Fall 2023 #TexasToDos
Fall is one of the best times to experience Texas. The cooler weather is ideal for enjoying abundant outdoor activities and legendary festivals. This year the annular eclipse will also make its way across the state, affording those in the path of totality over four minutes of the moon covering the sun. For those looking forward to spooky season, Texas’s haunted places are ripe for spine-tingling exploration. See below for fall travel inspiration.
OCTOBER 14 ANNULAR ECLIPSE
In a celestial alignment as rare as it is spectacular, Texas finds itself in perfect geographical position for the annular solar eclipse on Oct. 14, 2023. The rare “ring of fire” eclipse will be visible from the Panhandle Plains to the Gulf Coast, with many destinations planning celestial events and programs. See the full path of totality here.
Texas State Parks
For those looking to “coast” into the final breathtaking moments of the October eclipse, Corpus Christi is the final significant vantage point in the United States. The celestial display will be visible across the city and the pristine Padre Island National Seashore.
Horseback riding adventures in Texas are as varied as its landscapes. Travelers can saddle up on a coastal shoreline, navigate scenic state parks or relive cowboy tales at authentic dude ranches.
South Padre Island
Check horseback riding on the beach off the bucket list with South Padre Island Adventure Park. Whether seeking a family bonding experience or a scene from a romance novel, they’ve got the itinerary covered. Their Morning Special Horseback Ride offers early exploration of the island, letting riders enjoy the serenity before the crowds set in. The Spectacular Sunset Ride provides a mesmerizing view of the sun setting over the Gulf of Mexico. And for those on the island during the days leading up to and including the full moon, the Moonlight Horseback Ride lets riders bask in the moon's reflection on the water with stars twinkling above.
FALL AND WINTER FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
Texas comes alive in autumn with myriad festivals and events that celebrate culture, music, food and family. From the State Fair of Texas to Día de los Muertos celebrations, there's no shortage of fun and festivities to enjoy this fall in the Lone Star State.
State Fair of Texas (Sept. 29-Oct. 22) - Dallas
The State Fair of Texas is a celebration of Texan culture that blends entertainment, art, agriculture and cuisine. With more than 277 acres of food, attractions and events, visitors can enjoy live music, experience high-energy bull riding at the rodeo or savor a Texas-sized turkey leg. Nestled in the middle of the fair’s grounds sits the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium where college football fans can attend the classic Red River Showdown between the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners on Oct. 7.
Austin City Limits Music Festival (Oct. 6-8 & Oct. 13-15) - Austin
The iconic Austin City Limits Music Festival is back for another year with a lineup headlined by Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters and Mumford & Sons over two consecutive weekends. As the fall breeze begins to blow through Zilker Park in October, festival goers can enjoy the outdoors, live music performances, giveaways and some of the best bites in town. Unique to this year, weekend two attendees will also be treated to just under three minutes of October’s annular solar eclipse between 11:50 and 11:55 a.m.
Texas Rose Festival (Oct. 19-22) - Tyler
The annual Texas Rose Festival represents the community spirit that brings Tyler together. The three-day festival kicks off with the ribbon cutting and rose presentation, showcasing a lovely display of rose blooms. The festival features ceremonial events such as the Queen's Coronation and Queen’s Tea where festival goers can meet the Rose Queen and her court in their full coronation costumes. The Rose Parade will mark the conclusion of the festival with custom floats, bands, car clubs and dance teams.
Dia de los Muertos (Oct. 27-Nov. 8) - San Antonio
Día de los Muertos is a cultural tradition celebrating and cherishing memories of loved ones who have passed. San Antonio hosts one of the grandest Day of the Dead celebrations in the United States, with many festivities including:
- Day of the Dead San Antonio River Parade: On Oct. 27, the San Antonio River Walk will feature magical barges decorated with altars, catrinas and costumed riders sailing down the river.
- Muertos Fest: This vibrant celebration will be held downtown Oct. 28 - 29 and will feature outdoor festivities, live music and local vendors. Decorated altars created by local artists will be on display for the public.
- Centro Cultural Aztlan's 46th Annual “Altares y Ofrendas,” will be held from Nov. 2 - 8. The event will offer a gallery of cultural tradition and artistic celebrations including altars by local artists.
Some of the most investigated haunted locations and exhilarating spooky experiences are found in Texas. With Halloween approaching, these must-fear places are for phantom chasers and thrill seekers alike.
The Haunted Hill House, Mineral Wells
Steeped in tumultuous history, Haunted Hill House is a Victorian mansion that has served as both a brothel and a makeshift hospital. Visitors do not simply book a stay, but rather an investigation, as they are given 24 hours to roam the property independently and study the 18 separate areas of the home. Upon arrival, guests are given a two hour lesson on the history of the home, the rules of their stay, insight into recent events and are trained to use paranormal equipment. Visitors are also provided with dinner, plenty of snacks and, of course, the option to sleep in their cars should their nerves get the best of them.
The Driskill, Austin
Built in 1886, The Driskill is an Austin icon and ingrained in the city’s rich history. Located along famed Sixth Street, guests can experience Austin’s vibrant nightlife steps away from their Romanesque-style accommodations. Visitors seeking more out-of-the-ordinary entertainment can take part in the hotel’s daily tours to learn who may be wandering the halls or joining their dinner for two as an invisible third wheel.
Victoria's Black Swan Inn, San Antonio
This historic mansion is regarded as a picturesque wedding venue and hailed as a supernatural hotspot. A Greek Revival, two-story mansion built in the early 1860s, Victoria’s Black Swan Inn offers a romantic and timeless atmosphere primed for celebrations. On the other side of the coin is over 150 years of rich history that seems to fuel activity from beyond this world. The house is affiliated with the Scientific Paranormal Investigative Research Institute of Texas (S.P.I.R.I.T.) and offers overnight investigations for small groups guided by ghost hunting experts.