Great Content about Texas:
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States is Texas. There are several reasons for this but the biggest is that you can do almost anything that you could want to do on vacation in the state. As the largest state in the lower forty eight it offers a great deal of diversity allowing for a wide variety of activities. The great weather doesn’t hurt either.
One of the great things about visiting Texas is that there are so many different things that you can do. For starters if you are looking to spend time in a large city Texas has two of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in the United States. Both Dallas and Houston are large metro areas that are full of everything that you would expect to find in a large city. In addition several of the smaller cities like San Antonio are well worth a visit since they have many of the attractions of a large city in a more laid back environment.
Texas is also a great place to visit if you are into outdoor activities. There are lots of camping areas in the state and many areas of natural beauty to visit. There also lots of rivers and lakes which are great for both boating and fishing. One of the great things about outdoor activities in Texas is that they are easily accessible since you don’t have to go far from the cities to be in the wilderness.
For history buffs there are few states better to visit then Texas, it has probably the most interesting history of any part of the country. Much of that history is preserved with historical sites and monuments as well as history trails that you can follow. In addition there are many excellent museums and several ghost towns that will allow you to experience the past.
Although it may not be the most obvious choice as a beach destination Texas is in fact a popular choice for people looking to lay in the sun. Texas has many excellent beaches and since the weather is almost always sunny it is a great option if your idea of good vacation is lounging on the beach. There really is something for everybody in Texas so it should definitely be a location you consider for your next vacation.
Travelling to Texas is fairly easy which is one of the reasons that it is so popular as a tourist destination. Located fairly centrally it is easy to reach by car from almost anywhere in the country. In addition it is well served by airlines so flying is an excellent option. In addition there is a very well developed tourist infrastructure in the state which means that there are lots of accommodation options whatever your price range is.
THE HISTORY OF TEXAS
Through most of its early history Texas was settled by various native tribes. The first Europeans arrived in 1519 when Spanish conquistadors came to the area. However the early Europeans saw little of value to keep them in Texas so the first settlement did not occur until 1682 when a small French Colony was established. This colony only lasted a couple of years but it was enough to encourage the Spanish to set up new colonies in the region. In large part this was done to claim the area for Spain and to keep the French from expanding the Louisiana Territory into Texas.
The Spanish would rule Texas as part of its American colonies for the next hundred and forty years. Although only a very small number of people settled in the area. However in 1821 Mexico including Texas won its independence from Spain. The new Mexican government proved to be very unpopular in Texas and almost immediately there was a push for independence. In an attempt to gain independence Texas actively recruited settlers from the United States in the hopes that if there were enough Americans living in the region the US would support them in the fight.
The Texas revolution began in 1835 and would last for about a year. Because of the very small population of Texas there was very little actual fighting, although the Alamo has become famous as a battle site from the war. In reality Texas won its independence mostly by default. The Mexicans were largely unable to administer the region properly so they put up little real resistance to Texas becoming an independent country which occurred in 1836.
Although Texans take great pride in having once been an independent country the truth is the brief period that they were independent were a nightmare for the people who lived there. The Texans proved no more capable of administering the area than the Mexicans had been. The result was a great deal of internal conflict as well as many disputes with the native population. As a result in 1845 at the request of the Texas government the area was annexed by the United States.
Texas would only remain a part of the union for a brief period before leaving again in 1861 at the start of the Civil war. As a member of the Confederacy they fought against the union during the war although there were few actual battles in Texas. Following the war Texas went through a period of reconstruction however as there had been few battles in the state and they had not had a large cotton producing industry anyway they came through it better than the other confederate states. Over the course of the twentieth century Texas has become one of the wealthiest states in the US due largely to cattle and oil production.
THE CIVIL WAR
Texans proudly talk about the six flags that have flown over the state; one of those was the flag of the confederacy. During the Civil War Texas would fight on behalf of the Confederacy even though today few people think of it as being a southern state. There are various reasons that the Confederate legacy is less pronounced in Texas than in other states.
Texas would secede from the Union in 1861 and join with the confederacy however the decision to do this was somewhat controversial. Unlike most of the other southern states there was considerable support for remaining in the union. One of the leading members of the pro-union faction was the governor Sam Houston. Ultimately it became clear that the majority of the population did support joining the confederacy however this required removing Sam Houston from his position as governor since he refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy.
Once the war started Texas served mainly as a supply state as there was very little actual fighting in the area. At the time Texas was still fairly sparsely populated, it also didn’t have the large cotton plantations that the other southern states had. This meant that the state suffered less than the other states in the confederacy did during the war. Nevertheless there was a naval blockade of Galveston that made it impossible to Texas to export anything.
Over the course of the Civil War opposition to it increased in Texas in large part because of the attempt to conscript Texans as soldiers. Most Texans supported the war in principle as a way to assert states rights but they were not all that interested in going off to fight on behalf of the wealthy plantation owners in other states. A significant number of Texans would actually join the Union army which is an indication of just how divided the state was on the issue.
As it started to become clear that the Union were going to win the Civil War a large number of soldiers from Texas began to desert from the Confederate army. The state was soon occupied and reconstruction began. This went fairly quickly for Texas since there had been little fighting in the area. In addition since cotton production had made up a relatively small part of the state’s economy they were able to adapt to life without slaves better than most of the other southern states.
Ultimately Texas would be readmitted to the Union in 1870 although this was done despite the fact that they didn’t meet the requirements that had been set out. Mostly this was the result of the way that the freed slaves were treated. Since Most of the Texas was actually settled after the war ended there is considerably fewer people who take pride in the states Confederate history than there are in the other southern states.
CLIMATE IN TEXAS
The climate in Texas is varied from one area to another; this is to be expected in such a large state. Part of the reason is the huge variety of geography that Texas has. There are coastal regions, mountains, deserts and wide open planes. In addition the state is located where several climate zones meet which also affects the weather. In large part the area that you are located in will determine what the climate will be like.
The coastal regions of Texas have the sort of weather that you would expect to find on any other area around the Gulf of Mexico. In general the weather is mild getting neither particularly hot in the summer nor particularly cold during the winter. There is however a considerable amount of rain in the coastal areas. In addition hurricanes are a not infrequent occurrence in the coastal regions; some of these have been very destructive.
The northern plains region of the panhandle will experience both the coldest and the hottest temperatures in the state. Being furthest away from the water it does not have the regulating effect that occurs in most of the rest of the state. Temperatures frequently fall below freezing during the winter and they can get very hot during the summer. Although there is not a lot of rain in this region thunderstorms are fairly common during the summer. These thunderstorms can produce a great deal of rain in a very short time, they also so times spawn tornados.
West Texas is mostly desert area with little rain and hot temperatures during the summer. It can however get quite cold in the winter. The area also has most of the states mountain areas. In the mountains the climate tends to be more temperate with temperatures being more stable and there being more rain produced. The mountain areas do however tend to be very windy.
Most of central Texas is hill country which has a climate that is similar to the one in the panhandle but not as extreme. The summer tends to be hot and winter quite cool. There are however more rivers and lakes in this area to help regulate the temperature. In addition there are large areas of forest which tends to inhibit the development of thunderstorms so they are not as frequent as in the panhandle, although they do still occur.
As a state Texas has some of the most extreme weather that you will find anywhere in the country. While certain regions have certain climate traits you can get almost any weather anywhere. This was shown in 2004 when a large snow storm fell on the coastal regions. Because of the extremes of weather it is important for the visitor to Texas to be prepared for all kinds of weather since they are likely to happen.
TRANSPORTATION IN TEXAS
Texas is a big state which has meant that they have had to develop an extensive transportation system. This is good news for the visitor in that there is a significant infrastructure so you should not have any trouble getting around. However you should keep in mind that most of the transportation options in Texas are very crowded so there may be delays.
Texas has one of the largest highway systems in the United States and indeed the world. The highways are heavily travelled which does tend to result in lengthy delays, especially on the highways around large urban areas. Most people in Texas get around by driving their own car so there is almost always a great deal of traffic on the roads. The problem is made worse by the fact that public transit in the state is not particularly good. Most of the roads in Texas were built in the fifties and are not really up to handling the amount of traffic that they currently get, which is a big part of why there are so many delays.
Between the fact that most Texans prefer to drive and the fact that the state is well known as one that has low taxes and provides few services it should not come as a surprise to learn that the public transit is considered to be substandard. The major cities for the most part have public transit, although somehow Arlington, right in the middle of the Dallas metropolitan area has no public transit at all. Light rail transit is particularly limited although Houston is currently working on a thirty mile extension to their system.
The state of Texas is well served by air travel. Currently the airport in Dallas is the second largest in the country with the airport in Houston not being far behind. Most cities in Texas have an airport and even a lot of small towns have them as well. Almost all airlines that fly to the United States have flights that go to Texas and there are several regional airlines that offer service within the state.
Most people are surprised to learn that Houston is the busiest port in the United States but that is in fact the case. Texas has several ports and it is one of the major shipping centers for the country. In large part this is to ship the oil and cattle that are produced in Texas.
For the visitor getting around should not be a major issue in Texas. The transportation infrastructure is well developed and except for issues with public transit you should not have a huge problem. Clearly it will be necessary to either drive your own car or to rent one in order to get around but both are easy options and should not present a problem.
TEXAS CULTURE AND WAY OF LIVING
Texans are extremely proud of the history of their state and of being Texans in general. Most people think of themselves as being Texans first and Americans second. That being said they do tend to be very patriotic citizens of the US. The state has a rather unique history which you will hear about frequently while you are there. You will often hear about the six flags that have flown over Texas and the fact that it was once an independent country. This does tend to gloss over some of the negative parts of the history however, The brief period when Texas was an independent country were amongst the worst in its history for example.
If Texans are proud and boastful they are also a very friendly people. They are well known for their hospitality and they will have no trouble starting a conversation with a stranger. Some visitors may find this to be a little bit worrying as Texans will often talk to you like you’re an old friend even if they have just met you. This is just the way that things are done in Texas and you will get used to it pretty quickly.
Over the years the culture of Texas has gone through a bit of a change mainly due to the massive numbers of Mexicans who have moved into the state. As a result a great deal of Mexican culture is now present. This is obviously most true amongst the immigrant community but even the people who have lived in Texas for generations are starting to pick up on some of this as well.
One thing to keep in mind is that the way that people in Texas live will be affected by where they live. For example the people in Houston or Dallas live a lifestyle that is similar to the way that anybody else who lives in a large city would live. However there are also still people who live and work on ranches or out in oilfields who live a very different lifestyle. Therefore you really can’t make any generalizations about the way that people in Texas live.
One other thing to keep in mind is that Texas also has one of the most uneven distributions of income in the US. There are many people in the state who are very wealthy but also a lot of people who are very poor. Most of the people in the lower income bracket tend to be immigrants, often illegal ones. Unfortunately in Texas there is little government assistance for people who are poor which makes the problem worse. Obviously the people with low incomes live a very different life from those who are very wealthy which again makes it hard to make any generalizations about the way that Texans live.
UNIVERSITIES IN TEXAS
Texas has an excellent and very extensive system of public universities. These are very popular amongst students in large part because students from Texas who meet the standards for acceptance are able to attend school tuition free. Clearly this has resulted in large numbers of students taking advantage of the opportunity which is why the state needs to have such an extensive system of schools. In addition to the public universities there are also a large number of private colleges.
Texas has a very extensive system of universities which makes it somewhat unique compared to how the system works in most other places. There are basically six state universities but each of these has several branches. The result is that there are actually dozens of campuses around the state. The biggest of these is the University of Texas system. They operate fourteen universities throughout the state and combined they have the largest student enrollment by far.
The next university system in Texas is the Texas A&M system. These schools got their name because they started out as the Texas agricultures and mechanical college. This system runs twelve campuses throughout the state making it the second largest system.
The Texas State University was original created in the early twentieth century to train teachers. Over the years however it has expanded to become a full university and it now runs four campuses around the state.
The University of North Texas was founded because of a need to accommodate more students in the Dallas area. There are two campuses that offer undergraduate studies as well as a medical school and a law school.
During the nineteen seventies it started to become clear that there was a need for a new university in Houston so the University of Houston opened in 1977. Today they have four campuses throughout the city and now have one of the largest student enrolments in the state.
Texas Tech was founded in the twenties in order to provide training for engineers however it has since grown to become a full fledged university. There are now thirteen campuses as part of the system which is spread around the state.
In addition to the major university systems that run most of the state schools there are also four independent state schools that operate with state funding but are outside of the systems that were created for the other systems. Texas is widely regarded to have one of the best public university systems in the country with several of its schools ranking near the top of most annual rankings.
Besides the public university system in Texas there are also a large number of private institutions. This includes some of the finest schools in the country like Baylor and Rice universities. There are no shortage of schools in the state so there is plenty of opportunity to get an education in the state of Texas.
There are a lot of well known people who have come from Texas. This will of course come as no surprise given that it is the second most populous state in the union. The number of famous people is made even longer by the rather unique history that the state of Texas has compared to other states.
Given how proud Texans are of their history it will come as no surprise that many of the most famous Texans are the leaders of the revolution that made Texas independent in 1836. The most well known of these is Sam Houston. Admittedly he is best known for the city that was named after him but he was also the first president of the Republic of Texas as well as being the first governor when Texas became a state. Sam Houston is an important figure in the founding of Texas and is well remembered in the state.
Other famous Texans from the early days of the state are the ones who fought at the Alamo during the revolution. The best known of these were Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. Neither of them actually lived in Texas for a particularly long time and both had actually become famous before they moved to Texas. However since they both died at the Alamo they are largely associated with the state of Texas. Most of the others who died at the Alamo are also well known within the state although they are not as famous as Crockett and Bowie.
Texas has produced a number of presidents, although just how many is not clear. Nobody disputes that Lyndon Johnson was at Texan having been born and raised there. Also not really in dispute is George W. Bush who although born in Connecticut was raised largely in Texas and would serve as governor of the state before becoming president. Where there is debate about presidents who are from Texas is with the senior George Bush. He would not move to Texas until he was an adult but he did work in the oil business in Texas and represented the state in Congress. Even more debatable is Dwight Eisenhower who although born in Texas was largely raised in Kansas, although he did spend some time in Texas while he was in the military.
Texas of course is a huge state with a very large population so it has produced a great many people who have gone onto fame. Many actors, musicians and athletes have come from state as have successful people from other fields. There are lots of places that you can go online and find a comprehensive list of all the famous people from the state. It will take you a considerable amount of time to sort through these lists however as there are a lot of people on them.
TIPS FOR VISITING TEXAS
Texas is a very popular tourist destination and one of the reasons for that it is that it is such an easy place to visit. While there is not a lot that you need to know in order to visit Texas there are a few tips that will help to make your trip more enjoyable.
The biggest tip for visiting Texas is to keep in mind that the state is really big. People of course know that it is the biggest state in the lower forty eight but most people underestimate just how big it truly is. This is something that you have to keep in mind when you are planning your travels, there are long distances between towns and cities. Realistically you are not going to see all of the state so you will be better off choosing a part of it that you would like to visit and sticking to that part.
Another important tip for visiting Texas is that you are going to have to have access to a car. That means you will either need to drive your own or rent one when you get there. In most places you can get away without having one but Texas is not one of those places. Public transit is of a very low quality and as mentioned above things are very spread out. Make sure that you plan to have access to a car while you are in Texas unless the plan is to stay in only one area. Also make sure that you learn the local driving rules, some of them can be pretty interesting.
It is important to realize that the weather in Texas can be variable. In fact you can experience almost any kind of weather imaginable in the state. That means that you are going to have to be prepared for anything. While Texas is generally warm there are parts that get very cold, especially at night. You also have to be prepared for the fact that it rains a lot in certain regions, of course there is very little rain in other areas. The point is that because of the huge size of Texas you may encounter almost any conditions.
Most people who visit Texas tend to do so with a fairly minimal amount of planning. For the most part this is easy to do as the state has a well established infrastructure for tourists. However you will find that if you put a little bit of thought into your trip you will have more fun. There is so much to do in Texas that you won’t be able to do anywhere near all of it. For this reason the best thing to do is to decide on the things that you really want to do but also to leave enough flexibility in your schedule that you can take advantage of any interesting opportunities that come up.
TRAFFIC INFORMATION FOR TEXAS
Traffic is an issue that you are going to have to face whenever you drive, however as a visitor to Texas there may be more of than you are used to. Because of that you are going to want to make sure that you are able to find plenty of traffic information.
If you are going to drive in Texas, and if you are going to visit you will pretty much have to drive, you are going to want to make sure that you stay up to date on traffic information. There are a lot of people in the state and virtually all of them drive everywhere that they go. This is made even worse by the fact that most of the roads were built in the fifties and never intended to get anything close to the amount of traffic that they currently get. As a result traffic jams are commonplace and it can take a long time to get where you are going.
The biggest traffic problems in the state are around the large cities especially Dallas and Houston. The Freeways are the worst areas but you can get a traffic tie up on almost any major road. It is also important to be aware that this can happen at any time of the day. Certainly it happens most frequently at rush hour but there will be plenty of times when there is a traffic jam in the middle of the day. The best way to avoid this is to pay attention to the traffic reports.
The best way to get traffic information for Texas is online. The State has a website that will report on any traffic issues. However most people feel that the sites that are offered by local radio and television stations are more useful since the information will be more up to date. These sites will allow you to enter your route so that you can see what the traffic is like before you set out. If the traffic is heavy on the route that you plan to take the site may offer you an alternative route if one exists.
Of course the traffic situation can change while you are driving so you will want to stay on top of this as well. The best way to do this would be to use a wireless device that allows you to look at the websites that show you how much traffic there is. However this is dangerous if you are driving so you don’t want to do that. If there is somebody else in the car who can look at these things for you while you drive that would be a good option. Otherwise you are going to have to rely on the radio to provide you with traffic information, they are pretty good about doing this because traffic is such an issue throughout the state.