased (if you’re feeling flush).
Why? If you’re after a particular volume of that one book you could never find when you were writing your dissertation, chances are you’ll find it here.
What? The Bluebonnet Trail in Ennis
Why? Bluebonnets have been the official state flower since 1901, and it would be a blooming shame to miss out if you are in Texas during spring. Just take precautions as you saunter through the fields, as a few unfriendly critters (such as scorpions, snakes and fire ants) might be admiring the blossoms, too. Hey, we never said this was for wimps.
Ahh love. It's beautiful, weird and sometimes a little messy. Thankfully, here are six besotted monuments that take all that soppy stuff very literally.
Here are eight iconic locations from some of the most memorable, much-loved and highly acclaimed American movies of the past 50 years.