With its large size and diversity, Texas locals say, “Texas, it’s like a whole other country.” On this tour through the Lone Star State, you’ll discover its major cities—Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston—and some of its historical landmarks, museums, and must-see sights before crossing into Louisiana for time in Lafayette and New Orleans. Tour highlights include a behind-the-scenes tram tour of the Johnson Space Center, home to NASA and the U.S. Space Program. Witness engineers, scientists, and astronauts as they shape the future of space exploration. Visit Southfork Ranch, renowned as the filming location for the Dallas television series, and the San Fernando Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in the United States. Take a barge tour on the San Antonio River Walk and a boat cruise through Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin.History buffs will be fascinated at the Sixth Floor Museum, the location from which Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot President John F. Kennedy. At the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park and Texas White House, hear the story of Johnson’s life. Also visit the Bob Bullock State History Museum that tells the “Story of Texas.” Of course, no history buff can leave Texas without visiting the Alamo, where you’ll have a private guided tour.All of this and much more await you on this tour through Texas—the Lone Star State.
On the November 24 departure, be a part of San Antonio’s River Walk at holiday time. See the spectacular parade along the River Walk featuring decorated and illuminated floats, celebrities, bands, and lavishly costumed participants.
Day #1 Dallas. Welcome to Dallas! Enjoy time at leisure to relax or do some independent exploring. Your Tour Director is on hand this evening to answer any questions.
Day #2 Dallas. Excursion to Fort Worth. Up first, Fort Worth is the Texas city famous for its unmistakable combination of “cowboys and culture.” Now the 16th-largest city in the United States, Fort Worth is home to beautifully preserved Western heritage, worldclass museums, and an exciting downtown area. Visit the Stockyards National Historic District to enjoy a “Stockyards experience” by seeing the SPIRIT OF THE WEST movie. Afterward, meet the drivers/cowboys of the Fort Worth Herd and see a Longhorn cattle drive before visiting the TEXAS COWBOY HALL OF FAME. It’s here that the museum pays tribute to over 70 cowboys and cowgirls who have excelled in the sport of rodeo, and Western lifestyle. Depart the Stockyards and return to Dallas, where the evening is free. (CB)
Day #3 Dallas. Excursion to the Southfork Ranch. The day begins with a city sightseeing tour of Dallas that includes Pioneer Plaza, commemorating the trails that brought settlers to Dallas and cattle to market, the Historic West End, and Dealy Plaza, where history buffs can learn all about this moment in history at the SIXTH FLOOR MUSEUM, the location from which the alleged killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired the lethal shots on 22 November, 1963, that killed President John F. Kennedy. This afternoon, visit the legendary SOUTHFORK RANCH. Internationally renowned as the filming location for the Dallas television series, Southfork Ranch is known worldwide as America’s most famous ranch. Today you are welcomed to revisit the Ewings with a tour of the ranch. Walk through the museum and see where Bobby swam laps in his Olympic-sized pool. (CB)
Day #4 Dallas–Austin. Listen closely and you’ll hear the sounds that make Austin the “Live Music Capital of the World.” From blues and indie rock to country, jazz, and more, Austin’s nearly 200 live music venues will surely grab your attention. Upon arrival, visit the BOB BULLOCK STATE HISTORY MUSEUM that tells the “Story of Texas.” Afterward, enjoy a city sightseeing tour that features Austin’s historic downtown, including historic Sixth Street, the Texas Capitol complex, Governor’s Mansion, and the University of Texas. (CB)
Day #5 Austin–San Antonio. Today we make our way to the most visited city in Texas—San Antonio. From the stones of the Alamo to the meandering paths of the historic River Walk, San Antonio takes you on a journey through a land as grand as its reputation. Upon arrival and prior to enjoying a Thanksgiving Day Feast, take a stroll along the Cobblestone sidewalks of the River Walk to uncover the Spanish colonial architecture, and fountain-laden parks and plazas that makes San Antonio one of America’s most picturesque cities. (CB, D)
Day #6 San Antonio. Today’s guided sightseeing begins with a visit to the SAN FERNANDO CATHEDRAL, the oldest Cathedral in the United States. Your guide will introduce you to the art, history, and architecture of the Cathedral. Walk the lines drawn for independence when you visit the ALAMO—one of five Spanish colonial missions. It was here that a small band of Texans held out for 13 days against the Mexican army. Although the Alamo fell, the phrase "Remember the Alamo!" has come to symbolize courage and sacrifice for the cause of liberty. Afterwards experience downtown’s authentic Mexican marketplace, El Mercado. Interact with working artists or sample local cuisine at family-owned restaurants in the largest Mexican market north of the Rio Grande. Tonight special arrangements have been made for you to enjoy the RIVER PARADE AND HOLIDAY LIGHTING, along the River Walk. Enjoy the floating parade of approximately 25 professionally decorated and lighted River Barges from your reserved seats. (CB)
Day #7 San Antonio. Day Excursion To Fredericksburg. A short drive from San Antonio is the LYNDON B. JOHNSON NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK. Hear the story of the 36th President, from his ancestors to his final resting place, at his beloved LBJ Ranch in Texas Hill Country. Visit the TEXAS WHITE HOUSE, including the President’s Office, living room, dining room, den, and yellow sitting room, restored to their 1963-1968 appearance. Next, visit one of the largest working WILDFLOWER FARMS in the U.S. Enjoy a WINE TASTING before returning to San Antonio. (CB)
Day #8 San Antonio–Houston. Houston is a city of firsts–home to the first successful human heart transplant and America’s first public television station, and the first word spoken on the Moon. Gain an appreciation for Houston’s rich history on a sightseeing tour of America’s fourth-largest city that includes the Theatre District that is second only to New York City. You’ll marvel at the world-famous Texas Medical Center, whose 675 acres and 42 nonprofit institutions make it the largest medical complex in the world. Enjoy a world-class view from the highest sky lobby in Texas from the 60th floor of the JP Morgan Chase Tower. Last but not least is a visit to Downtown Houston’s Tunnel System that takes you 20 feet underground to stroll through an interconnected series of restaurants, shops, and world-class architecture. (CB)
Day #9 Houston. A special highlight today is a visit to Johnson Space Center, home of NASA and the U.S. Space Program. Take a look behind the scenes on a guided tram tour of JOHNSON SPACE CENTER. Be a part of history in the making as you witness engineers, scientists, and astronauts shaping the future of space exploration. With this behind-the-scenes journey, you will also visit the Historic Apollo Mission Control Center, Hangar X, and the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. (CB)NOTE:The buildings visited on the tram tour are real working areas of Johnson Space Center and are subject to closure without notice.
Day #10 Houston–Lake Charles–Lafayette. Embark on a journey along the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road through one of our nation’s last great wilderness areas. In Lafayette, board your boat for a CRUISE through the winding, swampy waterways of the Atchafalaya Basin. Afterward, enjoy a visit to VERMILLIONVILLE on the banks of the bayou. This Cajun/Creole heritage and folklife park recreates life in the Acadiana area between 1765 and 1890. Next, visit AVERY ISLAND. Surrounded by swamps and marshes, Avery Island is a mysteriously beautiful place inhabited by exotic plant and animal species from around the world. It’s also the home of world-famous Tabasco Sauce. Tour the Visitor Center and learn how peppers are grown, harvested, and turned into sauce. (CB)
Day #11 Lafayette–New Orleans. This morning begins with a guided visit to the HOUMAS HOUSE PLANTATION & GARDENS. History is reflected in the many antique furnishings and works of art that grace the home. In 1963, the defining Bette Davis film, Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte, was shot on the property. We continue our journey across Bayou Country into New Orleans, the capital of Dixieland and the “City Care Forgot.” Upon arrival, a guided sightseeing tour focuses on the sights and sounds of New Orleans, featuring French Quarter landmarks: St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, and a visit to a unique above-ground cemetery. The rest of the day is at leisure. (B)
Day #12 New Orleans. A full day at leisure. Roam through the centuries-old French Quarter or take a carriage ride while listening to tales of voodoo queens and pirates. History enthusiasts can roam through sprawling Victorian mansions and celebrated museums, catching a glimpse of life the way it used to be in the Old South. Tonight you might like to experience the city’s beauty and romance on a 2-hour cruise from the heart of the French Quarter on New Orleans’ only steamboat.
Day #13 New Orleans. The trip ends today with guests departing on individual schedules. Transfers to New Orleans International Airport are included. You can extend your vacation in New Orleans with extra nights and a variety of exciting optional activities.