The vast size of Texas doesn’t just give us bragging rights. It also means we have a plethora of options when it comes to planning a trip to new, diverse places. And with your ATPE discounts, you’ll find summer travels even easier. Plan a road trip and take advantage of your auto rental discounts. Or, if you take your own car, don’t forget that members get a first-year discount on AAA roadside assistance. And figuring out where you’ll rest your head is painless with ATPE’s lodging discounts at more than a dozen hotel options.
Try exploring these hidden gems:
Nestled between the Davis Mountains and the Chihuahuan Desert, Alpine is the perfect gateway to Far West Texas. It’s less than two hours from Big Bend National Park and under three hours from Big Bend Ranch State Park—Texas’s biggest state park and a favorite among locals. Alpine is also close to the McDonald Observatory and the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center. If you decide to hang around town, check out the murals that cover the walls of many local businesses. Blending the area’s history with folklore, these murals offer unique insight into the culture of the town. The Museum of the Big Bend, located on the Sul Ross State University campus, offers an even deeper dive into the Big Bend region’s natural and cultural history. See what we mean when we say, “perfect gateway”?
The first thing to know about Canton is that it hosts the largest and longest running outdoor flea market in the country. First Monday Trade Days, which has been around for more than a century, is open only one weekend a month, so you don’t want to miss it! From antiques and collectibles, to home furnishings and décor, you could discover that one-of-a-kind piece you’ve been searching for. Or, maybe you’ll find an item you didn’t really need, but just have to have! Visitors can also fish at Mill Creek Reservoir, swim in Old City Lake, and golf on one of the top-ranked courses in Texas at Twin Lakes Golf Course. Splash Kingdom Waterpark is perfect for families, and the Canton Plaza Museum houses one of the largest bell collections in the state—yes, bells—so you can ring in the fun during your getaway.
Though the Panhandle region is known for its flat, grassy plains, Canyon, Texas, has something different to offer. Less than 30 minutes from Canyon is the country’s second-largest canyon. Palo Duro Canyon State Park encompasses more than 29,182 acres of rugged landscape dotted with mesquite and juniper trees blending with the rusty hues of the canyon. Visitors can explore the canyon by hiking, mountain biking, driving, and even horseback riding. The town of Canyon also boasts its own Historic Downtown Square for all the best shopping and dining, and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest historical museum in Texas. We’re sure this small Texas town won’t fall flat on expectations.
Known as the site where the first shot for Texas independence was fired, Gonzales honors that moment in history with a “Come and Take It” Festival every October. But this small town has plenty to do during the rest of the year, too. Palmetto State Park lies about 15 minutes outside the town center and is a tropical paradise in southeast Texas. Dwarf palmettos line the park and grow among the trees, and with multiple sources of water (like the San Marcos River), you can play on the water and on land when you visit. Stay in one of the area’s numerous bed and breakfasts and make sure to leave enough time for some museums, including the Pioneer Village and the Gonzales County Jail Museum. Come and take all that Gonzales has to offer!
Located near the Louisiana border, Orange is the easternmost city in Texas. It is also home to the magnificent Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center. These beautiful gardens present an ecosystem of more than 300 plant species, a cypress swamp, and a bird observation area. You can even take a boat ride out to Adams Bayou from the nature center. Back in town, stop by the Stark Museum of Art to gaze at exhibits on the people and wildlife of the American West, as well as a significant collection of American Indian artifacts. And don’t forget to take a stroll on the Riverfront Boardwalk along the Sabine River. “Orange” you glad to have another Texas destination to seek out?
Ready to begin your travels? Check out ATPE’s discounts to see learn more about how ATPE helps you save on hotels, car rentals, theme parks, zoos, vacation and cruise packages, AAA, and more!
Not a member? Join ATPE today to become part of the largest and most trusted educator group in Texas. Members can more than recoup the cost of their dues by using their ATPE discounts!