A Texas guide – Port Mansfield rentals and beyond

Texas certainly isn't small, in geography or character. The state that gave the world rodeo and Tex-Mex and BBQ brisket has a wonderland of amazing places to explore and discover. Would-be adventurers can hop Hill Country wineries or sling the fishing rod into frothing Gulf waters, experience electrifying cities and go full cowboy before Wild West backdrops. Let's get started…

Port Mansfield rentals – a pad on the Gulf

Taking you to the extreme south of Texas, just a whisker away from the spring break haven of South Padre Island, Port Mansfield rentals are a chance to experience a lived-in port town on the Gulf of Mexico. Loads of the lettings here come with boat moorings that jut out into the sloshing waters of the Laguna Madre. Others content themselves with rickety timber porches that glare across the ocean – expect sunrises that are to die for.

On the cusp of wilderness in Arroyo City rentals

Another pitstop on the way to South Padre Island's bumping college bars and March-time DJ parties on the sands is little Arroyo City. Once a hub for Texan herders, it sits at the entrance to the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. That's a fascinating mosaic of sub-tropical wetlands and brushland deserts, with visitor centers clinging to the side of the Kiskadee Trail and snapping creatures waiting to be spotted at the appropriately named Alligator Pond.

Blanco rentals – a ticket to Hill Country

There are few corners of the Lone Star State that can evoke the same sighs of nostalgia and draws of excitement as the Hill Country. Spreading out around San Antonio, it's all verdant knolls, rolling vineyards, bucolic farms, and snaking riverways. Now and then, that is broken by a town like Blanco, which prides itself on rich antiques emporiums and loveable state parks right by the meanders of the Guadalupe River.

Guadalupe River house rentals on the water

Talking of the Guadalupe River… no list of Texan hotspots could ignore this wiggling water channel as it pierces the Hill Country on its way to the coast. Along its length, you can get your fix of fun in resorts like New Braunfels, which has hearty Bavarian-styled historic districts and heritage-rich vacation homes to match. Or, there's Seguin, where tree-shrouded cabins clutch the banks and you can even get places that come with their own tubing gear and kayaks.

Calling fishers to Toledo Bend rentals

Hailed as the single best bass fishing destination in the country, Toledo Bend stretches on for over 65 miles right by the Texas-Louisiana state line. Of course, it's not all about slinging the line and bait here. The local vacation rentals are perfect for rest and relaxation in the great outdoors, with pine-shaded yards spilling down to boat houses and al fresco fire pits.

Mustang Island rentals for a taste of the ocean

Wax the surfboard or prepare the fishing gear – the vast reserve of Mustang Island awaits. It's home to oat-clad dunes and cinnamon-hued beaches, has rare seabirds to spot, and rideable swells. What's more, the place is easy to get to from the rollicking town of Port Aransas, where you can find condos and shoreline cottages in the vicinity of spring break bars and sports grills.

The pull of Port O'Connor rentals

Returnees to Port O'Connor will tell you that this fishing haven facing Matagorda Bay is one of the best-kept secrets on one of Texas's lesser-known stretches of coastline. Surrounded by bayous and big beaches, it's all about slowing down the rhythms of life and enjoying a little adventure – sea kayaking and beachcombing are popular.

Vacation rentals in Houston, Texas

What's not to love about Houston, Texas? Armed with its rocket-spouting Space Center, its world-class Downtown Aquarium, and more sizzling BBQ joints than you can shake a hickory log at, this is one great introduction to the Lone Star State. And that's not even mentioning its proximity to the coast. Head south and you can soon be breathing salty air in Galveston, a grand historic town with Victorian mansions and vintage trams.