If Mirabeau B. Lamar had had his way, we’d be able to travel the four hours from Amarillo to Santa Fe without crossing a state line. But when the Republic’s second president dispatched an expedition in 1841 to claim the New Mexican city—and its lucrative frontier market—things didn’t go quite as planned. The Texans were marched off to prison in Mexico City instead.
On a summer day, there’s nothing better than the ocean. Unless you’re sharing it with a teeming throng of thonged humanity. So this hot season, skip the South Padre scene (unless you’re into that kind of thing) and head for the charming coastal enclave of Rockport. Flanked by Copano and Aransas bays, the fifteen-square-mile town is as cozy as the rooms at the waterfront Lighthouse Inn and the historic Hoopes House.
Not far from the windswept Texas dunes that adjoin Boca Chica Beach, several plaques commemorate the Battle of Palmito Ranch. Without these markers, the 1865 battleground would probably go unnoticed by most visitors; a century and a half of storms have washed away all evidence of the last land action of the Civil War and, in its place, created an ecologically rich matrix of beaches, bays, grasslands, upland scrub, tidal flats, and hilly formations called lomas.
The Art of Surfing