Espada Mission

13 day self drive itinerary

The Great Texas Escape

Experience a taste of Texas

Texas has it all; from Wild West adventures and big city lights, to small-town simplicity, unique culinary traditions and miles upon miles of white sand beaches. .

You will get a real sense of all what the USA's second largest state has to offer as you combine some of the Lone Star State's top cities with the beautiful Gulf Coast on this 13 day adventure.

Start your journey in the Wild West flavoured city of Fort Worth, known as the 'City of Cowboys and Culture' before hitting the open road and heading on down to the vibrant yet laid back city of Austin, a mecca for live music.

Cross through the picturesque Texas Hills Country as you make your way further south to San Antonio to experience the rich TexMex heritage of this beautiful city.

Spend a couple of days unwinding on the Gulf shores of Galveston before heading back up to cosmopolitan Houston and Dallas to complete your Texan adventure. 

Our Experts Recommend:
  • Explore Fort Worth, the City of Cowboys and Culture
  • Visit Live Music Capital of the World, Austin
  • Stroll along San Antonio's famous River Walk
  • Sink your toes into the sand at Galveston
  • Discover NASA's Space Center Houston
  • Journey to Dallas, a city built on dreams

Sample Itinerary Summary

We can tailor any part of this itinerary or create a new one just for you.

Duration
13 days
Destination Breakdown
Options
Private basis
Included
  • International flights
  • 12 nights hotel accommodation
  • Car hire
Not included
  • Car insurance (including any applicable one way drop off fees or insurance)
  • Meals or excursions unless specified
  • Park entrance fees (if applicable)
  • Ferry charges (if applicable)

Itinerary Breakdown

Welcome to where the west begins. Fort Worth is arguably the only city in the USA where cowboys and culture co-exist harmoniously. Experience the great American West first hand while still soaking up the rich arts and culinary treasures available in this unique city.

Upon arrival, pick-up your rental car and transfer independently to your hotel. This evening, stroll through Sundance Square which boasts 35-square-blocks of shopping, dining, nightlife and performing arts venues.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Fort Worth Downtown or similar

This morning, discover the Water Gardens, an architectural and engineering marvel where you can experience three distinct water features as you wander through this relaxing urban park.

Afterward, experience the sights, sounds and smells of 19th Century Texas at Log Cabin Village. Or, if museums are your thing, the Cultural District houses five internationally recognised museums in a beautiful park-like setting.

And no trip to Fort Worth would be complete without a stop in the Stockyards National Historic District. The Stockyards is where you can celebrate the Old West by watching the world's only twice-daily cattle drive, enjoy a hearty steak, famous barbecue or Tex-Mex, embrace your inner Texas with a visit to Billy Bob's Texas - the largest Honky-tonk anywhere, or catch the Stockyards Championship Rodeo every Friday and Saturday night. These are just a few examples of where you can rustle up adventure in Fort Worth.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Fort Worth Downtown or similar

Venture off the beaten path today and on to US-281 enabling you to explore some charming Texas towns en route to Austin. This scenic route will add a little time to your journey, but it assures minimal traffic and maximum fun.

The capital of Texas and 'Live Music Capital of the World' Austin is a stage. With 250+ music venues representing every style, fitting a quintessential musical experience into your visit is an absolute must-do. So when you head out this evening, be sure to bring your sense of adventure and your dancing shoes.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Radisson Hotel & Suites Austin Downtown or similar

In order to claim you've actually experienced Austin's food culture, we recommend starting your day with an iconic breakfast taco served in restaurants throughout the city.

After you've fuelled up, take a guided tour of the Texas State Capitol. Visit the LBJ Presidential Library for a glimpse into the life, work, and legacy of America's 36th President. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on the outskirts of town makes for a great afternoon outing and has numerous trails and plantings that keep the original flora of the state flourishing. If you want to get a sense of Austin's vibrant outdoor life, there may be no better place than Lady Bird Lake.

And, for a truly fascinating experience, head to the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to witness the city's 1.5 million Mexican Free-Tailed Bats emerge from underneath the bridge from April through October.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Radisson Hotel & Suites Austin Downtown or similar

Today we recommend heading west and joining TX-165 so you can revel in all that's beautiful about Hill Country ... rolling hills, wildflowers, majestic live oaks, and lots of two-lane road. Re-join US-281 and arrive in San Antonio, quite possibly Texas's most beautiful city.

Remember the Alamo - the city's most widely recognized landmark? It's here, sitting in a plaza right downtown. A symbol of Texas' fight for independence, the Alamo is treated not as a museum or an attraction, but as a shrine: men are asked to remove their hats and voices are expected to be hushed. It's a power feeling that you must experience for yourself.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel or similar

The Alamo is by no means the only thing to see in San Antonio. In fact, the Mission Trail is a great place to explore centuries of history and culture with visits to the four other missions of San Antonio, all now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The heart of the visitor area, however, is the River Walk. This festive, almost magical place, winds through downtown at 20-feet below street level providing scenic pathways and waterways for the city's cultural and historic sites as well as a picturesque link between restaurants, hotels and shops.

For a taste of Mexican culture, you can head a few blocks over from the River Walk to Historic Market Square where you can peruse shops selling crafts and jewellery, dine on Tex-Mex food and enjoy Spanish music and mariachi bands.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel or similar

Today it's on to the Texas Gulf Coast for some island time.

Sitting on a barrier island near the northern end of Texas coastline, Galveston is a sandy playground heralded in Victorian times as the "Playground of the South." With more than 30 miles of shoreline, this is where you will find sun-drenched historic charm that encourages lingering.

Moody Gardens and its iconic pyramidal structures provide a fun place to spend the day. This vast compound includes an aquarium, beachfront waterpark, rainforest habitat, science museum and more.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Holiday Inn on the Beach or similar

Kick off your day with a stroll through The Strand Historic District. A shopping area defined by the architecture of its 19th-century buildings, this is where antique lovers, art aficionados and shoppers of all kinds will discover beautiful and interesting objects.

Relax with your toes in the sand or ride along the shore by horseback at East Beach. Walk back in history at the Bishop's Palace where massive front doors open to reveal an interior of equally impressive beauty, or visit The Bryan Museum which houses the largest collection of its kind in the world.

Once the sun dips down, one of the hottest places on the island is Pleasure Pier. This entertainment complex stretches over the Gulf of Mexico and features a myriad of attractions for all ages.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Holiday Inn on the Beach or similar

Today, en route to Houston, we suggest a stop at Space Center Houston where you can go behind the scenes of America's exciting space program at NASA Johnson Space Center.

See the original Mission Control, the actual facilities where astronauts train, and consider spending time with a NASA astronaut while enjoying a delicious lunch. Continue to Houston, the fourth largest city in the U.S. brimming with exciting things to see and do.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Crowne Plaza Houston River Oaks or similar

Spend the day exploring this unique city. Take a stroll through the historic Heights District rich with character-filled architecture, funky boutiques and delightful restaurants.

If it's culture you're looking for, the pedestrian-friendly Museum District houses 19 cultural institutions in a beautiful park-like neighbourhood. Make your way through the River Oaks area which contains some of the most coveted (and expensive) real estate in the city.

This evening, grab a bite in one of the many award-winning restaurants, or if you're looking for a safe way to hit the nightlife scene, check out the Wave, a service that shuttles folks around the city's primary nightlife areas.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Crowne Plaza Houston River Oaks or similar

From Houston, it's on to Dallas where you'll be met with a hearty helping of Texas hospitality.

The city of Dallas has something for everyone. From glittering skyscrapers and a past rich in the stuff that American legends are made, to prize-winning architecture and the best shopping in the Southwest, "big things happen here."

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Sheraton Dallas Hotel or similar

Dallas' many neighbourhoods and entertainment districts have everything you can imagine for an exciting and diverse visit.

Explore the life of President John F. Kennedy, his presidency, tragic death in Dallas, and the aftermath of his assassination at The Sixth Floor Museum. Get an in-depth look at 8 years of presidential history at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Stand among massive bronze longhorn sculptures at Pioneer Plaza, the site of the 1850s Shawnee Trail. Meander through time at Dallas Heritage Village and immerse yourself in history as you stop by the general store or visit a Civil War-era farm with livestock.

Enjoy world-class architecture as you wander through the Dallas Arts District, step into the Dallas Museum of Art, or experience breathtaking 360-degree views of Dallas from 470 feet up at the Reunion Tower's GeO-Deck. The choice is yours.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Sheraton Dallas Hotel or similar

Return your rental car at the airport prior to your departure, or consider extending your trip with a visit to Wildcatter Ranch. Escape the city and discover the beauty of the North Texas Hill Country at this Texas guest ranch complete with western-styled guest rooms, horseback riding, guided activities, therapeutic massages and first-class authentic Texas cuisine.

Points of Interest

  • Fort Worth

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Sundance Square shopping and dining
    • Explore the Water Gardens
    • See the cattle drive at Stockyards National Historic District
    • Visit the Cultural District museums
    • Learn to line dance at Billy Bob's Texas Honky-tonk
  • Austin

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Take a tour of the Texas State Capitol
    • Grab a bite to eat from one of Austin's famous food trucks
    • Kayak or canoe on Lady Bird Lake
    • Hit the bars along the vibrant 6th Street entertainment district for live music
    • Stop in at the unique stores along South Congress avenue
  • San Antonio

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Visit the famous Alamo site
    • Explore the Mission Trail UNESCO World Heritage Sites
    • Wind your way along the RiverWalk
    • Head to the shops at Historic Market Square
    • Enjoy world class dining one of the restaurant at the Historic Pearl Brewery
  • Houston

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Visit Space Center Houston
    • Stroll through the historic Heights District
    • Explore the Museum District's cultural institutions
    • Hit the bars and Honky-tonks in Downtown Houston
    • Get your photo taken at Water Wall before hitting the shops at the Galleria
  • Dallas

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Explore the life of JFK at the Sixth Floor Museum
    • Stroll through Pioneer Plaza
    • Enjoy the bars and restaurants in the Deep Ellum district
    • Shop 'til you drop at the Galleria or the boutiques in Bishop Arts district
    • Catch a Dallas Cowboys game at the AT&T Stadium