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This route brings you to the four major metro areas in Texas -- Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston -- while diverting for a Gulf Coast getaway on Padre Island National Seashore.

Day 1: Arrive in Dallas-Fort Worth

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is a good starting point for any Texas trip. Rent a car if you don't already have one, and pick lodging accessible to the attractions you want to see in either city and get your bearings. Visit the John F. Kennedy Memorial and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, and, if you have time, make an excursion to Fair Park. After dinner at Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse or another Dallas dining staple, check out Lower Greenville's nightlife.

Day 2: Explore Dallas-Fort Worth

Split time between the artistic highlights of Dallas and Fort Worth, hitting the Arts District in Dallas (be sure to visit the Nasher Sculpture Center), but leave plenty of time to roam in Fort Worth's incomparable Cultural District, where the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and Kimbell Art Museum are must-sees. In the evening, have dinner in the Stockyards National Historic District before paying a visit to Billy Bob's Texas, a mega-country club, or taking in live music at another one of the city's many honky-tonks.

Day 3: Explore Austin

Get going early for the 200-mile drive to Austin. If it's hot, head immediately to Barton Springs Pool, for a dip to cool off. Visit the new Blanton Museum of Art in the afternoon, then make it to the Congress Avenue Bridge for the sundown bat exodus. Have dinner downtown and explore the famed Austin music scene in the Warehouse District, on 6th Street, on Red River, or in South Austin. Stay either downtown or on South Congress at the Austin Motel or the Hotel San José.

Day 4: Explore San Antonio

It's an 80-mile drive south from Austin to San Antonio. Park downtown and visit the Alamo, HemisFair Park, and the San Antonio Museum of Art Alternatively, you could spend the afternoon visiting the five lesser-known missions that compose the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Return downtown for some time on the River Walk, culminating in dinner at one of the many restaurants in the vicinity.

Days 5-6: Explore Padre Island National Seashore

From San Antonio, head down to Padre Island Seashore, a 180-mile drive, and take your time unwinding from the hectic urban pace of the first 4 days of the trip. Explore Padre Island National Seashore. Take time to wander the beach, surf, fish, swim, or simply read a book and nap in the sun. Stay in Corpus Christi, or -- if you are up for more driving -- head farther down the Gulf Coast to South Padre Island. But, as it's a 410-mile drive to Galveston, you might want to start heading north sometime in the afternoon of Day 6.

Day 7: Explore Galveston & Houston

From Corpus Christi, it's about 150 miles to Galveston, where you can spend more time on the beach or delve into the city's fascinating history. Drive back east into Houston for the afternoon to visit Space Center Houston before dining at one of Houston's many terrific eateries.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.