Where Can I Get a Texas Free Vacation Guide?

texas driving tour guides

Don’t miss out on all those great Texas vacation spots!

Here is my list of the best places to get a Texas free vacation guide so you can get some family vacation ideas rolling.

Get Your Free Texas Travel Brochures From TourTexas.com.

I am amazed by this online travel site.  If you want to visit or vacation in Texas, this is a top destination BEFORE you plan your vacation destination.

You can order travel brochures for different cities in Texas, different regions in Texas, even specific tourist attractions and specific vacation destinations Texas has to offer and have them sent to you free of charge through the postal service or download them right onto your computer for free.

Note:  A few of the individual attractions can only be sent to you through the mail with a 2 – 4 week delivery time, but most city travel guides and many of the individual tourist attractions are both available for download or through the mail.

I really like this site.  Not only can you order all kinds of Texas travel brochures, you can see travel videos of all the major vacation destinations in the state.

You can also search for and get info on events throughout Texas like festivals, fairs, air shows, farmer’s markets, sports events, etc…  You know…  all those activities to do on Texas family vacations to help you have a fun trip.

Another benefit of this website is its interactive maps of Texas and its cities.  Having a resource like that right at your fingertips when you are planning a vacation is really helpful.

texas free travel guides for vacation areas in texas

That’s right, partner… Welcome to Texas!

Get a Great Free Travel Guide for Texas plus vacation planning tools, family vacation packages, and some of the best travel deals around from TravelTex.com.

I also found the most amazing thing on this site.  They have downloadable podcast walking tours of the major cities in Texas.   I mean like this is where you can actually download free walking tours onto your MP3 player and listen to a tour guide as you walk through the most exciting and popular tourist attractions in Texas.

Yes, you can hear those recordings right on your computer at home too which makes vacation planning even easier!

The list of driving tours in Texas on the TravelTex website are just absolutely the best next to sliced bread too!  You can find dozens of driving tours for summer road trips, day trips, family weekend getaways in Texas, even homeschool field trips if you live in this region of the country or are just moseying through.

If your planning a family vacation in Texas, use these driving tours as a part of your planning too!

Get bunches of free Texas driving tour guides at:  http://www.traveltex.com/plan-your-trip/driving-tours?c=All too!

texas driving tour guides

Travel Texas!

Here’s another sure fire way to get some great free Texas travel guides:

Always… ALWAYS check the convention and visitors bureau of each each city where, or close to where, you want to go.

Just do an online search something like “name of city” (and write the city in.. and state abbreviation if it could get confused with another state) followed by the words “visitors bureau” or “convention and visitors bureau”.  Doing a search for the city plus “things to do” or “visitors center” takes you to some places to get free tourism brochures and guides as well.

It would look something like this:

Amarillo TX visitors bureau

Dallas convention and visitors bureau

San Antonio visitor center or San Antonio visitors

Abilene TX tourist attractions or Abilene TX Convention visitors OR

Austin TX convention and visitors bureau

Any combination will get you to the city’s official convention and visitors bureau where you can order or download a free vacation guide.  That same search will also show other local sites which provide vacation information and lists of things to do in whatever specific city you searched for.

And of course, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has all the free Texas vacation information anyone needs to enjoy the Texas great outdoors.

You can view online travel info about the parks in Texas plus get info on cabin rental reservations, camping info for those interested in camping at Texas state parks, check out boating, fishing, and other lake activities, etc there!

And as a surprise BONUS

Whenever your family vacation destination takes you to Texas, make sure you take advantage of the travel resources at the Texas Department of Transportation website!

The TDOT has lots of traveling resources you can use free of charge right on their site.  Check that link out there.  You’ll be really surprised!

There, you’ve got my list to help you plan a vacation in Texas, but if you know about a free Texas vacation guide that you would recommend to others, please feel free to leave a comment below and share it!

Take a Horseback Riding Vacation in Palo Duro Canyon Texas

wild west family vacation in texas

The views are spectacular in Texas at Palo Duro Canyon, and there are plenty of things to do for kids and adults alike, but experiencing the environment of the canyon as western folk did back in western days is an experience an entire family will remember and cherish forever.

If you’re interested in finding the best place to go for a family vacation where you can enjoy beauty, history, and horses, here’s the info you need to plan a horseback riding vacation in Palo Duro Canyon Texas.

palo duro canyon texas

Imagine the west as it once was at Palo Duro Canyon in Texas.

Check out the Old West Stables located right in the Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

An outfitter who can provide the knowledge of the area AND the horses for you and the kids, Old West Stables is an excellent resource for those who might like or need the services they provide.

horseback riding vacation in texas

Old West Stables in Palo Duro Canyon

Old West Stables also hosts wagon rides and campfire breakfasts, and they run a snack bar right inside the Palo Duro State Park that boasts of their top notch hamburgers.

There are trails rides and fun horse-related activities for the entire family.  However, there is a minimum age limit of 6 years old and a maximum weight limit of 250 pounds to to on their one hour guided ride on the Palo Duro Canyon trails.

You can get more information about their services, events, and reservation contact info at http://www.oldweststables.com/

If you already own horses, you can also go family camping at one of the park’s campsites and take your horses with you.

Traveling in Texas with kids (and horses) is fairly common, so it’s not surprising the Palo Duro State Park in Texas has both an equestrian campground as well as large trailer parking in addition to their equestrian trails with corrals and water for horse family vacations.

You can get more information on the Equestrian Camping Sites and the canyon’s back packing, primitive, family tent camping, and RV campgrounds at the Palo Duro Canyon State Park website at:  http://www.palodurocanyon.com/.

Add to your horse back riding vacation by seeing the American Quarter Horse Museum and Hall of Fame in Amarillo, TX, just a few miles from the canyon.  

If you still have a little more time, there are a couple of other places and things to do in Amarillo, TX and around the canyon area which are fun family vacation ideas for amateur horse enthusiasts and wild west lovers.

The Cowboys and Cowgirls of the West company in Amarillo Texas offers horseback riding and horse-related activities for beginners through experienced riders and, like the Wild West Stables, hosts horseback tours of the canyon.  They also offer horseback riding getaways in Amarillo Texas and in other areas like New Mexico by the way.

If all the horsing around (pun intended) has you hungry, you can order a chuck wagon meal right there at “Cowboys and Cowgirls” as well.

Sick of horses?  How about a cattle round up vacation!  You can find out more about that at Cowboys and Cowgirls of the West in Amarillo too!

Take horseback riding lessons to learn a little more about these beautiful animals which our wild west ancestors depended so much on.

There are several stables that offer riding lessons close to the canyon.  See a video here from the Golden Horse Training Center just minutes from the canyon:  http://www.retvofama.com/goldenhorse.htm.

Even kids with disabilities can enjoy a horseback riding vacation here!

If you are traveling with a family member with a mental or physical challenge or disability, the 7 Star Therapeutic Riding Center in nearby Claude, TX offers equine-assisted therapy and riding lessons for individuals with any number of illnesses, physical challenges, or disabilities.  They also have horse therapy for veterans.

You can get more information about their services at http://www.7starhorsetherapy.org/.

wild west family vacation in texas

The wild west awaits.

Palo Duro Canyon is a beautiful place, and its rich western history makes it an irresistible family vacation destination.

You can combine the scenes with the historical richness the area has to offer by taking a horseback riding vacation together with your family members and a few horses to help you get back to, or discover for the first time, your western spirit of excitement and adventure.



How We Get Military Base Lodging for Cheap Family Vacations

Military Base Lodging

It isn’t always easy getting those cheap rooms and suites on military bases, but this Army wife discovered from years of using military travel benefits that, when we had the urge to travel, we could always depend on those base accommodations being worth any patience or efforts we needed to get them.

Here’s what we have done to get military base lodging and Space A lodging reservations when we plan a family vacation and the tips we have for you to get them too.

Military Base Lodging

Tip # 1

Check into every single military lodge, temporary housing office, Military Space A travel office, and military campground or recreational area connected with the base in the area your family wants to visit.

Understand there are several different types of military family travel options available for leisure travel, usually even different ones on one specific base, and that they do not share reservations, staff, facilities, nor even have the same rules of use.

To raise your chances of getting an inexpensive sleeping accommodation on a base for your family, know ALL you have available to you, investigate all housing options connected with your destination, and check all possible reservation sources including these:

1.  Purchase one or more of the Military Living publications which are available at your local base exchange.

While you can find a lot of information online and even make online reservations at the Department of Defense lodging websites and other websites that show Space A listings, these hard copy military travel guides provide the easiest way to see and understand what bases are close to where you want to go, what different kinds of overnight opportunities are available at any given military location, what other services are available there (such as recreation, dining, auto hobby shops, chapels, family support services, etc.), and the different phone numbers for each of the different offices, front desks, and/or recreation area staff.

You can purchase separate books on Space A housing, military campgrounds and military rec areas (with cabin rentals), and Space A Military Air Travel.  However, usually one of those books will at least cross reference the other opportunities available on each base and provide the phone numbers you need to call each individual reservation desk.

2.  Search the DOD Lodging website to find lodging at a number of overnight accommodations for military vacations.  You’ll find Navy Lodges, Air Force Lodges, Navy Inn and Suites, etc. there and can see if any of those places are in line with your travel plans and if those lodges have room.

3.  Get information and reviews on camping sites on military bases and campgrounds at military recreational areas from sites like http://www.militarycampgrounds.us/state-listing.  Don’t just look for RV and tent camping sites at these places either.  You’ll want to look for cabin rentals at these military campgrounds as well!

4.  Look at base websites where or near where you are going and see if they mention any inns, suites, temporary housing, Space A lodging, camping, or recreational areas on their website.  Not all bases will provide lodging information on their base sites, but many do and may in fact provide a direct URL to where you can go for more information, pictures, or reservations.

5.  Call the local MWR office close to where you want to travel and ask for assistance and information.  Calling also gives you a good chance to ask what recreational equipment they rent there as well as well as fun things to do there.

Did you know that you can rent RVs and camping equipment from many MWR offices on bases?

military family vacations

Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene TX

6.  If you’re planning a longer vacation stay, check out the Armed Forces Vacation Club at http://www.afvclub.com/.  This is a great benefit for military families who would like to stay at one of the time shares or condos that have been purchased specifically for their use only.  While the cost for these military travel resorts might seem a little higher than a quick weekend getaway or an overnight stay on a base, when you consider the quoted price is for an entire week of vacation and for 4, perhaps 5 to 8 people, depending on the rental, these are downright CHEAP.  You can navigate the site and see what’s available there or just make it easy on yourself and call them directly for ultra easy military travel reservations.

While locating all your various housing options and making sure you check each one out separately is number ONE when trying to get a reservation for family leisure travel, there are three more tips that will give you a better chance of booking one of these cheap rooms, suites, or vacation rentals.

Tip # 2

Be flexible with military travel discounts, housing, and plans. 

If you can’t get a reservation for every night you would like, could you change your schedule a little or could you spend the nights you can there and then use other military travel discounts by taking advantage of military discounts offered by hotels in the community?

Could you go family tent camping one night, or two, and combine those nights of camping with staying in a suite or room on base another night or two?  Even when lodges, suites, rooms, and cabins are taken, rec areas will usually have a few camp sites not taken, even at the last minute.

Combining housing, camping, and/or lodging might just make your trip a little more exciting.  Taking advantage of ALL the possibilities provide a better chance of going on vacation, period.

Tip # 3

Be persistent, even to the very last minute.

Here is where we have hit some of the best home runs of our family vacation planning.  It’s risky for someone who doesn’t live on the edge, but if you couldn’t get a reservation at an earlier date but are willing to call again the day OF your trip, perhaps the day or two before, you can sometimes pick up a great room or suite or cabin that has been given up by another military family with a change of plans.

We have found reservation personnel for military inns and suites, lodges, and rec areas to be extremely helpful and open to us calling later in the day, a few times even, when we were traveling and didn’t yet have a reservation with them.  We called five times throughout the day when we went to Corpus Christi, TX last spring, all with permission of a very patient front desk worker who kept telling us to call back in 30 more minutes.

We ended up getting a front seat to the Gulf Coast when we did that too!

A disclaimer:  We know, when we do this, that we might have to end up with staying at a hotel in the city or cutting our trip a little short if we can’t get something on base, but I have to admit that it does add a little excitement to the trip too.

Did I hear someone say “extreme vacationing”?

navy gateway inn and suites

John & Scott – John has his free coffee from the Dyess Air Force Inn followed by a tax free breakfast for all 3 of us at Burger King on Dyess AFB

Tip # 4

Appreciate and use whatever travel benefits for military families are available for your use.

Military base lodging , Space A lodging, and recreation lodging are all benefits to enjoy, but they are not requirements the military has to provide for you to have a family vacation getaway.

Whatever you have available though, take it.  Take it; use it, and be thankful for whatever can save your money and let you enjoy life a little more.  It’s what makes military life with your family that much more special for you all.

Ten Timeless Weekend Getaways for Couples

weekend getaways for couples

Want to spend some time with your spouse so you can smile a little together, get to know each other again, maybe even grow to love each other all over again, or maybe just have a little fun time together without the kids in tow?

Sure you do!

Weekend getaways for couples are very important and sometimes necessary to keep those fires going in a marriage relationship and to keep you growing as a married couple.  Sometimes you just need to have some time together as a married couple again.  Romantic weekend getaways could be exactly what you need right now to keep your romance fresh and strong!

Finding a great weekend getaway for you and your spouse, and doing something to help you remember what made you love your spouse so much to begin with (and vice versa) is certainly honorable, helpful, and worth the investment of your time and effort.

They are quite frankly a good thing for moms and dads to do sometimes.

Are some getaways going to be better than others?  Sure there are different kinds of getaways for couples, and some may be more or less expensive than others, but the best time you can have together is the time where you can simply enjoy each other the most of all.

Below are some great weekend getaways for couples that can be done most any time of the year and for any couple regardless of how long or how short a time they have been married.  Timeless and unchanging in some very foundational ways, these special moments together can help make a marriage last forever.

Weekend Getaways for Couples

Timeless marriage. Timeless love. Spend some time together!
_____
Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ten Timeless Weekend Getaways For Couples

1.  Reserve an all inclusive honeymoon package at a luxury hotel.

Who says honeymoon packages are just for honeymoon couples?  If you want to experience each others depth of love and remember that physical attraction which brought you two together in the first place, honeymoon packages can be just the right romantic getaway for you.

2.  Make weekend reservations at a bed and breakfast in a historical town or community.

A nice bed and breakfast surrounded by nature’s beauty and beautiful sunsets always bring a peaceful feeling to an otherwise stressful lifestyle.  A romantic bed and breakfast in a small historical town can be just the right combination of romance, fun, and relaxation.

3.  Spend the weekend at an oceanside hotel or beach resort.

The ocean is always a relaxing place to be, with or without the kids.  You’ll be surprised though to experience just how relaxing staying at a hotel on the beach can be when it’s just you and your spouse.  A walk on the beach, a chat on the balcony, even the sounds of the waves at night time can all add up to intimacy and partnership all over again.

4.  Reserve a room in a mountain resort area.

A mountain ski resort can be nice in the winter (doesn’t snow and cold weather always seem a little romantic???), or you can reserve some weekend time away any time of the year in a mountain resort area such as The Poconos Resorts in Pennsylvania, a resort hotel in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, or a lodge in Durango, Colorado.

5.  As an alternative to staying at a resort in the mountains, book a cabin in the mountains for just the two of you.

Sit out on the porch at night and talk about dreams and aspirations, or just listen to the crickets and hold hands as you sit on your porch swing at night.  If you get adventuresome, pull your blankets out to the porch and sleep outside, or do whatever else you want to do there even, so long as the neighbors don’t see.

6.  Reserve a cabin at a state park in your neck of the woods.

A nice thing about this option is that state parks are generally fairly accessible, and state parks are usually very pretty.  They are there to showcase the beauty of the state they represent.  Rentals at state parks are generally very reasonably priced as well which makes state parks cheap, inexpensive weekend getaways for couples.

If the state park is in the mountains or by a lake, you’ve got the additional makings for a nice weekend get away.  If there are kayak rentals, hiking trails, biking trails, or lake swimming there, you’ve got nearby fun that won’t cost a lot to enjoy.

7.  Book a weekend cruise.

Weekend cruises offer the same accommodations and excitement as longer cruises and offer the same exquisite entertainment opportunities such as dinner and dancing, shows and casinos, and swimming and spas.  Some of the long weekend cruises even offer much of the same extras you might find on a longer trip such as scuba diving, dolphin feeding, and shore excursions.

Weekend cruises for couples provide time to relax, have some fun as just a couple again, and maybe even enjoy some activities you wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate in with children close to keep track of.

8.  Board a weekend dinner cruise.

Dinner cruises from harbors in cities across the country offer lunch, dinner, and even midnight cruises where your dining experience can be sophisticated and the views magnificent.  Enjoying a harbor area is always refreshing and calming to the soul.  Fitting a harbor cruise around some other fun event or activity in the area can provide an enjoyable weekend time together as a married couple.

9.  Enjoy a weekend festival, concert, sports event, or production in your community, in another metropolitan area close to you, or at a college or university nearby.

A jazz festival, art exhibit, or musical theater production can provide opportunities to enjoy a mutual interest in the arts.  A food and wine festival might be considered when otherwise it wouldn’t.  Even concerts, recitals, sports events, and lectures at a local university can be part of a weekend getaway for a couple.

10.  Reserve a suite in a nice hotel close by or even in your very own town, order some pizza, watch movies on your computer all night long (well, not ALL night long), and just enjoy the area and your time together as a couple.

Plan a daytime schedule which allows you to do those close by things you both would enjoy doing but don’t always have much a chance to with your busy schedules, like browsing some local used bookstores, going to a historical landmark, or having a leisurely lunch at a museum cafe or antique shop restaurant.

The best weekend getaways for couples are those were you can feel relaxed together and remember how much you mean to each other!

These weekend getaways for couples are those same getaways couples have done for eternity and will probably continue to  do for eternity because they work.  Enjoy your time together, and you’ll enjoy your lives together even more.

To discover other weekend getaways, mini vacation ideas for families and couples, and how to find some amazing short family breaks and vacations, please feel free to browse the list of related posts below or in the family travel category of the Padoozles website.