Where do you even start when considering a bed and breakfast in Texas? That’s like asking which hotel should I visit in Bolivia or Bangladesh. With a landmass and population more extensive than most nations, there is indeed an embarrassment of riches to select which B&B is best for your visit.
To help break down the overwhelming number of choices, it helps first to know where in Texas you want to visit. Looking for big-city experience will take you to the major metropolitan areas of Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio. They each have their own culture and appeal.
Perhaps the most sought-after destination is the Texas Hill Country, generally located to the west of Austin, stretching southwest into south-central Texas. Favored for its scenic topography, rustic ranches, and Old West culture, a visit to one of the many types of B&B inns provides a deep sense of how unique Texas is and the pride that Texans have in their culture.
Heading south and west from Austin, a distinctive German influence is noticeable in towns such as Fredericksburg, New Braunfels, Boerne, and Kerrville. Even a small town like Wimberley, located at the beautiful confluence of the gently winding Blanco River and tree-shaded Cypress Creek, has exceptional lodging options for those who desire a small-town experience.
From rustic and full of character to sleek and ultra-modern, your choice of inn will have more to do with what part of the “Republic of Texas” you wish to explore. But rest assured, every comfort and convenience is available no matter where you choose to start your adventure.
Of course, the abundance of galleries and museums will only enhance your stay as you learn about local history and the lore of the Lone Star State.
Texas’ ability to captivate is not limited to the (mostly) agreeable year-round weather. It has a natural ecology that is unlike any other in North America. A coastal plain borders the Gulf of Mexico and snugs up to old-growth East Texas Piney Woods. Swamp and bayou populate the coastal region as it arches over toward Louisiana. Moving westward, the Hill Country rolls up to add depth to the terrain before giving way to the burning plains of West Texas.
North Texas is characterized by flat country and scrub oak forests that stretch to the Red River and the border with Oklahoma. The Texas Panhandle region is a world of its own as an elevated plateau and has more in common with New Mexico and its high desert scrub country. South of the Panhandle ushers in what was once a large inland sea known as the Permian Basin. It is this vast, desolate region of cactus, rattlesnakes, and jackrabbits that gives us the endless miles of pumpjacks and petroleum production.
South Texas is ancient, barren, and beautiful. It is home to Big Bend National Park and the Rio Grande River border with Mexico. And there are actually some mountains down this way as well. Some of the oldest rock on the North American continent can be found here in arguably the harshest terrain across the whole southern US. Correspondingly, this unforgiving environment plays host to some of the wildest and most hostile plants, animals, and heat extremes in the state.
Interesting place, this Texas. There’s a simple beauty of austerity here that takes a while to appreciate. Visit and you may never leave.
The history of Texas is a long and complicated story. Spanish conquistadors landed in 1519, and five different nations have since ruled various parts of it between France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, and the United States. A sixth could be added if you count the Confederacy during the American Civil War.
Early leaders of the “Republic” were war heroes from several different military conflicts, including the Mexican-American War, the Texas Revolution, and the American Civil War. Although born outside of Texas, flamboyant, defiant, proud, and relentless men such as Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, and Davy Crockett heeded the call to defend or advance the nation-state, all of whom served with distinction.
As a result of their leadership during these campaigns, they were drafted into or volunteered for service to their beloved state and helped shape the future of not only Texas but the young United States as well.
Today’s world would be vastly different if it weren’t for the oil and gas production that comes from the oilfields of West Texas. Recently having become the world’s leader in oil production, the US would be much further down that list if not for the voluminous extraction of these valuable commodities.
There are two things Texas is known for. One is big, the other hot. Can’t do anything about the big, but when the temperatures get high in the double digits, you can be sure water is going to be involved.
Between the Gulf of Mexico, lakes, rivers, and countless swimming holes, there is plenty of water to cool off in during the hot summer months. Freshwater fishing in lakes and streams, as well as deep-sea fishing in the Gulf, offer the best of anglers the challenge they seek. Cycling, walking, and jogging are year-round sports for those who love the heat as well as the more comfortable temperatures during the spring and fall.
For many small towns, water activities are the central focus of the summer season. For example, Granbury is a small town southwest of Fort Worth where you can put in at the lake for boating, swimming, and fishing. Head just north to the town of Glen Rose and you may be able to spot dinosaur tracks in the streambed if water conditions are right.
Gruene (pronounced “green”), Texas is another small town that’s packed with big fun. Home to the country’s oldest continually operating dance hall, skip on over and “git yer two-step on.” Just a few miles south you can check out New Braunfels and drop a tube in the Comal River to cool your heels on a hot afternoon.
For the more adventurous, hunting big game on selective ranches, camping, and hiking offer a multitude of challenging terrains and environments. Sightseeing in the big cities of Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio is always exciting for those who might be visiting the state for the first time. And there’s never a shortage of art galleries and museums celebrating Texas’ unique culture. Except for skiing, there just isn’t too much you can’t do in wild, open Texas.
It is challenging, to say the least, when trying to decide where to go first in this great state. Adventure-seekers have virtually an endless menu to choose from. History enthusiasts will revel in the rich fabric of the story that has unfolded on the battlefields, the oilfields, and in the big cities.
San Antonio is a thriving metropolis and home to the intriguing River Walk. Come and see one of Texas’ most celebrated shrines at The Alamo. In 1836 one hundred and fifty brave Texians held off Santa Ana’s Mexican army of 1500 for thirteen days before finally succumbing, illustrates the passion and courage of the American spirit.
Houston, the massive metropolis by the Gulf, counts NASA and the Space Center Houston as two of its most famous residents. Major medical corporations and their healthcare-related partners are always seeking the next cure for man’s ailments.
The Texas state capitol in Austin is home to the University of Texas, great music, and weirdness (‘Keep Austin Weird’ is a familiar bumper sticker around town). Nearby Lake Travis is the place to go to cool off. And speaking of weird, if your travels take you up Amarillo way, don’t miss the Cadillac Ranch. Several dozen cars are aligned in a pattern of sorts and buried standing on their grills. Completing the artistic banality is the spray painting that occurs continuously in every color imaginable. No known connection to Austin.
Boy-howdy. Forget forecasting; sometimes there’s just no explaining it. From Category 5 hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and monster twisters that spool up in Tornado Alley to ice-laden Blue Northers that rip down from Oklahoma and the searing heat of West Texas, you never know what to count on. Kinda makes it fun, but only if you’re visiting.
Those who live here take precautions, stock up on water, batteries, and dry food, and trust that Mother Nature’s next tantrum will happen somewhere else across this broad swath of our country. As good as weather forecasting has become, Texas weather still has a knack for fooling the best computer models.
With a predominantly dry atmosphere over much of the state, weather systems typically are generated by the contrast of the humid winds bringing Gulf moisture north as they collide with cooler air sweeping south from the Great Plains. Other systems that gallop down from the front range of the Rocky Mountains tango with warmer air of the Panhandle and West Texas creating monstrous thunderstorms and the occasional ice storm. Snow is an anomaly, and when it does fall, it’s gone in a matter of hours.
Yes, there is violent weather across the state. But more often than not, outside of the hot summer months of July and August, Texas offers beautiful weather for almost any outdoor activity most of the year.
Funny how things in Texas come in twos. Hot and dry. Texas Two-Step. Tex-Mex and brisket. There are probably more Tex-Mex places to eat than 7-11s, and that’s saying something where the corporate headquarters for the convenience store is located in Dallas.
The variety of Tex-Mex is limited only by your imagination. Conversely, Texas brisket is pretty consistent in the way it is prepared. There are variations of preferred spices depending on the recipe (or family secret), but the type of wood used for smoking it and how it’s prepared is somewhat consistent. Either way, you can’t go wrong. South of the Border with all its fixins, or a tangy Texas brisket chased with a cold beer or a tall sweet tea is tough to beat.
Oh, I almost forgot. Another popular two-fer, Longhorns and 32-ounce steaks. Right after the ubiquitous Tex-Mex served from street vendors and upscale restaurants, the Texas steakhouse is a landmark institution, and every town worth its steak sauce has one.
And remember Cadillac Ranch? On your way there, stop at the Big Texan in Amarillo right on I-40 and check out the 72-ounce steak challenge with all the trimmin’s, free. That’s right, free. But only if you eat it ALL. In one sitting. Otherwise, you pick up the tab. Sounds like a deal, right? Only if you haven’t eaten in a week!
There are many quality wineries across the state as well that deserve attention. There’s even a town named after the venerable vine just west of the DFW airport. Yup, Grapevine, Texas. You needn’t go any further to find something splendid.
Microbreweries do very well in Texas also. If you’ve never had Shiner Bock, try one on a hot summer day. Brewed in the south Texas town of Shiner (population 2069), it’s a dark, but light on the palette. Paired with a brisket sandwich and some slaw with a pickle on the side? The bomb.
An exciting aspect of staying at a Texas B&B is discovering the unexpected surprises. Innkeepers love to show off their amenities such as private baths and rain-style showers in a secluded veranda just outside the guestroom. Perhaps a private hot tub snugged up by the outdoor fireplace. A private entrance to a guest house or carriage house further enhances the sense of privacy and specialized treatment. Many of these types of extras may be listed on the inn website but ask for the ones not listed; you might be surprised what secrets the innkeeper has in store for you.
Offering a gourmet breakfast is, by definition, almost a necessity for a B&B. Often a source of innkeeper pride, specialty-trained chefs are highly sought after as a drawing card for guests with a distinguished palette. Other amenities such as free wifi, high-quality linens, towels, and bathrobes, as well as organic and hypo-allergenic bath supplies, are considered standard across the friendly state of Texas.
A vacation at a bed and breakfast in Texas is one of those bucket list items. Classic Texas scenery, Hill Country vistas, sunsets that stretch to the horizon, and salsa. And somebody close is smoking a brisket! Does it get any better?
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Fabulous retreats such as Blair House Inn in Wimberley or the secluded Blisswood Bed and Breakfast in Cat Springs, Texas, will leave you refreshed and restored. Noble Inns in San Antonio are closer to the action but refreshing just the same. And reasonably priced to boot.
Visitors and native Texans alike swear to the enduring grace and charm of the Hill Country bed and breakfast inns when they want to getaway. Granted, Texas is big, but with the Hill Country being somewhat centrally located, all of the major cities are just a few hours’ drive from the perfect stop in paradise.
Have a family reunion coming up? Perhaps a winery bed and breakfast will do the trick. Whether you’re looking for a pet-friendly bed and breakfast in north Texas or a romantic bed and breakfast in central Texas’ Hill Country, with all the options available it won’t take you long to book the perfect location for that memorable retreat.
And speaking of tricks, at no extra charge, you can spend a night in a haunted bed and breakfast in Texas. The world-famous Stockyards in Ft. Worth is said to be home to many a wandering late-night spirit. And not just the ones finding their way home from the bars!
Whether you’re looking for an adults-only retreat, one that caters to kids, or a sanctuary for the disabled, there is an endless number of choices sure to meet your need. There’s something for everyone down Texas way. Wrangle on over and live large, Partner.
Texas has some of the most ultra-modern services available anywhere in the arenas of commerce, medicine, and infrastructure. When it comes to hospitality, culture, and entertainment, there is a lot to like about the adherence to its heritage.
The charm of many of the state’s best bed and breakfast inns are prime examples. Texans are genial by nature; it’s kind of in their DNA. When people visit Texas, they count on host-friendliness to be a big part of their experience starting right at check-in. Innkeepers take great pride in ushering their guests into a world of comfort and delight.
Couples from all over the US come to Texas for the ultimate in romantic getaways where they enjoy enhancements such as extra-spacious (the old saw applies here too, ‘everything’s bigger in Texas!’) guestrooms and a Jacuzzi by a fireplace, perhaps even on a veranda. Boutique B&Bs that specialize in elopements make the extra effort to ensure their newlyweds are pampered to the max.
As big and wide as Texas is, the four major cities of Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio are relatively close to each other. Driving times can vary between them, of course, depending on traffic volume and the seemingly ever-present road construction. But you can count on pretty consistent drive time within the triad of Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Located in North Texas, getting to Dallas can be a challenge on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons, especially from Austin.
Not forgetting El Paso way to the west, you most certainly will want to fly there unless you’re up for an 8-10 hour haul across the vast regions of West Texas. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because there is some beauty out there. Just be prepared for a lot of sage and cactus!
Flight times between the cities is no more than an hour, and Dallas and Houston have two large commercial airports servicing their metro areas. These provide excellent carrier service and frequent flights at all hours of the day. Many of the carriers now offer reasonable one-way fares, too, further enhancing your travel options. Rental cars, Uber, Lyft, shuttles, and ride-shares are additional methods of getting around this great state effectively.