Things to Do on the San Antonio River Walk

Take a boat ride along the River Walk, and keep the fun going: Catch a show at an historic open-air theatre, relive the Alamo’s story in 3-D and enjoy a cold one at the area’s oldest bar.

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Rio Grande
Rio Grande

Rio Grande

In Texas, the majestic, 1,250-mile-long Rio Grande River makes a curve to the northeast to form a “big bend.” The river also marks the boundary between the US and Mexico. 960 1280

iStock  

McDonald Observatory

McDonald Observatory

Every year, approximately 60,000 visitors visit the McDonald Observatory, located 140 miles northwest of Big Bend National Park. Attend a fun “star party” at night or take a guided tour during the day for a solar viewing, plus explore the exhibits and see the 362-inch Hobby-Eberly Telescope, the observatory’s largest telescope. 960 1280

Marty Harris, Wikimedia Commons  

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park holds national significance as the largest protected area of desert, known as the Chihuahuan, in North America. This massive area, larger than Rhode Island, is home to more than 1,200 plant species, more than 450 bird species, 56 species of reptiles and 75 species of mammals. The area is also a hot spot for archeologists, who have discovered Native American artifacts estimated to be 9,000 years old. 960 1280

iStock  

Petroleum Museum

Petroleum Museum

Stop by the Petroleum Museum in Midland, TX. Through interactive exhibits, visitors learn about all aspects of the petroleum industry, from geology, the formation of oil, oil exploration, pipelining, marketing and refining to the economic and political impact of the industry. 960 1280

calebunseth, flickr  

Lajitas Golf Resort

Lajitas Golf Resort

Enjoy first-class accommodations at Lajitas Golf Resort. Located in Lajitas, TX, this resort has several topnotch amenities, including the Maverick Ranch RV Park and Agave Spa. And there’s not a shortage of fun activities to keep you busy. In addition to golfing, the resort provides visitors the opportunity to go rafting, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, hiking and much more! 960 1280

Dennis Murphy-D Squared Productions, Inc.  

Annual Mariachi Band Concert

Annual Mariachi Band Concert

Mariachi bands are big in Texas thanks to the state’s large Mexican population. Midland’s Annual Mariachi Band Concert and Workshop attracts locals and tourists alike eager to learn techniques, style and music from mariachi band members who play the guitar, vihuela, guitarron and trumpet. 960 1280

Mark J P, flickr  

Airpower Museum

Airpower Museum

Take a trip back in time to see historic aircrafts from World War II, on display at the Airpower Museum in Midland, TX. The museum’s exhibits include the Aircraft and Vehicle Display, American Combat Hall of Fame, the Nose Art Gallery and the George Bush Exhibit, chronicling the 41st president’s aviator experiences in World War II. 960 1280

Kevin Hong  

Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding

Commune with nature. Take a 2-hour Sunset Horseback trail ride to explore the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Big Bend. 960 1280

Getty Images  

George W. Bush Childhood Home

George W. Bush Childhood Home

Visit the childhood home of former President George W. Bush, located in Midland, TX, at 1412 W. Ohio Avenue. The house, unchanged since 1956, celebrates the lives of 2 presidents, 2 governors and 2 first ladies. 960 1280

Billy Hathorn, Wikimedia Commons  

Sweet Confections

Sweet Confections

Get your sweet-tooth fix at Susie’s South Forty Confections in Midland, TX. Every creamy confection is homemade, including the toffee, pralines, caramels and fudge. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Gourmet River Trip

Gourmet River Trip

Go adventuring! Take a gourmet river trip through Big Bend National Park. Experience the park’s beauty while you travel along the Rio Grande, enjoying tasty meals that may include marinated shrimp, rack of lamb, quail and beef Wellington -- and that’s just for breakfast! 960 1280

Getty Images  

National Finals Rodeo, Las Vegas
National Finals Rodeo

National Finals Rodeo

A cowboy casts a cool look during the National Finals Rodeo, popularly known as the “Super Bowl of rodeo.” The 10-day event, held each year in Las Vegas, determines the world champ in 7 main events, including bareback riding, steer wrestling and team roping.

When to go: First full week of December
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PRCA ProRodeo Photo/Tom Donoghue  

Caldwell Night Rodeo

Caldwell Night Rodeo

The cowboys are the stars at this annual 5-day rodeo event. Held in the Boise metro area, Caldwell Night Rodeo draws crowds of more than 40,000 people, eager to see the big draw: many of the world’s top professional cowboys who make Caldwell Night Rodeo an annual stop on their circuit.

When to go: Mid-August
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CNR/Jim Babb  

Pendleton Round-Up

Pendleton Round-Up

Ready for some bulldogging? A cowboy reaches for a steer’s horns at the Pendleton Round-Up, one of the 10 largest rodeos in the world. Started in 1910, the annual rodeo event draws crowds of 50,000 to Pendleton, OR, where the town’s motto is, “The Real West.”

When to go: Mid-September
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William Mancebo  

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo

Western heritage -- and big bucks -- draw championship cowboys and cowgirls to the annual Dodge City Roundup. Since its start in 1977, the 10-day event has grown to include a payout of nearly $254,000, alongside an audience of more than 100,000 people.

When to go: Late July to early August
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Kansas Tourism, flickr  

Cheyenne Frontier Days

Cheyenne Frontier Days

The granddaddy of rodeo events, Cheyenne Frontier Days has been held in its namesake Wyoming town since 1897. The outdoor rodeo and western celebration features hundreds of horses performing rodeo events and track acts. The annual event draws nearly 200,000 people, with a whopping 100,000 free pancakes served by the local Kiwanis club.

When to go: Last full week of July
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Downtown Traveler.com, flickr  

Ellensburg Rodeo

Ellensburg Rodeo

Now in its 75th year, the Ellensburg Rodeo in Washington State has grown from a local competition among ranch hands to a leading rodeo festival: More than 600 contestants vie for prize money in excess of $400,000. In the Pacific Northwest, the rodeo is second in size only to the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada.

When to go: Labor Day weekend
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skedonk, flickr  

Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo

Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo

For 23 heart-pounding days, the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo puts on quite a show at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. The annual event, which draws a crowd of 900,000, showcases the world’s original indoor rodeo, with 36 performances of professional rodeo on display, such as calf roping.

When to go: Mid-January to early February
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Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau  

Nebraskaland Days

Nebraskaland Days

Wild West showman Buffalo Bill considered North Platte, NE, his hometown, and went on to found modern-day rodeo in the city. Today, the legacy continues with Nebraskaland Days: The largest rodeo event in western Nebraska showcases parades, art shows, concerts, food events and, of course, rodeos.

When to go: Mid-June
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George Hipple Photography  

Yellowstone Rodeo

Yellowstone Rodeo

Exciting rodeo action mixes with stunning mountain sunsets at the annual Yellowstone Rodeo in southwestern Montana. The annual event showcases the big rodeo draws -- including bareback bronc riding, bull riding, team roping and saddle broc riding -- as well as a “calf scramble” event in which kids can safely compete.

When to go: June through early September
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skedonk, flickr  

National Western Stock Show

National Western Stock Show

Now in its 106th year, the National Western Stock Show in Denver spans 16 days, and a 100-acre show ground home to the second largest rodeo in the United States. Hands-on animal exhibits feature 15,000 head of horses, cattle, sheep, alpacas, llamas and more -- plus, a chance for the little ones to go giddy-up.

When to go: Last 2 weeks in January
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National Western Stock Show  

RodeoHouston

RodeoHouston

For the world’s largest live entertainment and livestock show, head to Houston’s Reliant Stadium. In 2012, this massive 1,900,000-square-foot facility hosted the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo -- and a whole lot of animals: 26,305 livestock and horse show exhibitors competed for a shot at a Houston championship.

When to go: Late February to mid-March
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Mike Renlund, flickr  

Reno Rodeo

Reno Rodeo

Billed as the “wildest, richest rodeo in the West,” the Reno Rodeo spans 10 days and attracts more than 140,000 fans. Events include a Miss Reno Rodeo Queen pageant, cattle drive, carnival rides and the Xtreme Bull Riding Tour stop, featuring 40 of the world’s best pro bull riders.

When to go: Late June
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Habib Obi, flickr  

Miss Rodeo America

Miss Rodeo America

Here she comes, Miss Rodeo America 2012 winner Mackenzie Carr -- the first winner from Oregon. The first pageant was held in Casper, WY, in 1955. Today, the annual pageant is held in Las Vegas, with contestants competing in areas of appearance, horsemanship and personality.

When to go: Early to mid-December
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Florence Junior Parada

Florence Junior Parada

The world’s oldest continuous junior rodeo finds its home in Florence, AZ. Eighty years since its start, the annual Florence Junior Parada rodeo draws hundreds of future PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Assocation) cowboys and cowgirls, ages 5 to 18, to compete in rodeo events such as team roping, breakaway roping and even bull riding.

When to go: Late November
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Jim Heet Photography  

Beau Rivage - Biloxi, MS
Beau Rivage

Beau Rivage

True story: In July 2011, a Baton Rouge accountant named Deborah Boies walked into this waterfront casino on the Gulf Coast of Biloxi, MS, and sat down at the casino’s $1 Wheel of Fortune machine. After investing $15 in less than a minute, jackpot! She won the $1,191,744.89 on the machine. 960 1280

MGM Resorts International  

Lumiere Place Casino

Lumiere Place Casino

Just down the road from the famed St. Louis Arch is this huge 75,000-square-foot casino. It’s sure to keep you occupied with 2,000 slots, 55 tables and a 13-table poker room. When hunger strikes, head to one of the property’s 5 restaurants. 960 1280

Lumiere Place Casino & Hotels   

Horseshoe Hammond

Horseshoe Hammond

Soft, dim lights, plush carpeting -- and more than 350,000 square feet of gaming space. Oh, yeah! This megahouse of gaming, just 20 minutes from Chicago, boasts the largest poker room in the Midwest and features 34 tables at all limits. 960 1280

Horseshoe Casino  

Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa

Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa

Escape the fast-paced Vegas scene. Just 20 minutes from the Strip, this resort sits on 8 acres of land bordered by cool palm trees. In between coiffing your winning hands at the resort’s spa, check out the casino’s 55 gaming tables, 2,200 slot and video poker machines, and 22-table poker room. 960 1280

Carrington Vanston, flickr  

MGM Grand Detroit

MGM Grand Detroit

There’s Vegas, and then there’s … Detroit? Yep, that’s right. The Motor City is one of the largest US cities to offer travelers a casino resort hotel. This beaut includes 100,000 square feet of gaming space with 4,000 slot and video poker machines, along with more than 90 table games. For further relaxation, grab a pint at TAP sports pub or sample the fare at 2 Wolfgang Puck eateries. 960 1280

MGM Detroit  

Gold Strike

Gold Strike

Once you’ve paid your respects to the King in nearby Memphis, hightail it to this resort and casino 20 minutes away, in Tunica Resorts, MS. You’ll find 52 table games and 1,400 slot machines, plus a nightclub, spa and steakhouse restaurant that’s snagged high marks from Wine Spectator magazine. 960 1280

makzhou, flickr  

Mohegan Sun

Mohegan Sun

Welcome to the second largest casino in America (behind Foxwoods -- but the latter’s current financial woes may soon change that). The 364,000 square feet of gaming space in the scenic foothills of southeastern Connecticut features 40 poker tables, open 24/7. 960 1280

Mohegan Sun  

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa

In recent years, the main casino in this resort in Reno, NV, ditched its tropical theme for something more elegant -- think accent lighting and new, streamlined furnishings. Spanning 67,000,000 square feet of space, the casino also boasts 1,500 slot machines and plenty of gaming excitement, including the classic card game baccarat. 960 1280

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa  

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

Hands down, this is the best casino resort in Atlantic City. The $1.1 billion property gets high marks from travelers for its sheer size (it’s the largest hotel in New Jersey) and its Las Vegas feel (it is Atlantic City’s top-grossing casino). The 161,000-square-foot casino floor boasts 4,000 slot machines and 200 table games -- as well as the largest poker room on the East Coast! 960 1280

Getty Images   

Harrah’s New Orleans

Harrah’s New Orleans

A stone’s throw from the mighty Mississippi is another mighty sight: this 115,000-square-foot casino -- home to 2,100 slot machines, more than 90 table games and a poker room. If that’s not sensory overload enough, swing by the French Quarter, just 1 block away. 960 1280

vxla, flickr  

Golden Nugget

Golden Nugget

You didn’t think we’d forget Vegas, did you? This Vegas landmark (open since 1946), boasts the largest casino in downtown -- we’re talking 38,000 square feet of gaming space. Near the casino’s registration desk, you won’t soon forget seeing the Hand of Faith -- a gold nugget, found in Australia in 1980, that was purchased by the resort for more than $1 million. 960 1280

Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino  

Belterra Casino Resort

Belterra Casino Resort

Located halfway between Louisville, KY, and Cincinnati, this Indiana casino resort means serious business: 47,201 square feet showcasing 45 table games, 9 poker tables and 1,474 gaming devices -- including the new Grease slot machines. 960 1280

Belterra Casino Resort  

Eldorado Resort Casino

Eldorado Resort Casino

You’ve landed at Shreveport Regional Airport -- so, where’s the first place you go? This swanky casino, located just 7 miles away. The 30,000-square-foot space is home to more than 1,500 slots and video poker machines, as well a gourmet steakhouse and bar-and-entertainment venue where you can belt out some karaoke. Or kick back with a drink. 960 1280

Eldorado Resort Casino   

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