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 / Travel & Outdoor
Texas Highways Magazine

Texas Highways Magazine April 2016

Texas Highways, the official travel magazine of Texas, encourages recreational travel within Texas and tells the Texas story to readers around the world. Renowned for its photography, statewide events coverage, top weekend excursions, off-the-beaten path discoveries, and scenic destinations, Texas Highways helps readers discover the treasures of the Lone Star State.

United States
Texas Department of Transportation
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12 Issues


2 min.
great expectations

Spring is always full of surprises, from its unpredictable arrival to just which natural wonders the season will bring. But there’s one sure bet every April: Texas Highways’ salute to blooms, this year featuring Melissa Gaskill’s “Magnificent Seven” coverage of signature flowers across the state, aah-inspiring photography, and road-trip tips for petal peepers—all beginning on page 62. At press time in late February, our friends at The University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wild flower Center were predicting a promising flower display this year. “Last year’s dry summer opened up space for some of the fall-germinating natives that bloom in the spring,” says Andrea De-Long-Amaya, the Center’s director of horticulture. “And we saw a lot of germination in the fall thanks to the rains. We’re looking for a good…

3 min.

Local friends ask me why I make an annual March pilgrimage back to Texas. The last sentence of the “Sweet 16” story provides me with a definitive response: “Because as any road-tripping Texan knows, once is never enough.” MILT SYLWESTER, Kona, Hawaii OUR FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA OF THE MONTH... Texas 16— Goldthwaite Eagles, San Saba Armadillos, Priddy Pirates, Comanche Indians, Strawn Greyhounds, Graham Steers… It’s always time for high school sports in Texas! (Not far off 16, at the crossroads of 36 and 281, my Hamilton Bulldogs!) Dewayne Clover Hamilton Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram Chili Tease The cover of the March issue displayed a luscious bowl of red, complete with cheese. The article on state symbols illustrated the same bowl of chili, sans cheese. In any event, the chili looks great, but…

1 min.
hill country

30º 32’ 35.17” N 98º 42’ 15.55” W The Hill Country is known for its wildflower displays, and the roads between Llano and Fredericksburg generally offer picturesque fields and pockets of Indian blanket (pictured), bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, and other popular species. Travel the 38 miles between the two towns along Texas 16 or take detours along Ranch-to-Market roads 2323 or 965 and make it a loop. Be mindful of private property and be careful when stopping. If you can’t make it to the Hill Country this spring, visitwww.texashighways.comand search “wildflower drives” for additional suggested routes.…

4 min.
of feathers and hope

HOPE’ IS THE THING WITH feathers,” wrote 19th-Century American poet Emily Dickinson in the opening line of her poem of the same name. This phrase came to mind as I boarded a tour bus before dawn last April during Galveston FeatherFest and Nature PhotoFest. With binoculars hanging from our necks and hats on our heads, my fellow birders and I were excited about the potential for great bird viewing, spectacular photo opportunities, and illuminating insights from expert guides. Despite a brisk southeast wind and cloudy skies threatening rain, we were hopeful. And our hopes were not dashed. Measuring 27 miles long and three miles wide, Galveston Island is a birders’ paradise— especially during FeatherFest, which takes place April 14-17 this year. Billions of birds pass through the Upper Texas Coast in April…

4 min.
countdown to spring

DOWN IN THE RIO GRANDE Valley, there’s something about springtime, when the palm trees sway in the southerly breeze and even the cacti are blooming, that calls us out into the great outdoors. Pull out your sunglasses, hats, and hiking boots: Here are some recommended activities, roughly ordered from one end of the Valley to the Other. There’s something about springtime, when the palm trees sway in the southerly breeze and even the cacti are blooming, that calls us out into the great outdoors. 10 Up Close with Dolphins You may not see them from the shore, but the placid waters of the Laguna Madre are home to a vibrant community of bott lenose dolphins. To see them in all their leaping, chatt ering glory, book an open-air boat tour with one of…

5 min.
following the thread

THE COTTON BOLL IN MY HAND feels light and delicate, and I easily see how it could translate into the soft, comfy shirt I’m wearing. But, then— ouch!—a sharp burr pricks my hand. Having snared my curiosity, the Texas Cotton Gin Museum is about to envelop me in cotton lore: how the white puff in my hand speaks of a painful history of slavery; how the cotton gin revolutionized cotton farming without significantly enriching its inventor; how cotton remained an important crop for Cotton Belt farmers after the Civil War; and how a really tiny insect threatens the shirt on my back. Located in Burton, about 10 miles west of Brenham, the museum and its historic gin explore the history of what remains the state’s largest cash crop (even though China…