Call it a collective case of cabin fever. Over a year into the coronavirus pandemic, with more and more of us vaccinated, we Texans are ready to get out—out of our homes and, yes, even out of our beloved state. The open highway beckons with the promise of socially distant freedom and outdoor recreation. For this guide, our writers have explored fun, safe spots in five neighboring states. (We’re saving our big neighbor to the south for another package.) We hope these stories inspire you to choose your own fresh-air adventure and hit the road! (Before heading out, make sure to grab your masks and check your destination for updated COVID-19 travel guidelines.)

New Mexico

The Ortiz Mountain foothills, on the Turquoise Trail.
The Ortiz Mountain foothills, on New Mexico’s Turquoise Trail.Photograph by Nick Simonite

Uncovering Hidden Gems on the Turquoise Trail

The fifty-plus-mile scenic byway offers a lot more than just the way to Santa Fe. Read more.

A New Luxury Resort in Santa Fe Has a Dallas Touch

Chef Dean Fearing and architect Nunzio Marc DeSantis play big roles at Bishop’s Lodge, the new retreat from Auberge Resorts Collection. Read more.


Downtown Eureka Springs on March 20, 2021.
Downtown Eureka Springs on March 20, 2021.Photograph by Trevor Paulhus

Finding the Healing Power of Travel in Eureka Springs

This magical Arkansas town in the Ozark Mountains brims with discoveries, even in the off-season. Read more.

Mountain Biking in Bentonville

With more than three hundred miles of dirt trails, this city is a peddling paradise, with a wonderful arts scene to boot. Read more.


A bison at the refuge on March 25, 2021.
A bison at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge on March 25, 2021.Photograph by Jennifer Boomer

Looking for Bison in the Wichita Mountains

Herd immunity means something different at this wildlife refuge in Oklahoma, as barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn and his two kids discovered on a weekend trip. Read more.

How to Get a Few Kicks on Route 66

The state has more than four hundred miles of the Mother Road, but you don’t need to travel all of them to get into the spirit, especially with a young Cars fan in tow. Read more.


Road signs between Breaux Bridge and Atchafalaya, Louisiana.Photograph by Cedric Angeles

Encountering Crawfish and Wonder in Cajun Country

Swampland adventures in the heart of Louisiana make the RV life worth it—even when things go wrong. Read more.

Even New Hotels Are Steeped in History in New Orleans

These recently opened or renovated options are ready to welcome you back to the Big Easy. Read more.


Colorado National Monument on March 18, 2021.
The Colorado National Monument on March 18, 2021.Photograph by Nick Simonite

Hiking the Mountain Trails Less Traveled

Colorado is full of places to explore on foot, and writer Pam LeBlanc has tried many of them. Her favorite spots include the West Elk Wilderness, the Colorado National Monument, and the trek from Crested Butte to Aspen. Read more.

A Texan’s Guide to Telluride

This box canyon town is full of thrills—especially the Via Ferrata (hint: don’t look down)—and necessary chills. Read more.