Traveling Texas Now
Autumn is a fine time to get out and explore Texas. With cooling temperatures, brilliant fall colors, vibrant festivals and outdoor experiences galore, this is one of the best times of year to visit the Lone Star state. With new accommodations and attractions opening across the state, plus a slew of upcoming festivals and celebrations, fall is the time to create the ultimate #TexasToDo list.
Caddo Lake (Karnack) - One of the most mysterious and unique places in Texas, Caddo Lake State Park is home to endless cypress tree forests that turn to vibrant hues of orange, red and yellow during the fall. This East Texas natural wonder is home to one of the world's largest cypress groves within a maze of bayous and wetlands that is often filled with a variety of wildlife. Kayak or canoe through the canopy of trees to observe the park's brilliant foliage.
Daingerfield & Lake Bob Sandlin State Parks (East Texas) - The deciduous trees within the East Texas Pineywoods eco-region provide spectacular pops of color amongst their evergreen counterparts, making Daingerfield and Lake Bob Sandlin State Parks prime leaf peeping locations come late October and early November. At Daingerfield State Park, tall trees reach for the sky as sweetgum trees and maples turn to brilliant shades of red and orange. Lake Bob Sandlin is the meeting spot of two Texas eco-regions - the Piney Woods and Blackland Prairie - resulting in massive trees, tall grasses and a fascinating mix of plants and animals. Varieties of oak, hickory, dogwood, redbud and maples produce spectacular fall colors.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Salt Flat) - This 135-square-mile park, at the intersection of the Rocky Mountains, Great Plains and Chihuahuan Desert where elevations vary from 3,000 to 8,751 feet, holds more than 1,000 species of plants. McKittrick Canyon, a colorful oasis in the Chihuahuan Desert, shelters stands of Texas madrones, walnut, ash, gray and chinquapin oaks that range from yellow to a rich bronze. Desert sumacs pop with blasts of rich red, crimson, and scarlet. The best color lies about 2.5 miles down the canyon trail, where maples flourish along the picnic grotto area. Visitors who make the climb up McKittrick Ridge enjoy spectacular views of the canyon. Colors peak around late October or early November.
Fall Festivals & Events
Oktoberfest (Across Texas) - Every fall, Texas revels in its German roots with Oktoberfest celebrations across the state. From Sept. 16 - 19, the Addison Oktoberfest offers "German fare with a side of Texas flair" with multiple biergartens, an enormous Partyhalle and a Dachshund Dash on Sunday. Marking its 40th anniversary, Fredricksburg's Oktoberfest returns Oct. 1 - 3, with four stages of oompah music, 50 varieties of beer, Texas wine selections and family fun. In New Braunfels, plans are underway for the 60th annual Wurstfest, a ten-day salute to sausage and the region's German heritage. This year's Wurstfest is scheduled for Nov. 5 - 14, and will debut the $10 million rebuild of the festival's Marketplatz and Wursthalle facilities. Food, music, dancing and carnival rides await at the city's riverside Landa Park.
Texas Renaissance Festival (Plantersville) - An enchanting tradition for more than 45 years, the Texas Renaissance Festival takes place during nine themed weekends, kicking off Oct. 9. An hour north of Houston, the Texas Renaissance Festival recreates an English village of the 16th century. Magicians, jugglers, minstrels, troubadours and comedians perform on six stages.
Texas Sandfest (Port Aransas) - The largest native-sand sculpture in the U.S., Texas Sandfest draws renowned amateur and professional sand sculptors from around the world to create jaw-dropping creations on the beaches of Port Aransas. More than 10,000 tons of sand are used to create progressive works of art completed over the course of the three-day festival. This year's event will take place Oct. 17 - 19, and will also feature food and drink vendors, live music, kids' activities and shopping for coastal inspired art, jewelry, apparel and more.
Día de los Muertos (Across Texas) - Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican holiday to honor and remember loved ones who have passed, and is celebrated widely across Texas with colorful festivals, parades and artistic altars in late October and early November. San Antonio is home to one of the largest commemorations with multiple events in October and November, including a Día de los Muertos Market, Muertos Fest and a spectacular nighttime parade on the city's famous River Walk featuring illuminated river barges and giant catrines and catrinas. In its 14th year, Corpus Christi's Día de los Muertos Festival has been nationally recognized for its blend of cultural festivities. This year's socially distanced event will feature a self-guided walking tour of artful alters, multiple exhibits at K Space Contemporary and engaging virtual programming. In Victoria, residents and visitors may contribute photos and mementos of departed family and friends to the city's large community ofrenda or take part in iDisfruta El Sabor! (Savor the Flavor) by dining at local restaurants offering special Día de los Muertos menus.
Texas State Fair (Dallas) - The State Fair of Texas is back! The longest-running fair in the nation, as well as one of the largest, happens from Sept. 24 - Oct. 17. Since its establishment in 1886, the State Fair of Texas has promoted Texas agriculture, education and community involvement through quality entertainment in a family-friendly environment. From the games and amusements of the midway to an absolutely insane list of experimental fried foods, it’s a feast for the senses. This year will also include a mix of virtual and in-person competitions.
Tyler Rose Festival (Tyler) - The 88th Texas Rose Festival in Tyler will be held Oct. 14 - 17 and offers enchanting ceremonial events, including the Queen’s Coronation, Ribbon Cutting with Rose Presentation, the Queen’s Tea, and the Rose Parade – all amidst a backdrop of brilliant roses. The festival is a celebration of the rose industry in Tyler, where seven Tyler-area companies process and distribute several million roses each year, with about 75% of all roses in the country handled in Tyler.
New & Upcoming Hotel Openings
Blossom Hotel (Houston) - The newest luxury property in Houston, Blossom Hotel opened to the public in Sept. 2021. The hotel takes inspiration from the city's aerospace industry, with lunar-inspired decor throughout its spacious living areas and 267 rooms. The only hotel within blocks of Houston's NRG stadium, it features an upscale sushi restaurant and karaoke bar.
The Barfield (Amarillo) - Located on historic Polk Street in downtown Amarillo, the Barfield opened its doors in Aug. 2021 offering guests a sophisticated take on Southern hospitality. The 112-room boutique property is home to the upscale Toscana Italian Steakhouse and speakeasy-style bar Paramount Recreation Club.
Thompson Austin (Austin) - Designed as a place for locals and visitors to let loose, the 212-room Thompson Austin will exude a luxe contemporary vibe when it opens in Nov. 2021. James Beard-nominated partners Mashama Bailey and Johno Morisano are set to bring comfort cuisine to the property with new outposts of their beloved Savannah restaurants the Grey Market and the Diner Bar.
tommie Austin (Austin) - The 193-room tommie Austin will encourage urban exploration at every turn. Debuting alongside its sister property Thompson Austin in Nov. 2021, the youthful hotel brand will be a gathering spot for curious and creative individuals interested in shaping their own destination experience.
150th Anniversary of Bryan - Incorporated on Nov. 29, 1871, Bryan is celebrating 150 years this fall with a storytelling initiative to collect the tales which have shaped this Brazos Valley community. Visitors may take part in historical walking tours, attend a production of the musical "Heart of the Valley" detailing the history of Bryan or explore historical displays at the Clara B. Mounce Library and Carnegie History Center.
185th Anniversary of the Texas Revolution - This year marks the 185th anniversary of the Texas Revolution. On Nov. 14, San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site in Sealy (less than an hour from Houston) will host the Father of Texas Celebration, an annual event highlighting one of the earliest settlements in the Republic of Texas.
50th Anniversary of the Frozen Margarita Machine (Dallas) - This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dallas’ frozen margarita machine. The machine was introduced by Mariano Martinez in Dallas in 1971 and one can sample some of the best in Dallas on the Margarita Mile trail.
175th Anniversary of Fredericksburg - This Texas Hill Country town, also considered the epicenter of the Texas wine region, is celebrating 175 years with a year-long celebration to honor its German heritage and all individuals who have made the community what it is today.