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Digital Subscriptions > Lonely Planet Traveller (UK) > June 2015 > Taste the best of Texas on our road trip, from stomping live music and BBQ to cowboy rides and desert hikes

Taste the best of Texas on our road trip, from stomping live music and BBQ to cowboy rides and desert hikes

Nowhere says cowboy quite like Texas, and it’s here you’ll enjoy saloon drinking, hearty cook-outs and kicking back on the ranch, yet scratch below the surface and you’ll also discover poetry slams, a food truck culture and an unlikely centre for the creative arts

TEXAS

PHOTOGRAPHS KRIS DAVIDSON

Allens Boots in Austin, in operation since 1977, is the place to kit yourself out with all the cowboy gear

Plan your trip

1 Enjoy live music, poetry slams and a food truck culture in the stateÕs capital, Austin, a city that proudly calls itself ÔweirdÕ (p52).

2 YouÕll smell Lockhart long before you set foot in the city Ð wood smoke and succulent meat tell you this is BBQ central (p54).

3 Take the reins for a ride into cowboy country Ð in Bandera, saloons, Stetsons and studded boots are very much at home (p56).

4 Embark on a classic road trip, through desert plains, mountain forests and river valleys in Big Bend National Park (p58).

5 Head to West Texas to the tiny desert town of Marfa, which has become an unlikely centre for the creative arts (p60).

MAP ILLUSTRATION: ALEX VERHILLE. PHOTOGRAPHS: KRIS DAVIDSON: V STOCK LLC/GETTY IMAGES

HOW TO GET THERE

British Airways recently launched a direct flight from London Heathrow to Austin, Texas (from £700; britishairways.com). Other airlines fly to Austin via cities in the US, including Delta via Detroit (from £715; delta. com) and American Airlines via Dallas Fort Worth (£720; aa.com).

HOW TO GET AROUND

In Texas, the automobile is king. The primary means for visitors to get around both in big cities and in more remote areas is to drive a rental car, and the good news is that Texas has an excellent network of highways that are easily navigated (car rental from £24 per day; affordablecarhire.com). One word of caution – take care when driving long distances through the state’s remoter reaches as gas stations can be few and far between. Also be wary in southern and western Texas – particularly west of Bandera to Big Bend National Park and Marfa – as this is home to dozens of US border control checkpoints and patrols. Foreign visitors will usually be asked to show their passports, so make sure your documents are in order and keep your passport with you, as failure to produce documents on request could result in detainment.

HOW LONG TO SPEND

Any glance at a map will tell you that Texas is a very big state, almost three times the size of the UK. For this reason, make sure you allow plenty of time to make your way around and get ready to enjoy long drives through endless fields and rugged landscapes. For the Great Escape suggested here, allow around two weeks at a leisurely pace or, for a whistle-stop tour, around ten days.

WHAT TO BUDGET

While there are plenty of high-end options for those with a luxury budget, Texas can be an economical option for a holiday. Accommodation ranges from around £50 for a simple b&b, to £200 and above for the more exclusive hotels in Austin or San Antonio. Be aware that in remote areas such as Big Bend National Park and Marfa, choices are limited and booking ahead is always recommended. Meals usually offer excellent value, and can begin at around £7 for a main dish.

WHEN TO GO

Texas is blessed with beautiful sunny weather for most of the year. Having said that, the months of high summer from June to August can get very hot indeed, with temperatures reaching up to 40°C. Your best bet is to aim for the shoulder seasons of March to end of May, or September to early November, when the weather is very pleasant and there are fewer tourists on the road.

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