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Tips & Techniques on Using Texas Outside

Texas Outside is designed to help you find a fun activity like hiking, biking, boating, camping, fishing, hunting, tubing, golfing, exploring Texas, and just about any other outdoor activity or fun thing to see and do in Texas. We use Texas Outside each week to help us: plan a camping trip, find a golf course to play, or discover what there is to see and do in a particular location.

On this page is an overview of the sections of Texas Outside and our tips and techniques on how to efficiently use Texas Outside to quickly find what you are looking for.

Texas Outside is organized into 8 major sections:

  • Campgrounds and RV's - here you will find information on all of the Texas State Parks including their location, links to their website, site maps, and more; an easy way to locate a Texas State Park or private campground; Texas Outside's reviews and ratings of campgrounds as well as our top ten favorite campgrounds; a link to reserve a campsite; an RV Social Club; Thank God for Weekends articles about camping trips and what to see and do; information on RVs including some rental locations; great deals on camping merchandise and gear; a couple of our favorite camping meals; and where to find some coupons and discounts on campsites

  • Golfing Texas - we want to make it easy for you to locate and play one of over 500 courses listed on Texas Outside, gain more information about the course from the Texas Outside Reviews, plus provide an easy way to; check out their "Stay & Play" deals, see if there is a discount or special, and book a reduced rate tee time; select a course to play from the "Best of The Best in Texas"; find a golf resort or golf community to visit; buy some cool gear to help improve your attitude, looks, and score; and read some tips and techniques from the pros before you head out to the links

  • Discover Texas - this section is dedicated to those of you who like to explore the Texas countryside or Texas cities and you'll find: information on a large majority of the Texas cities with lists of fun things to do, lodging, festivals, entertainment, theme parks, restaurants, outdoor activities, and more; content and links to Texas wineries, bed & breakfasts, dude ranches, resorts and rental property (including Texas Outside reviews and ratings), corporate retreat or reunion meeting locations, road trips, and more; plus articles from fun vacations to Thank God For Weekend articles filled with where to go and fun things to do in Texas

  • Texas Lakes & Boating - if you like to fish, boat, or lake camp, then this section will help you find a nearby lake to explore; from the lake review you can learn where to camp, boat, ski/board, eat, and find other nearby fun things to do; find a watercraft to rent, a lake resort or rental property to enjoy, or a houseboat or sailboat to charter; plus you'll find some deals on boating equipment, accessories, and gear

  • Hiking, Biking, and More Fun Stuff - here you can find everything from airborne activities to zip lines from ATV off road parks to horseback riding

  • Texas Music - for Texas Country Music fans, this section is for you and has upcoming events, music festival reviews, and more

  • Hunting & Fishing - this section is dedicated to hunters and fishermen and you'll find information on fishing guides, hunting outfitters, apparel and equipment, and lots of links to great content

  • Outdoor Weddings - if you are planning to get married (congratulations!) and need to find outdoor wedding venues or information on wedding vendors then this is your section - you can even read about our two daughters magnificent outdoor weddings

  • Reviews & Ratings - this section has links to Texas Outside's reviews of golf courses, campgrounds, resorts, music festivals, lakes and more

Texas Outside Usage Tips and Techniques

The first tip to immediately find what you are looking for is to use the search functionality of Texas Outside or Google. Each page should have a little magnifying glass on the top right which is the Texas Outside search functionality. Or some pages have a Google Search box to search either the web or Texas Outside.

Most of the major sections (golfing, boating, camping, and discover Texas) are similar in navigation and use maps and links as the major way to provide you with information - you can click on the just about every item (cities, sites, lakes, state parks, etc.) on the map and get additional information - you can also click on a lot of the pictures to learn more. We have organized Texas into 6 regions to help you zero in on the content you are looking for. For example, if you want to explore the Austin Hill Country, click on the Central Texas Regional Map in Discover Texas, and then click on Austin or any of the other cities or items of interest (ie, Town Lake)on the map. Make sure that you also review the information boxes below the map.

We use two types of maps, the ones you just explored and Google maps. The Google maps are used for to help you find a golf course, lake, or campground. Here are some navigation tips for all of the Google maps for golf courses, camp grounds, or lakes:

  • all of the maps have a lot of content which impacts load time, so be patient, it is worth the wait

  • each of the icons (a golf ball, sailboat, tent or trailer) on the map are clickable and have more information and links within the caption box that will open when you click on the icon

  • in most cases you need to zoom in to see all your options and to make it easy to click on specific icons, to zoom in:

    • click on any icon that is near where you want to visit

    • use the navigation bar at the top left section of the map to zoom in - move the slider up or click on the "+" a few times

    • use the direction arrows to move the map east, west, north or south or you can hold the left mouse button down and drag the mouse in the appropriate direction

  • once you have the right direction and zoom level, then click on the icon for more information which is within the caption box

Now that you know how to work the maps, lets use that new knowledge to find a cool place to camp, a lake to explore, or a golf course to play - the navigation is the same for each. Lets say we wanted to go to a lake in the Hill Country for camping, boating, golfing, and exploring - here is an example of how you would use Texas Outside:

  • since lake camping is the first priority for this trip, then we would first go to the camping section (click on the picture of the tent that says "Parks and Camping") and then click on the Central Region Map within the Campground Locator box

  • click on any of the map icons (sailboat for lakes, tent for State Parks, trailer for private campgrounds) near Austin and use the navigation bar at the top left of the map to zoom in (click on the "+" a couple of times)

  • now you can click on a campground or lake of interest and a caption box will open with more information - for example, click on the first red trailer icon northwest of Austin which is Emma Long

  • if the icon is red, that means you can read a review of the campground or the lake by clicking on the the icon on the map

  • within the review of the campground, it mentions where you can camp, bike, eat, listen to music, and golf

Once you have used the map to help you locate a campground, golf course, or lake, then check the reviews, look for discounts, and see if there is a Thank God For Weekends article on where you plan to have some fun.

At first the above seems confusing, but you should be able to master it in a couple tries - otherwise ask your young kids to help you, they seem to be masters at this high-tech stuff. We would appreciate your feedback, so feel free to contact us.