Editor's note: We may have been locked down and sheltered in place for most of the year, but that didn't stop us from dreaming of other places. In fact, judging by how many readers clicked on stories about new destinations, travel deals, and quick getaways, it's safe to say that all our social distancing fueled some serious wanderlust. As 2020 comes to a close, we look back at our most-read travel stories of the year.
1. Texas' largest crystal lagoon makes waves as cool new summer vacation spot. Texans looking to make a splash — but with a healthy distance from others — had a chance to dive into a massive island-style getaway this summer. A 12-acre lagoon opened to the public during the limited-capacity Summer Lagoonfest at Lago Mar in Texas City (in the Houston area) from July 15 through September 13. It then offered some special events in the fall.
2. Dallas suburb packs up title as America's best city for a staycation. In May, personal finance site WalletHub compared more than 180 cities across 15 key metrics, evaluating things like parks per capita, average home square footage, and the best summer weather, to determine the very best spots for staycationing. And guess who lands at No. 1? The North Texas suburb of Plano.
3. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines takes off with new Texas route for $29. In early December, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines wheeled out a new way to get to Houston — cheap. Beginning April 12, 2021, Southwest customers can fly between Love Field and Houston's George Bush Intercontinental, nonstop, for $29 one way. The new flights are part of Southwest's new service in and out of Bush in Houston.
4. New affordable hop-on jet service takes flight from Dallas Love Field. A hop-on jet service called JSX had sky-high expectations for its first flight out of its new private terminal at Dallas Love Field on June 19. The destination? Vegas, baby. This inaugural Dallas flight was just the beginning of what JSX hoped would be a successful relationship with Dallas jet-setters.
5. American Airlines postpones international flights into summer and fall. In April, Fort Worth-based American Airlines re-adjusted its schedule for the summer, and winter as well, to address what the company described as record low customer demand due to the coronavirus. Among the cuts were a delay in the launch of new winter seasonal service to New Zealand from both Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth to Auckland.
6. New retro-cool Airstream resort rolls in near Dallas for social distance staycations. Dreams of an Airstream quarantine were coming true in May with the opening of The Range Vintage Trailer Resort in Bristol, about 35 minutes southeast of Dallas. The retro resort features 15 open sites for trailer hook-up and six renovated Airstreams and vintage trailers to rent.
7. New Dallas-based hop-on jet service takes off to Houston for $99. In October, affordable "hop-on" jet service JSX prepared for takeoff around Texas — beginning with routes from Dallas to Houston. The regional air carrier announced it would start daily roundtrip service between private terminals at Dallas Love Field and Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport on November 20, with flights at $99 each way. It will begin offering service to the famed Lajitas Golf Resort in West Texas in January 2021.
8. Texas company books unique lodgings for the ultimate Hill Country getaway. Latching onto rising interest in easy getaways, Texas-based vacation rental provider Top Trip Rentals rebranded in August as Lodgewell with plans to extend its reach. Lodgewell connects customers with private furnished homes primarily in Austin and the Texas Hill Country, placing particular emphasis on memorable or unique abodes that cater to each guest's specific needs.
9. America's largest indoor waterpark splashes into Texas this fall. A project four years in the making was finally roaring into Texas. In October, Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, an African-themed, $550 million development, announced it would open November 12 in Round Rock, just outside Austin.
10. 5 relaxing couples' getaways an easy road trip away from Dallas. Whether couples had to spend their quarantines apart, or Mom and Dad desperately needed time away from the kids, a getaway-for-two was looking pretty good by late May. We rounded up five Texas destinations perfect for a quick, easy couple’s getaway, all offering vacation-caliber amenities with enhanced safety precautions.