Archive for the ‘Gulf Coast’ Category

Paddling Trails Near Corpus Christi, TX

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Paddling near Corpus Christi, TXOn a gorgeous fall day in Texas, why stay stuck inside when you can get out and enjoy all that the season has to offer! What is your favorite outdoor activity? Perhaps you like hiking or biking? If you love being out on the open water, there are some fantastic places to go paddling and we found two great trails near Corpus Christi, TX to tell you about.

First, we have Mustang Island Paddling Trail. This scenic spot is just 15 miles from the city and your put-in is at Fish Pass located in Mustang Island State Park. This state park is 4,000 acres of beauty and shares around 5 miles of beach on the Gulf of Mexico. There are actually three different paddling trails you can do here. The first is North Trail at 8.5 miles long, then the Shamrock Loop Trail at 5.24 miles, and finally the Ashum Trail at 6.8 miles. Pick your distance and take your time as you follow the western shoreline of Mustang Island. There are some great shallow-water fishing areas and bird watching opportunities.

The second area we want to share with you is called Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail, which is about 28 miles from Corpus Christi. It is a series of four loops through mangroves and sea grass flats and the trails range from 1.25 to 6.8 miles.

These trails can take a couple of hours or longer; depending on how much time you want to spend outdoors. We suggest bringing a picnic lunch, some binoculars for hunting wildlife, and all appropriate gear that you will need to be safe and comfortable. You can find answers to any questions you may have on this Texas Paddling Trails FAQ page.

Back in town we suggest skipping the standard dull hotel and opt for a night or two (or more!) at one of our association’s amazing bed and breakfast properties, Knolle Farm & Ranch Bed, Barn & Breakfast. Get outdoors and enjoy the fall beauty around Texas!

 

Harvest Moon Regatta – Port Aransas, TX

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Harvest Moon Regatta in Port Aransas, TXWhen you hear the words, “perfect destination” what spot comes to mind? Perhaps some far away beach in Mexico, a quaint village in Europe, or maybe even a beautiful park in your own neighborhood would be your answer. For many, the Gulf Coast is the perfect destination for several reasons. It offers 600 miles of spectacular coastline, beaches with warm waters, beautiful views, quaint seaside towns, and endless places to collect seashells. The gulf waters in October happen to be perfect for sailing and whether you are a sailing buff or just a spectator who enjoys watching boats set off across the waters, the Harvest Moon Regatta in Port Aransas is something you should check out.

This year marks the 29th anniversary for the Annual Lakewood Yacht Club Harvest Moon Regatta and it will the taking place October 22-25, 2015 in Port Aransas, TX. It all began back in 1987 when some members of the Lakewood Yacht Club were discussing their favorite fall sailing trips and dreaming of a way to encourage as many sailors as possible to get out on the waters for late fall offshore sailing. The Harvest Moon Regatta was born with 17 yachts the first year and has now grown to host over 260 participants in some years. The Port Aransas port offers perfect sailing conditions and a memorable overnight sail down the Texas coast. You don’t have to be a serious racer with a lot of experience to join this race—it is open to all and funds go to support a fantastic foundation benefiting ovarian cancer awareness.

If you are going to be in town as a racer or just to watch the fleet set sail, make your time memorable with a stay at one of the fantastic bed and breakfast properties in the area. Hoopes’ House in Rockport, TX and Knolle Farm & Ranch Bed, Barn & Breakfast are part of our association and both offer luxury and privacy—two amazing places to relax during your trip to the Gulf.

 

Padre Island National Seashore: Preserved and Protected

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Padre Island National SeashoreUntouched by a bustling society and undeveloped are two ways to describe the beautiful and pristine Padre Island National Seashore. For travelers near the Gulf Coast, this area, which is a short drive from Corpus Christi, is a perfect destination to visit.

The Padre Island National Seashore is a remote stretch of seashore over 70 miles long—it is actually the largest stretch of undeveloped barrier island beach in the world. It separates the Laguna Madre from the Gulf of Mexico and although remote in nature, you will find there is a myriad of activities to do and places to visit. The park is open 24 hours a day every day of the year and it costs $10 per vehicle or $5 for walking or biking in. There is a wonderful visitor center if you need some questions answered or advice on what to do.

Some of the more popular activities include fishing, camping, birding, swimming, surfing, and shell collecting. Long isolated stretches of sand make you feel as though you are in your own special piece of paradise. Another fantastic event to catch here is the releasing of Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchlings. While the releases for 2015 are over, it is worth mentioning so you can plan your getaway for next year around these events. There is an incubation facility that offers 15-25 releases of the hatchling turtles. The public is invited free of charge and thousands of people attend every year. You can call the Hatchling Hotline at (361) 949-7163 for the latest information.

Breathtaking coastline, a rich history, the sea turtles and over 380 bird species are just a few of the great things to be found here. Only a 30-minute drive to Corpus Christi and you can also find the perfect Texas accommodations—an upscale bed and breakfast on a historic ranch is the place you want to be for a memorable, relaxing getaway. Find out more about Knolle Farm & Ranch Bed, Barn & Breakfast and plan your next vacation today!

Dining, Shopping & More at the Kemah Boardwalk – TX

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

If you are looking for a great getaway just outside of Houston, TX we suggest taking a quick, scenic trip to Kemah, TX. This quaint town on Galveston Bay was ranked the top tourism spot in the greater Houston area. What was just a small fishing town has now become a bustling city with tons of tourist destinations—the most popular being the Kemah Boardwalk.

The Kemah Boardwalk is a 60-acre waterfront paradise that is the ultimate entertainment destination. Considered one of the premier boardwalks in the country, it opened in 1999 and was built along the shores of Clear Lake and Galveston Bay. There is something for everyone here as features include a charter yacht, 400 slip marina, rides, midway games, more than 10 fantastic restaurants, and countless shops and attractions. One of the highlights for those with an adventurous spirit is the Boardwalk Bullet, a 96-foot tall, 3,236-foot-long roller coaster. There is also the Wonder Wheel, Double Decker Carousel, Ferris Wheel, C.P. Huntington Train, Wipeout, Boardwalk Tower, Aviator, Drop Zone and a whole bunch more! It is a one-stop shop for fun and entertainment with someone for the whole family.

Coming up on August 1st, 2015 you can enjoy Salsa Beats in the Plaza all day long and some of the best tribute bands in Houston will be playing on August 4th and 11th, 2015. Live music on the boardwalk called Rock the Dock will take place Thursday evenings until August 27th and select Mondays are Kid Krazy Mondays where meals and passes are discounted for kids.

Experience a relaxing and peaceful stay at one of our bed and breakfast properties near the boardwalk, The Clipper House Inn. It is close to all of the attractions but private and complete with all of the amenities to make a perfect home away from home.

Plan A Perfect Day in Port Aransas, TX

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Beach at sunsetSometimes the best things in life come in small packages—someone opening a tiny box with a wedding ring inside would definitely agree! While we aren’t talking about gifts here, we do want to highlight the spectacular small town of Port Aransas, located on Mustang Island near the Corpus Christi Bay.

If you have a Texas Gulf Coast vacation planned this summer, can we suggest that you at least include a detour to Port Aransas? There is so much to see and do along the Gulf but with over 18 miles of beach access, wildlife, estuaries, coastal dining, shopping, and much more; Port Aransas is a special piece of paradise.

The average temperatures for the summer months hover just over 80 degrees—perfect for outdoor adventuring. There is truly something to see, a place to visit, or an activity to do at every turn so to help you plan a perfect day; we’ve highlighted a few of the top things to do:

  • Kayak to the 1857 Lydia Ann Lighthouse
  • Search for seashells at San José Island
  • Take a relaxing ride on the free ferry
  • Spend a morning or afternoon at the Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture
  • Explore the town on a beach buggy
  • Play a round of golf right next to the water
  • Charter a boat for some exciting deep-sea fishing
  • Relax and play at the Port Aransas Beach

At the end of the day, enjoy some rest and relaxation at a fantastic, upscale bed and breakfast in Corpus Christi. Enjoy true country luxury at Knolle Farm & Ranch Bed, Barn & Breakfast—a retreat that offers privacy but close to amenities so fun is always nearby.

2015 Strawberry Festival in Pasadena, TX

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Largest strawberry shortcakeThere are many cities through the United States who can claim having the “world’s largest” of a particular item. The largest donut is in Inglewood, CA, the largest baseball bat is in Louisville, KY, and the largest penny can be found Woodruff, WI. Did you know though that the world’s largest strawberry shortcake is found in none other than Pasadena, TX and that there is a fantastic annual festival to celebrate strawberries?

The Strawberry Festival in Pasadena, TX is a highlight event of the year. This two-day, family-oriented festival will be taking place May 15-17, 2015. If you live nearby or will be traveling through the area, this is a fun event your whole family will enjoy. This is the 42nd year for this festival and every year it just gets better and better. On Friday there will be an opening ceremony where you can see the world’s largest strawberry shortcake, take in some great arena stage events, try a helicopter ride, visit the Tumbleweed Crossing Wild West Show, cheer on the Swifty Swine Racing Pigs, and take the kids to the Buzzberry Kids Adventure Zone. Throughout the weekend there will be carnival rides, a mud volleyball tournament, beauty pageant, BBQ cook off, washer pitching contests, and so much more. Visit the event website or call (281) 991-9500 for ticket information and times for all of these events. You won’t want to miss out on anything!

After the festivities have died down, the weekend will be even better when you can rest and relax at a place that is comfortable and feels “like home.” There are some beautiful Texas Bed and Breakfast Association bed and breakfasts nearby in Seabrook and Kemah. Enjoy comfort, privacy, and all of the amenities you love at home. Be sure to book your room before they fill up as this festival brings in crowds from all over!

Dazzling Beauty at Moody Gardens – Galveston Island, TX

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Orange flower with green leaves in background with text Moody Gardens in Galveston Island, TXThey say true beauty is in the eye of the beholder and while that is certainly true, we are sure that most anyone would have a hard time not being blown away by the beauty of Moody Gardens at Galveston Island, TX.

This tropical piece of paradise has so many incredible features, exhibits, and things to do and see that it makes a great place to spend the day. First you can meander around the Aquarium Pyramid, where you are surrounded by a myriad of creatures found in the ocean depths. You will be in awe of the 1.5 million-gallon aquarium filled with sharks, stingrays, penguins and more. There are some special VIP insider passes you can purchase if you are looking for a more personal, behind the scenes experience with seals or penguins.

Next you can make your way to the Rainforest Pyramid that represents the rainforests of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. View many endangered plants and animals such as the Chinese Alligators and the Saki Monkeys. Get a once in a lifetime experience at the MG 3D Theatre, which happens to boast the largest screen in Texas! View films such as; Secret Ocean 3D and Great White Shark 3D. The 4D Special FX Theater shows 3D productions as well but in addition gives the viewer extra “effects” such as seat sensors, scents, leg ticklers, and misters—you feel as though you are in the middle of the action.

For those who like a bit of adventure, check out the ropes course and zip line for some “in the air” action. You will also want to check their website for their seasonal attractions such as “Palm Beach,” a water park with a lazy river, wave pool, and tower slides.

Once you have had your fun for the day, wouldn’t it be great to kick off your shoes and relax in your own private bed and breakfast? The Texas Bed and Breakfast Association has some amazing bed and breakfast properties on the Gulf Coast each with its own unique style but none that lack in having all of the amenities you love at home. Make your time in Texas one to remember by staying at a home away from home where you are treated like family.

Tour the Museum District in Houston, TX

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

The city of Houston, TX is not only the most populated city in Texas, it is home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, has a vibrant community with diverse cultures, and a gorgeous climate and landscape. If you are considering a trip to Houston we also want to point out that there is an incredible Museum District that attracts more than 7 million visitors each year.

If you were to draw a 1.5-mile radius around the Mecom Fountain, you will find no less than 20 museums inside the circle—each one waiting for curious and adventurous people such as yourself to come and visit. The great thing about this district is that you can easily do a tour by foot as they are all within walking distance of each other. The museums all have their own specialty, which brings an incredible diversity as you travel through each one. Explore African American culture, learn about the Holocaust, be wowed by contemporary art and photography, dive into the world of natural science, or say hello to the amazing animals at the Houston Zoo.

There are ten museums such as the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Houston Center for Photography, and the Lawndale Art Center that are always free to the public. On the district’s website you can also see which hours are free at several other museums. Along the way you will have no trouble finding great places to stop and shop or eat.

When it is time to rest after a day touring museums, there is no better place to relax and unwind than a beautiful bed and breakfast. Hotels can be nice but they often lack the amenities, charm and personal attention that a bed and breakfast can offer. The Texas Bed and Breakfast Association has some wonderful properties in the Gulf Coast region of Texas that are worth stopping by and are only a short drive outside of Houston. Enjoy your next museum tour – let us know which one was your favorite!

USS Lexington: A Glimpse of History in Corpus Christi, TX

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

If your travels lead you near the beautiful city of Corpus Christi, TX one stop that is truly a must is the USS Lexington. It is ranked as one of the top things to see and experience in Corpus Christi and if you have ever wondered what it would be like to be on and live inside an aircraft carrier, this is one attraction you will not want to pass by.

Nicknamed the “Blue Ghost,” the U.S.S. Lexington was built during WWII for the United States Navy. After many battles and important voyages across the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean, she was finally decommissioned in 1991 and donated to be honored as a museum ship. She is the oldest remaining aircraft carrier in the world and is a National Historic Landmark.

The ship is quite an impressive sight as you approach the area—the sheer size can make your jaw drop in awe. You will want to plan for plenty of time, as there is a lot to see and do during your visit. There are 100,000 square feet and eleven decks to explore! To make it easy, there are 5 self-guided tours that you can choose from, or do all if you have the time. Tours include the Flight Deck, Gallery Deck, Foc’sle, Hangar Deck, and Lower Decks.

If you are looking for a tour that takes you even deeper and allows you to see more than on the standard public tours, we suggest the Hard Hat Tour. This guided tour takes 3-4 hours and you will have the chance to explore over 15 areas that are off limits on the other tours. You will need some comfortable rubber-soled shoes and be ready to climb steep ladders and crawl into dark, confined spaces—it is an amazing tour, especially for someone who may have served on a similar ship or has a real passion for history and the navy. In addition to the tours you can spend as much time as you want at the interactive Virtual Battle Stations, try the thrilling Flight Simulator, and be entertained at the 3D Mega Theater. There is lots of walking and climbing but there is an elevator should you need to avoid taking stairs. This is a place to experience a glimpse from the past and a new appreciation for the men and women who served and continue to serve.

After a great tour such as this, a stop at a local restaurant, and some shopping perhaps, we also suggest you forgo the small, standard hotel room and experience a stay at a beautiful bed and breakfast such as the Knolle Farm & Ranch Bed, Barn & Breakfast. It is an upscale home away from home on a historic ranch and one of the incredible properties part of the Texas Bed and Breakfast Association.

Top Sights and Hot Spots in Waco, TX

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Around halfway between Austin and Dallas, TX you will come across the city of Waco, a special place along the Brazos River that is well worth a visit if you are in the area. Every season of the year is beautiful around Waco – the summers are nice and hot, the winters are generally mild and fall and spring each bring different kinds of beauty.

If you are looking for an outdoor place to go with a history of its own, check out the Waco Suspension Bridge just north of downtown. Open to foot traffic only, it spans across the Brazos River. It opened in 1869 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Another spectacular place for history buffs is the Waco Mammoth Site where the fossils of twenty-four Columbian mammoths. This discovery was the largest concentration of a single herd of mammoths that died in the same natural event, which is believed to be a flash flood. It is a paleontological site and museum that will truly take your breath away. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is a very popular place to visit if you are interested in law enforcement history.

Along the east and west banks of the Brazos River is a seven-mile scenic river walk if you are looking for a relaxing, beautiful place to talk a walk or jog. For some adventure and a bit of waterlogged fun, the Hawaiian Falls waterpark is a must, especially for families with children on a warm day.

Downtown Waco hosts the famous Dr. Pepper Museum, where the popular Dr. Pepper soda was invented, which is a great stop to learn something new if you love this type of drink. The Cameron Park Zoo, with a collection of almost 2000 animals is a fantastic stop in Waco as well. There is a myriad of incredible exhibits including a large swampland, a 50,000-gallon saltwater reef aquarium, and an Asian Forest with orangutans, Sumatran tigers, and Komodo dragons.

To relax and rest your weary legs, check out Café Homestead for outstanding food and great service. Jake’s Texas Tea House, Dubl-R Old Fashioned Hamburgers, and Rudy’s Country Store Bar B Q are also hot spots for great dining.

This is just a start to help you have a great visit in Waco. Of course, we know you will be looking for the perfect home away from home to relax and unwind at the end of the day and you need look no further than The Cotton Palace B&B. This stunning bed and breakfast is part of The Texas Bed and Breakfast Association and a top choice for complete luxury and comfort. Enjoy your time in Waco, TX!

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