Year in Review

Our 10 Best Travel Stories of 2019

Catch up on our most-read travel blogs of the year.

By Gwendolyn Knapp December 26, 2019

Pedernales Falls is a must-visit in 2020.

Oh blast, 2019 has come and gone. Was it a year you finally made a bucket-list trip or got away for a few long weekends of de-stressing from whatever this year has been (a veritable $*#%show)? Or was it again spent grinding away at work, only to leave those rollover vacation days and big travel plans for 2020? Whatever the case, we are here to help. Here now, our most-read travel stories of 2019. Think of them as inspiration for your next trip. 

And, of course, make sure to check out our top travel posts ever, both by our unabashedly adventurous correspondent Bill Wiatrakthe best-ever road trip from Vegas to Arizona and a piece on dentistry in Mexico (y'all crazy)—in case you've never read them. Happy traveling in 2020, everyone, and happy holidays.

1. 20 Texas Swimming Holes to Cool You Off This Summer

By Houstonia Staff

"These 20 spots are our very favorites—cool, clear, refreshing lakes, rivers, and spring-fed pools that are just the thing to get us through the sweltering days ahead."

2. Two Hill Country Road Trips for Christmas Lights Fanatics

By Gwendolyn Knapp

"Here’s a reminder that if you’ve seen all the great lights that Houston has to offer, there’s more on offer just a short road trip away."

3. The Seychelles Serves Up The World’s Best Beaches and ... Curried Fruit Bat!?

By Bill Wiatrak

"Thirty years ago I saw a poster for the Seychelles islands and was amazed—turquoise water, sugary sand and sculpted boulders that looked more like Hollywood props than something from nature. My trips throughout the years have gotten me almost within reach of this group of islands, but this year I decided to finally travel to the Holy Grail of beaches, Anse Source d’ Argent. I wasn’t disappointed."

4. Every Street Corner Has a Story in Cartagena, Colombia

By Laura Gomez Quintero

"Gabriel García Márquez, affectionately remembered by Colombians as 'Gabo,' won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982 for his mystical novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. The city of Cartagena, located on the Atlantic coast of northern Colombia, was one of the cities that sparked García Márquez’s imagination and launched his writing career. After taking a magical stroll down the city’s 16th-century cobblestone streets, there is simply no wondering why. This city is truly magical."

5. An Epic Dance Hall Party in Seaton

By Gwendolyn Knapp

"Alice Sefcik Sulak was born and still lives in the house next door to the dance hall, which her parents built in 1923. She took over management of the hall from her father, Tom, in 1970. Today she continues to manage the downstairs bar and upstairs dance hall with the help of her son Kenny and his family.  She’s been honored by both the Texas Czech Heritage & Cultural Center and the International Polka Association for her musical contributions to our state, and she was also featured in the short documentary film, Noc na Tanečku (Night at the Dance)."

6. Big Bend is Seeing the Biggest Blue Bonnet Bloom in Years 

By Gwendolyn Knapp

"Big Bend National Park is currently experiencing its biggest bluebonnet bloom in decades, maybe even in 30 years, and it’s going to last about another two to three weeks— just enough time to cancel those spring break plans and head west instead (just be forewarned this is one of the park’s busiest times of the year and campsites can be hard to come by)."

7. Ghana, The Gateway to West Africa

By Bill Wiatrak

"Ghana is often referred to as 'Africa for beginners'  because of its friendly people, unique experiences, and culture. It’s also one of the safest destinations on the continent. Sandwiched between Cote d’ Ivoire and Togo, it’s easily accessible from the U.S., often with a stopover in Brussels. I just returned from an awesome trip around this amazing country. Here’s a few reasons Ghana should be on your bucket list."

8. Where to See Live Music in Austin

By Bill Wiatrak

"Most locals agree that Austin’s iconic Sixth Street has lost its former charm to tourists, noise ordinances and homeless camps, but there’s still great live music playing every day somewhere. I caught up with Austin-based artist Lance Keltner and put together a list of some of the top favorite venues to see some great music now. Whether you’re looking for blues, jazz, rock, gospel, or Texas roots acoustic, you’ll have no problem finding all that as well as plenty of things you didn’t expect."

9. Two Ways To Relax in Cabo Right Now 

By Jayme Lamm

"Exquisitely located on the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, both Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo offer stunning beach getaways with coastal views and a plethora of activities to see and do, but the vibes of the two towns are night and day."

10. Do Go Chasing Waterfalls on Mesmerizing Mauritius

By Bill Wiatrak

"The cool seawater lapped against the jet-black boulder like liquid turquoise. It was hard to believe I was in Mauritius, a remote independent island east of Madagascar. It’s been a favorite of Europeans and South Africans for decades, but few Americans make the 20-hour flight. As soon as you see the blue water and white sand, it all suddenly feels worthwhile."

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