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9 Ideas For Fall Weekend Getaways in Texas

From a cozy German city to a beautiful trekking in a Canyon area - discover the best spots to enjoy fall in Texas

Texas summers are notoriously long and hot – good for beach destinations as well as some water park fun. But when autumn eases the thermometer back down, residents of the Lone Star State start to celebrate. From fall festivals to leaf-peeping, you’ll find plenty of colorful fall weekend getaways in Texas to herald in the new season.

If you still don`t have plans for the season, do not worry. Here are our top picks for enjoying the fall in the state – from the coast to the big cities. Chose your favorite destination and have fun!

Amarillo: Head Down Into Palo Duro Canyon During the Fall

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Historic Route 66 runs right through the heart of this Panhandle city, and the buildings that once housed theaters, roadside cafes, and drugstores are now full of shops and diners that hark back to the region’s heyday. Amarillo is also the cultural and commercial capital of the Texas Panhandle — a center for cattle ranching, wheat and cotton farming, and oil production.

Today, it’s also known for attractions that range from historic — like the American Quarter Horse Museum — to quirky, epitomized by the often-photographed Cadillac Ranch. When the sun sets on the plains, save time for a meal at the Big Texan Steak House and challenge yourself with the famous 72-ounce steak dinner with all the trimmings.

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Austin: Keepin’ Things Weird After Summer

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Austin is a city on the move — the fastest growing city of its size in the country due largely to its booming tech industry. But what the statistics don’t reveal is that it’s not just the business climate but also the merging of nature, history, and nightlife that makes the Texan capital city special.

Nicknamed the “River City” thanks to its location on the Colorado River’s Lady Bird Lake, Austin is packed with cool hotels and natural fun — from year-around swimming at beautiful Barton Springs to miles of downtown trails (where the number of jogging dogs will attest to the fact that this is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the nation). In the shadow of the growing skyline stands some of the city’s most historic spots including the State Capitol and the University of Texas with its LBJ Presidential Library.

Students, politicians, and techies come together at Austin’s popular nightlife areas including Sixth Street, home of the city’s adult Halloween bash — one of many events that have given Austin a reputation as a city that doesn’t always take itself too seriously. It’s a sentiment echoed by the city’s most popular bumper sticker, “Keep Austin Weird.”

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Fredericksburg: A Bit Of Germany In Texas

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Settled by German immigrants, Fredericksburg is now known for its unique shops, historic buildings, fine dining, and thriving wine industry. It`s also a little romantic town, perfect for romantic getaways in the state.

East of town, visit the famous hamlet of Luckenbach, made into a Texas institution by Waylon Jennings’s popular country song of the same name. West of town, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area’s granite dome, second in size only to Georgia’s Stone Mountain, is perfect for a fall hike or picnic.

November means Veteran’s Day, but in Fredericksburg, the military is honored daily at The National Museum of the Pacific War. Located right in town, this is the only museum in the U.S. that is dedicated to remembering the Pacific theater battles of World War II.

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Dallas: Big Things Happen Here in The Fall

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For many visitors, Dallas is the home of icons that symbolize Texas — from J.R. to the Dallas Cowboys. The “Big D” holds a special place in the hearts of Texans – and has hotels full of style. Surrounded by a metroplex that spans nearly 9,000 square miles, Dallas lives up to its tourism slogan: “BIG Things Happen here.”

Culture vultures can set their sights on the Dallas Arts District, among the nation’s largest and most significant urban arts district. The Dallas Museum of Art, founded in 1903, is home to expansive collections and serves as the anchor of the District. Nearby, stroll to the Nasher Sculpture Center, a world-class museum dedicated to modern and contemporary sculpture.

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Fort Worth: The Beginning of the West

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If there’s one big city in Texas that has “the look” that many out of state visitors expect to see, it’s probably Fort Worth. The city that calls itself “the place where the West begins” is home to the Fort Worth Stockyards — a National Historic District that’s still home to cowboys on horseback, historic hotels, and an all-around good time.

Do some western shopping, belly up to the bar at the White Elephant Saloon (dating back to 1884), do some boot-scootin’ at Billy Bob’s Texas, and maybe even catch a rodeo at the Cowtown Coliseum, home of the world’s first indoor rodeo. Twice a day, you can experience the Fort Worth Herd, the world’s only daily cattle drive.

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Galveston: The Best of Both Worlds

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Galveston is a marriage of the best of both worlds: city culture and seaside resort. This island paradise joins together the fine dining, historic attractions, and cultural events normally found in the big city with the sandy pleasures of a beachside playground for the whole family.

Travelers stroll historic streets, passing specialty shops and restaurants housed in one of the nation’s largest collections of Victorian commercial architecture in The Strand — a 36-block historic district. The beach fun continues during the fall months at the indoor/outdoor Schlitterbahn® Galveston Island Waterpark. Next door stands Moody Gardens where glass pyramids showcase rainforest exhibits, space displays, and aquarium life.

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San Antonio: Always Remember The Alamo

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No matter when you choose to visit San Antonio, you can bet that somebody, somewhere, is hosting a festival. Perhaps it has something to do with the sunshine or the fresh air. Whatever it is, things sizzle up like fajitas in a city that abounds with colorful traditions and vivid memories.

Located in the very heart of San Antonio, the Alamo, the “Cradle of Texas Liberty,” is probably the most famous spot in Texas, with very nice hotels. From the Alamo, you’ll be only steps away from the River Walk or Paseo del Rio, lined with two-story specialty shops, sidewalk cafes, luxury hotels, art galleries, and bars.

Open-air barges offer guided tours and water taxi service. For more shopping fun, head to Market Square, the birthplace of chili con carne and the state dish of Texas. The “chili queens” that sold the spicy dish are long gone but today Market Square is home to a festive atmosphere with open-air restaurants, a large indoor Mexican marketplace, outdoor kiosks featuring imports, and, frequently, live music.

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South Padre Island: Wildlife & Beach Bumming in Texas

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In the far southern reaches of Texas, this 34-mile-long barrier island hugs the coastline. At its widest point, the island is just a half-mile across, providing its hotel rooms with an unbeatable view.

Activity options vary by your activity level — from an afternoon of lazy sandcastle building to a horseback ride on the beach, a round of golf, or some watersports. For adventurous souls, South Padre Island has excellent windsurfing and parasailing opportunities.

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Waco: Head South of Dallas to the Magnolia Market

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If you’re a fan of the uber-popular HGTV hit “Fixer Upper,” you’re already familiar with Magnolia Market at the Silos. These historic grain silos have been transformed by Chip and Joanna Gaines into a national destination featuring shopping, a bakery, a lawn for family games, a garden, and soon a Magnolia Table restaurant.

But there’s more to Waco than shiplap and subway tile. You can’t miss the history of this city which became a center for commerce when it erected a suspension bridge across the Brazos. Designed by the same engineers who constructed New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge years later, today you can walk across the bridge and stroll the river banks. Downstream, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum recalls the legendary law enforcement agency.

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