It was already 97 degrees during my late-spring visit to Texas Hill Country, but there were many ways to stay cool as I toured Austin and San Antonio. Texans don’t let the heat deter them from fun in the sun, and visitors shouldn’t be discouraged either.
Here are some ways to stay cool during the hot summer sun:
Texas Hill Country Wine Trail: The state is new to growing grapes, but is great at setting up shaded picnic areas. Take an air-conditioned drive and stop along the way to sample the sweet white wines and spicy reds offered at the nearly 50 wineries along the way. My favorite of the several sampled was the appropriately named 2010 Longhorn Red at the popular Driftwood Vineyards.
Stand-up paddleboarding: Some friends who are locals let us know that stand-up paddleboarding has quickly become one of the most popular sports in Austin, and we saw it everywhere. For those who are a little hesitant to try out this sport -- which is basically a cross between surfing and kayaking -- never fear. Lessons are easy to book citywide and include what you need to get started, including boards, paddles and personal flotation devices.
Zip through the treetops: See the sights in a whole new way while soaring through cypress trees. One company has a line that spans more than 350 feet. Most tours are about two hours and include a full training session.
SegCity Segway Tours: Zip through downtown Austin and check out its wealth of attractions. During the weekends, Segways nearly outnumber people on foot. Tours are about seven miles long and include tidbits about the city’s history, cool stories and even some local secrets.
Japanese Tea Garden: Near the zoo sits the most peaceful and quiet spot in San Antonio: a stunning forested garden with walking trails, complete with a waterfall with a gentle mist. This picturesque place is too good to be true -- be sure to bring your camera.