Texas is the second largest state in the US, boasting plenty of great places to visit. Sure you could head straight for the museums, but if it’s just you and that special someone, you could spend your time in some of the more romantic spots in the state.

The River Walk in San Antonio

river walkCreativecommons.org/ Mathieu Plourde

Along the banks of the San Antonio River is a network of walkways that take pedestrians through a variety of charming shops and restaurants located below the regular city streets. It loops along the river and under bridges as it connects to some of the city’s major tourist attractions, but you don’t need to step off the walkway to enjoy San Antonio. Along the walk there are ever-changing art and craft displays, as well as the occasional busker or street artist.

Reminiscent of similar designs in Europe, the path takes you by outdoor cafes and alongside graceful trees that overhang the pavement. Stop for a glass of wine at a bar and watch the river boats glide by as you and your sweetie enjoy each other’s company. As the night falls the lights come up and the River Walk changes from charming to romantic.

Padre Island National Seashore

padre islandCreativecommons.org/ cypher386

This is the world’s longest undeveloped barrier island and it's filled with birds, wildlife and history. The island had a settlement at the southern tip for a number of years and the island is named after the Spanish priest who helped establish the area. A number of shipwreck survivors have lived on the island and it was also used for ranching for a number of years.

Today it has a delightful stretch of beach, much of which is only accessible on foot. It’s a peaceful place to walk with your honey while the surf splashes over your feet and the breeze cools your skin. Plan your visit around the summer park schedule and spend a romantic evening watching the release of the endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles. Could anything be more inspiring than being part of the miracle of nature?

Austin City Limits

austinCreativecommons.org/J Neuberger

For six days in October, Zilker Park is filled with music from every genre. The eight stages are booked with continuous acts and if there happens to be a lull in the tunes there are usually local musicians jamming on the grass somewhere. It’s also a place for local artists to showcase their work and the finest restaurants in town staff the booths at Austin Eats. The entire event is about creativity and having a good time.

If you want to nudge your relationship out of the friend zone, music is the way to almost everyone’s heart. Whether you decide to seek out all your favourite bands on the stages, or find a drum circle and listen to the rhythms, you’ll be with your soon-to-be-sweetheart in the fresh air and friendly atmosphere of the festival. There are shows until around midnight so you won’t need to hurry home until the stars are out.

The Fort Worth Botanical Gardens

botanical gardensCreativecommons.org/ krisiun

This is 109 acres of different gardens designed around separate themes. Wander through the conservatory to see tropical delights such as orchids and bromeliads or light up your sense of smell with the eminently sniffable plants in the fragrant garden. Even the water conservation garden is fascinating with its xeriscape design of drought tolerant plants.

The full romantic potential hits you when you step into the Oval Rose Garden. It’s filled with hundreds of roses in every colour and scent imaginable and was designed with love in mind. The centre gazebo is popular for intimate weddings and many a bride has walked down a rose-lined path to her groom. If the roses aren’t in bloom, the Japanese Garden is graceful and green with inviting pathways that take you over picturesque arched bridges. Even in winter the Japanese Garden is a place of serene beauty.

Sabal Palm Sanctuary near Brownsville

In the delta of the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville, this 557 acre nature reserve is one of the few locations that still has a grove of natural Sabal palms. The area is a habitat for many butterflies and birds. A sugar cane plantation was operational here for several years and the plantation mansion is part of the sanctuary.

Is there any better place to fall in love than when surrounded by rustling leaves, colourful butterflies and chirping birds? There are eight kilometres of trails that meander through the grounds with peaceful areas to stop and enjoy nature. A boardwalk overlooks the Rio Grande and the romantic old Rabb mansion houses a visitor centre. There are plenty of great spots for a secluded picnic for two that will give you and your partner plenty of time to fall in love.

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