San Antonia offers a glimpse into the real Texas

Any Texan will tell you that in Texas everything is bigger, and most will tell you that Texas is not just a state but also a state of mind. It is certainly true that it’s a big state and it has a unique ‘flavour’, typified in the second largest city, San Antonio. If you like to walk, and shop, and absorb a fascinating mix of history made and in the making in the American southwest, this is the place to be.

For a panoramic overview you can’t beat the Tower of the Americas, built for the World’s Fair in 1968. It stands 750 feet tall, with a restaurant and observation deck where you might plan your itinerary by sight line. For sure you’ll want to visit the Alamo, and ramble along the three miles of River Walk, lined by cafes, restaurants and nightclubs as well as shops galore.

The Buckhorn Saloon and Museum, established in 1881, is world-famous and it’s a terrific spot to enjoy lunch and the Wild West in one seating. The Botanical Gardens, Missions National Park and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center ought to be on your must-visit list, but if you’re traveling with children, do check out America’s Original Kiddie Park, a classic in its field.

Anyone looking for vacation property, either for use or investment, will discover gold in this area. Not far to the northwest of San Antonio, Bandera is a small and thriving town surrounded by dude ranches and horse property, with abundant fishing, camping and hunting opportunities.

About 25 miles south of San Antonio is the utterly charming town of New Braunfels, a little chunk of Germany in Texas. Two rivers, the Comal and the Guadalupe, run right through town, and Landa Park is a don’t-miss. You can tour the park on a miniature train and/or play a challenging round on the beautiful 18-hole golf course.