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Great Content about Texas:

VISITING TEXAS

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States is Texas. There are several reasons for this but the biggest is that you can do almost anything that you could want to do on vacation in the state. As the largest state in the lower forty-eight, it offers a great deal of diversity allowing for a wide variety of activities. The great weather doesn’t hurt either.

One of the great things about visiting Texas is that there are so many different things that you can do. For starters, if you are looking to spend time in a large city Texas has two of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in the United States. Both Dallas and Houston are large metro areas that are full of everything that you would expect to find in a large city. In addition, several of the smaller cities like San Antonio are well worth a visit since they have many of the attractions of a large city in a more laid back environment.

Texas Bluebonnets

Texas is also a great place to visit if you are into outdoor activities. There are lots of camping areas in the state and many areas of natural beauty to visit. There also lots of rivers and lakes which are great for both boating and fishing. One of the great things about outdoor activities in Texas is that they are easily accessible since you don’t have to go far from the cities to be in the wilderness.

For history buffs there are few states better to visit then Texas, it has probably the most interesting history of any part of the country. Much of that history is preserved with historical sites and monuments as well as history trails that you can follow. In addition, there are many excellent museums and several ghost towns that will allow you to experience the past.

Although it may not be the most obvious choice as a beach destination Texas is in fact a popular choice for people looking to lay in the sun. Texas has many excellent beaches and since the weather is almost always sunny it is a great option if your idea of good vacation is lounging on the beach. There really is something for everybody in Texas so it should definitely be a location you consider for your next vacation.

Traveling to Texas is fairly easy which is one of the reasons that it is so popular as a tourist destination. Located fairly centrally it is easy to reach by car from almost anywhere in the country. In addition, it is well served by airlines so flying is an excellent option. There is a very well developed tourist infrastructure in the state which means that there are lots of accommodation options whatever your price range is.
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THE HISTORY OF TEXAS
Through most of its early history, Texas was settled by various native tribes. The first Europeans arrived in 1519 when Spanish conquistadors came to the area. However, the early Europeans saw little of value to keep them in Texas so the first settlement did not occur until 1682 when a small French Colony was established. This colony only lasted a couple of years but it was enough to encourage the Spanish to set up new colonies in the region. In large part, this was done to claim the area for Spain and to keep the French from expanding the Louisiana Territory into Texas.

The Spanish would rule Texas as part of its American colonies for the next hundred and forty years. Although only a very small number of people settled in the area. However in 1821 Mexico including Texas won its independence from Spain. The new Mexican government proved to be very unpopular in Texas and almost immediately there was a push for independence. In an attempt to gain independence Texas actively recruited settlers from the United States in the hopes that if there were enough Americans living in the region the US would support them in the fight.

The Texas revolution began in 1835 and would last for about a year. Because of the very small population of Texas, there was very little actual fighting, although the Alamo has become famous as a battle site from the war. In reality, Texas won its independence mostly by default. The Mexicans were largely unable to administer the region properly so they put up little real resistance to Texas becoming an independent country that occurred in 1836.

Although Texans take great pride in having once been an independent country the truth is the brief period that they were independent was a nightmare for the people who lived there. The Texans proved no more capable of administering the area than the Mexicans had been. The result was a great deal of internal conflict as well as many disputes with the native population. As a result in 1845 at the request of the Texas government, the area was annexed by the United States.

Texas would only remain a part of the union for a brief period before leaving again in 1861 at the start of the Civil war. As a member of the Confederacy, they fought against the union during the war although there were few actual battles in Texas. Following the war, Texas went through a period of reconstruction however as there had been few battles in the state and they had not had a large cotton producing industry any way they came through it better than the other confederate states. Over the course of twentieth-century Texas has become one of the wealthiest states in the US due largely to cattle and oil production.
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THE CIVIL WAR
Texans proudly talk about the six flags that have flown over the state; one of those was the flag of the confederacy. During the Civil War Texas would fight on behalf of the Confederacy even though today few people think of it as being a southern state. There are various reasons that the Confederate legacy is less pronounced in Texas than in other states.

Texas would secede from the Union in 1861 and join with the confederacy however the decision to do this was somewhat controversial. Unlike most of the other southern states there was considerable support for remaining in the union. One of the leading members of the pro-union faction was the governor Sam Houston. Ultimately it became clear that the majority of the population did support joining the confederacy however this required removing Sam Houston from his position as governor since he refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy.

Once the war started Texas served mainly as a supply state as there was very little actual fighting in the area. At the time Texas was still fairly sparsely populated, it also didn’t have the large cotton plantations that the other southern states had. This meant that the state suffered less than the other states in the confederacy did during the war. Nevertheless there was a naval blockade of Galveston that made it impossible to Texas to export anything.

Over the course of the Civil War opposition to it increased in Texas in large part because of the attempt to conscript Texans as soldiers. Most Texans supported the war in principle as a way to assert states rights but they were not all that interested in going off to fight on behalf of the wealthy plantation owners in other states. A significant number of Texans would actually join the Union army which is an indication of just how divided the state was on the issue.

As it started to become clear that the Union were going to win the Civil War a large number of soldiers from Texas began to desert from the Confederate army. The state was soon occupied and reconstruction began. This went fairly quickly for Texas since there had been little fighting in the area. In addition, since cotton production had made up a relatively small part of the state’s economy, they were able to adapt to life without slaves better than most of the other southern states.

Ultimately Texas would be readmitted to the Union in 1870 although this was done despite the fact that they didn’t meet the requirements that had been set out. Mostly this was the result of the way that the freed slaves were treated. Most of Texas was actually settled after the war ended there are considerably fewer people who take pride in the states Confederate history than there are in the other southern states.

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CLIMATE IN TEXAS
The climate in Texas is varied from one area to another; this is to be expected in such a large state. Part of the reason is the huge variety of geography that Texas has. There are coastal regions, mountains, deserts and wide open planes. In addition the state is located where several climate zones meet which also affects the weather. In large part the area that you are located in will determine what the climate will be like.

The coastal regions of Texas have the sort of weather that you would expect to find on any other area around the Gulf of Mexico. In general the weather is mild getting neither particularly hot in the summer nor particularly cold during the winter. There is however a considerable amount of rain in the coastal areas. In addition hurricanes are a not infrequent occurrence in the coastal regions; some of these have been very destructive.

The northern plains region of the panhandle will experience both the coldest and the hottest temperatures in the state. Being furthest away from the water it does not have the regulating effect that occurs in most of the rest of the state. Temperatures frequently fall below freezing during the winter and they can get very hot during the summer. Although there is not a lot of rain in this region thunderstorms are fairly common during the summer. These thunderstorms can produce a great deal of rain in a very short time, they also so times spawn tornados.

West Texas is mostly desert area with little rain and hot temperatures during the summer. It can however get quite cold in the winter. The area also has most of the states mountain areas. In the mountains the climate tends to be more temperate with temperatures being more stable and there being more rain produced. The mountain areas do however tend to be very windy.

Most of central Texas is hill country which has a climate that is similar to the one in the panhandle but not as extreme. The summer tends to be hot and winter quite cool. There are however more rivers and lakes in this area to help regulate the temperature. In addition there are large areas of forest which tends to inhibit the development of thunderstorms so they are not as frequent as in the panhandle, although they do still occur.

As a state Texas has some of the most extreme weather that you will find anywhere in the country. While certain regions have certain climate traits you can get almost any weather anywhere. This was shown in 2004 when a large snow storm fell on the coastal regions. Because of the extremes of weather it is important for the visitor to Texas to be prepared for all kinds of weather since they are likely to happen.
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TRANSPORTATION IN TEXAS
Texas is a big state which has meant that they have had to develop an extensive transportation system. This is good news for the visitor in that there is a significant infrastructure so you should not have any trouble getting around. However you should keep in mind that most of the transportation options in Texas are very crowded so there may be delays.

Texas has one of the largest highway systems in the United States and indeed the world. The highways are heavily travelled which does tend to result in lengthy delays, especially on the highways around large urban areas. Most people in Texas get around by driving their own car so there is almost always a great deal of traffic on the roads. The problem is made worse by the fact that public transit in the state is not particularly good. Most of the roads in Texas were built in the fifties and are not really up to handling the amount of traffic that they currently get, which is a big part of why there are so many delays.

Between the fact that most Texans prefer to drive and the fact that the state is well known as one that has low taxes and provides few services it should not come as a surprise to learn that the public transit is considered to be substandard. The major cities for the most part have public transit, although somehow Arlington, right in the middle of the Dallas metropolitan area has no public transit at all. Light rail transit is particularly limited although Houston is currently working on a thirty mile extension to their system.

The state of Texas is well served by air travel. Currently the airport in Dallas is the second largest in the country with the airport in Houston not being far behind. Most cities in Texas have an airport and even a lot of small towns have them as well. Almost all airlines that fly to the United States have flights that go to Texas and there are several regional airlines that offer service within the state.

Most people are surprised to learn that Houston is the busiest port in the United States but that is in fact the case. Texas has several ports and it is one of the major shipping centers for the country. In large part this is to ship the oil and cattle that are produced in Texas.

For the visitor getting around should not be a major issue in Texas. The transportation infrastructure is well developed and except for issues with public transit you should not have a huge problem. Clearly it will be necessary to either drive your own car or to rent one in order to get around but both are easy options and should not present a problem.

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TEXAS CULTURE AND WAY OF LIVING
Texans are extremely proud of the history of their state and of being Texans in general. Most people think of themselves as being Texans first and Americans second. That being said they do tend to be very patriotic citizens of the US. The state has a rather unique history which you will hear about frequently while you are there. You will often hear about the six flags that have flown over Texas and the fact that it was once an independent country. This does tend to gloss over some of the negative parts of the history however, The brief period when Texas was an independent country were amongst the worst in its history for example.

If Texans are proud and boastful they are also a very friendly people. They are well known for their hospitality and they will have no trouble starting a conversation with a stranger. Some visitors may find this to be a little bit worrying as Texans will often talk to you like you’re an old friend even if they have just met you. This is just the way that things are done in Texas and you will get used to it pretty quickly.

Over the years the culture of Texas has gone through a bit of a change mainly due to the massive numbers of Mexicans who have moved into the state. As a result a great deal of Mexican culture is now present. This is obviously most true amongst the immigrant community but even the people who have lived in Texas for generations are starting to pick up on some of this as well.

One thing to keep in mind is that the way that people in Texas live will be affected by where they live. For example the people in Houston or Dallas live a lifestyle that is similar to the way that anybody else who lives in a large city would live. However there are also still people who live and work on ranches or out in oilfields who live a very different lifestyle. Therefore you really can’t make any generalizations about the way that people in Texas live.

One other thing to keep in mind is that Texas also has one of the most uneven distributions of income in the US. There are many people in the state who are very wealthy but also a lot of people who are very poor. Most of the people in the lower income bracket tend to be immigrants, often illegal ones. Unfortunately in Texas there is little government assistance for people who are poor which makes the problem worse. Obviously the people with low incomes live a very different life from those who are very wealthy which again makes it hard to make any generalizations about the way that Texans live.
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UNIVERSITIES IN TEXAS
Texas has an excellent and very extensive system of public universities. These are very popular amongst students in large part because students from Texas who meet the standards for acceptance are able to attend school tuition free. Clearly this has resulted in large numbers of students taking advantage of the opportunity which is why the state needs to have such an extensive system of schools. In addition to the public universities there are also a large number of private colleges.

Texas has a very extensive system of universities which makes it somewhat unique compared to how the system works in most other places. There are basically six state universities but each of these has several branches. The result is that there are actually dozens of campuses around the state. The biggest of these is the University of Texas system. They operate fourteen universities throughout the state and combined they have the largest student enrollment by far.

The next university system in Texas is the Texas A&M system. These schools got their name because they started out as the Texas agricultures and mechanical college. This system runs twelve campuses throughout the state making it the second largest system.

The Texas State University was original created in the early twentieth century to train teachers. Over the years however it has expanded to become a full university and it now runs four campuses around the state.

The University of North Texas was founded because of a need to accommodate more students in the Dallas area. There are two campuses that offer undergraduate studies as well as a medical school and a law school.

During the nineteen seventies it started to become clear that there was a need for a new university in Houston so the University of Houston opened in 1977. Today they have four campuses throughout the city and now have one of the largest student enrolments in the state.

Texas Tech was founded in the twenties in order to provide training for engineers however it has since grown to become a full-fledged university. There are now thirteen campuses as part of the system which is spread around the state.

In addition to the major university systems that run most of the state schools, there are also four independent state schools that operate with state funding but are outside of the systems that were created for the other systems. Texas is widely regarded to have one of the best public university systems in the country with several of its schools ranked near the top of most annual rankings.

Besides the public university system in Texas, there are also a large number of private institutions. This includes some of the finest schools in the country like Baylor and Rice universities. There are no shortage of schools in the state so there is plenty of opportunities to get an education in the state of Texas.

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FAMOUS TEXANS
There are a lot of well-known people who have come from Texas. This will, of course, come as no surprise given that it is the second-most populous state in the union. The number of famous people is made even longer by the rather unique history that the state of Texas has compared to other states.

Given how proud Texans are of their history it will come as no surprise that many of the most famous Texans are the leaders of the revolution that made Texas independent in 1836. The most well known of these is Sam Houston. Admittedly he is best known for the city that was named after him but he was also the first president of the Republic of Texas as well as being the first governor when Texas became a state. Sam Houston is an important figure in the founding of Texas and is well remembered in the state.

Other famous Texans from the early days of the state are the ones who fought at the Alamo during the revolution. The best known of these were Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. Neither of them actually lived in Texas for a particularly long time and both had actually become famous before they moved to Texas. However, since they both died at the Alamo they are largely associated with the state of Texas. Most of the others who died at the Alamo are also well known within the state although they are not as famous as Crockett and Bowie.

Texas has produced a number of presidents, although just how many is not clear. Nobody disputes that Lyndon Johnson was at Texan having been born and raised there. Also not really in dispute is George W. Bush who although born in Connecticut was raised largely in Texas and would serve as governor of the state before becoming president. Where there is debate about presidents who are from Texas is with the senior George Bush. He would not move to Texas until he was an adult but he did work in the oil business in Texas and represented the state in Congress. Even more debatable is Dwight Eisenhower who although born in Texas was largely raised in Kansas, although he did spend some time in Texas while he was in the military.

Texas, of course, is a huge state with a very large population so it has produced a great many people who have gone onto fame. Many actors, musicians, and athletes have come from the state as have successful people from other fields. There are lots of places that you can go online and find a comprehensive list of all the famous people from the state. It will take you a considerable amount of time to sort through these lists however as there are a lot of people on them.

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TIPS FOR VISITING TEXAS
Texas is a very popular tourist destination and one of the reasons for that is such an easy place to visit. While there is not a lot that you need to know in order to visit Texas there are a few tips that will help to make your trip more enjoyable.

The biggest tip for visiting Texas is to keep in mind that the state is really big. People, of course, know that it is the biggest state in the lower forty-eight but most people underestimate just how big it truly is. This is something that you have to keep in mind when you are planning your travels, there are long distances between towns and cities. Realistically you are not going to see all of the states so you will be better off choosing a part of it that you would like to visit and sticking to that part.

Another important tip for visiting Texas is that you are going to have to have access to a car. That means you will either need to drive your own or rent one when you get there. In most places, you can get away without having one but Texas is not one of those places. Public transit is of very low quality and as mentioned above things are very spread out. Make sure that you plan to have access to a car while you are in Texas unless the plan is to stay in only one area. Also, make sure that you learn the local driving rules, some of them can be pretty interesting.

It is important to realize that the weather in Texas can be variable. In fact, you can experience almost any kind of weather imaginable in the state. That means that you are going to have to be prepared for anything. While Texas is generally warm there are parts that get very cold, especially at night. You also have to be prepared for the fact that it rains a lot in certain regions, of course, there is very little rain in other areas. The point is that because of the huge size of Texas you may encounter almost any conditions.

Most people who visit Texas tend to do so with a fairly minimal amount of planning. For the most part, this is easy to do as the state has a well-established infrastructure for tourists. However, you will find that if you put a little bit of thought into your trip you will have more fun. There is so much to do in Texas that you won’t be able to do anywhere near all of it. For this reason, the best thing to do is to decide on the things that you really want to do but also to leave enough flexibility in your schedule that you can take advantage of any interesting opportunities that come up.
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TRAFFIC INFORMATION FOR TEXAS
Traffic is an issue that you are going to have to face whenever you drive, however as a visitor to Texas there may be more of than you are used to. Because of that, you are going to want to make sure that you are able to find plenty of traffic information.

If you are going to drive in Texas, and if you are going to visit you will pretty much have to drive, you are going to want to make sure that you stay up to date on traffic information. There are a lot of people in the state and virtually all of them drive everywhere that they go. This is made even worse by the fact that most of the roads were built in the fifties and never intended to get anything close to the amount of traffic that they currently get. As a result traffic jams are commonplace and it can take a long time to get where you are going.

The biggest traffic problems in the state are around large cities especially Dallas and Houston. The Freeways are the worst areas but you can get traffic tie up on almost any major road. It is also important to be aware that this can happen at any time of the day. Certainly, it happens most frequently at rush hour but there will be plenty of times when there is a traffic jam in the middle of the day. The best way to avoid this is to pay attention to traffic reports.

The best way to get traffic information for Texas is online. The State has a website that will report on any traffic issues. However, most people feel that the sites that are offered by local radio and television stations are more useful since the information will be more up to date. These sites will allow you to enter your route so that you can see what the traffic is like before you set out. If the traffic is heavy on the route that you plan to take the site may offer you an alternative route if one exists.

Of course, the traffic situation can change while you are driving so you will want to stay on top of this as well. The best way to do this would be to use a wireless device that allows you to look at the websites that show you how much traffic there is. However, this is dangerous if you are driving so you don’t want to do that. If there is somebody else in the car who can look at these things for you while you drive that would be a good option. Otherwise, you are going to have to rely on the radio to provide you with traffic information, they are pretty good about doing this because traffic is such an issue throughout the state.

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Today’s “Big Event” is the annual “Cowboy Breakfast” tomorrow morning (1/25/08) at a new location.

The Cowboy Breakfast pays homage to trail riders and the Old West, but there will be plenty new this year. First, it will move from its old location at Crossroads of San Antonio mall farther out Interstate 10 West to the parking lot at Bass Pro Shops. The breakfast will run from 5 to 9 a.m. Friday.

And while new menu items will not include fish tacos, there will be 50 gallons of Menudo and 30,000 tamales added to staples such as 20,000 biscuits, 100 gallons of gravy, 1300 pounds of sausage, 800 pounds of chorizo for tacos served on 36,000 tortillas and 800 loaves of bread. The free feed, recognized in 2001 as the world’s largest cooked breakfast by the Guinness Book of Records, won’t quite end at 9 a.m., either. Kicking it up a bunch of notches this year, the official after-party will begin at 9 a.m. — and run almost continuously to midnight, with Gary P. Nunn as the headliner — at new sponsor Leon Springs Dance Hall just a little farther out I-10.

“It’s going to be a long day,” said breakfast vice-chairman Bert Mazac, who added that organizers will put a match to the first cooking fire 24 hours earlier. To make the 30th annual event even more special is the board of directors’ goal of doubling last year’s scholarship to $20,000 for the culinary program at St. Philip’s College. New nonprofit groups will come on board, too — the Humane Society of Bexar County will have a pet adoption booth, and breakfast-goers are asked to bring a donation to the San Antonio Food Bank. The San Antonio Blood & Tissue Center will return. “They tell us the Cowboy Breakfast is their biggest single event of the year,” Mazac said.

Live music will be provided by Caleb Haynes, Amy Hermes & the Takin’ Back Texas Band, The Lavens, and Ryan T. Briggs & the Redneck Hippies. At the after-party at Leon Springs Dance Hall, Bobby Baker & The Longnecks will take the stage at 9 a.m., Clint Taft & The Buck Wild Band at noon, the Bobby Flores Band at 6 p.m. and Nunn at 9:30 p.m. Organizers caught flak for the move to Bass Pro Shops, especially from people on the South Side, Mazac said. “But it’s only 8 miles farther out than it was,” he said. “I think we will end up with more people than when we were at Crossroads. The construction on Loop 410 and I-10 and the big walls with the new roads kept drivers from seeing us. “Plus, we have a lot more parking at Bass Pro Shops, including access to the Palladium and even Six Flags Fiesta Texas if it gets too crowded.”

Bass Pro Shops is helping in a number of ways, including providing caps for the first 200 volunteers who show up and hourly drawings for volunteers for $50 gift certificates. While hundreds already have volunteered, more can sign up the morning — make that the really early morning — of the event. “We have a sign-up desk, and if someone shows up and wants to help, we’ll put them to work,” Mazac said. Bass Pro Shops will open its doors at 6 a.m. and will chip in to the entertainment with the Country Boy’s Union, which plays country and Southern rock classics and originals. The outdoor retailer also is planning special giveaways and seminars. “We want to add to it, but we don’t want to steal the thunder from the Cowboy Breakfast,” promotions manager Lorraine Lawrence said.

A giant grill from sausage-maker Johnsonville, at the breakfast to serve 10,000 brats, will remain at Bass Pro through the weekend selling brats to help with the Cowboy Breakfast’s scholarship fund. “This is sort of an adventure,” Lawrence said. “The fellows have been doing it so long it’s just their regular trail ride, and for us it’s like riding a bronco. It’s all new for us, and we’re trying to come up with right ideas to help them out and make this an even bigger event.”

Other retailers at The Rim also will pitch in at the breakfast or have special events. The Cowboy Breakfast began with a handful of cooks and grills in the parking lot of Central Park Mall, its home for 23 years, as the kickoff for trail riders beginning the annual trek to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. It grew to feed upward of 50,000. Some 30,000 people attended last year.

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Here in Texas, we drink lots of Tequila, perhaps more than any other state in the USA. I’m a bartender as well as a website designer. I can be found behind the bar several evenings each week at La Fonda Oak Hills, one of San Antonio’s oldest restaurants. My name is Jeff, and if you mention that you saw this posting, I will buy you one of the best margaritas you’ll find in the USA on any night I happen to be working. Folks, please do not order a “top shelf” margarita in any restaurant, unless you want to impress your date with how much money you are willing to spend. You are wasting your money! Have a “house margarita” instead (the only caveat here is that you may get a “sweet concoction” that is not a “real margarita”) Have one with me at La Fonda! Or order instead a premium tequila served in a “cabillito”, and sip it, don’t “shoot it”! Ordering a margarita made with a premium tequila (such as Patron Silver, Don Julio Plata or an even more expensive marque), or gulping it down with salt and a lime only reveals inexperience, and an ignorance of what savouring a great tequila is all about. Here’s a primer on tequila for your edification and enjoyment.

All About Tequila

Types of Tequila

Tequila can only be produced in Mexico and must comply with strict Mexican Government regulations. In order to satisfy an ever-growing demand and a multitude of consumer’s preferences and tastes, tequila is produced in two general categories and four different types in each category. The two categories are defined by the percentage of juices coming from the blue agave:

Tequila 100% Agave. Must be made with 100% blue agave juices and must be bottled at the distillery in Mexico.

Tequila (Ordinary Tequila). Must be made with at least 51% blue agave juices. This tequila may be exported in bulk to be bottled in other countries following the NOM standard.

The NOM standard defines four types of tequila: Blanco Clear, fresh from the still tequila is called Blanco (white or silver). It has the true bouquet and flavor of the blue agave. It is usually strong and is traditionally enjoyed in a “caballito” (2 oz small glass). This is the traditional tequila that started it all.

Joven or Abocado Joven or young is Tequila Blanco mellowed by the addition of colorings and flavorings, caramel being the most common. It is also known as Extra or Gold. It is the tequila of choice for Margaritas.

Reposado Reposado or rested is Tequila Blanco that has been kept in white oak casks or vats called “pipones” for more than two months and up to one year. The oak barrels give Reposado a mellowed taste, pleasing bouquet, and its pale color. Reposados keep the blue agave taste and are gentler to the palate. These tequilas have experienced exponential demand and high prices.

Añejo Añejo is Tequila Blanco aged in white oak casks for more than a year. Maximum capacity of the casks should not exceed 600 liters (159 gallons). The amber color and woody flavor are picked up from the oak, and the oxidation that takes place through the porous wood develops the unique bouquet and taste. Some Añejos are aged for several years and enter into the big leagues of liquor both in taste and in price.

Reprinted from Vive Tequila

Tequila is aged in casks.

GLOSSARY

Agave. Plant with long spiny leaves of the lily family. There are more than 400 species, all native to North America and mostly to Mexico. Tequila is made exclusively from the agave azul that grows in semiarid soils and takes from 8 to 12 years to mature. Pulque is made from the maguey that grows in the cooler highlands and has become a hallmark of the Mexican countryside. Other agave is used to produce henequen (sisal).

Agave azul (Blue Agave). The specific variety of agave from which tequila is made. It grows in the Tequila Region. The correct name is Agave Azul Tequilana Weber.

Aguamiel. The sugary sap from the maguey that ferments into pulque.

Añejo. Tequila Blanco aged in oak barrels for more than a year. It has a golden amber color with a soft, smooth, complex flavor.

Autoclave. A large steam pressure cooker used to cook the agave piñas.

Barrica. Barrel mostly made of oak that previously held bourbon or whiskey.

Blanco. Clear, fresh from the still tequila is called Blanco (white or silver). It has the true bouquet and flavor of the blue agave.

Caballito. A two to three ounce glass 3 to 4 inches tall used in Mexico for tequila. The glass is slightly tapered making the mouth wider than the bottom, although it may be a perfect cylinder.

Cabeza. The first portion of distillate (heads), highest in alcohol and aldehydes, which is usually discarded. See also Corazon and Colas. Cactus. Drought resistant spiny plants with succulent stems like the saguaro, peyote and nopal (opuntia). No liquor is produced with any cactus plant.

Coa. A machete type tool used by the Jimador for harvesting agave.

Colas. The final portion of distillate containing the lowest alcohol and soapy flavors, usually recycled into another distillation.

Corazon. The “heart” of distillation containing the best flavors and aromas for tequila.

CRT. Tequila Regulatory Council (Consejo Regulador del Tequila), a private non-profit organization responsible for the regulation, verification, and quality certification of tequila.

Distillation. The process of purifying a liquid by successive evaporation and condensation. Tequila is made with double distillation, and some brands go through a third one to enhance purity.

Fabrica. A tequila distillery.

Fermentation. The formation of alcohol from sugars by the action of enzymes. In the tequila process the sugars come from the roasted agave piñas, and the enzymes is the yeast added to the sap or “mosto”. The yeast acts upon the sugars of the agave plant converting them into alcohol.

Gran Reposado. 100% Blue Agave tequila made in small batches and rested in wood barrels for twice as long as most Resposado.

Hijuelos. Offsprings of the agave plant, which are replanted and develop into mature agave plants. It is the preferred form of propagation for most agave plants.

Horno. The traditional oven used to cook agave piñas.

Jimador. The laborer who harvests agave. The jimador’s task is a crucial one, since he decides when the plant is ready, usually 8 to 12 years after it is planted. He has to cut off all the spiny leaves to obtain an almost perfect core or piña.

Joven abocado. Joven or young is Tequila Blanco mellowed by the addition of colorings and flavorings, caramel being the most common. It is also known as Extra or Gold. Mostly used for Margaritas.

Los Altos. One of the major growing regions for Blue Agave, a mountainous area with rich red volcanic soil east of Guadalajara.

Madre. A mature or “Mother” agave plant from which hijuelos have been harvested.

Maguey. A Carib word encompassing agaves that are mostly used for pulque. It has become a hallmark of the Mexican countryside.

Mezcal (or mescal). All liquors distilled from any agave plant are mezcal, but only those made from the blue agave are branded as tequila. Tequila is mezcal produced in the Tequila Region.

Mosto. The unfermented juice extracted from the roasted agave piñas.

NOM. Norma Official Mexicana. The official Mexican standard or NOM defines tequila as the product of fermentation and distillation of the blue agave juices (mostos) obtained at the distillery from agave cores or piñas grown in the Tequila Region. It is assigned by the government to each tequila distillery, identifying which company made and bottled each brand of tequila.

Nopal. Native to Mexico it is a member of the cactus family, and is commonly referred to as “prickly pear”. Nopal is a great source of vitamin C and extremely nutritious. Its fruit, known as “tuna”, is served with lime juice for breakfast or lunch.

Ordinario. The first run distillate when making tequila.

Piña. The pineapple-shaped heart of the agave plant. The average weight is 40 to 70 pounds, and can reach up to 200 pounds. Roughly speaking, seven kilos (15 lb.) of raw agave piñas are needed to produce one liter (one quart U.S.) of tequila. Piloncillo. Unrefined sugar made from dried sugarcane juice, used in production of tequila joven or abocado.

Pipon. Tank, usually made of oak, used for storing tequila. Pulque. Fermented Mexican drink, made from the maguey or Century plant. The maguey is milked daily by a tlachiquero to obtain the aguamiel sap using a gourd or acocote. Pulque is slightly foamy and mildly alcoholic.

Quiote. A once-in-a-lifetime stem that springs from all agave plants to produce seeds. It may reach 25 to 40 feet high so that the seeds grown at the top of the stem can scatter with the wind.

Resposado. Reposado or rested is Tequila Blanco that has been kept in white oak casks or vats called pipones for more than two months and up to one year. The oak barrels give Reposado a mellowed taste, pleasing bouquet, and its pale color.

Sangrita. A spicy and refreshing non-alcoholic chaser made of fresh orange juice, grenadine and chile piquín. Sangrita is the Spanish diminutive for “blood” and is served in a “caballito”.

Tahona. The ancient traditional stone wheel used to crush and extract juice from cooked agave. It is still used to produce traditional tequila.

Tequila. Both the region and the town that gave the spirit of tequila its name.

Tepache. A Mexican drink made of the fermentation of pineapple juice. In some regions pulque is added.

Tequila Region. The “Denomination of Origin” law has defined the area in which the blue agave is grown. It includes the state of Jalisco and some regions in the states of Guanajuato, Nayarit, Michoacán, and Tamaulipas.

Tesgüino. Mild alcoholic beverage of Central and Northern Mexico produced by the fermentation of corn. It is similar to beer with bits of corn and it is the traditional drink of the Tarahumaras or Rarramuri Indians.

Tuna. The fruit of the nopal. It is served chilled with lime juice.

Yeast. Consists largely of cells of a tiny fungus. It causes fermentation in alcoholic beverages and is used as leaven in baking. It is added to the tequila mosto to induce fermentation. The yeast acts upon the sugars of the agave plant converting them into alcohol.

Reprinted from Vive Tequila

Pinas, heart of the agave

Myths About Tequila

Tequila comes from the distillation of «pulque». WRONG. Pulque comes from the fermentation of the sugary sap «aguamiel» obtained from the maguey or Century Plant (which is botanically related to the agave plant). Pulque is fine but it has nothing to do with tequila.

Tequila and mezcal are made from a cactus. WRONG. Cactus plants grow in the desert and are of a different genus than the agave. There is no known liquor obtained from the cactus.

Mezcal contains mescaline. WRONG. Neither tequila nor mezcal contains any mescaline or alkaloids at all. However, peyote (a variety of Cactus) contains mescaline, an alkaloid that produces hallucinations.

The worm is part of the tequila or mezcal process. This is a nice legend, but not true at all. The worm is placed in some mezcal bottles as a marketing gig. However the maguey grows worms that are a delicacy in Mexico fetching astronomical prices at luxury restaurants. The best known are “Gusanos de Maguey” and “Chinicuiles”.

Tequila has medicinal properties. There is no scientific evidence about any medicinal properties of the agave plant, mescal, or tequila. However if you drink a “caballito” every day, it will make you a happier person.

Reprinted from Vive Tequila
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How to Move Easily with Pets
Moving can be stressful for anyone but it is also stressful for your pets too. The upheaval that happens while packing can upset them and pets like dogs, need to know that they too are moving with your family. So here are a few moving tips to make your pets feel more secure during the move. Pets have to be given a lot of care during packing and moving to make them feel secure.

Care – Pets are used to being given a lot of care and attention. However, during a move, you will have to give them more care and constantly see to it that they are ok.
Safety – Pets are like little children and they will not know a potential danger even if was right under their noses. For example, you cannot leave knives, blades and scissors lying around while packing. An inquisitive dog is sure to poke its nose into it and one of the most important moving tips for safety is to keep all sharp things out of sight.
Comfort –Even if the entire house is being packed, keep a small corner with the pet’s blanket, food and water. When pets see that their basic needs are there, they will be less stressed and more comfortable.
Reassurance – keep petting your dogs and cats do that they will feel comforted. The packing of the house will be a confusing event and they will require your constant reassurance that everything is going to turn out fine.
Surveillance – Of all the moving tips, this happens to be the most important one. During a move, it is easy to misplace a lot of things and amidst the chaos, one can also lose track of one’s pets. Small dogs may tend to swallow small items, so keep all such things on top shelves or on tables but never on the ground. Keep an eye on them the whole time so that they do not run out of the house when no one is looking. It is impossible to keep the door closed while the movers are working. So ask for a neighbor to take care of your pet till you lock up the house.
Feline Terror
Cats are more independent than dogs but they tend to be more attached to a place rather than to humans. So the move might upset cats a lot more than it does dogs. You might find your cat more withdrawn and quiet or becoming clingy to you which are unnatural behavioral patterns. Keep your cat’s carrier with you at all times and place it in a warm cozy place in the new house. Keep praising the cat as it keeps going around the new house so that it will start associating your words with the house.

Animal Relocation Companies
Most of the time, owners might not be able to take their pets along with them during the move and in such cases, an animal relocation company is the best bet. Keep your pet’s paperwork up-to-date so that there will be no hitches during the move. Make sure that you retrieve your pet as soon as possible and if you can, arrive at the destination ahead of the animal movers to receive them. One of the best moving tips for pets is to receive them with a welcome kit that contains their favorite food and toys.
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San Antonio Recreation

Laredo & Nuevo Laredo
A trip to Laredo is the closest thing to a Mexican vacation a San Antonian can take without actually leaving Texas. Bisected neatly by the mighty Rio Grande – the dividing line between Texas and Mexico – Laredo and its south of the border hermanita, Nuevo Laredo, are together known as Los Dos Laredos (the Two Laredos), and the two cities make up the most lively fiesta zone the hinterlands have to offer. And whether it’s the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution or George Washington’s birthday, the fun is shared by all.

Laredo holds the distinction of being the only Spanish settlement in the Lone Star State with its earliest roots neither in guns nor crosses. Of course, rural hamletdom didn’t last long, and today it has a bevy of antique churches, forts and museum pieces to show us why. Still, the town’s main attractions are its Texican traditions and its (literal) bridging of US/Mexican cultures. The border-spanning International Bridge No 1 across the Rio Grande (known to Mexicans as the Rio Bravo) is walkable in five minutes with minimal formalities, and there’s a great market just four blocks beyond. And monolingual gringos can relax as both languages are spoken by just about everyone on both sides of the border.

Laredo is 152mi (245km) and a bit over two hours drive southwest of San Antonio along I-35. Greyhound buses make the trip daily, as do flights from SAT into Laredo International Airport.

Luckenbach
In 1977, Waylon Jennings told the world that in ‘Luckenbach, Texas, ain’t nobody feeling no pain,’ and this tiny Hill Country community has been a pilgrimage zone for zealous country music fans ever since. In reality, there aren’t too many other reasons to drop by, but if you’re in the neighborhood and ready for a break, that’s certainly reason enough.

The town is closed on Wednesday. That’s right. The town. Closed. When it is open, Luckenbach’s downtown area consists of its 120-year-old general store, which also serves as the local post office, dance hall, saloon and community center. Its walls are decorated with the hand-scrawled howdies of pilgrims and devotees, its floor with six generations of scuff marks. The dance hall periodically hosts weekend musical performances, but about the only times you can count on a crowd are during the Labor Day and 4th of July weekend concerts. Native Texans Waylon ‘n’ Willie (Nelson, that is) are the prime draws, but dozens of country music’s finest also fill out the bills.

To get to Luckenbach from San Antonio, take I-10 to FM 1376 north and follow it for about 25mi (40km) northwest toward Fredericksburg. From there take Hwy 29 east and turn south on FM 1376 for about 3mi (5km).

Padre Island National Seashore
If the charm of the big city is wearing thin, head out to the miles of sandy, surfy beaches along Texas’ Gulf of Mexico shores. The beaches of Padre Island, a 110mi (180km) long barrier island that protects Texas from the gulf’s foul temper, make a popular daytrip for landlocked San Antonians. All manner of wildlife is visible on or around the island, including several species of endangered turtle and three species of dolphin. Fisherfolk and birdwatchers are also well provided for. Swimmers should keep their eyes peeled for the stinging Portuguese man-of-wars that frequent these waters.

To reach Padre Island from San Antonio, head south on I-37 for 145mi (235km) to the grassy flatlands of Corpus Christi, and then take South Padre Island Drive/Hwy 358 to the JFK Causeway Bridge.

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Golf Courses In San Antonio
San Antonio is an ideal place for golf. You can pretty much play year round. The city is constantly adding more courses and has become a very popular golf destination. Here are some of the more popular golf courses in the San Antonio area.

Canyon Springs
One of the newest courses in the San Antonio area opening in early 1998. It’s open to the public with green fees ranging from $75-$85 which includes the cart. The course is located on the far north side of the city in the Stone Oak area. Call 210-497-1770 for more info or click here.

Hyatt Hill Country Resort
One of the premiere courses in San Antonio. The resort and golf course is located in the northwest part of the city near Sea World. It’s open to the public with green fees ranging from $100-$110 which includes cart fees and use of their driving range. This is a must play when in San Antonio. Visit their web site at: www.hyatt.com/pages/s/sanhca.html

La Cantera Golf Club
Always rated high on top lists including Best New Public Course Of The Year Golf Digest, December 1995 and Top 20 Favorite Public Golf Courses In Texas Survey of Texas Pros & Gulf Coast Golfer, January 1997 (#1) – January 1998 (#1) . For regular play, they accept tee times up to 30 days in advance. Rates are $105 Monday – Thursday and $115 Friday – Sunday which includes tax and include: green fees, cart, practice balls, bag tag, divot tool, and yardage guide. Visit their web site: http://www.lacanteragolf.com/

The Quarry
Built around and through an old cement quarry, The Quarry golf course offers San Antonio’s most unique golfing experience. Their awards include: The best public golf course in the state of Texas” – ’96, ’97, ’99 (2nd in ’98) -Dallas Morning News- “Ranked Top 10 of America’s Greatest Courses in Texas” – ’98 & ’99 (Best in San Antonio) -Golf Digest- “Top 100 Women Friendly Courses in the United States” – ’98 & ’99. Green fees are in the $100 range. Visit their web site at: http://www.quarrygolf.com/

Silverhorn
Another beautiful new course located in northern San Antonio. Green fees are $75 and include a cart. Call them at 210-545-5300 for more information.

Tapito Springs
Tapito Springs is located in deeper in the Texas Hill Country. It’s west of San Antonio near the small town of Boerne. The resorts includes a 148 room hotel and is great for conferences and “get away” meetings. The golf course has 27 holes with 9 holes just added recently. Green fees range from $80-$95 ($75 for hotel guests). Golf packages and specials are available. Visit their web site at: http://www.tapatio.com/

San Antonio City Courses

Cedar Creek
This course is widely considered San Antonio’s best municipal course. Located in the northwestern part of the city near Fiesta Texas, it’s also one of the city’s busiest courses. Green fees range from $16 (with city card) to $27 for visitors. Call them at 210-695-5050 for more information.

Mission Del Lago
One of the newer city courses it’s a wide open and long course. It’s one of the better municipal courses in the area and located south of the city. Call 210-627-2522 for more information.

Brackenridge Park, Olmos Basin, Riverside and Willow Springs
The remaining municipal courses are usually well kept, challenging and inexpensive. For more information contact:
Brackenridge Park Golf Course 210-226-5612
Olmos Basin Golf Course 210-826-4041
Riverside Golf Course 210-533-8371
Willow Springs Golf Course 210-226-6721

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With the local culture, the social scene, and the surrounding atmosphere, San Antonio is a great place to live. Get your home here now, to sell or buy, in the San Antonio area! San AntonioTexas real estate is a fantastic investment. Buying and selling homes is our forte! Use this site to get all the San Antonio real estate information you need. Allow us to help find the home in Texas that right for you. The history, culture and booming economy of San Antonio make it an ideal city for real estate investments. If you are trying to find a house, look here first! Our high-end clients can meet their Texas luxury real estate needs. When looking for a home in San Antonio Texas, always look here first.
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SAN ANTONIO ATTRACTIONS
Are there enough things to do in San Antonio
to keep you busy on your vacation?
Don’t worry – there are plenty of San Antonio attractions to keep your family from getting bored!

We have visited San Antonio many times in the past twenty-five years and every time we go back we are amazed at the number of attractions that the city has to offer.

So what we have decided to do is list some of our “must-see San Antonio attractions”.

We’ll start with some of our family’s favorites – these are places you just can’t miss on your San Antonio vacation:

THE SAN ANTONIO RIVERWALK
First, stop – the Paseo del Rio or The Riverwalk – mainly because you are probably going to be staying fairly close to it. This is truly a unique San Antonio Texas attraction. Whether you are looking for restaurants, shopping, musicians, or just plain old’ people-watching, the Riverwalk is the place to be.

Although the Riverwalk extends further than the horseshoe area between the restaurant named Biga on the Banks on the south side to the Drury Inn and Suites Riverwalk on the north side, that is where all of the action is. That section of the Riverwalk was created in 1929 and today is considered a San Antonio city park. (So, it doesn’t cost a thing to go to this San Antonio attraction.)

There are a wide variety of San Antonio restaurants, shops, and other establishments that add to the San Antonio nightlife. There are places for weddings and even a boat ride on the Riverwalk.

THE ALAMO
We wouldn’t be true Texans if we didn’t encourage you to stop at the Cradle of Texas Liberty — The Alamo.

It is for us without a doubt the top of the San Antonio attractions. Others must agree with us because it is the most visited of all the Texas and San Antonio attractions in 2004.
For Texans, coming to San Antonio and visiting the Alamo is as close to a pilgrimage as we can get. Really, it is the essence of what Texas is all about.

For those that don’t know, the Alamo was the site of an old Spanish mission wherein 1836 a small band of Texans held out for thirteen days against the army of the Mexican President Santa Anna. Despite their defeat and deaths, these men are considered heroes of the Texas Revolution as they gave Sam Houston, general of the Texan armies, time to organize.

For these reasons, Texans believe the site to be almost sacred ground. After several years of neglect and deterioration following the battle, the State Texas took over the property and today the Daughters of the Republic of Texas maintain this San Antonio attraction as its custodian.

The shrine is open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and opens at 10:00 a.m. Sundays. The Alamo is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They have later weekend hours during the summer. There is no charge. (Remember to remove your hats before entering the Alamo or Texas state troopers will ask you to do so!)

THE SAN ANTONIO MISSIONS
The San Antonio Mission Trail is another stop mainly for older visitors or anyone who can really appreciate history. The trail connects five different missions established by the Spaniards in the 1700s with the goal of converting the Native Americans in the area. Today, this San Antonio attraction is run by the National Park Service.

Mission Concepcion was completed in 1755 and served as the home of the leader of all the mission priests. It looks very much today like it did when it was finished.

Mission San Jose was the largest of the missions and was completed in 1782. (If you are Roman Catholic, they have a mariachi Mass on Sundays at noon that is very good!)

The Mission San Juan Capistrano was moved to San Antonio in 1731 and in 1736 the church was completed. This mission was important because its farms became a leading producer of food for the region.

Mission Espada came to San Antonio in 1731 and its church was completed in 1756. The aqueduct that was created near this mission was a marvel of the colonial period of Spanish engineering.

And the fifth mission — well, the Alamo, of course! The other missions have a visitor’s center which is open every day of the year from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

THE SAN ANTONIO ZOO
One of our first stops on our honeymoon in 1980 was the San Antonio Zoo.

Considered today to be one of the best zoos in the United States, the San Antonio Zoo now houses over 3,500 animals. This San Antonio attraction sits on 56 acres and hosts around 850,000 visitors each year. It has been around since 1914.
The zoo is open 365 days a year and costs $8.00 for adults and $6.00 for children ages 3-11. (One of the neatest parts of the zoo is the Lorry Landing where you can purchase nectar to feed these small birds. They fly right up to you and they are very cute!) Check out their online coupon for little savings.

THE TOWER OF THE AMERICAS
In downtown San Antonio, you will find the Tower of the Americas. You can’t miss it because it stands a whopping 750 feet from the ground to the top of the antenna.

Not to brag, but that makes this San Antonio attraction taller than the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, and the Great Pyramids! We have a saying that “everything’s bigger in Texas” and the Tower of the Americas fits.

It has a circular observation deck that is 550 feet up which gives a spectacular view of the city in all directions. Built for the 1968 HemisFair, it also has a rotating restaurant that matches the view from the observation deck.

Before New Year’s last year, we watched as the Oklahoma State University football team, their band, and their fans walked from the Marriott Rivercenter to the Alamodome on the day of the Alamo Bowl game. Covering a distance of about a mile, the streets were crowded with fans in orange. (It was quite a sight to see from 50 stories up!)

(Note: The Tower of the Americas is currently closed for renovation. It is expected to be reopened in the spring of 2006.)

NATURAL BRIDGE CAVERNS
AND WILDLIFE RANCH
If you like spelunking, Natural Bridge Caverns & Wildlife Ranch just north of San Antonio is a real treat. Discovered in 1960 by four San Antonio university students, these caverns are almost all completely active and growing.

This San Antonio attraction has over a half-mile of paved trails and extends well beyond 250 feet below the entrance. They have over 10,000 different formations and some are really something to see. (For instance, the “Fried Egg” formations look just like the name – tall, but with a yellow middle caused from acids in the soil above.)

It takes about an hour and a half to go through the regular tour, but if you want a little more of a challenge, try the Adventure Tour where you get to crawl, climb, and rappel through some of the parts of the cavern that have not been developed.

Its sister San Antonio attraction, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, is a unique experience as well. You drive in your car through their park to see endangered animals and wildlife of all kinds. It is the most visited park of its kind in Texas.

You will see buffalo, zebras, ostriches, white rhinos, and giraffes, and many other exotic animals in a natural 200 acre Texas ranch. (The drive through the ranch is over 3 miles long and you can drive through it as many times as you like.) They are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

THE SAN ANTONIO BOTANICAL GARDENS
If you like to see how people can take 33 acres and create a masterpiece of beauty with their imagination, plants, and flowers, then we recommend that you make the San Antonio Botanical Garden a stop in your tour of San Antonio attractions.

The Botanical Gardens have several display gardens, including several that feature the use of a wide variety of colors, water pools, and decorative rocks. One recreates a Japanese garden comparable to one in Kyoto, Japan, San Antonio’s sister city. Another features the plants and vegetation of three geographical areas of the state of Texas.

The San Antonio Botanical Garden also has a high-tech conservatory that has a fern grotto, a palm house, and a room that looks like something out of a rain forest. The conservatory is quite tall and features buildings that are shaped like a pyramid and others that are more round-shaped.

(The Botanical Graden also has a unique “Garden for the Blind” which has a model of the way the garden is set up and offers plants with fragrant and differing smells.) The San Antonio Botanical Garden is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. We recommend going on a weekday if possible to avoid the crowds.

These are our family’s favorites of all the San Antonio attractions. If this doesn’t keep you busy enough, you can also check out the San Antonio theme parks, museums, and other entertainment options.

If you know of a San Antonio attraction that we haven’t covered that you feel should be mentioned, use this link to let us know about it.

To return from San Antonio attractions to the San-Antonio-vacation-planning.com home page, click here.
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