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Welcome to Texas


Home to an estimated 16-million cattle, the vast and varied state of Texas, second largest state in the US, has plenty of people too in its half-dozen huge cities. It has often been said that everything is bigger and better in Texas, and visitors who have explored the state tend to agree.

Between its Gulf Coast in the southeast and the Red River boundary north of the Panhandle there are plains, rolling hills, lakes, soaring mountains, bogs, beaches and desert. In Texas' large cities like Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio it is possible to swap the bright lights for a day at the ranch at the drop of a cowboy hat, or soak up culture at a world-class art gallery before taking a stroll through a scenic park. Outside the urban enclaves Texas has 23-million acres of woodlands, including four national forests and 125 state parks, from the great pine forests of the south and east to the rugged mountains of the west.

Most are aware that Texas is home to the largest oil industry in the US, but visitors are generally surprised to discover that the state has one of the country's biggest wine-growing regions too; that Austin is a musical Mecca; that Texas is leading the country in high-tech production; and that it is at the heart of a gourmet movement with some of the nation's finest restaurants within its borders.

Historically the Texas plains were the haunt of Native American tribes like the Comanches and Apaches. The Spanish put in an appearance in 1519 but only began settlements in 1690. In the ensuing centuries Texas became a conglomeration of settlements of various immigrant groups, becoming an independent republic for 10 years with its characteristic Lone Star flag, before acquiring statehood in 1845.

The word Texas is a corruption of a Native American term for 'friend', and the friendliness of the cosmopolitan Texan people is the cherry on the top for a state that has something to cater for everyone's interests, whether it be space flight or rodeo riding.

Information & Facts


Texas is a very large state, with an incredibly diverse topography and therefore the Texas climate is hard to pinpoint. The Gulf Coast has a typically maritime climate, with hot, humid summers and mild winters. The central and northern areas are more continental, with hot summers and cold winters. Dry and hot conditions exist along the Mexican border in the southwest, and in the northwest, in the Texas/Oklahoma panhandle, winters are colder with snowfall a common occurrence. The state has two principal seasons - summer usually runs from about April to October, and winter begins in November, lasting until about March. In summer, temperatures can range from 96°F (36°C) in El Paso in the southwest, to 91°F (33°C) in Amarillo in the panhandle, to 88°F (31°C) on the Gulf Coast, while winter temperatures in the same three areas can range from 29°F (-2°C), to a more mild 48°F (9°C) on the Gulf Coast. The rainfall is Texas can vary too, with the western areas experiencing the least amount and east and southeast along the Gulf of Mexico experiencing the most. The Gulf Coast is susceptible to hurricanes, and tornadoes also occur, and the state has experienced severe floods, as well as droughts.

Getting Around

Tourist attractions in and around Amarillo are best accessed by car. There are numerous car rental agencies to choose from and the city is rarely very congested. The Amarillo City Transit bus service operates from Monday to Saturday, covering major points in the city, but only runs until 6.45pm.

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

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