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Austin to Orlando Local knowledge please

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Austin to Orlando Local knowledge please


We are visiting this area travelling in August with our two sons 15 and 20 .We all like some history, beautiful natural scenery,swimming ,boats and wonder if any must see things come to mind. I am on Easter break and busy planning and booking the trip

Our route and time scale is


2 days San Antonio


Lake Charles area

Plantation House

3 days New Orleans

2 days Orange Beach


finishing with 8 days in Orlando family reunion

Any advice recommendations would be gratefully appreciated.

I have a few stops to just ensure no leg is too long but am open to advice please

Kindest thanks Ada

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1. Re: Austin to Orlando Local knowledge please

Hi, Ada!

If you like swimming, put Barton Springs in Austin at the top of your list. It's a beautiful place to swim in August--the water is very cold and clear.


If your family likes water parks, check out Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels. The video in the link below is a little heavy on the PR, but it should give you the flavor of it. If you go, try to be there when it opens. It gets crowded.


Bring hats and lots of sunblock!

Nashville, Tennessee
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2. Re: Austin to Orlando Local knowledge please

First be prepared for the heat - It will probably be at least 90F for all of your trip, and at least 100F on a day or two, so make sure you stay hydrated. Second, I don't think you'll get much out of just an overnight in some of these places, once you factor in driving times. Finally, since you will be here in August, be aware that your plans could be severely disrupted by a hurricane at any time, with the chances increasing the later in August it gets. Even driving in the outer rain bands of a hurricane can be extremely dangerous, as the rain can be unlike anything you've ever seen (3-4 inches an hour or more in extreme cases). Watch the forecast carefully so you aren't caught unaware.

Austin - seems like an odd stop for a family vacation. It has a youthful vibe and is notable not so much for tourist sights as for the general feel of the city - lots of live music, bar scene, etc. I lived there for two years but I'm having a hard time thinking of many noteworthy fun things for a 15 year old. I do concur with the recommendation for Barton Springs, and Schlitterbahn, which is frequently voted the best water park in the country (on the way from Austin to San Antonio). Boating/swimming in Lake Austin or Lake Travis is also a possibility, though if our drought continues they may be far too low. Caves are another great way to beat the heat, and the area has several, with Natural Bridge Caverns being the most convenient (also in between SA and Austin).

2 days San Antonio - the downtown is compact and you can probably explore almost all of it in one day. The Alamo and the Riverwalk are the must sees. You can also check out the other Spanish Missions in the city (in S.A. Missions National Historic Park), la Villita (artsy shopping community), and the Tower of the Americas for a view of the city (though, admittedly, SA's cityscape is mediocre from above). If you were planning on going to any amusement parks, San Antonio has two of them (SeaWorld and Six Flags), and they are both likely to be far less busy than those in Florida (and certainly more age-appropriate for your kids than Disney World).

Galveston - Galveston is probably inferior to the Florida beaches, and I don't think it's worth driving an hour each way just for an overnight, especially as you'll be spending time at other gulf beaches later in the trip. I think overnighting in Houston and visiting the NASA space center would be more interesting than anything in Galveston.

Lake Charles area - very industrial, with lots of oil refineries. I've stopped there overnight on long drives, but never heard it described as a tourist destination. If you can handle it, I'd skip this night and just drive from Houston/Galveston to your next destination.

Plantation House - are you staying or just visiting? Staying in a plantation house sounds like a unique experience.

3 days New Orleans - Will be horribly hot and humid, so plan for indoor activities in the afternoon. The Aquarium was good when I visited (2005) but it was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina a month later and closed for a full year, and almost all of its fish died. I haven't visited it on subsequent NO trips, so 'm not sure whether they reacquired all the species they had before, but it after 8 years it must be in good shape again. It would be good hot day choice. The French Quarter and Bourbon Street are uniquely sleazy and kind of ridiculous, but should not be missed. Get your fill of classic Cajun and Creole cuisine while you are there, and perhaps take some sort of bayou boat trip. Be aware that New Orleans is one of the most dangerous cities in the US, so stay out of sketchy areas, especially at night.

2 days Orange Beach - I assume it is a typical gulf coast beach destination.

Tallahassee - just a stopover, really. I'd probably skip it and drive straight from OB - Orlando, but I'm guessing that you are unused to long drives and 7-8 hours would be out of the question.

finishing with 8 days in Orlando family reunion - if you have time, check out Cape Canaveral, especially if you don't visit the NASA space center in Houston. Universal Studios >> Disney World for a 15 and 20 year old. Haven't been to the Orlando Sea World but assume it's decent, same with Busch Gardens in Tampa. The Everglades and Key West are out of range unless you are willing to take a couple of nights away from Orlando.

Definitely post on the state forums if you want more info on the individual cities.

3. Re: Austin to Orlando Local knowledge please

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