Winter is a great time to visit Texas. Even though winter can turn cold in the Lone Star State, it is generally far milder than in most of the continental United States. As a result, there are still plenty of things to see and do on a winter vacation in Texas.
'Holiday trails' are also prevalent across Texas during December. Of course, as one would expect, there are a number of holiday light trails. Virtually every corner of the state features an illuminated holiday-themed trail. From tiny Jefferson in East Texas to Texarkana on the Texas/Arkansas border to the scenic Texas Hill Country, Texas has some awfully impressive holiday light trails. Among the best known and most popular are Whistle Stop Christmas in Cleburne, Texarkana's Twice As Bright Festival, Jefferson's Holiday Trail of Lights, College Station's Santa's Wonderland, and the Hill Country Regional Lighting Trail, which includes the Texas Hill Country towns of Bandera, Boerne, Burnet, Dripping Springs, Fredericksburg, Goldwaite, Johnson City, Llano, Marble Falls, New Braunfels, and Wimberley.
There are a handful of college football bowl games held in Texas during December and January, including the Valero Alamo Bowl (San Antonio), Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas), Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl (Houston), and the Brut Sun Bowl (El Paso). As an aside, two more college football bowl games are held in Texas just after New Year's - the TicketCity Bowl (Dallas) and AT&T Cotton Bowl (Arlington).
On December's final day, there will be plenty of New Year's Eve parties and celebrations throughout Texas. Virtually every city and town in Texas will see numerous New Year's Eve celebrations of all sizes. In the larger cities, dozens of clubs, bars, hotels and restaurants will be throwing New Year's parties. Additionally, Texas' biggest cities also host some of the biggest New Year's celebrations. Among the largest are Dallas' Big D NYE, San Antonio's Carnaval de San Antonio and Austin's First Night Austin. Both cities feature an impressive fireworks show as the calendar changes years. Houston also has a large downtown concert and fireworks show. However, not all the New Year's Eve fun is limited to the big cities. The iconic Texas towns of Gruene and Luckenbach are always popular New Year's Eve destinations as are numerous other Texas towns.
Although Texas offers near year around boating, water sports and fishing opportunities, the first couple months of the year can be inclement. But, there are still plenty of things to keep boaters and water sport enthusiasts busy in the way of boat shows. Across the state, the early portion of the year is a virtual non-stop carousel of boat shows and exhibitions, with major shows taking place in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi and numerous other areas.
Texas is home to some of the nation's top golf courses. Although this has been a well-kept secret in the past, recent years have seen an increasing number of golfers traveling to Texas to take advantage of these world-class courses. During the winter months, the weather is mild enough (on most days) to allow for a pleasant round. But, beware -- shorter daylight hours coupled with an increased number of golfers in popular Winter Texan areas can lead to more crowded courses, leading many golfers to look for "hidden jewels" of golf courses in their area.