Get Out guide to spring break (video)
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Spring break is upon us. Pictures of campfires, sun block and ice cold beverages percolate into the minds of many when this time of year comes around. Some seek solitude at home, others seek adventure on the road.
We hit the road and consulted the experts for the some potentially memorable - or unmentionable - moments. We present you with spring break served three ways.
1. Camp crusade to Goose Island
The Crossroads is a short drive to the beach, and most beaches in the area make for great camping. Rockport's Goose Island State Park will see its fair share of visitors during spring break, said the park's office manager, Jessica Rosalez. Visitors will hit the ever-popular vacation spot to spend some time with nature, fishing or camping on the bayfront.
"We see a range of all types of people," she said.
For $5 a day, spring breakers can venture to Goose Island for fun under the sun and wading in the water. The vast 321.4 acres host campgrounds for outdoor enthusiasts both young and old.
One of the state park's main attractions is The Big Tree. Estimated to be more than 1,000 years old, the live oak is believed to be one of the largest in the nation.
"It's so huge, it makes everyone look like a dwarf under it," she said.
Along the way to the Goose Island, travelers will drive through a winding road through different Texas terrain.
• Heading south on U.S. Highway 77, there is a little place that draws the attention of the driver with its big ol' brown-and-white pig perched along side it. Aunt Jo's BBQ is hidden under the branches of several oak trees and serves a menu of barbecue favorites.
• Take the scenic route through Tivoli. The unincorporated community has around 500 people living in it, and is home to some quaint, old-fashioned homes. Worth a minor detour if you've ever wondered what it would be like to live in an older time.
• The Big Tree in Lamar is exactly what it sounds like - It's a big tree. The Coastal Live Oak has a trunk measuring 35 feet in diameter.
Once you've made it to Goose Island, pick a campground and enjoy what nature has in store. There are multiple campgrounds available depending on what the visitors want, Rosalez said, ranging from electric amenities to premium bayfront locations.
2. Grab a drink, clink
Texas may not be a major producer of hops, barley or even grapes, but that doesn't mean Texas can't produce its fair share of delicious brews, wines and spirits.
With a designated driver in tow, prepare for imbibing, history and science.
• Spoetzel Brewery is an area gem where people can learn about one of the Lone Star state's favorite beers, Shiner Bock. Visitors can see where their Shiner beers are brewed and bottled and enjoy a few drinks on the house while thumbing through the Shiner merchandise in the hospitality room.
• Stop in Luling for some top-notch barbecue at City Market. After sampling the different brews at Spoetzel, we're sure you're going to need to stuff face with some finger-licking good barbecue. The lines get long, but the food is worth the wait.
• After the barbecue-induced coma subsides, visit Three Dudes Winery to indulge in a few tastings from the San Marcos wine producer. The winery also offers visitors a riverside terrace and patio that overlooks the San Marcos River.
If you plan your trip accordingly, stay the night in New Braunfels and be sure to check out Old Gruene Hall, Texas' oldest dance hall. Visit during the third weekend of the month and enjoy the Old Gruene Market Days. At night, pull on your dancing boots and dance to live music.
3. Boardwalk empire
If you're looking for shrills and thrills, Kemah Boardwalk is the way to go.
On the outskirts of Houston, the boardwalk is a fun destination for the gourmand, adrenaline junkie and shopaholic.
• The Houston Zoo, in Hermann Park, is a wildlife getaway right in the heart of the city. Building tops peek over the trees and line the back of the animal exhibits reminding you where you are, but the giraffes and lions will make your pulse race. There's even a petting zoo and shows daily to entertain.
Once you arrive at Kemah, find a parking spot and start your adventure. Ride the Boardwalk Bullet, Kemah's very own wooden rollercoaster with a 96-foot ascent and 94-foot drop. There are plenty prizes to be won at the many carnival-style games located along the boardwalk. When you've developed an appetite, indulge in fresh seafood from the row of restaurants around the boardwalk, including Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., the Flying Dutchman Restaurant and Oyster Bar.
If rides aren't your thing, be sure to check out the aquarium where visitors can pet and feed live stingrays. The smooth sea creatures are sure to excite visitors of all ages.