Fall Has Arrived!
It’s finally fall in Texas, y’all! And you know what that means, right? We’re out and we’re about. Our minds are off the heat, and we’re ready to experience a little weekend adventure around this beautiful state of ours.
I’ve been so excited to bring you my list of this year’s Top 10 Texas Day Trips to Take This Fall. There’s something for absolutely everyone, including music, foliage, boating and hiking. Each location can be enjoyed in the space of a day, but if you want to stretch your day trip into a full weekend, you will have no trouble finding lots more to do close by.
Have you ever been on safari in Africa or hung out the door of a helicopter shooting wild boar? Me, neither. Those are some big adventures!
But, here at Texas Over Fifty, we live an everyday life filled with intentional adventure. Seeing life that way keeps us focused on ourselves (a little) and on every other good thing in life (a lot).
Day trips are one of the best ways to intentionally weave more adventure into your life.
So, saddle up, Texas Over Fifty. Let’s ride. We’ve got some adventuring to do!
I once had a fabulous opportunity to take some college kids from Amarillo to float the Frio River. Camping nearby at Lost Maples State Natural Area seemed like a great way to help keep their expenses down, so we took tents and everything we needed for camp cooking.
This was the perfect place to roll out the sleeping bags, but it’s also a hidden gem if you’re only planning to set up camping chairs and enjoy a daytime fall picnic. Just be sure you take a thermos of warm apple cider in case the sun starts to set and you’re not quite ready to head home.
Remember reading Green Eggs & Ham with your kids? It’s one of the most famous titles in the series of Dr. Seuss books for kids, and it’s also one of the easiest to quote: Would you, could you in a car? Would you, could you, from a jar?
Well, that’s what I thought of when I started writing this part of my top 10 list of Texas day trips to take this fall. In my mind, it went like this. Would you like to take a musical Texas day trip in the fall? Could you, would you? Might you at all? Could you, would you like to see a tree this tall?
Well, if you would and you could, then head down to Luckenbach. You might not see Waylon or Willie or any of the boys, but I guarantee it won’t matter.
I’m from the panhandle of Texas, where Palo Duro Canyon State Park was in our back yard. Now that we have lived in Austin and Dallas and met more long-time Texans, I’m always a little surprised to hear that they’ve never been there.
The second largest canyon in the country is not nearly as big as the first, but it’s beautiful nonetheless and offers a fabulous Texas day trip experience. You can take a picnic to enjoy under the trees, or use your time in the canyon to hike all the way to the Lighthouse. If your ideal Texas day trip might include trail riding on horseback, there’s plenty of that as well.
San Saba is a small town situated two hours southeast of Abilene and almost two hours west of Austin. We’re going to hear a lot more about San Saba in the next few years, my friends. The town’s leaders and 3100 residents have quietly created the perfect Texas day trip destination, drawing many now and will be attracting exponentially more of us in the near future.
Play a morning round of golf, then enjoy the river, wineries, shopping and a boutique hotel if you can’t yet pull yourself away in a day.
If you’ve never taken a guided fishing tour on Lake Texoma, you might want to move this experience up a notch or two on your bucket list. It’s so much fun!
Lake Texoma has a plentiful supply of both Striper fish and guides who know where to find them. Just make sure you get a guide who will filet and bag them for you. That makes for a much easier fish fry when you get home.
Fall is really a great time to tour the LBJ Ranch, since the tour includes walking from building to building under the Texas Hill Country sun. But, don’t get me wrong. There’s not a bad time to see this place.
If you like history, you’ll love the experience of walking in the footsteps of Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States. You’ll also see his study, the amphicar, even the bedroom he shared here with Lady Bird. Portions of the tour are on foot, narrated by a State Park Ranger, but there’s also a driving part. For that, I totally recommend paying for the CD to play as you go. You’ll hear the words of LBJ himself, and stories told by many others who were important to his administration, including Billy Graham.
When the temperatures get a little cooler, and that fall feel is in the air, you know what that really means, right? Christmas is right around the corner! Craft stores already have plenty of Christmas stock on the shelves, Santa is making his list, and basically, it’s time to get a jump on our shopping.
Have you been to The Woodlands? If you don’t have family there like we do, you might not think of much reason to visit. But if you’re looking to get a jump on that list of Christmas gifts for the people you love, I can’t think of a nicer place to do it than here at Market Street. The stores are beautiful, and the parking is easy. When you’re ready for lunch, take a break and make your way toward the restaurant at Tommy Bahama (one of only two in Texas), where you can munch on delicious Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos and a tart slice of key lime pie before making one more swoop through the racks.
That’s my kind of shopping for sure.
Photo: Market Street – The Woodlands
Until a recent trip to San Antonio, I had not been there in several years. Which, apparently, was way too long. Let me just say two words about that: Pearl District. Check out my post about our weekend in San Antonio, and then make plans to spend at least one day there this fall.
What goes better with fall than a leisurely ride down a river, and then sitting outside for a relaxing dinner? I simply can’t think of a thing, can you?
By now, pretty much everyone knows that Texas is making a big splash in the ol’ wine glass. From grapes grown near Lubbock, and an increasing supply from their own vineyards, Texas wineries are doing it up big. Like almost $2 billion big.
With almost 500 established wineries here in the Lone Star State, having a chance to visit each one might actually be a stretch, even for an adventurer like me. But plotting out two or three at a time, and taking a Texas day trip every now and then to see them is certainly doable.
This picture was taken on a Saturday when we visited Blue Ostrich, Arché, and 4R Ranch. Let’s see, does that mean I only have 497 to go? Well, I wouldn’t mind, because it seems like serene settings are the name of the winery game. And I’m all about serene settings.
Especially on a Texas day trip in the fall.
And finally, how could we not pick a punkin’ somewhere when fall rolls around in Texas? Exactly. We gotta.
Fortunately, there are plenty of places to pick a punkin’ in Texas, but if you can make it up to Floydada, the Pumpkin Capital of the World, that’s really the place to do it. Over 1800 acres of pumpkins are produced in the Floydada area every year, and at Assiter’s Punkin’ Ranch, the owners have been growing punkins since 1987. They have perfected punkin’ varieties from mini’s to jack-o-lantern size. Pretty squash and gourds are also available for purchase at Assiter’s.
Check the website or Assiter’s Facebook page for more info, including the lowdown on Floydada’s annual Pumkin Days celebration. But don’t wait long to go. All things punkin’ are winding down in Floydada around October 31.
Photo: Assiter Punkin’ Ranch
Ready to Go?
Well, my friends, what do you think of my suggestions? Are you inspired and ready to go?
Encouraging everyday intentional adventure, one Texas day trip at a time,
A few other posts you might enjoy:
Do you sometimes think it would be fun to take a Texas day trip, but you get bogged down in the planning? Check out these ideas for simplifying the process, and you’ll be on the road in no time.
Intentionally adding adventure to your everyday life is a very good thing for anyone, but especially for those of us Over Fifty. It keeps us thinking ahead, anticipating the future, and finding friends with whom to share our adventures. Here’s a little inspiration to get you on the right track.
Texans love Buc-ee’s! Don’t forget to pull in when you’re out on one of these Top 10 Texas Day Trips for Fall – and then let all of us know what you found as a new favorite roadie snack.