As 2018 comes to a close, we’re taking a look back at the 10 most-read stories of the year on texashighways.com.

18 Places to Go in Texas in 2018

From El Paso to Galveston, uncover our top 18 travel must-dos for 2018.

Paddling the Devils River in Southwest Texas Offers High Risks and High Rewards

You find two kinds of paddlers on the Devils River: those who come out here whenever possible and those who will never do it again. Or so the saying goes.

I was pondering this thought one morning on the river as I clambered out of my kayak to perch on a boulder and peer 100 yards downstream at a serene pool flanked by sloping slabs of limestone. In between lay Dandridge Falls, a series of cascading rapids that coursed and swirled through chutes, over small ledges, and around protruding boulders and brush.

Ray Wylie Hubbard Revisits the Snake Farm That Inspired His Famous Song

Any good songwriter knows when the muse strikes, write it down. For Ray Wylie Hubbard, it was maybe the 10,000th time he was driving southbound on Interstate 35 from New Braunfels toward San Antonio, passing Exit 182 at Engel Road and the so-big-you-can’t-miss-it sign that screamed “SNAKE FARM” in red and black letters. The words, meant to entice drivers to stop at the long-running roadside attraction, conjured the image of a farm full of snakes, and Hubbard physically shuddered.

3 Places to Eat Barbecued Crab in Texas This Summer

Barbecued crab, a coastal delicacy born in a tiny corner of Southeast Texas, is tender, juicy, and laced with spice. This misnamed meal isn’t barbecue, though, which I realized some years ago when my friend Carolyn invited me home from college to visit her family in Beaumont, promising we’d eat something not found anywhere else.

Find Rustic Relaxation on the Nueces River at Camp Wood in the Hill Country

The Nueces River valley plummets from the Edwards Plateau with the abruptness of a summer squall. The topography plunges from dry to drenched when you cruise south from Rocksprings on State Highway 55, blank skies giving way to blue-green canopies of oaks and pecans as the road abandons the grassless flats for glimpses of resplendent waters that seem to chase canyon twilight into the brightness of day. Here, the Nueces River finds its voice: a convergence of forks, prongs, creeks, and springs that begin their last odyssey to the Gulf of Mexico as one.

Port Aransas to Beachgoers: Come on Back

Anticipation grows as you roll down the window and drive onto the Port Aransas ferry to cross the narrow channel to Mustang Island. Salty air invades the senses, and sunrays glint on the shifting waters where dolphins play. As you disembark into the heart of this historic fishing town, brown pelicans skim the water for dinner or perch on weathered piers. Fishing boats rock gently in the harbor, rigged for their work in nearby bays or the open ocean.

Has Brenham Become the Hamptons of Texas?

There aren’t enough synonyms for “quaint” in describing Brenham, that rare landlocked town that feels like it should have a lighthouse. Arranged around an Art Deco courthouse which, built in 1939, is one of the newer buildings downtown, Brenham keeps history in its place.

33 Roadside Restaurants for Your Next Texas Road Trip

Texas is vast, and the decisions are wide open when hunger strikes on those long hauls across the state. Sure, you could pull up to the nearest drive-thru window (again), but there’s nothing boldest or grandest about a bag of fast food—especially when exceptional mom-and-pop restaurants are dishing up affordable comfort a little farther down the line. Whether you’re hankering for a taste of home or the meal less traveled, sometimes you just need to get out of the car and into a diner booth.

Why Every Woman Should Take a Solo Road Trip

One sunny morning in July, on an otherwise unremarkable Wednesday, I slide into the driver’s seat of my car and head south. I pull onto the highway, a map of Texas in the passenger seat, like an ancient rune from a time before GPS, and I watch as the billboards turn unfamiliar and disappear. Big-box stores and strip malls turn to metal silos, oil refineries, and wheat fields.

At Paisano Ranch, the Spirit of J. Frank Dobie—and the Muses—Abide

My personal slice of Texas paradise lies 14 miles southwest of Austin, tucked into the idyllic canyon that cradles an immaculate stretch of Barton Creek. The Paisano Ranch is a 245-acre retreat owned by the University of Texas at Austin, and it has been awarding fellowships to a few select writers every year since 1967. My lucky number came up in 2010 when I spent three blissful summer months nestled in this sanctuary.

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