Introduction to Texas
Texas is the second largest and second most populous state in the United States of America. Owing to its remarkable size, distinctive culture and politics, and colorful history, many Texans maintain a fiercely independent attitude, with Texan identity often superseding American identity. Few other American states feature their flag so prominently in businesses, on the backs of cars and in advertisements. Originally a territory of Spain and, later, Mexico, Texas rebelled in 1836 and became its own nation for 10 years before being annexed by the United States in 1845. Texas has maintained its fascinating independent spirit, making for a unique and unrivaled exploration ground for any intrigued and intrepid adventurer.
Known for their generosity, hospitality, unusual accent, and penchant for the larger-than-life, Texans are wonderful people to meet, and the variety of cultural experiences, from feasting on bratwurst with the Germans of the Hill Country to watching Flamenco dancers with the Tejanos of the Rio Grande valley, is seemingly unlimited.
The large size of the state should not be underestimated. Texas measures over 267,000 square miles (695,673 sq. km) in area, making it slightly larger than France. Having a car is essential for travel between cities, and within most. The traveler should factor on long driving times between cities and destinations. Wherever you go in Texas you are sure to find a good golf course, so for up-to-date USA green fees check out the best sites on the Net.
Texas is bordered by the states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila, and Chihuahua.
Austin – Live Music Capital of the World. State capital. Home to the University of Texas (5th largest in the USA by enrollment).
Corpus Christi – Home of the Texas State Aquarium and gateway to Padre Island.
Dallas – One of the most popular visitor destinations in Texas.
El Paso – The largest city on the US/Mexico border.
Fort Worth – Fort Worth Stockyards. “Where the West Begins.”
Houston – Texas’ largest city. Home of NASA’s Mission Control Center. Best dining scene in the state.
Laredo – The US’s largest inland port.
Lubbock – Financial and cultural center of the South Plains. Birthplace of Buddy Holly and home of several top notch wineries. Location of Texas Tech University.
San Antonio – Famous for the Alamo and the “River Walk” nightlife district.
Texas is a huge state and thusly experiences an extreme variety of weather. The state is very warm in the summer months, with temperatures often above 100ºF (38ºC). In West Texas and the Panhandle, summers are usually dry with fits of stormy weather. North (Dallas/Fort Worth region) and coastal (Houston region) areas have unstable climates (hence the oft-repeated saying about Texas weather: “If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes” – though 10 minutes later you might not like the change).
Thunderstorms are common, sometimes generating tornadoes and hailstorms. It is often warmer near the coast, though humidity can be unbearable in the summer. Conversely, the spring, autumn and winter are relatively pleasant for most of the state. It rarely dips below the freezing point in winter, except in the Panhandle region where the winters can get quite cold (Lubbock and Amarillo have suffered devastating blizzards in the past), and though it is quite rare, even points as far south as Corpus Christi and Brownsville have seen snow.