Dallas, New Orleans, Houston - in 10 days? Advice welcome!
Replies: 45 - Last Post: Aug 3, 2012 7:35 AM Last Post By: gawkabout
Jul 24, 2012 5:58 AM
I am from the UK and my husband, my brother and his girlfriend are looking to do a road trip, lasting around 10 days (maybe longer?).
We are thinking of flying into either Dallas or Houston, going to New Orleans, then out of Dallas or Houston (depending on where we flew into!) and visiting places along the way.
Never been to this part of the US. Our main focus is New Orleans but thought we should explore other places while we are nearby! (We have done a Californian road trip and loved it, so thought we should do another one!)
We are between 27-35 years of age. Looking for friendly places to go. Love music and food (looking forward to BBQ and Cajun food!). Will be doing this trip in April 2013. Just wondered what recommendations there are? San Antonio maybe? Places along the coast?
Any suggestions are welcome! :-)
Jul 24, 2012 6:18 AM
1Houston is not interesting, and by most accounts neither is Dallas. You can find things to do in either place if you find yourself there, but they are not destinations.
Austin and San Antonio are destinations.
Texas barbecue is generally beef brisket, which may or may not be what you think of as barbecue.
There is much better food in New Orleans than Cajun food, although you can find Cajun food there, as you can in most US cities. Lafayette, Lousiana, is the center of Cajun country.
This is not a scenic area. Very flat, which makes for easy if boring driving. The exception would be the Texas hill country, north of San Antonio, which might be very pretty in April. I had pretty good barbecue at Rudy's in New Braunfels, but I wouldn't make a detour for it. The coast is mainly devoted to the oil industry.
Jul 24, 2012 6:27 AM
Jul 24, 2012 6:35 AM
Jul 24, 2012 7:03 AM
4I have only seen Brisket on TV food channels, but it looks amazing. I think it's correct to say that the UK think of BBQ as 'grilled'; but to be honest we (on this trip) are all meat lovers and open to trying new ways of eating it!
And yes of course, Creole cuisine! Again, only ever heard about it, never experienced it but really looking forward to trying new things :-)
Thanks for the suggestions! Will definitely look at Austin and San Antonio. We aren't so bothered about the drive being scenic I don't think, we just want to go to interesting places with good food and friendly people, which I guess is what everyone wants! :-)
Jul 24, 2012 7:30 AM
5As a person who lives in Dallas, has lived in Austin, and frequently travels to both San Antonio and New Orleans for work and pleasure, I can assure you that you can easily fill 10 days with any of the above.
Keep in mind, that the distances are somewhat far, and in order to avoid too much driving, I'd plan on either (a) New Orleans/ Dallas/Ft. Worth; (b) Houston/Nola; or (c) Austin/San Antonio/ Nola.
Depending on your interests, which sound mainly like food, then I would suggest trip (c). New Orleans has an amazing variety of foods, as well it should for a traditional inland port. Lonely Planet's city guide is actually quite spot on with this one. I'd suggest Felix's for chargrilled oysters (right across the street from the somewhat touristy Acme oyster house), Coops, down near the French Market for fried chicken and general Louisiana fair. You may have to wait, but both are worth it. Plus it's an excuse to spend some time wondering the French Quarter. Don't forget croissants and quiches at the Croissant d'or. It's on Ursuline, I think in the block with Royal.
Austin is the capitol of the Great State of Texas and has all sorts of goodies. The trend now is food wise is gourmet food trucks. You can find out what's the in thing by checking out the weekly free paper, Austin Chronicle. They have an online version as well you can plan with. Probably the most friendly city folks you will ever meet are in Austin. Being the political as well as intellectual capitol of Texas (the University of Texas is there, with something around 50,000 undergrads) you're bound to run into someone both friendly and interesting.
San Antonio is one of the oldest and most interesting cities in Texas (in my book). You should check out all the Spanish colonial missions (there are five in the city limits) and there's plenty to eat as well.
Houston/Dallas - these two are like the big city "rivals" of the state. Each claims that it is better for some reason or another, but in truth, they're both very large, vibrant cosmopolitan cities. They have great museums and seem to be competing to put up the newest and best of both. They are both quite large, however, and you can eat up a lot of time trying to make it around to all the sites.
If it were me, as I'd said, I'd focus on New Orleans and Austin/San Antonio.
Jul 24, 2012 7:34 AM
6One last thing -
In Texas, BBQ means beef brisket, pork ribs and sausage slow smoked, typically over a hard wood (mesquite, hickory, etc.). "Grilled" is a completely distinct process.
Texans often hold themselves apart from the rest of the country in many respects (to the chagrin/jealousy/humor of many). BBQ is probably close to the apex of these. If you're really interested in Texas bbq, Texas Monthy, a regional interest magazine (w/ website) has lots of info/suggestions.
Most of the best bbq places are kept by eccentric individuals with irregular hours, so you're best to check more localized/food specific websites nearer your trip.
Jul 24, 2012 9:24 AM
7I would suggest spending a night in Cajun country -- lots of great food. We stayed at Bayou Cabins in Breaux Bridge, where they make their own boudin and cracklin. Mulates, a Cajun seafood restaurant, if 5 minutes away. You can also get crawdads, po' boys, etc at various small stores along the way.
You can also rent a canoe at Lake Fausse Point State Park and explore the bayou on your own, or take a "swamp tour" out of New Orleans.
Jul 24, 2012 9:45 AM
8Fly into Dallas. Try the Hotel ZaZa. Pricey but fun. If you have interest in American history you might visit Dealey Plaza. http://www.jfk.org/
Next day early drive to Ft. Worth for half a day. Back towards Dallas to visit and shop in the nearby over the bridge Bishops's Art District neighborhood. http://bishopartsdistrict.weebly.com/
Have some pie at Norma's Cafe on W. Davis Street on Oakcliff; http://www.normascafe.com/locations/
If your schedule permits Canton First Monday Trade Days is unbelievable. http://www.firstmondaycanton.com/ Canton is off of I-20 which is the route I would take heading to New Orleans via Shreveport. After spending a good 4 hours in Canton back on the road East to Shreveport.
About a 4 hour drive.
At least one or maybe two overnights in Shreveport. Home to many festivals check their schedule to see if you'll be in town during one of them. Something like this: http://holidayindixie.com/festival-events/
Have some catfish at Johnny's, or try Crawdaddy's or Bodacious BBQ across the river in Bossier City.
Next travel south on I49 to New Orleans.
Jul 24, 2012 1:23 PM
Jul 25, 2012 3:33 AM
Jul 27, 2012 5:08 PM
11Ten days is not really enough time to cover Dallas, Houston, NO and points in between in an enjoyable way. Unless you can extend your travel time, it would make more sense to limit yourself to one of two regions, each dictated by which airport (DFW or IAH) you arrive at from the UK.
Houston - trip centered on South Louisiana - the Cajun country and New Orleans. Others have told you of the many great places to see and do - also swamp tours, plantation homes (like Oak Alley), Avery Island, gambling in the Indian casinos in LA (if this is your cup of tea), etc,.. Remember the flights from LHR will arrive in mid-afternoon or so - you will need to clear immigration, and IAH is on the north side of town so you will have to fight the traffic just to get to Interstate 10 and on your way to the LA state line.
Dallas - trip centered on the Texas Hill Country, - many small towns, drives, springs, (including possible stops in Austin - nice enough for a day or two if you like college towns and/or San Antonio - are you Phil Collins-style British Alamo buffs? And don't discount Dallas or Fort Worth - they have things to do and see.
And here is where a possible choice - Texas Hill Country versus South LA - is going to get interesting. That's because the planned time of your trip (APRIL 2013) coincides with a once-a-year event. Was your travel time chosen on purpose, or did you not realize that April - especially the first to mid part of the month is bluebonnet season in the Texas Hill Country? The Hill Country is very scenic at any time of year but when it covered in bluebonnets, it is glorious (Google a few images and you'll see).
Jul 29, 2012 12:55 PM
12I live in east Texas, have been to each city you've spoken of... Save yourself, go to Austin or San Antonio! Austin is worth it, and not too far from New Orleans, where San Antonio will be a a stretch.
You should defennitely try some Texas BBQ, grilled is nothing in comparison. Careful on the ribs choice, some are boiled and then grilled where as, in my opinion, smoked ribs are best.
If you want to enjoy good Cajun, search for a crawfish boil, or a festival including such.
Jul 29, 2012 1:23 PM
13The distance between San Antonio and New Orleans is all of 38 miles more than the distance between
Austin and New Orleans. Given what OP says about music, Austin may be more to her liking, but I wouldn't let an extra half hour on the road be the deciding factor. San Antonio is definitely more exotic.
Jul 29, 2012 2:38 PM
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