The Stars Are Big and Bright...

Texas, the second largest state in the United States, goes big in every sense of the word! With its longest straight-line distance - from the northwest corner of the panhandle to the Rio Grande river - it would take 14 hours to drive the 801 miles and cross the state. Along the way, you may come across the following fun facts: 
- Texas has three rivers as natural borders: 1) the Sabine River with Louisiana; 2) the Red River with Oklahoma and Arkansas; and 3) the Rio Grande with Mexico.
- Texas gets its name from the Caddo word "Tejas" which means friends. The Caddo Nation is a group of several Native American tribes, some of whom lived in what is now East Texas. Along with Native Americans, Texas has a diverse population with well-sized communities of German, Czech, Irish, French, Spanish and Mexican heritage, among many others.
- The Texas state flag - blocks of red, white and blue with a single white star in the blue block - represents its stint as the literal "Lone Star State" when it declared itself an independent Republic from Mexico in 1836. It was its own Republic until December 29, 1845 when it became the 28th state of the United States.
- Texas' capital, Austin, is named for Stephen F. Austin, the first American empresario who was given a grant of land by the Mexican government in 1822 to establish settlements in Texas. And he also created the Texas Ranger Division of the Department of Public Safety in 1835. So, you're welcome, Chuck Norris!
- The largest city in Texas - and fourth largest in the country - is Houston, which is named for Sam Houston, the leader of the Texian army during the Mexican-American War in 1846-48 (also of "Remember the Alamo!" fame) which won Texas its independence from Mexico. He later became twice-elected President of the Republic of Texas (beating out Stephen Austin in one race!) as well as the first state governor.

Photo courtesy of the Texas Almanac (

Photo courtesy of the Texas Almanac (



What could be better than experiencing Texas for yourself?! Depending on your families' vacation style, you can find just about anything in this geographically diverse state - from ocean to flatlands to canyon to rivers to hill country and everything in between! Check out to explore Texas by region and city and see what this huge state has to offer! 


Texas Parks & Wildlife has a fun webpage chock full of crafts for kids that celebrate Texas! A favorite is making bluebonnets - Texas' state flower - out of popcorn! There are also crafts to make an armadillo, bison, prickly pear cactus and horses lizard! Check them out! 

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