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Help with itinerary needed....

Norwich, United...
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Help with itinerary needed....

Hi from the UK,

My Wife and I are in the early stages of planning for a two week trip to Texas in June 2011 but no matter how many guidebooks/brochures I've received, I still don't know how best to split our time. Can you help?

We want to definitely spend time in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and either a day trip or day or two on the coast at Galveston. We have been to San Antonio before and loved it, but won't be including the city this time.

My Wife also has a hankering for Amarillo.

We both love big cities, so definitely want to enjoy some "city time", but also into museums, outdoors (state parks, national parks etc), shopping (although not a major priority) and anything touristy really. Oh and some great Texas BBQ!!!

Definite inclusions are NASA, SouthFork, the JFK bits in Dallas, a major sporting event (baseball?) and some chill(!) time on the coast.

We will be getting a car but don't know whether to book for the whole 2 weeks or just book individually in each location. It's fairly obvious that a large chunk of our time is going to be spent in and around Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Austin after all, but is there any awesome drives between these places which would warrant having the car the whole time.

Initially, I was thinking, 4 days/nights in Dallas/Fort Worth, 3 in Austin, 4 in Houston, 2 in Amarillo and a spare day for maybe the coast?

I'm guessing that Amarillo is going to stretch our time due to location but would be keen for your views.

I look forward to your replies.

Best,

Ju123

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1. Re: Help with itinerary needed....

Are you planning to fly in/out of the same city, or go one direction? Check for cheaper airfares by trying roundtrips from Austin/UK, Houston/UK, Dallas/UK or even UK/Houston with a return from Dallas, for example.

If you go in/out Dallas, you might look at getting a roundtrip ticket on Southwest Airlines flight from Dallas Love (DAL) to Amarillo (AMA) either at the beginning or end or your trip.

I would definitely rent a car only once, with the exception for the Amarillo side trip. Watch the drop charges if you pickup/drop off in different cities.

Both Dallas and Houston have baseball teams and June will be a good time to go, before it gets blistering hot.

There were some previous threads about the best BBQ in Texas, check those.

Welcome to Texas!!

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2. Re: Help with itinerary needed....

Your interests are going to shape your trip. I'm not quite sure the attraction to Amarillo. My list would include the following:

Houston - NASA, shopping, museums,

Galveston - beach, touristy stuff

Austin - museums, shopping, live music

Fredrecksburg - shopping, bats, enchanted rock, wineries,

Johnson City - LBJ ranch

New Braunfels - Schlitterbahn, Gruene Hall, music, shopping, Comal toob trip

Big Bend - hike, photography, raft trip

Balmoreh state park, McDonald Observatory,

El Paso - shopping/arts, Las Cruises

Edited: 18 May 2010, 16:55
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3. Re: Help with itinerary needed....

The Amarillo drive will cost you two days of holiday. The one way drive from Dallas is about 7 hours. As already suggested, Southwest Airlines would be a better means of getting there. I am guessing there is a good reason to visit Amarillo...

Baseball --- Houston Astros downtown ballpark w/retractable roof to keep you cool in the summer

mlb.mlb.com/ticketing/index.jsp?c_id=hou

Texas Rangers Ballpark in Arlington no roof can be very warm, even in the evening but a lot of fun

mlb.mlb.com/ticketing/index.jsp?c_id=tex

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4. Re: Help with itinerary needed....

You don't say where you are flying into or out of, so that could make a difference as far as the best route for you. In any event, I would skip Amarillo unless there is a really important reason for the visit. It's way out of the way, and as noted above will cost you at least two days of just traveling.

Regarding a rental car, if you are flying into and out of the same airport, I would rent one for the whole two weeks and drive to your various destinations. I love road trips and really enjoy taking in the scenery in many parts of Texas.

If you skip Amarillo, you can spend a couple of more days at the coast. In addition to Galvestion, which is great for history buffs and shopping, you may want to spend some time in or near Corpus Christi or Port Aransas for more relaxing beach time.

I agree with Octoboy's suggestion to add Fredericksburg/Johnson City/New Braunfels to the list as all of these can easily be accessed from Austin. If you don't mind spending a lot of time on the road, Big Bend is amazing, but with two weeks, I think you need to decide between Big Bend and time at the coast. Doing both would be way more driving than even I would want to do on a road trip. Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin, Houston, the coast, and the Hill Country will be more than enough to keep you busy for two weeks.

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5. Re: Help with itinerary needed....

I would forget Amarillo, I can't think of anything worthwhile seeing there. I would also cut the time in Houston. It's just a big city with lots of pavement. Ft. Worth and Austin have a lot more history and ambiance. The hill country is beautiful (Fredericksberg, Marble Falls, etc), and there are some interesting things to do in these places. The baseball stadium is actually in Arlington and right next door is the new Cowboy stadium (worth a tour just to see the utter vastness). Arlington is about 8 miles east of Fort Worth.

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6. Re: Help with itinerary needed....

Dallas-Ft. Worth-Austin-Houston-Dallas is 630 miles or or 10-11 hours drive time. Perhaps allocate 4 days DFW area, 4 days Austin area including time at Fredericksburg and Gruene if you didn't do that when you visited SA, 4 days Houston area including Galveston. With the drive time, that's 2 weeks.

I disagree with the negative comment about Amarillo. It's a pleasant city and a good base for visiting nearby Palo Duro Canyon. However, I don't think you have time to go there unless you cut out three days from the rest of the itinerary.

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Norwich, United...
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7. Re: Help with itinerary needed....

Hello all,

As Texhills mentioned, I think my Wife's reasoning behind Amarillo was a base for Palo Duro Canyon, something she latched onto when reading one of the Texas guidebooks. If it is going to cause us to lose a fair chunk of time, I'm sure we can skip Amarillo totally.

I do like to spend enough time in places to appreciate them, so the thought of 14 nights split pretty evenly between Dallas/FW, Austin, Houston and the coast would fit that quite well. The guidebooks are all very well with their efforts at itineraries but they only allow a day or two in each major city, something I am not keen to do. I know not everybody is into city life, but it's a big part of a trip to the USA for us.

Big Bend sounds awesome but I just can't see how we can fit it in.

As for flights, we are completely easy with how we arrange this for next year. I would probably look to fly into either Houston or Dallas, and then fly home from either of those we didn't fly into. I don't want a one way fee on the car hire though, so would need to look into that, but in fairness if we have to get from Houston to Dallas or vice versa on our travel back to the UK day, I'm sure we can fit it in. We did Savannah to Atlanta on our flight day a few years back and that was 4hrs. I suppose it all depends on flight times but usually they are later in the day back to the UK.

I will clue up on the other areas you have mentioned but if they are all fairly accessible from the cities we will be visiting, I think we will happily fit them into the itinerary.

Thanks again for all your help.

Ju123

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8. Re: Help with itinerary needed....

If you really want to spend most of your time in the bigger cities, then I think texhills' suggestion for splitting your time up is spot on. Despite the negative reaction you'll get from some Texans, Houston is a fantastic city. I lived there for several years and loved it. There are fantastic museums, great places to shop, a lively theater scene, live music (though Austin is better for that), lots of good restaurants, and wonderful neighborhoods for just hanging out.

You could easily do Fredericksburg as a day trip from Austin. Gruene is cute, but if you are going to Frederiicksburg, it's not really necessary to do both, in my opinion, as the shops and such are very similar.

If you do have to drive from Houston to Dallas or Dallas to Houston for your return flight, it's an easy drive on a major interstate. The international airport in Houston is well north of the city center, so you wouldn't have to worry about traffic too much. DFW Airport is a little more difficult to reach coming from Houston.

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9. Re: Help with itinerary needed....

You can very easily spend a week+ in Houston / Galveston area and not get bored. If you are into big cities I would skip places like Gruene. It is a nice quaint town - but you get several of thse in the UK - plus these are not that old (as in the UK). Museums, sporting events, theater, beach, NASA - lot to do in Houston.

You will be better off flying in and out of Houston or Dallas - maybe Houston as you can go to the beach at the end and go straigth from Galveston to the airport. LOndon flights are in the late afternoon / early eve.

Good idea to skip Amarillo.

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10. Re: Help with itinerary needed....

If you do decide to go to Amarillo, to make it more worth your while then you should schedule to see the outdoor drama/musical "Texas" in Palo Duro Canyon. http://www.texas-show.com/

............

you could make a side trip to Lubbock to the Buddy Holly Center (closed Mondays)

http://www.buddyhollycenter.org/

---------

there is a different flavor in the Texas panhandle..people, sunsets etc.

I love West Texas, the panhandle etc as I am originally from there.. However, in the grand scheme of your visit, if you are lacking on time then I would probably forego the area....

other helpful websites

www.texashighways.com

statewide music events

…state.tx.us/music/events/tmec_december/

Edited: 20 May 2010, 06:58
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