Where to travel right now
Bathing beauties, stunning sandcastles, and more Texas travel tidbits for August
Even as summer vacation season winds down, there's fun to be had all across Texas in August. Can't decide where to take a quick vacation, road trip, or staycation? Here is a roundup of exhibits and events, special celebrations, and hotel happenings around the state to help plan a getaway.
Galveston Island sees a host of travel-worthy events this weekend (Friday, August 11-Sunday, August 13).Galveston Island Revue Weekend spotlights throwback, retro fun centering around the “good ole days” of Galveston’s summertime history. Expect music, classic cocktail events, brunch, and the "bathing beauties" contest, where ladies dress in pinup swimsuit styles evoking Marilyn Monroe and Bettie Page.
Meanwhile, Galveston's East Beach becomes a sandy art gallery as the annualAIA Sandcastle Competitionreturns. Look for 48 teams competing to sculpt the most eye-catching, over-the-top designs and masterpieces. Watch the sandcastles come to life on Saturday, or (pro tip) stroll the pieces on Sunday after the crowds are gone.
And hundreds of boats, classic and muscle cars, and modern and vintage planes take center stage at the annual Moody Gardens Air, Car and Boat Show. The entire Moody Gardens parking lot becomes a boat dock and car show, while the skies feature stunning aerial demonstrations.
Corpus Christi's 21st annual Conquer the Coast bike ride has opened registration for this year's event, Saturday, September 16. The 66-mile course, including the "toughest 18 miles in Texas" will route cyclists down Mustang Island, JFK Causeway, Ocean Drive, and the Corpus Christi Marina before returning to where they started. If the full course is a little too extreme, intermediate cyclists can choose a 21-mile endurance course, while families can enjoy a 10-mile scenic route along Ocean Drive. Registration varies from $50-$110.
A breathtaking waterfront condo in Rockport (and its owners) has sailed to the top of Airbnb's nationwide report of the "most hospitable" rentals in 2023. The remarkable coastal condo has one bedroom, two bathrooms, can accommodate up to four guests for a relaxing vacation with stunning panoramic views of Little Bay. The owners, Doug and Sandy, won the Airbnb award thanks to their 100 percent five-star ratings. With the condo's typical price ringing up at $240 a night, it's safe to say this cozy condo is in high demand with Texans yearning for a beach trip.
Swanky destination spas rarely offer deep discounts. So spa fans can be thankful for Miraval Austin's limited-time Gratitude Sale. Book by August 15 for stays through November 30 to receive a $100 discount on nightly rates (which start at $849) and a $100 nightly resort credit. Guests can also choose to receive a $225 resort credit per night. Credits can be used on spa sessions; private sessions with Miraval Specialists; or deluxe experiences like yin yoga, tarot reading, beekeeping, and more.
Another Austin spa-resort is headed to the top of the charts: Lake Austin Spa Resortwas recently featured in Trips to Discover's "Top 20 Spa and Wellness Resorts in the U.S." list. Ranking No. 7, the resort earned praise for its executive chef, lakefront access, and variety of fitness classes offered for guests. The resort is booked out for August, but rates for September stays begin at $581 a night.
A cornerstone Austin music venue is celebrating its decade-long empire with a month full of festivities. After 10 years in business, Empire Control Room & Garage is toasting its anniversary through August 26 with a series called "A Decade of Empire." Every Friday and Saturday night throughout the month brings new shows, a mini-museum of Empire photos and "ephemera," and giveaways, among other surprises.
"Mother/Land," a new large-scale art exhibition, will be on display at the Austin Central Library Gallery beginning August 24. Designed in response to Austin-based artist (and UT Austin assistant professor) Yuliya Lanina's relationship with the ongoing war in Ukraine, the display uses animation and sculpture to explore the impacts of the war, both physically and emotionally. Lanina is a second-generation Holocaust survivor, born and raised in Russia of Ukranian descent, and arrived in the United States in 1990 as a refugee. "Mother/Land" will be available for viewing until Sunday, November 5.
The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is lettingguests treat their furry friends to an luxurious lodging experience with a new Pet Retreat Package. These exclusive rooms have their own walk-out patios, dog beds and blankets, and food and water bowls. Dogs also will receive a chew toy, treats, and a stylish bandana as deluxe take-home gifts. Book the package on the resort's website using the code U8D, with rates beginning at $414 a night.
A new luxury RV and tiny home resort has pulled into Fredericksburg. The FireFly Resort is located on 52 acres of land and boasts over 230 sites with gorgeous Hill Country views. The resort is only a 15-minute drive from Fredericksburg's thriving main street district, where folks can visit one of the many local shops, eateries, and wine bars that make it one of the most-loved destinations in Texas. Rates for RV sites start at $60 per night, while nightly rates for tiny homes begin at $162.
Johnson City's Carter Creek Winery Resort & Spa is collaborating with nonprofit radio station Sun Radio for a new weekly Saturday night concert series spotlighting homegrown Texas musicians. The Sun & Vine Music Series begins on August 19 from 5-7 pm, with a new lineup of musical talent every week until September 30. The free concerts will be held at the resort's central pavilion, and attendees are encouraged to donate to Sun Radio as they continue to promote Texas music. Carolyn Wonderland and Shelly King are scheduled for August 19, while Beat Root Revival will perform August 26. Make it a weekend stay by booking a room at the resort, with rates starting at $219 per night.
The first JW Marriott Dallas hotel has finally opened its doors in the city's famed Arts District downtown. Among the property's 22 floors are 267 guest rooms, nine guest suites with views of the Dallas Museum of Art, 20 displays of regional art, and much more. There are three unique restaurants providing fine dining experiences for guests, with one cocktail lounge paying tribute to Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night. Guests can take advantage of the hotel's many state-of-the-art amenities with nightly rates beginning at $474, and carve out some time to explore the Dallas Arts District.
Across the Metroplex in Fort Worth, a new exhibit called “FLORIGAMIINTHEGARDEN” (that's "Florigami in the Garden") will showcase whimsical origami-inspired sculptures from Santa Fe, making their Texas debut at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, August 19. The 18 pieces, ranging from petite works of just a few feet to towering structures more than 30 feet tall, will (appropriately) "fold" into the landscape - from Pollinator Pathway to the Rose Garden - and will depict animals, flowers, and a variety of geometric shapes. The exhibit will be included with the price of general admission ($6 for children between ages 6-15 and $12 for adults). A special summer “buy one, get one admission” discount is being offered through August 31.
Steven Devadanam contributed to this article