Thanksgiving is a very busy time in the rental community. Rentals allow families to be in the area they choose, near family or friends, without having to stay in the unfamiliar and separated environment of a hotel. Access to a kitchen makes Thanksgiving preparations easy. Once that tryptophan hangover dissipates, though, lots of families are left wondering what to do in the town of their choosing. Here are seven of the best Thanksgiving getaway destinations in Texas.
Top 7 Thanksgiving Getaways In Texas
Known affectionately by many locals as “the Big D,” Dallas is a wonderful place to take your Thanksgiving break. You can stay in beautiful homes like this one in elegant University Park. Like most big towns, it has a Museum of Art, but it also has several other cultural offerings as well, like the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Dallas Heritage Museum, or the Sixth Floor Museum, which details the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. Reunion Tower is a great option for kids, as you can ascend and view all of downtown Dallas, and grab lunch at Cloud Nine Café. If you’re looking for some Eastern influence, check out Cosmic Café for some delectable samosas after one of the yoga classes they offer, or meditate on your hunger in their upstairs mediation room. Many restaurants downtown will be available over the holiday.
Well-known for the slogan “Keep Austin Weird,” the capital of Texas certainly has an assorted collection of intriguing stops. Known also as the “capital of live music,” the city hosts multiple venues to catch a live show while you visit. Food is a huge part of Austin culture (especially the great coffee shops) so it’s imperative to form opinions on the queso, tacos, and barbecue. Restaurants that facilitate this include Torchy’s Tacos, Taco Deli, Chuy’s, and Franklin’s Barbeque. Threadgill’s is a gas station-turned-restaurant that Janis Joplin got her start in and should not be missed (there’s two locations). Kerbey Lane has a stellar queso that cannot be denied. Spider House is a funky, colorful stop for a solid coffee (or Irish coffee). Nightlife features strongly here, with a large population of millennials, and bars on 6th Street and in the Red River district are quite popular. For a touch of country two-stepping, make your presence known at famous Lamar District watering hole The Broken Spoke. Families have quite a lot of options in Austin. In keeping with the theme, the Museum of Weird is a good stop for kids and adults alike who aren’t easily grossed out. Watch the kiddos scale The Cathedral of Junk or dip into UT’s Harry Ransom Center and check out their running exhibits. Those with a vested interest in animals should watch the bats fly out at sunset from underneath South Congress Bridge, as Thanksgiving is right on the tail end of bat season (no pun intended), or get bird-brained with the peacocks of Mayfield Park. You can take a day trip out to Hamilton Pool and return in the afternoon for a wine tour in the hill country, or get your carnivore on at Austin’s infamous open-air barbeque The Salt Lick.
Known for its large German population (like many towns in Texas), Fredericksburg is a hotbed for delicious German restaurants. It also has many lovely houses, like this centrally-located, German-style house. Check out Otto’s, Auslander, or The Old German Bakery and Restaurant. Quaint and filled to the brim with Teutonic influence, Main Street will allow you to immerse yourself in the culture, almost as if you weren’t entirely in Texas. Check out the Texas Rangers Heritage Center or the Pioneer Museum Complex to re-orient yourself. Nature features largely here, so feel free to explore the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area or Old Tunnel State Park. Wine tours are very popular here, and once you’ve honed your tasting skills, you may try your hand at herbs. Wildseed Farms, purveyor of herbs, offers a wide selection for your perusal. If history interests you, Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site is one of many historic buildings you can find in the area.
4. San Antonio
San Antonio, about an hour south of Austin, is a delightful getaway for those with academic inclinations and a hankering for Tex-Mex. It is a haven for the historical, from being home to the Alamo (make sure to remember!) to hosting Missions National Historical Park. Snag some lunch water-side at Casa Rio and stroll it off walking by the shops of the River Walk and gawk at the tourists on the Rio San Antonio river ride. Or even better, be a tourist on the Rio San Antonio River ride, because they’re incredibly informative and funny, harkening back to “The Jungle Cruise”-style joke delivery made famous at Disneyland. Grab a snow cone and watch the street cars and buses roll near Main Plaza, or plan your trip to Natural Bridge caverns. If you’re craving air conditioning, swing by the McNay Art Museum, the Museum of Art, Museum Reach, or The DoSeum, targeted at kids.
Houston often gets a bad rap for allegedly not having a lot of culture or things to do, and those who believe this are sadly mistaken. The city has beautiful neighborhoods, with beautiful houses like this one. Houston hosts fabulous restaurants like Hugo’s, Beaver’s Icehouse (they have a delicious mac and cheese), Velvet Taco, and Gringo’s. Grab your morning “cuppa Joe” at Boomtown Coffee, located in the Montrose District, and capture a snapshot of yourself in from of the Biscuit Paint Wall. Some of the customer favorites at Hugo's are Lechon, Pulpo a las Brazas, Barbacoa, and Churros with Hot Chocolate. Houston has a surprising amount or public sculpture and murals, and the artistic drive of its citizens hasn’t been limited to only the paint medium. The famous Beer Can House, an abode coated entirely in repurposed beer cans, is a tourist stop in Houston. Kids may love the Water Wall fountain in downtown, or drive by David Adickes’ new studio to see a 35-foot sculpture of Charlie Chaplin surrounded by the assorted busts of presidents. If you don’t mind a short day trip to a slightly more unique location, visit the Museum of Funerary History north of Austin. If you’re sans children, drop by the Jailhouse Saloon in Spring, TX, on your way down from the Museum of Funerary History. It’s former jailhouse that once housed Bonnie and Clyde that has now been converted into a bar.
6. Corpus Christi
Located close to the water, Corpus Christi features numerous water-centric activities. The USS Lexington is a military ship and museum kids can explore, and if they’ve poked their heads into every corner there, the Museum of Science and History offers a second opportunity for learning. You can go horseback riding with the company Horses on the Beach, bird watch at the Padre Island National Sea Shore, or try your hand at fishing on the Bob Hall Pier. Two of the more unusual stops are the Texas Surf Museum and the Selena Museum, dedicated to the late singer of the same name.
7. Galveston Island
Take the ferry out to and partake of the many joys of this Gulf Coast barrier island. Stay in a tranquil home like this one where you can really soak in the expansive sunsets after you walk along the beach. Those inclined toward relaxation can lounge around at Stewart beach, walk through the Sea Wall urban park, or explore the variegated thrills of the Historic Pleasure Pier and Schlitterbahn Water Park. The Strand Historic District is home to charming shops and restaurants. Bishop’s Palace and Moody Mansion are available for exploration. If you are an art enthusiast should hunt around with the tree sculpture tour, or if you decide to give up the ghost, rail, flight, oil rig museums are there for your perusal.
This article was written by Lindy Tolbert.