San Antonio is a classic central Texas city with incredible cultural diversity and a beautiful downtown that is exceptionally visitor friendly. The weather here is beautiful year-round so there is no bad time to visit. The downtown area has three major attractions that can be visited on foot, or via the excellent public transportation system. The first of these sites is the Alamo. This is one of the most significant sites in Texas as well as US history. The brutal massacre that occurred here led to the defeat of the Mexican Army by the Texas forces during the Texas Revolution a couple of months later. Visiting the site is free and includes several original buildings including the original church. There is also a museum, gift shop and outdoor movie pavilion which runs a film detailing the history of the site. Depending on the day of your visit there may also be live demonstrations of muskets or other armaments used during the conflict.
About a block from the Alamo entrance you'll find The Riverwalk. This beautiful path follows along the shores of the San Antonio River. This is a family-friendly attraction that is lined with shops, restaurants, hotels, and gardens, making for a great afternoon in downtown San Antonio. For a small fee, you can grab a boat tour of the river with a guide that provides great insight into the city's history. A few blocks to the west is the Historic Market Square. Today, there is a large Hispanic market and several great restaurants there. One of the best is the Mi Tierra Cafe where you can dine on excellent Mexican food surrounded by amazing stained glass windows and live Mariachi music. The atmosphere here is always festive. They also have a great bakery counter in the restaurant lobby where you can pick up some delicious treats for the walk back to the center of town.
In the southern part of the city, you'll find the San Antonio Missions Historical Park. This park features several of the original missions build by the first Spanish settlers to the area. The main visitor center is at the San Jose Mission making it a great place to start your visit. There are also free ranger-guided tours of the mission which provide a very interesting insight into the surrounding structures. In addition to the San Jose Mission, there are several others in the area that can be visited with the park shuttle bus service.
Finally, there is the Pearl Brewery Complex on the north side of the city. This is the site of the old Pearl Brewery, which has been turned into an upscale shopping center. The plaza inside the shopping area hosts a Saturday morning farmers market which is exceptionally popular. Here you'll find everything from fresh breads to craft beers to fruits, vegetables, meats, and food trucks. This is a first-rate farmers market with a great atmosphere.
The Cascade Caverns RV Park is a good place to stay here. It is located just north of San Antonio on RT-10. This park provides a good basecamp to visit San Antonio and as a bonus, they have an interesting cave system which you can tour..
The path to Amarillo on I-10 west. Just past Comfort, TX, head north on US-87 to Fredericksburg. Continue on US-87 North past Brody, TX where you'll pick up US-283 North to Coleman, TX. Out of Coleman, switch to US-84 North to Abilene. From Abilene, take I-20 west to Roscoe, TX where you'll switch to I-84 North to Lubbock. From Lubbock, take I-27 to Amarillo.
Just east of Fredericksburg, TX on the north side of US-290 lies a complex of Lyndon B Johnson historical sites. This includes the Lyndon B Johnson State Park and Historical Site, The Lyndon B Johnson National Historic Site, The President Lyndon B Johnson Birthplace, The Johnson Family Cemetery and the LBJ Texas Whitehouse. The site is essentially the original LBJ Ranch along the Pedernales River in the heart of Texas Hill Country. The ranch property forms the federal park portion and the land on the other side of the river was donated to form the state park.
If you're interested in the presidential history side of the story then you should concentrate your visit on The Lyndon B Johnson National Historic Site. Here you'll find his reconstructed birthplace, his boyhood home and the main ranch house which was known as the Texas White House. The state park side focuses more on life in the region during that time period. Here you'll find the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm, historic cabins and several hiking trails to explore the area. The two complexes combined can easily consume a day of fun in this beautiful area.
The Fredericksburg RV Park is a great place to stay in the area. It is located in Fredericksburg, which is a great town to return explore in the area especially after spending the day out in the hill country.
The Enchanted Rock State Natural area is a 640 acre park located northeast of Fredericksburg, TX. The focus of this park is the 425 foot Pink Granite rock dome at the center of the park. This dome, known as “Enchanted Rock” has historical significance for the human inhabitants of the area dating back almost 11,000 years. The rock's name comes from the folklore of the Native Americans indigenous to the area.
Today, the park is a major draw for hikers and explorers who take to the area for a great day out in the beautiful natural surroundings found here. The best time to visit is in the spring during the wildflower season, where the surrounding areas are awash in spring color. The weather here is generally excellent so there is really no bad time to visit. If you do go in the summer make sure you bring plenty of water, it can get hot here and the heat can creep up on you quickly.
Fredericksburg is the best place to stay in the area. See the Lyndon B Johnson Historical Sites POI for RV park recommendations.
In downtown Abilene, TX you'll find Frontier Texas!. This 14,000 square foot museum is dedicated to the American west. There are a lot of exhibits here covering the history of the west including the wild lands, the Comanche Empire, the Buffalo Trail, the military, guns of the west, and the ranching era. The experience begins with a 12-minute film covering an overall historical perspective of the west. There is a second “Experience Theater” which puts you into the middle of the action, from a thunderstorm rolling across the prairie to a gunfight in a saloon. All in all, this is an excellent museum that allows you to get a true western frontier experience.
The Abilene KOA is an excellent RV park located on the northwest side of the city. It is convenient for the city and is located just off I-20 so it's close to our route to Amarillo.
The National Ranching Heritage Center is a museum dedicated to ranching located on the campus of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. The center is broken up into three main sections. The Proctor Historical Park is a series of historical buildings spread over 19 acres designed to show how early ranchers adapted to their environment by the buildings they created. The area allows you to walk through time, covering structures dating from the 1780s to the early 1900s, allowing you to see the evolution of construction over that time.
The DeVitt Mallet Museum is a historical museum housing artifacts of significant importance to the ranching community. From firearms and the model T car to a history of beef cattle breeds, there are many great exhibits here. In addition to the many great artifacts, there are several works of art on display that depict life during the early ranching time periods.
JJ Gibson Park is a beautifully landscaped park featuring life-sized statues of longhorns, ranchers and other ranch-related items.
Lubbock RV Park is located just off I-27 a couple of miles north of Lubbock. This outstanding park is located only 15 minutes from the National Ranching Heritage Center and the other attractions located in downtown Lubbock
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Amarillo, TX is the largest city in the Texas Panhandle. As you approach the city from the south on I-27 you'll pass the exceptionally impressive Palo Duro Canyon State Park. If you can, make sure you take the time to stop for a visit. This park encompasses Palo Duro Canyon which is the second-largest canyon system in the United States. You'll find over 30 miles of trails here which can be covered on foot, bike or horseback. These trails wind through a stunning western landscape you'll never forget.
A day of exploring the park can work up a Texas-sized appetite. The Big Texan Steak Ranch & Brewery is the perfect place to satisfy that. This iconic restaurant is located just off I-40 and is about as Texas as a Texas steakhouse can get. They are famous for their giant 72 oz steak-eating challenge so no matter how hungry you are, they have a streak for you. The place is very kitschy and includes a bar and gift shop on-site where you can pick up some interesting keepsakes to remember the stop.
For additional shopping opportunities, try the Route 66 District in downtown Amarillo. The district covers a mile-long stretch of the original Route 66 in downtown Amarillo. Here you'll find the same lively vibe which would have been present during the heyday of the road. There are many shops, art boutiques, restaurants and even live entertainment events which you can visit.
Finally, on the west side of town, just off I-40 you'll find the infamous Cadillac Ranch. This modern work of art features 10 late model Cadillacs half-buried nose down in a farm field. You can park on the road that runs parallel to I-40 E and walk in to see it. It's a tradition to bring your own spray paint so you can make your own contribution to this ever-changing work. This is a pretty heavily traveled site so the field is bare dirt. When it rains, it gets muddy so if it has rained recently, make sure you wear appropriate shoes.
Oasis RV Resort is the best place to stay in Amarillo. It is located just off of I-40 on the west side of town among the quiet farm field that covers the area. They have several brand new cottages available so no RV is required to stay here. They also have a nice pool area, hot tub and play equipment for kids.