Welcome to the Lone Star State. Texas offers landscapes as varied as pine forests, deserts and the gorgeous sandy beaches of the gulf coast in which to unwind with your significant other. Not only that but it is home to all manner of large cities housing everything from charming romantic eateries to out of this world experiences - quite literally, in the case of NASA’s Space Center in Houston. Base yourself in the state capital of Austin and you’ll find plenty to suit all manner of romantic tastes - be it its handy position close to the Hill Country or the city’s array of parks and their host of hiking and swimming opportunities. But if you’d also like to see the romantic getaway options that exist in the wider state, the city is a handy location from which to launch yourself into a memorable Texas vacation. Read on for some of the romantic getaways you can reach from Austin, Texas.
Dallas is home to all manner of attractions. If you prefer natural charms than the tree-lined paths of the Dallas Arboretum - a botanical garden set on the shores of the White Rock Lake reservoir (pictured) - will prove a pleasant diversion, as too would the 95-acre Dallas Zoo and its 2000 different animal species. Those looking to experience the cityscape, meanwhile, will likely want to head for the 171ft (52-metre) tall Reunion Tower, which enjoys great views of the skyscrapers of the downtown area. And culture fans will love the museums of the Cultural District. Throw in the myriad restaurants you’d expect in any large city and you will find plenty to keep you and your loved one occupied if you’re prepared to embark on the 3-hour (195 mile/314km) journey from Austin.
If you’re after a romantic setting then you’re sure to find it in this busy city less than 2 hours (80 miles/129km) from Austin. The San Antonio River Walk, with its numerous restaurants, shops and hotels, will make for a charming location for a romantic evening stroll. And speaking of great locations for a romantic meal - why not stop over at the city’s iconic Tower of the Americas - a 750ft tall (229-metre) tower which is topped by a revolving restaurant offering fine panoramic views. The wider city’s rich colonial roots will also make for a charming setting during your visit - with the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park sitting within a UNESCO world heritage site that is home to four 18th Spanish religious missions and a host of trails. The city is also home to the iconic and world-famous Alamo fort.
Up to now, your romantic destinations have focused upon two of the state’s big cities, but if you prefer the charms of a small town, then you may wish to consider Smithville, just 45 miles (73km) or a 46-minute drive south-east of Austin. Although it is technically a ‘city’, its population is less than 4000, so you won’t be crammed in among huddled masses during your stay. It is also home to a number of 'Mom and Pop’ stores and eateries, for that authentic small-town American experience as you wander through the downtown area. Time your visit right and your trip may coincide with one of the town’s popular annual festivals - such as the Jamboree, which has been running for more than 60 years, or the Festival of Lights. The town’s rural setting will also appeal to romantics who enjoy the great outdoors. Just outside town lies the 1000-acre (405-hectare) Buescher State Park.
Located on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico - roughly 200 miles/320km (3 hours 20 minutes by road) to the south, Corpus Christi’s bay setting has resulted in a number of sheltered beaches on which to unwind and listen to the sound of the surf. The Padre and Mustang Islands are also worth checking out. Padre Island is actually part of a national seashore park that is home to endangered sea turtles and a range of migratory bird. Mustang Island - an 18-mile long barrier island - is also home to a near 4000-acre (1600-hectare) state park as well as a host of beaches and even a paddling trail. The city’s north beach - with its trail, Ferris wheel, restaurant and large aquarium - will also make for a pleasant romantic stroll. Other noted landmarks include the USS Lexington, a preserved WW2 aircraft carrier which today functions as a museum.
Another Texas city that is out of this world - almost literally in this case. Houston is the fourth largest city within the USA - so there’s naturally plenty to see and do. Those who love everything space-related will be in heaven, with the city’s close links to NASA on a show for all to see at the likes of Space Center Houston and the space agency’s astronaut training complex. Of course, the reason for your visit is romance rather than science, but in that regard, you are equally well catered for. The downtown area’s Theater District is the location of the famous Houston Grand Opera - perfect for a musical night on the town (pictured). What’s more, it’s only a 2-hour 30-minute drive away from Austin (165 miles/266km).
Wine lovers seeking a romantic tour of wineries will probably want to check out Fredricksburg during their trip, just 1 hour 30 minutes west of Austin (78 miles/126km). The area around the city is noted for its wine connections, so you’ll find plenty of tasty drops of aqua vita during your stay. And, while wandering between the wineries, the likes of the city’s Market Square is home to parkland in which to enjoy a pleasant picnic with your significant other. And those who enjoy a stroll around historic architecture will also find much to recommend - from the replica 19th-century German church at the Vereins Kirche Museum to the restored 19th-century army fort at Fort Martin Scott.
Say hello to one of the wedding capitals of Texas. The small town charms of Dripping Springs and its location at the ‘gateway’ to Texas Hill Country, has made it a popular spot. Indeed, those who enjoy their outdoor charms will no doubt be tempted to take on the trails within the sizeable Hill Country area - with rolling peaks that typically rise 4-500 feet (122 to 152 metres) on average. Those who don’t want to stray too far may also wish to check out the likes of Dripping Springs Ranch Park and its 110 acres (45 hectares) of woodland and hiking trails. And, as with the previous entry on the list, Dripping Springs is noted for the range of distilleries, wineries and breweries that can be found in the local area. What’s more, it’s only 30 minutes west of Austin - 23.4 miles/37.6km - making it a short hop from your Texas base.
If your idea of a romantic vacation is a fun-filled adventure that will lift the spirits of you and your partner, then you may wish to consider visiting the island city of Galveston, some 215 miles/346km (3 hours 20 minutes away) from Austin. It is home to all manner of amusement park rides at the likes of Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier - including a romantic Ferris Wheel. Moody Gardens, with its massive glass pyramids housing a menagerie of exotic animals, is another noted site worth checking out.
Located just over 90 minutes north-east of Austin (around 102 miles/164km) this city of 136,000 people sits on the banks of the Brazos River. A popular 7-mile (11km) walk along both banks of the river would make for a relaxing way to spend time with your loved one. What’s more, one end of the route finishes at the Cameron Park Zoo, with its mix of lions, meerkats and otters to enchant onlookers. The zoo is part of a wider 416-acre (168-hectare) park which boasts picnic spots alongside disc golf and playgrounds. And, if you’d rather visit cultural sites, the city is home to the likes of the Waco Mammoth National Monument and its bones of two dozen mammoths. And if the city’s roasting summer temperatures get too much, a visit the popular Hawaiian Falls water park should help you to cool off.
One of the oldest towns in the state, Seguin boasts Art Deco architectural gems and a number of artificial lakes and reservoirs. What’s more, it is just an hour to the south of Austin (52 miles/84km), making it a hassle-free destination for a day trip on your romantic break. You’ll find plenty to see. Indeed, a raft of building projects in the 1930s means that the city is home to some fine examples of Art Deco architecture at the city hall, courthouse and fountain, while Seguin’s age has seen its downtown area added to the country’s National Register of Historic Places. And if you time your visit right, your trip may just coincide with one of three large parades that take place in the city every year. Those who crave a bit of fun will also enjoy the likes of Lake Dunlap.
Romantic getaways in Texas
A state the size of Texas has plenty going for it when looking for a romantic getaway - be it the beaches of the gulf coast, the bustling cities of Houston and Dallas, or the walking and wineries of the smaller towns. Where will you head?
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