It is almost that time of year in Texas when school is out for the summer.
Six Flags Over Texas, in Arlington, is already in school is out for summer mode, open daily.
I can tell when summer nears, and vacation time arrives, due to a sudden increase in visits to my various webpages that have to do with Texas and Oklahoma tourist attractions.
Texas does not allow gambling, of the big casino sort, that all the states bordering Texas allow. In the past couple weeks about a third of my webpage hits have been from people looking for information about Oklahoma Casinos. I have not been up to WinStar World Casino Resort, right across the border on I-35, since it became the 5th biggest casino in the world.
Just north of WinStar World Casino, a few miles, you'll come to Turner Falls Park. Turner Falls is in the scenic Arbuckle Mountains, just a few miles west of I-35. At Turner Falls Park you'll find, in addition to the biggest waterfall in Oklahoma, the extremely crystal clear water of Honey Creek, caves, castles, trails and other good stuff.
Between Turner Falls Park and WinStar World Casino, south of Ardmore and just a little east of I-35, you'll find Lake Murray State Park, one of the oldest, if not the oldest, in Oklahoma. Going further east you'll find Beavers Bend State Park and north from there you'll come to Grand Lake o' the Cherokee.
Enough of Oklahoma, let's head back to Texas. But not before we drive one of the best preserved stretches of the most famous road in America, Route 66.
In the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex zone there are some good summertime tourist attractions in addition to tired theme parks. I like Fair Park in Dallas. It's like a sophisticated theme park. And now you can get to it via the DART train. Also in Dallas you'll find the Dallas Farmers Market. This is the closest thing I've seen in Texas to Seattle's Pike Place Market. You won't find anything like Dealey Plaza in Seattle, or anywhere else in the world. The 6th Floor Museum is excellent.
In Fort Worth, though some of the locals seem embarrassed by it, my favorite tourist attraction is the Fort Worth Stockyards. My visitors from the Pacific Northwest may all be unsophisticated hicks, but the Stockyards is usually the place I take them that they like best of anything in the entire D/FW Metroplex. In Fort Worth you'll also find the Fort Worth Nature Center Preserve. This is one of the biggest urban parks in the world. You'll find a prairie dog town here. And buffalo. And a bayou. And maybe an alligator. To my way of thinking, it is borderline criminal that the city started charging an admission fee to this park. It should be a city amenity available to all, paid for the way other large urban areas pay for their civic amenities.
A short drive from the D/FW Metroplex, heading southwest, you'll come to 2 of my favorite places I've been to in Texas. One is Dinosaur Valley State Park. Great hiking and mountain biking. In addition to dinosaur tracks. Just a bit south of Dinosaur Valley you come to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. Without a doubt, the most fun I've had in Texas.
Down south in the Houston area my favorite places are Galveston, largely recovered from Hurricane Ike, and Galveston's Moody Gardens. A short distance west of Houston you'll find the Kemah Boardwalk. Also largely recovered from hurricane damage.
Austin is west and a bit north of Houston. There is a lot to see and do in Austin. The thing I enjoyed most, in Austin, was the LBJ Presidential Library on the University of Texas campus. Hippie Hollow was also refreshing.
South of Austin, before you get to San Antonio, you'll come to New Braunfels. This is where the world's top rated waterpark, The Schlitterbahn, is located.
Austin is in what is known as Hill Country. Also in Hill Country you'll find Fredericksburg. This is sort of a German theme town. Nearby you'll find LBJ's ranch on the Pedernales River and the LBJ Historical Area. North of Fredericksburg, a few miles, you come to my favorite thing I have climbed since I have been in Texas, Enchanted Rock. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area can get so busy the park shuts down at times.
So, there you go, some of my favorite Texas and Oklahoma Tourist Attractions. I think it is going to be a Long, Hot Summer. So, get your Texas Touristing done before the sun goes into heavy duty bake mode.