LOOKING for some stateside travel inspo?
You don't want to miss out on Austin...
Take a dip
The Texan capital will blow you away
Get your bearings on the Austin Duck Adventures tour.
Explore the Downtown area, including the grand pink State Capitol building, before plunging into Lake Austin.
Ogle the multimillion-dollar mansions perched along the shore – Sandra Bullock used to own one, while Matthew McConaughey lives nearby.
Much to my five-year-old son Jude’s delight, you get an ear-splitting whistle to quack at passers-by. Adult tickets cost £22.30, kids £14.60.
Afterwards, swim in Barton Springs Pool – the locals’ fave spring-water dip – and refuel at The Picnic, a collection of street-food trucks including Hey Cupcake!
The chocolate Double Dose, £2.70, is divine.
Snap street art
Gayle and Jude get arty in SoCo
Boho neighbourhood South Congress, AKA SoCo, has a strip of cool shops, bars and cafes.
Visit Allens Boots for cowboy-esque cobblery and Lucy In Disguise With Diamonds for second-hand gems, then grab lunch at Home Slice Pizza, an Austinite institution, £2.90 per slice.
Don’t miss the street art – the iconic “I Love You So Much” mural is on the wall of Jo’s Coffee, while across the street there’s one proclaiming “Willie Nelson for President”.
Go batty for sunsets
With more venues per capita than any other American city, Austin definitely lives up to its reputation as the live music capital of the USA.
The epicentre is Sixth Street – a raucous, neon-lit hive of dive bars and hipster haunts.
Casino El Camino is justifiably famous for both its burgers and its jukebox, while the Museum of The Weird has oddities like (allegedly) shrunken heads and Egyptian mummies. Entry costs £9.25 for adults, £5.40 for kids.
For top-quality live music, head to The White Horse, a cool honky-tonk bar with a taco truck out front.
Get in a flap
Grab some munch!
Every day at sunset 1.5 million bats emerge from under one of Lady Bird Lake’s bridges and fly over the skyline.
The best way to catch the spectacle is from a bat-watching tour, £7.70 for adults, £3.80 for kids.
Arrive early and you can also rent a kayak or swan-shaped pedal boat, £11.50 an hour.
Afterwards, grab some lip-smacking southern soul food at Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill – think chicken fried steak with chipotle cream gravy, £13, and green chilli Cheddar grits, £3.80.
Sleep at the shops
Head to Archer for a stylish stay
To experience the more conventional side of Austin, head to Domain Northside, a swanky new retail complex on the city’s outskirts, full of designer shops, posh boutiques and a cluster of bars and restaurants.
The beef panang, £13.10, at Thai Kun is guaranteed to blow your jet lag away.
After shopping till you drop, check in to the nearby Archer Austin, a plush hotel with stylish rooms from £135 per night and amazing breakfasts.
Plan your trip at Traveltexas.com. Norwegian Air will fly from the UK to Austin from £420 return from March 2018.