If you’ve lived in Texas for a few days or a few decades, you know that no place else in the United States is more conducive to road trips, day trips, weekend stays, and backroads exploring. There’s no better time to explore the Lone Star State then when you enter retirement. So many amazing sights are just a interstate away, and there are tons of hidden treasures tucked in here and there that can captivate or initiate your passions for Texas history, antiquing, or wildlife and nature.
Airline travel can be a real drain on your finances, your stress levels, and let’s not even get started on the wear and tear it can perform on your body – hours cramped into a tiny seat on a plane can be miserable on sore joints, bones, and muscles. But traveling by car, or even getting more industrious, and renting or purchasing an RV or mobile home for your golden years’ excursions could be just the ticket to enjoying those trips you’ve always wanted to take – done on your time, your way, without the hassle of airport insanity.
Here are a few well-known spots in Texas you should visit on your next road trip, along with a few out-of-the-way trips that could be just what the doctor ordered when you feel the need to “get away from it all.”
Big City Life
San Antonio – The city’s Riverwalk is renowned for its people watching, shopping, and fantastic dining, especially Tex-Mex, the staple of most folks in this neck of the woods. A riverboat cruise lasts about 40 minutes and tells the area and its surroundings, including the legendary Alamo, still standing nearly 200 years after its occupants, including Texas legends like Jim Bowie, William Travis and Davey Crockett, made their fateful last stand against Santa Ana’s overwhelming force in what many continue the pivotal battle of the Texas Revolution. If your historical sense is a more peaceful one, take the Mission Trail and visit the Alamo and four other Spanish missions established in the early 1700s which have been preserved to this day.
Dallas/Fort Worth – The Metroplex is known for being the most cosmopolitan of Texas’ big cities, but there’s plenty of history here as well, notably Dealey Plaza, site of the most notorious assassination in American history, that of President John F. Kennedy as he traveled in a convertible through the city streets in November, 1963. Today’s seniors were at least of school age when this terrible tragedy occurs, and it was that generation’s Pearl Harbor or 9/11. The Plaza is now a historical district, and guides are available to walk visitors through the scene, including a trip to the Sixth-Floor Museum.
Houston – Long-known as Space City for its connection to the NASA space program, Houston’s best feature might actually be its museum district, centered around Herrmann Park, an enormous green space just across from the city’s internationally-acclaimed Medical Center. The park houses the Houston Zoo, full of elephants, big cats, primates, and a gloriously diverse carousel sure to dazzle grandkids of all ages, plus museums of natural science, art, and an indoor greenhouse filled with hundreds of species of butterflies which have the delightful habit of landing on your brightly-colored clothing.
Off the Beaten Path
Big Bend National Park – Make sure and reserve a week or so – you’ll need it to drink in the beauty and to get there; Big Bend is a full 600 miles from Houston; 533 from Dallas and 412 from San Antonio. You’ll never complain about the drive once you’ve seen the exquisite beauty of the place, located just across the Rio Grande River from Mexico. With gorgeous canyons, winding rivers, and artifacts dating back 9,000 years, Big Bend offers something for everyone – camping, hiking, or simply long winding drives that let you check out the 1,200 species of plants and more than 600 species of animals that call it home.
Brenham – If you’ve ever tasted a single scoop of Bluebell Ice Cream, you’ll know why the “cows call Brenham heaven.” Located about halfway between Houston and Austin, this town of 15,000 residents has some of the most breathtaking vistas of bluebonnets – the Texas state flower – blooming each spring; families have been known to drive from hundreds of miles around to take annual pictures of their children frolicking in the flora. But the Bluebell factory is the cherry on top, offering daily tours through its factory that conclude in the best way possible – a dish of your favorite flavors for free.
Fredericksburg – You don’t have to travel to Big Bend to see a little elevation in Texas; the Hill Country starts just west and north of Austin, and Fredericksburg is right at the heart of it. Made famous by its association with former President Lyndon Johnson, the town embraces its German heritage with restaurants and culture, not to mention cornering the market on fantastic antiquing and nearby wineries.
One of the best parts about Texas is how much there is to do no matter where you are, and one of the best parts about Conservatory Senior Living is that we are everywhere in Texas! With senior living communities in Austin, Keller, Plano, Spring, and The Woodlands, we allow you easy access to your favorite big attractions as well as out-of-the-way road trips when you need a break from the day-to-day.
And if you’re not one for jumping in the car and driving yourself, we’ve got just the thing for you! We have monthly trips to fun locations, including casinos located across state lines in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, for when you want to roll the dice – literally – and spice up your weekend.