My Texas Bucket List


I did not grow up in Texas.  I didn’t go to school here either.  Although I spent many summers in Dallas at my grandparents’ house, we kids preferred the pool.  After living in Coastal San Diego for many years, we’ve spent these past two years in Waco trying to accomplish some things we think represent Texas.  So I’m counting down my Top 10 Texas Bucket List, most of which I have already accomplished, but the last few are yet to come!

10. Tubing down the Guadalupe River – This was such a fun experience!  I went with a few girlfriends, and we rented tubes and carried our snacks and beverages and floated our carefree selves down the river.  There are numerous river rental companies and variety of float option lengths.  We lunched at the Gristmeal and stopped at The San Marcos Outlets on the way home.

9. Shop at Round Top – Speaking of shopping, this was one of the ultimate Texas experiences!  Miles and miles of flea market vendors – you can find it all from antique and rustic to new and trendy.  My favorite spots were the Blue Hills shops and Junk Gypsy Company.  Again, I went with girlfriends, and we rented a house and spent 2 nights so we could have 3 days to shop.  Even then it was not enough if you intend to see it ALL.  Being the first time for most of us, we learned where we’d change where we’d start first next time.  We ran out of energy (& cash) to get to Marburger Farm, which has 350+ dealers on 43 acres! My biggest lessons to pass on are to wear comfortable shoes, have cash, and make reservations for dinner ahead of time and for the accommodations even earlier.

8. Boating on a lake (Fishing or Wakeboarding optional) – The lake just before sunset was one of the most peaceful moments I’ve experienced since living here.  Much to my husband’s disappointment we don’t own a boat, but we were invited to go out on someone else’s for an afternoon of cruising around Lake Belton and my husband and kids tried out wake surfing for the first time.  It brought back memories of when I was a kid on the lake with my Grandfather.  Thankfully, no one in my family has fears of lake water (I know many people do), so they were able to swim and enjoy the experience.  It was a weekday, so there was hardly anyone there.

7. Go someplace where cowboy boots are actually required – Growing up in Arizona and with horses on our property, I had functional reasons to wear boots.  No one wants to get stepped on by a horse or bitten by a snake (or ants).  Here in Texas, since we don’t live on a ranch, and I haven’t found anyone to go horseback riding with yet, we have really only worn boots to go to a cowboy-themed party.  I know if I was a college girl, I could just wear them with a dress to Baylor football games, but 1. I don’t go to many games and 2. I’m 40+ so is that still ok?

6. Friday Night Lights – Football, football, football.  It’s in the air here.  And since our son was entering 7th grade, we jumped right in with him joining the six-man team at his school.  I’m the first to admit, that I still don’t understand it all, but it’s a culture to go to be a part of the crowd and scream and shout at the field (or the refs).

5. Meet Chip and Joanna – Yup, we did that.  Love them.

4. Camping Under the Big Texas Sky – I am about to do this.  My husband and kids have already done this.  In California, we camped on the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean.  My upcoming trip will be at Pedernales Falls.  I will be bringing a cot and spending it with 30+ seventh graders, so maybe that’s not the best way to judge Texas camping, but it will be a start.  And it will be an instigator for me to get back into the camping mindset.  My preferred camping style is in a trailer with access to actual bathrooms and showers, and maybe even access to a nearby store/restaurant.

3. Ride a Mechanical Bull – I mean come on.  Don’t I just have to at least once?  But then again, I am 40+…

2. Big Bend National Park – I’ve seen the pictures and heard the firsthand testimonies that it is really beautiful.  And I honestly miss mountains here in Central Texas, so I feel like we need to see what this has to offer.  Too bad it’s a nine hour drive and my family would rather find mountains with snow and ski lifts.  I heard the Texas trend for that is to go to Colorado?

1. See the Texas Coast – Aside from the recent destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey, we have been told not to expect what we former San Diegans think of as “the Coast.”  We used to spend Easter morning at sunrise service on the beach, so I keep thinking we should try to experience that on the Gulf Coast where the sun would actually rise over the water.

So, you Texans reading this, what do you think about my Texas Bucket List?  And those of you like us who’ve recently moved to Texas, what have you done on my list or what would you add?


  1. We are temporarily living in Texas and, like you, have a list of things to accomplish before returning to Montana. One of the favorite things we have done is San Antonio River Walk at Christmas time. Cruising the canals with christmas lights hanging from the trees overhead was positively magical! We drove through the Hill Country on the way home to check another item off our list.

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