For our family trip over the summer, we decided to brave the heat and visit our extended family in Texas! We traveled to Houston, San Antonio, and Austin in a span of 10 days. My sis was a little hesitant at first, since traveling with her 2 year old without her hubby around seemed too taxing, but we convinced her it’d be ok given all the family that will be around to help out. Besides, the flight from SFO to Houston is short, and would be totally manageable at just under 4 hours. Little did we anticipate that Brady’s energy level would remain so high throughout the entire flight…😅
We survived the flight and were thrilled to settle into my aunt and uncle’s lovely home in Houston, where Brady was free to run around to expend his endless amount of energy. 🙂
We spent our first few days in Houston, where we took it easy and enjoyed afternoon swims, target runs, and boba milk tea in between meals with our family.
One really awesome restaurant we discovered was Yauatcha, a modern Asian-Fusian restaurant serving dim sum, Chinese food, and cocktails. Initially when we stepped into the restaurant, we were a bit wary of it being one of those fancy, overpriced, inauthentic Chinese restaurants catering to Americans. But, we were all pleasantly surprised at how good the food was! Even Brianne and Bridgette, who usually groan collectively when we tell them we’re having dim sum, found themselves loving the food at Yauatcha. It was definitely much more pricier than your usual dim sum place, but we agreed that the quality of the food was well worth it.
After a few restful and relaxing days in Houston, we packed our bags and drove 3 hours west to San Antonio. There, we stayed for 2 nights and did all the touristy things, including a visit to The Alamo Mission, a leisurely stroll + boat ride along the San Antonio River Walk, an afternoon wandering around Pearl Brewery, and ended with a really fun visit to the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch where we got to drive through acres of land to feed wild animals!
Our favorite was the river walk, as it was so pretty, with lots of cute shops and restaurants to check out. The boat ride was uneventful, but informative. The Alamo was a bit underwhelming, and waiting in line for 30 minutes under the scorching Texas heat did not sit well with the kids and the elderlies. Pearl Brewery was a nice stroll with some great eateries, and there is even live music in the evening where you can sprawl on the grass to have a nice picnic while your kids play in the nearby water fountain! The Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch was a big hit with our kids. You get to sit in the comfort of your car, with the a/c on, while driving through acres of land to see and feed wildlife. Brady’s favorite was the zebra, who gave him him a big toothy grin to thank him for the food, lol.
Next up was Austin, Texas, and the drive was only a little over 2 hours from San Antonio. En route, we stopped at the famous Buc-ee, a ginormous gas station that nearly rivels Costco in its size. I guess everything IS bigger in Texas!
There is so much to do in Austin, and we only had 2 days, so we packed our schedule pretty tightly there. We started off with a tour of the Texas State Capitol, which turned out to be a good homeschooling lesson for Bridgette to learn a little about the Senate and House of Representatives.
After dinner, we rushed over to the Congress Avenue bridge for some bat watching. From March to October, an estimated 1.5 million bats emerge every night from the small crevices underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge around sunset. Vantage points for this amazing viewing includes the pedestrian walkway on the bridge, a large green area below the bridge, and if you are really into bat watching, you can join a local tour where they will take you out in a boat for the best view. We opted to watch it just on the bridge, and I got goosebumps when the seemingly endless array of bats came flying out right at sunset. They were so fast that you couldn’t really tell they were bats if you didn’t know, but because we did know, we were completely mesmerized by the view!
Part 2 coming soon!