Fall Vacation Getaways

(Last Updated On: November 29, 2013)

By Diane Tezeno

Photo Credit: Landry's
Photo Credit: Landry’s

As the arrival of fall ushers in cooler temperatures, there may be no better time to break away from the work routine for a quick and affordable vacation getaway.  If you are in the ranks of small business owners  who work an average of 60 or more hours per week, the threat of burnout is real.

The 2006-2009 Gallup Work and Education survey, conducted each August, compiled data  that shows that a significant percentage of small business owners work an average of 60  hours per week compared to 40 to 44 hours for the average worker.

According to U.S. Census data, in 2007, 1.8 million African American small business owners were sole proprietors, with no employees, making it more of a challenge to close down the store front for personal downtime.  Achieving a healthy work/lifestyle balance is vital to a successful business.  And taking the time to get away is essential.

Kemah Boardwalk (A waterfront vacation destination within 45 minutes of Houston)

Whether gazing across the sparkling waters of the bay at passing seagulls and sailboats or taking a luxury dinner cruise with family and friends, there is nothing like a relaxing day on the Boardwalk.

A 40-acre entertainment complex, developed by Tilman J. Fertitta, sole owner, chairman and CEO of Landry’s, Inc., the Kemah Boardwalk offers an affordable and scenic fall getaway.

Named one of the top 10 American Boardwalks by ForbesTraveler.com, guests can come for a day of fun or for an overnight stay to enjoy a selection of live bands, a variety of dining options, outdoor rides, carnival games and specialty shopping.

Whether riding the old fashioned double-decker carousel, boarding the C.P. Huntington train for a scenic tour or biting into a delicious cotton candy, visitors to the boardwalk, both young and old, will find a host of activities to enjoy in a relaxing carnival-type atmosphere.

Younger children can take flight on the Red Baron or board the Balloon Wheel for a mini-carousel ride, while the more daring may enjoy the exhilaration of the Boardwalk Bullet for a ride of twists and turns, including a 92-foot stomach-dropping plunge on a seaside wooden rollercoaster, traveling at speeds of up to 50 mph.

The Boardwalk offers its own unique flair as vendors beckon visitors to stop by for a caricature portrait or to test their skills at one of the Boardwalk’s many carnival games for a chance to win exciting prizes.

Thrill seekers won’t want to miss out on the Boardwalk Beast, a 25-minute boat ride across the sparkling waters of the bay. During the nautical excursion, riders are treated to onboard music and entertainment, accompanied by a rush of wind and the refreshing spray of waters from the bay as the boat reaches speeds of up to 40 mph.

When you are ready for a bite to eat, guests to the Boardwalk have an array of restaurants to choose from including Landry’s Seafood House, Saltgrass Steak House, Bayside Grille, Lighthouse Buffet, The Flying Dutchman, the original Joe’s Crab Shack, Red Sushi, Cadillac Bar and Aquarium Restaurant.

For a musical diversion guests to the Boardwalk can visit Rock the Dock to enjoy an array of outdoor musical performances set against a relaxing backdrop of the bay waters.

When you are ready for a bite to eat, dining options abound, including Landry’s Seafood House, Saltgrass Steak House, Bayside Grille, Lighthouse Buffet, The Flying Dutchman, the original Joe’s Crab Shack, Red Sushi, Cadillac Bar and the Aquarium Restaurant

Those looking to extend their stay can check into the Boardwalk Inn, a first class nautical-themed hotel, for a restive getaway.

All in all, the seaside entertainment complex has something for everyone looking for a place to relax, unwind and enjoy an affordable summer getaway.

Kemah Boardwalk
215 Kipp Ave
Kemah, TX 77565

Directions: From Houston Take I-45 South to the FM 518 exit. Turn left on FM 518 to FM 2094.

Continue east on FM 2094 to Highway 146 and turn left. Turn right at the first light, which is Sixth Street. Turn left at the first stop sign, which is Bradford Avenue. Go to the end of the street.

For hours of operation for rides and amusements or for more information, visit www.kemahboardwalk.com.

San Antonio River Walk  (Three-Hour Drive Time From Houston)

Ready to hit the road for a relaxing getaway?  The San Antonio River Walk,-described by many as one of America’s most well known river walks- provides a scenic getaway spot for individuals, groups and families.

The meandering flow of the river extends an unspoken invitation to visitors to unwind and relax and take in the beauty of the lush tropical  outdoor setting.

Located in Central San Antonio, a story below street level, the River Walk winds through five miles of downtown San Antonio and provides an oasis of specialty shops, restaurants and cultural sites.

In the midst of the first phase of a $384.5 million project expansion, the scenic natural waterway will lengthen to 15 miles, according to San Antonio Convention and Bureau officials.

A portion of the expansion, completed in May 2009, called the Museum Reach, stretches for two miles and connects downtown with museums, cultural districts and the historic Pearl Brewery to the north.

Along the way, visitors can enjoy the art of local, national and international artists with visual art displays stationed at many overpasses or bridges or take a tour of the Southwest School of Art or San Antonio Museum of Art.

Tourists also have the option of taking in a concert or musical performance at Park at Pearl, one of two outdoor amphitheatres, along the River Walk.

Future aspects of the project, The Mission Reach (noted as the largest ecosystem restoration in an urban area) will connect the original River Walk to four of the city’s Spanish colonial missions to the south in 2013, with sections opened as completed.

Places to eat abound on the River Walk.  Visitors can take advantage of a host of dining options along the scenic waterway, whether you are in the mood for a dining experience in an outdoor patio setting or inside one of the many posh restaurants.

An eclectic network of eateries each offer their own one-of-a-kind ambiance and menu selections ranging from Cajun and seafood, country cooking, Tex-Mex, Italian cuisine, and more.

Whether traveling on foot, by bicycle or on one of the River Walk’s many boat tours scheduled throughout the day, you will find many ways to unwind and bask in the lush natural surroundings.

Guests can venture to the new north end of the River Walk for a tour of the historic Pearl Brewery, opened in 1883.  The brewery hosts a Saturday Pearl Farmers  Market, featuring organic fruits, vegetables and meats from the local area as well as fresh-baked artisan breads, hand-crafted cheeses and a variety of gourmet food items.

At the farmers market, tourists also can view a lively cooking demonstration by well-known area chefs at various times from 9:30 a.m. to noon.  The brewery also includes a famed Culinary Institute of America school on its premises.

Need a break from basking in the outdoors, The Rivercenter Mall, located conveniently on the River Walk, provides visitors with an opportunity to explore and shop in a traditional indoor setting.

Whatever you choose to do, the San Antonio River Walk provides a wealth of opportunities to relax, kick back and enjoy a moment of relaxing downtime with family and/or friends.