In this issue:
- Remember the Alamo
- River Walk
- Japanese Tea Gardens
- Don't Miss this Landmark
- Roar of the Rides
- The Best Shopping
- Cowboy Capital of the World
- Social Media
- My Favorite Place
- Travel Deals
Welcome to the November issue of the USATourist News Magazine. This month we're heading down to the Texas, the second largest state, and we're going to explore San Antonio, the most visited city in Texas. In this issue we're going to point out some of the historic spots in the area, where to find the best shopping and show you where to find the Cowboy Capital of the World. We hope you enjoy!
Remember the Alamo
Five Catholic Spanish missions were established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century. The Mission Trail links four of the missions: San José, Concepción, San Juan and Espada, but the fifth is the most famous of all. As the location of an 1836 battle in which 189 Texas patriots were killed, the Alamo is one of the top tourist attractions in Texas. The Alamo museum is open to visitors and has various relics and artifacts on display. The four mission churches within San Antonio Missions National Historical Park are active Catholic parishes and hold regular masses.
If you are near San Antonio, you must visit the famous Alamo!
The San Antonio River Walk is another top Texas attraction. Simply known as the River Walk, this beautiful section of the city is a public park, open year-round and surrounded by businesses, restaurants, shops, hotels, nightlife and attractions. The River Walk's new Museum Reach, which opened in 2009, added 1.3 miles and includes access to the San Antonio Museum of Art and the 125-year-old Pearl Brewery.
Other River Walk attractions include La Villita Historic Arts Village, San Antonio's first neighborhood. Originally it was a settlement for the Spanish soldiers stationed at the Mission San Antonio Valero (the Alamo). Today, it is a thriving area with shops, art galleries and restaurants. This charming area is located on the south bank of the San Antonio River.
Located in Rivercenter Mall, Dinosaur-Quest is a modern exhibition filled with Dinosaurs which are displayed among brilliant lighting, sound and high-end video animation.
Japanese Tea Gardens
The Japanese Tea Gardens is listed on National Register of Historic Places and is a beautiful way to spend a couple of hours. Enjoy the numerous floral displays, a waterfall and newly added Koi. Formerly an 1899 rock quarry, its history is seen in the garden's architecture. Entry is free.
Don't Miss this Landmark
The Tower of the Americas has been entertaining people for more than 35 years. This 750-foot-tall tower provides spectacular views of San Antonio and its surrounding areas. Visitors have a couple of choices: you may dine at the Tower's revolving restaurant, the upscale Chart House, or simply enjoy the scenery from the observation deck which includes a 4D theatre ride.
Rio San Antonio Cruises offers boat tours on the San Antonio River. It's a great way to take in the sights of the Riverwalk.
Roar of the Rides
Because Texas is one of the warmest states, it's no surprise there are plenty of outdoor activities, especially theme parks. German-themed Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort has been receiving kudos from top travel publications for sometime. Four locations are found throughout the United States and one is located on the outskirts of San Antonio in New Braunfels. This Schlitterbahn Waterpark location has over three miles of tubing adventures, 17 water slides, the world's first surfing machine and three uphill water coasters spread over 65 acres of fun. If you have children, there are seven children's water playgrounds. Schlitterbahn offers free parking to guests and inside the park provides free tubes and lifejackets. Visitors are invited to bring their own lunch and drinks, as long as there is no glass or alcohol.
SeaWorld San Antonio is the largest marine life park in the world. Shamu the Killer Whale is always popular with visitors along with the numerous dolphins, seals, sea lions and sharks. The park is more than animals. Take a ride on the Great White, Texas' first inverted steel roller-coaster. Get on the Steel Eel, the southwest's first hypercoaster, for a bout of weightlessness. Journey to Atlantis is part roller-coaster, part water ride.
You may see advertisements for Morgan's Wonderland. This park is the world's first ultra accessible family fun park, which means it's designed specifically for children and adults with special needs and their friends and family.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas is located a short 15 minute drive from downtown San Antonio. This amusement park is the epitome of a rollercoaster haven and there's plenty for everyone. Thrill ratings run from Mild to Moderate to Max. If you plan on visiting multiple times during your visit consider a season pass which will save you a few dollars. White Water Bay is the Six Flags water park and is open seasonally.
The Best Shopping
Just north of San Antonio is the town of San Marcos, home to Texas State University. Bargain shoppers won't want to miss San Marcos Premium Outlets and Tanger Outlet Center with 230 name brand stores. You will find more shopping in Downtown Historic District with many boutiques, gift shops, a variety of restaurants offering Texas cuisine and nightlife.
Cowboy Capital of the World
If Texas is known for one thing, it's cowboys. And there is no better place to find authentic cowboys than the small town of Bandera, known as the Cowboy Capital of the World. Situated in the Texas Hill Country among hills and rivers, this region is a short day drive from San Antonio, about an hour away. But it's a long way from city life. Here you will find rodeos and classic cowboy activities such as horseback riding and other activities like hunting opportunities, ranch tours, and shopping!
If you'd like to stay in Hill Country for a few days, there are plenty of lodging choices, from rustic cabins to luxury ranch accommodations. There are a couple of local museums including the Frontier Times Museum. It opened in 1933 and today it is a monument to the pioneer days. A 40,000-piece collection of old west, pioneer and prehistoric artifacts are on display for visitors. The Lone Star Motorcycle Museum boasts a collection from around the world that are as old as 1910. Visit hungry. The onsite Ace Café is known for its Aussie meat pies but a number of other items are on the menu including burgers and salads.
LaQuinta Hotels in Houston (only a few hours from San Antonio) offers comfortable, attractive rooms starting at $45/night. Guests will enjoy free wi-fi, free breakfast, televisions with premium channels, free parking, and convenient locations.
We hope you enjoyed this issue of USATourist News Magazine. Be sure to keep in touch in between our monthly issues by visiting us in the social media world. Our Twitter handle is @USATourist and our Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/usatourist
See you next month. Happy Travels!
My Favorite Place
By Yoko Sugiyama, Japanese Translator
Charley Young Beach which connects with Kamaole I beach in South Kihei, Maui.
My favorite place is the sunny beautiful beaches of southwest Maui in the Hawaiian Islands. My first visit was in March 2007 for a vacation to escape from the long cold winter. I was fascinated by the beauty of the beaches, nature and sea life.
Maui is well known as the ocean playground of the islands with diving, snorkeling, surfing, and kid friendly calm beaches. Many beaches like the one in the picture in south Kihei have plenty of room to swim, snorkel around the end of the beach, or just sit under an umbrella and read.
There are over 300 sunny days on this side of the island because it is protected by an extinct volcano, Haleakala, that blocks most of the rain. On the other side of the mountain you will find tropical forests and a beautiful drive. If you are into an exciting drive, in a few hours you can drive from the beach to the observatory at 10,000 feet. If you visit Haleakala, it is beautiful to see the sunrise. Please take extra clothes as the temperature is much colder at the summit area than you might think.
There are many direct flights and you can be there in as little as 5 hours from some west coast cities in US. There are also many direct flights to Honolulu, Hawaii from overseas. You can then take the 20 minute connecting flight to Maui. If you are on a budget, late spring and fall are good times to find discounted airfares.
If you would like to see whales around the island, the best time is between November and March. You can always watch whales jumping from the water at the beaches. You don't need to book a cruise titled "Whale Watch". Any snorkeling or diving tour will be cruising through the same areas and you can see whales on the way. I found the Four Winds II snorkel tour to be the best of the boats.
Since the first trip, I have been visiting in Maui every year. Maui is the place that makes you want to go back over and over, and want to stay longer every time you visit.
Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair
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