By James Waterson
Sip on a cocktail and soak up the sun by the pool at a swanky hotel. Watch roaming zebras and ostriches from the comfort of your very own car. Blaze your own trail to some of the best barbecue in Texas. If a memorable summer vacation is what you’re after, make your way to College Station. Settled among the rolling grasslands of Central Texas just 100 miles northwest of Houston, this two-destinations-in-one getaway with plenty to see, do, taste, and enjoy. To help you plan your trip, we’re spotlighting just five of the things you’ve got to do this summer in College Station.
Cool Off at a Boutique Hotel
Any good summer vacation starts with where you stay, and Bryan College Station has three of the most unique hotels around, all of which have swimming pools. Cavalry Court’s retro-inspired rooms are the perfect place to take it easy after a day of relaxing in the shade of a poolside cabana. Stop by The Canteen Bar & Restaurant for a burger, sandwich, or even vegetarian lentil tacos that taste even better with a handmade cocktail or something from the globe-spanning wine list. Stick around to hear some live music, as the bar hosts local and touring bands Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
Rustic elegance and a youthful swagger abound at The Stella Hotel in Bryan, where each of the 176 guest rooms and suites features luxurious bath amenities, in-room Keurigs, and spectacular views. Dive into one of The Stella’s two swimming pools and spend the afternoon sipping cocktails at the pool bar. Finally, the outdoor pool at The George is just one of its many attractions. Boasting true luxury, this four-star hotel is both refined and upscale, featuring on-site dining and a whiskey bar where you can taste some of the finest spirits in the world.
Whether you’re looking for a place to beat the heat or for an unforgettable place to stay during your next summer vacation, book a room at Bryan College Station’s fashionable boutique hotels. See more hotels and bed and breakfasts here.
Dine on Delicious Texas Barbecue
Melt-in-your-mouth brisket, pork ribs that fall off the bone, juicy turkey breast, and smoked hand-made sausages. It’s all on the menu here in Bryan College Station, where Texas barbecue is taken seriously. In fact, you’ll find eight first-rate barbecue restaurants in this part of the Brazos Valley, each offering its own take on Texas barbecue. Dig into a plate of ribs or chicken smoked in an indirect-heat pit over oak, followed by a hearty serving of peach cobbler, at Fargo’s Pit BBQ, which cooked its way on to Texas Monthly’s list of the Top 50 Barbecue Joints in the World.
Not to be outdone, 1775 Texas Pit BBQ serves up brisket, pork ribs, turkey breast, and sausage spiced with just enough paprika, as well as a tantalizing potato salad and other tasty sides. Recently named among the Top 25 New Barbecue Joints in Texas, this is the kind of place that has its fair share of dedicated regulars. Visit and you just may become one, yourself.
Tour Texas Tip: Bryan College Station’s eight barbecue joints make up the Brazos Smoke Texas BBQ Tour. Visit five of these eight restaurants from now until Aug. 31 and you can enter to win a free vacation package to Bryan College Station, including two tickets to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, a tasting for two at Messina Hof Winery and Resort, and more. Find out more here.
Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Have you ever wanted to feed a giraffe by hand or watch as a herd of zebras graze on an open plain? Instead of flying across an ocean, cruise on over to the recently opened Aggieland Safari. Embark on an epic safari through 250 acres of pasture lands as you encounter alpacas, donkeys, ostriches, and even water buffalo. Then step into the sprawling Adventure Zoo, where you’ll come face to face with, hippos, kangaroos, monkeys, and otters.
Find yourself surrounded by incredible birds in the Outdoor Overlook Aviary and make a few new friends in the petting zoo. End your walk on the wild side with a hearty meal, a glass of beer or wine, and a view of the giraffes and Lemur Island from the Savanna Grill. With something fun for everyone, Bryan College Station’s newest attraction is a must-see this summer.
Celebrate the Harvest
Pick and stomp grapes, refine your palate in a wine tasting class, and get a behind-the-scenes look at one of the top wineries in Texas. All this fun is just waiting to be uncorked at the Messina Hof Harvest Festival (July 26 – 27, Aug. 2, 3, 9, 10, and 17), an annual celebration of the harvest of Lenoir grapes used to make Messina Hof’s award-winning ports. Each day and night of the festival is different, with daytime tours, tastings, and grape stomping setting the stage for special themed dinners with unique menus.
Can’t make the festival? Stop by to tasting room at the Messina Hof Estate Winery & Resort to sample the reds and whites made by what U.S. News & World Report calls one of the best wineries to visit in the Lone Star State.
Enjoy Free Live Music
As the heat of a Texas summer day eases in the evening, head to historic downtown Bryan for a free show you won’t want to miss. Held the second and fourth Fridays in June and July, the Downtown Bryan Summer Sunset Series is a great chance to hear local bands perform on the stage at the outdoor Palace Theater. Check out the show, then spend the rest of the evening hanging out at the stylish bars in the downtown area.
Whether you’re looking to relax for a weekend or to experience something new this summer, find your way to Bryan College Station. Plan your trip here
About the Author: James Waterson is the head writer and content specialist for Tour Texas. When he isn’t writing about the many great places in the state of Texas, he’s planning his next epic adventure in the Lone Star State.