By Adam Turner
San Antonio is the home of Texas’ first-ever United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. Five Spanish missions comprise the heritage site starting in the north with one you’ll always remember: the Mission San Antonio de Valero, also known as the Alamo! You can then walk down the eight-mile River Walk’s Mission Reach to explore Missions Concepción, San José, San Juan and Espada, which makes up the largest concentration of colonial missions in North America.
After exploring these historic sites, you can kick back and enjoy the cuisine that caused UNESCO to designate San Antonio a Creative City of Gastronomy. This means that the city not only has delicious food but has also created a unique flavor that they call Tex-Next, a combination of indigenous, Spanish and German flavors! Restaurants like Garcia’s Mexican Food, La Gloria Ice House and Acenar are all delicious options for the hungry traveler!
With miles of beaches and countless activities, Corpus Christi invites the weary traveler to kick back and relax. From deep sea fishing to swimming, the options for fun are as vast as the ocean in this south-Texas city, and the only limit is your own imagination.
One of the unique beach-side experiences Corpus Christi has to offer is a real saddle-full. On Mustang Island, you can spend some time with Horses on the Beach and explore the beautiful coasts while honoring the island’s namesake. They have rides all day, so you can plan to gallop down the sandy paths as the sun sets over the Gulf.
If you want to escape the hubbub of the city, Mustang Island State Park boasts five miles of undisturbed coastline to enjoy. Visitors can take their pick of the many available activities whether they want to spend a day swimming and play on the beach, kayaking, fishing, biking and more.
South Padre Island
No matter the time of year, the tropical South Padre Island offers the perfect beachside getaway. The 34 miles of pristine white sand beaches and endless hospitality will make you never want to leave this oasis off Texas’ southern tip.
It’s not everywhere that you can see a pod of dolphins swim next to you while you cruise around the Gulf, but South Padre Island is one of them. South Texas is home to multiple friendly pods of dolphins and there are plenty of tour companies on the island that are more than happy to take you to them. Companies like the Dolphin Watch Eco Tour of South Padre Island and the Original Dolphin Watch offer affordable tours to the marine mammals’ homes.
Situated on the Mexican-American border in southwest Texas, Laredo embraces its history as a border town and has plenty of attractions celebrating its cultural fusion.
When visiting Laredo, you’re not just traveling over distances, but through time as well! The oldest part of the city, the San Agustin Historic District, was the center of city life in Spanish colonial times. Founded in 1755, the district is in the typical style of Spanish colony, complete with a plaza mayor and towering San Agustin Cathedral. Visitors can appreciate the community-oriented architecture of Spanish colonies while learning about Tomas Sanchez’s founding of Laredo.
There are other historical attractions in Laredo too, including the Old Mercado, El Azteca Local and Fort McIntosh Historic Districts. No matter where you chose to spend your time by the Rio Grande, you’ll always be experiencing the city’s multifaceted history.
Sources: Visit San Antonio, Corpus Christi Convention & Visitors Bureau, South Padre Island Visitor’s Center, Visit Laredo
Photo credit: iStock.com/JoshuaRaineyPhotography