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Texas Travel

Texas Gulf Coast

The Texas Gulf Coast has miles of beaches, state parks, historic sites, Wildlife Refuges, NASA’s Space Center and even tales of pirate treasure. There something for everyone from water sports and fishing, shopping to bird watching and cultural events. Warm tropical waters, delightful seaside communities and numerous venues make the Texas Gulf Coast a perfect place for a fun vacation.

From the Sabine river to the Rio Grande river valley, there are over 600 miles of beaches, bays, harbors, bayous and a chain of barrier islands that forms the Inter-Coastal Waterway. For those who love fishing and water sports of all kinds, the Gulf Coast is perfect for exploring the warm waters, tidal dunes and pristine beaches.

Galveston Island is full of fun things to do and see. Play on the beach or go running, cycling or walking along the beach front and seawall. Take a leisurely ride in a horse drawn carriage or trolley to the numerous shop on The Strand and tour the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa. Attractions include the Moody Gardens Aquarium and Rain Forest Pyramid, Lone Star Flight Museum and Rail Road Museum, etc. There are beautiful homes to tour – 1859 Ashton Villa, 1886 The Bishops Palace, 1895 Moody Mansion and more.

Further inland is the home of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Visitors can see astronauts train for missions, touch a real moon rock, land a shuttle, and take a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA.

Port Lavaca marks the center point of the Texas Gulf Coast. Favorite area attractions are the Half Moon Reef Lighthouse and beach, Formosa Wetlands Waterway and Matagorda Island State Park. Indianola is the town site of a fort built by French explorer, Robert LaSalle. It is here that he shipwrecked in 1684 and artifacts from on of his ships, La Belle, can be seen at The Calhoun County Museum in Port Lavaca.

Corpus Christi has many visitors attractions including the USS Lexington Museum, the Texas State Aquarium & Dolphin Bay, Museum of Science and History, South Texas Institute for the Arts, Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, and more.

Nearby Padre Island and Mustang Island State Park boasts 113 miles of beautiful beaches. South Padre Island was named one of the top ten best beaches in the world and as as a top fishing destination. Padre Island was home to pirate Jean La Fitte and it is rumored he may have buried gold and treasure there.

The Texas Gulf Coast is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Swampy bayous, hardwood forests, coastal prairies, marshy wetlands, mud flats and sandy beaches makes a perfect habitat for many species. There are bobcats and coyotes, mink, nutria, raccoon, rabbit, opossum, skunks, river otter, muskrat and even alligators.

Bird watching is a favorite activity year round due to the numerous local birds as well as migratory visitors. Species of waterbirds such as the Whooping crane, whistling duck and roseate spoonbill – birds of the prairies include the Atwater prairie chicken, White Tailed Hawks and Crested Caracara – shore birds along the beach, gulls and more.

For wildlife viewing on the upper Gulf Coast visit Big Thicket National Preserve, Sea Rim State Park and Anhuac National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors to the lower Gulf Coast are will want to visit Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Matagorda Island, Padre Island and the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in the Rio Grande area.

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Texas Travel

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the only one of it’s kind, can be found in Fort Worth, Texas.  There, recognition and respect is given to the women who “helped settle the frontier to those who continue to live their lives with the grit and determination of the American cowgirl.”

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

The list of honorees at the National Cowgirl Museum is long with names you would recognize such as Dale Evans and Annie Oakley, author Laura Ingalls Wilder who wrote of her life in the Little House on the Prairie books, Connie Griffith who was one of the world’s greatest trick riders and Narcissa Prentiss Whitman, one of the first two pioneer women to cross the Rocky Mountains.

Women such as Molly Goodnight, who was known to be a kind women who fed passing cowboys. She was also perfectly capable of driving wagons and running the ranch when her husband was away. This visionary couple recognized the open plains of the west were coming to an end. They rounded up herds of buffalo, preserving them from extinction. Molly Goodnight helped found local churches as well as Goodnight College.

Women from all walks of life are honored at the National Cowgirl Museum, pioneers, artists and writers, tribal leaders, the entertainers and the modern ranchers and rodeo cowgirls.

The museum houses an extensive collection of diaries, biographies and historical recollections of western women and over 3,000 rare photographs. This unique resource with it’s collection of books and videos, etc, serves as a research library for western studies.

The National Cowgirl Museum has five galleries of exhibitions featuring western artifacts, photographs and art work, three theaters, a children’s area, research library, gift shop and more.

The museum is located at 1720 Gendy Street in the heart of Fort Worth’s Cultural District.

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Texas Travel

Historic Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells

The Historic Baker Hotel of Mineral Wells Texas
The Historic Baker Hotel of Mineral Wells

If you ever get a chance to visit Mineral Wells Texas, the one thing you will be sure to see is the Baker Hotel. It is certainly the first thing I look for on my trips there. The Baker hotel stands proud, a grand lady of yesteryear, and her presence draws you to her, still lovely as you imagine days gone by with dapper gentlemen and ladies dressed for an evening in the Brazos Room.

The Baker Hotel was built by T.B. Baker to be a spa and resort destination for the rich and famous. Even when it opened in November of 1929, her 14 stories and 450 rooms boasted the most modern of conveniences including air conditioning and an Olympic sized pool. One of the main attractions were the spas and the mineral waters which were thought to have curative powers for a host of ailments. The Baker Hotel was lavishly decorated with beautiful chandeliers, fine rugs, silk and velvet draperies, luxurious couches as well as painted alcoves and ornate tile work. She was truly a grand hotel in every sense of the word.

Once a spa to the rich and famous, she hosted the likes of Will Rogers, Judy Garland, Mary Pickford, Jean Harlow, Guy Lombardo, Mary Martin, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable, Ernest Tubb, Sam Rayburn, President Lyndon Johnson, John Glenn, and even Bonnie and Clyde.

Earl M. Baker, nephew to T.B. closed the doors to the Baker Hotel on April 30, 1963.  Since the hotel was designed and built by a structural engineer, the building is still sound after many years of neglect.

There are many who believe the Baker Hotel is still occupied by the ghosts of years past. Indeed, there have been numerous reports of opening and closing windows, unexplained lights, the whiff of perfume from a mistress rumored to have jumped from the 7th floor, voices such as a childlike “hi” and the smell of cigar smoke. Perhaps these visitors are drawn, as we are, to her past glory.

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Texas Travel

Dallas Cowboys Stadium

Cowboys Stadium, the world’s largest domed stadium was completed on May 27, 2009 at a total construction cost of $1.3 billion. The stadium seats 80,000, making it the third largest stadium in the NFL by seating capacity, however the maximum capacity of the stadium, including standing room, is 110,000.

Located in Arlington, the stadium also has the world’s largest column-free interior and the 2nd largest high definition video screen which hangs from 20 yard line to 20 yard line. The facility is utilized for a variety of other activities including concerts, basketball games, boxing matches, college football and high school football contests, soccer matches, and motocross races.


Photos © Cliff Base, All Rights Reserved. View more of Cliffs photos at his site, TheCreativeGap.com.