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

Cast Away Your Cares on Six Texas Islands

“Islands will always be places we project onto,” writes Judith Schalansky, the German author and designer of Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands. Their inaccessibility is part of their allure, the crossing over water a literal rite of passage—the more remote, the more deserted, the better. And Texans have options: From my experience, you can pitch a tent on the mud, sand, and weeds of islands in East Texas rivers; string up a hammock between bald cypress trees on a crescent-shaped gravel bar on a Hill Country stream; and lug your gear across the wooden footbridge at Martin Creek Lake State Park near Tatum to spend a night among the pines on an island ringed by a short hiking trail.

An Unplugged Travel Challenge Through the Rio Grande Valley Leads to Unexpected Detours and Rewards

After U-turns on the edges of grapefruit groves, repeated pullovers to study our Rio Grande Valley street guide, and a precarious three-point turn on the narrow levee road where a border patrol truck blocks our path, we are really lost. Like so many wanderers before us, we are searching for La Lomita Mission, which a local history buff named Frank told me about at an Edinburg bar the night before. “Just travel the Old Military Highway that goes along the Rio Grande,” Frank said. What Frank didn’t say was that Military Highway, much like the river it runs along, is a trickster that stops, starts, and twists in unexpected ways.

Inspired by John Graves’ “Goodbye to a River,” a Writer Returns to Her Roots on the Guadalupe

For three days, the blue heron leads us downriver. In the mornings we push off in canoes through the olive green...

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.

Experience One of the Best Live Music Scenes in Texas at Houston’s Silver Slipper

In broad daylight, the Silver Slipper is hardly a looker. The compact building 4 miles northeast of downtown Houston is about as long and wide as an eight-lane bowling alley—“indistinct Minimal Traditional,” according to The Handbook of Texas. Three days a week, it’s a bar, short-order eatery, and neighborhood hangout.

History, Art, and Colorful Fall Foliage Distinguish the Great Plains Town of Canadian

Not far from the banks of the Canadian River, tucked among the River Valley Pioneer Museum’s artifacts of Panhandle ranching and railroad history, black-and-white portraits gaze from the gallery wall as if they’ve been waiting patiently for a century to look you in the eye.

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.

18 Places to Go in Texas in 2018

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

Scale Five Peaks in One Week on This Epic West Texas Road Trip

A mile or two into my hike to the top of Mount Livermore in the Davis Mountains, I stepped to the side of the trail as two speedsters overtook me on the uphill slope. “I guess that’s where we’re headed,” I said, nodding to a rocky outcrop on the horizon far above. “Nope,” one of them responded. “Baldy Peak is beyond that—you can’t see it yet.”

These 10 Texas Nature Conservancy Preserves Offer Public Access—and Plenty of Awe-Inspiring Sights

Waltz across Texas and you’ll find coastal marshes where alligators lurk, spring-fed pools in the middle of the desert, and green-blue...

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