The Handbook of Texas Online (www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online): The Handbook is an encyclopedia offering concise entries that explain who's who, what's what, and where's where in Texas. It's easy to use and has information on just about everything, from the locations of towns and counties to explanations of some of the state's legends, to biographical data on the many characters who left their mark on Texas history.
Texas Department of Transportation (www.traveltex.com): The state's official tourism website is practically the only site you'll need to type in -- everything else will be a link. We especially like the section that offers easily printable discount coupons, primarily for lodging and attractions.
Texas Outside (www.texasoutside.com): This is a great resource for planning outdoor activities for just about anywhere in the state. It breaks Texas down into different regions and has separate pages for Texas's largest cities. You'll find maps and information on all sorts of outdoor sports, such as hiking, hunting, fishing, biking, and canoeing.
Dallas-Fort Worth Area Official Visitors' Website (www.visitdallas-fortworth.com): For purely practical matters, this frighteningly bureaucratic-sounding address gives you the lowdown on area events and even allows you to download coupons good for saving a few bucks at museums, theme parks, and other local attractions.
Guidelive.com: The entertainment Web page of the Dallas Morning News, North Texas's major newspaper, contains the most current events listings, as well as restaurant, movie, music, and show reviews for both Dallas and Fort Worth. It even has a shopping blog that promises the inside guide to the best local finds and deals.
MySanAntonio.com: The website of the city's only mainstream newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News, not only provides the daily news, but also links to local businesses such as dry cleaners and florists (via its Power Pages) and to movie, nightlife, and dining listings and reviews.
Austin 360 (www.austin360.com): Movie times, traffic reports, restaurant picks, homes, jobs, cars. . . . This site, sponsored in part by the Austin-American Statesman, the city's main newspaper, is a one-stop clicking center for a variety of essentials. It's easy to navigate, too.
Texas fun: We all know the Internet's best for purely personal and marginal interests, so once you're done with your trip planning, check out www.texascooking.com for authentic Texas cooking, including recipes and discussions of mysteries such as the Texas fruitcake subculture conspiracy.
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.