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As a Canadian, I’m always looking for ways to escape the cold winters here. Texas is an ideal destination for finding both the sun and outdoor adventures. From laying on the beach to trying a new water activity, there’s something for everyone in Texas. Here are a few destinations for nonstop fun.
Corpus Christi is Texas’ largest coastal city. There’s over 100 miles of beautiful beaches, making it a great way to get away from the harsh winters of the North. If you visit during the off-season, fall and winter, you’ll save even more money on hotels. The most luxurious hotels are the ones along the vast expanses of beach, but you’ll have to book early as they are the most popular places to stay. For the budget-conscious traveler, the two-star Howard Johnson Corpus Christi has a large swimming pool and fitness center for a great price.
El Paso has many attractions, both indoor and natural ones outside. For nature lovers, there’s hiking at the El Paso Mission Trail, the Franklin Mountains, McKelligon Canyon, and trails near the Transmountain Road. At the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, you’ll discover a huge variety of plant species native to the region. In April, the gardens hosts FloraFest, a fun event where you can buy cacti and hard-to-find desert plants. There are several museums and art galleries, including the Centennial Museum, the Museum of Archeology at Wilderness Park, and The University of Texas at El Paso has a beautiful campus, perfect for taking a stroll.
Irving has many free or low-cost attractions in town that are worth checking out. The exhibitions at the Irving Arts Center are generally free admission, and there are free self-guided tours of the Arts District in the city. Checking out the Cedar Ridge Preserve does not cost any money. The city is best explored on foot, though there is a great public transit system in town. Irving offers many budget and cheap hotels, and it’s near both Dallas and Fort Worth.
South Padre Island
South Padre Island is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. There are many water activities to try like jet-skiing, swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking, parasailing, and kite-boarding. Families and kids of all ages will love the 25-acre indoor and outdoor waterpark, Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark, considered one of the best in the country. Isla Blanca Park has a mile-long stretch of beach, perfect for admiring the seashells and going for peaceful walks. The Laguna Madre Nature Trail is a great place for birdwatching on the elevated boardwalk. There are 34 miles of coastline at South Padre Island, filled with stunning beaches and opportunities for splashing around in the water. The best weather and time for wildlife viewing is between May and August. Visiting in the winter will save you some money as there are many off-season deals, and it’s the perfect way to escape winter.