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Written by Lois Rodriguez

BOYKINSPRINGS1When photographer Carolyn Tracy and I sign on to curate a guide to 100 of the best places to swim in the state, we know we are taking on a mighty task. Five months and 20,000 miles on the odometer later, we have hard proof. Start-ing out, we grapple with two questions: How do you organize the geography of a state as diverse as Texas? And how could two shy city-folk manage to cover so much ground in a single summer? We sit at Hard Luck Lounge in Austin, open maps and drop pins on the places we know we want to visit. For the rest, we use our common sense. We get on the road and follow the rivers.

Baby Elephant Joy 0004 6356After a two-year pregnancy, the Houston Zoo's 26-year-old Asian elephant Shanti gave birth to a 305-pound female at 8:27 p.m. on Wednesday, July 12. The calf, named Joy, began to nurse within three hours.

Diego Rivera JuchitMonday mornings can be difficult. To combat that first-day-of-the-week blues, we’ll give you something to anticipate with highlights of what’s upcoming and new in the world of Texas travel.

celisMonday mornings can be difficult. To combat that first-day-of-the-week blues, we’ll give you something to anticipate with highlights of what’s upcoming and new in the world of Texas travel.

Smoked BrisketIf traversing the Chisholm Trail has upped your hankering for beef, the Texas Beef Council is happy to sate your cravings. Their website, for "Beef Loving Texans," offers recipes, stories, cooking and shopping tips, as well as nutrition information to help you find your way.

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