Where to live in Texas?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Where to live in Texas?

    So what are some good small cities and towns in Texas for a young family to live who likes to get outside and run, bike, and go camping? Don't want to live in a big urban Area, but also don't want to live in a tiny podunk town that only has a Dairy Queen and a liquor store. What are your suggestions?

  2. #2
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    There are so many small cities that could meet you requirements. What will you do for a living? Since you are asking this on a MTB forum I would suggest you look at Fredericksburg, Kerrville, Huntsville, Tyler, Laredo, Harlingen and Amarillo.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the suggestions. That definitely gives me a good start. My wife and I work out of the house so we've got some flexibility on where we can live. But we do have young kids who are active in sports and dance and we don't want to be too isolated.

  4. #4
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    Where are you coming from?

    Former Coloradan in Texas. If you want to live near a city, dripping springs would be one of my first picks. It's far enough away from Austin that you don't feel like you're in the city, but it's an easy trip into or away from. Lakeway and Marble falls fall into this group around Austin as well. All 3 are growing fairly quickly though.

    Kerrville would probably be my second choice. Great little town with tons of outdoor activities nearby. Fredericksburg is another good one. There's several other hill country towns that are in the same size and activity range.

    Honestly, Austin and hill country towns are really the only ones I would really want to live in, for a number of reasons.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xarvet View Post
    So what are some good small cities and towns in Texas for a young family to live who likes to get outside and run, bike, and go camping? Don't want to live in a big urban Area, but also don't want to live in a tiny podunk town that only has a Dairy Queen and a liquor store. What are your suggestions?
    What do you have against Dairy Queen?

    As the others have said, I'd stick to Hill Country because while you may want to live in the big city, you'll have access to them when you want. Flat Rock Ranch, one of he better places to ride in Texas, will be nearby. Canyon Lake and the rivers to float down (a time honored Texas activity) are just a few hours away.
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    Take a gander at Rockport too....very family orientated and 30 minutes from Corpus Christi and 2 hours tops from San Antonio

    Scratch Laredo off of that list above....too crime ridden


    Texas used to be amazing, but our state population has seem to doubled in the last 20 years and its getting very crowded, especially the I35 corridor (San Antonio to Dallas/Ft. Worth)...Houston has ALWAYS been crowded.....lots of people have a saying that Lifes too short to live in Houston.

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    I would absolutely concur with all of the options listed above with the exception of Laredo/Harlingen and Amarillo, if for no other reason than their location in the state. They might be great places to live, but all the other towns mentioned would be higher on my list.

    Other than riding what else do you like to do? You mentioned camping. Do you hunt? Fish? That would help me steer one way or another, but regardless there are lots of opportunities for all of them.

  8. #8
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    We've lived in Austin for over 20 yrs and (sorta) love it. But its changed sooooo much during this time that its prompted us to consider something not unlike what you claim to be looking for: smaller, slower paced, good community, but in close proximity to things we've come to enjoy about a bigger city. We've considered: San Marcos, New Braunfels, Boerne, Georgetown. If you want to get even smaller, but then you run into less available "resources" then you could check out Wimberley, Johnson City, Blanco. From out perspective as current Austin residents, San Marcos seems awfully good regarding a blend of a smaller town but good resource options. Its has the university and is also fairly close to Austin (and SA).

    Good luck and welcome. Please consider how you vote once you live here. We'd prefer our taxes not match those in CA.

    Later,
    CJB

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the great suggestions. We've got some research to do. We're in Houston now and pretty close to being fed up with the helter skelter development, flooding and lack of good convenient outdoor fun options. Love to fish, too. Not a hunter. We're also considering a bigger move to northern Arizona. I could certainly live with less humidity and some mountains nearby.

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    Houston humidity is brutal. Anywhere near the coast is. Austin has less humidity, but generally more heat than the coast and we don't get breeze coming in off the water. I think the other suggestions were still on point. The only other mitigating factor would be your age, kids, do the schools make the grade, etc. That kind of thing. If you stay near the coast, like Rockport etc. there is fantastic fishing, no clue about the biking but you could always get a fat bike and go over to Port Aransas. My dad is a developer down there, and while the town itself (Rockport) doesn't really blow me away, the fishing alone for me would almost be enough.

    Fishing near Austin with the "Highland Lakes" and other nearby reservoirs can be awesome as well. Basically opportunities abound. Plus there are lots of good local trails to hit within a reasonable drive from the outlying areas and towns mentioned before.

  11. #11
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    Tyler / Longview area

  12. #12
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    Canyon texas in the panhandle.Palo duro canyon to mountain bike and an active road biking community.Recently name as one of top 10 towns in usa,I think,maybe texas to live in.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedyd View Post
    Canyon texas in the panhandle.Palo duro canyon to mountain bike and an active road biking community.Recently name as one of top 10 towns in usa,I think,maybe texas to live in.
    Whoever put together that list was obviously just looking at a spreadsheet and has never been to Canyon, TX.

    As someone who spent 6 yrs attending Texas Tech in Lubbock, TX, I'd have to say that it would take a very special person to find living someplace in that area "a top 10" experience. Don't get me wrong, there are a handful of very good reasons to maybe live in Lubbock. However, outdoors-riding-nature'type things are not one of them.

    Cheers,
    CJB

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    That's true but Lubbock is a 100miles south of Canyon.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedyd View Post
    That's true but Lubbock is a 100miles south of Canyon.
    While Canyon is closer to Palo Duro (20 miles away), you could drive 100 mile in most any direction in the Texas panhandle and it not change the scenery any. It all looks like this:

    Name:  cd74b870a9914a0a5c065c7ea72cdd98l-m0xd-w480_h480_q80.jpg
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    Here's a better one with artistic filters...
    Where to live in Texas?-west-texas-cotton-harvest-robert-hudnall.jpg

  16. #16
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    I'm about to break one of my own rules (to not recruit more people to Austin). But compare the images above, to the one below of a normal pic of riding in Austin. Then see if you can tell why this town is exploding in population.

    Where to live in Texas?-img_20130425_115253-768x1024.jpg


    Hmmmm.....now that I think about it more throughly....Canyon, is a great place to live. I hear, in fact, one of the best 10 place is the US. Everybody's going there. Sounds good to me! :thumbs:


    Cheers,
    CJB

  17. #17
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    The problem with somewhere like Canyon besides the whole county smells like a feedlot with a flat featureless landscape is that it's virtually unusable between June and October, and unlike Austin, it's also unusable in the winters which are horribly cold in comparison. Austin is really hot in the summer, usually pleasant enough in the winter, but there's a ton of water sports in the area to cool off in. As far as the politics and general culture in Canyon and Amarillo areas, I don't think there's many places I would be less inclined to live in the entire country and I do have family in the area so have plenty of experience there.

  18. #18
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    somewhere near or in Austin is great. lots of good mountain trails. I've moved to dallas and it sucks in term of mountain bike trails and number of people or rides mountain bike (as compared to Austin).

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    Anywhere in the Hill Country is great, like Kerrville, Fredricksburg, Marble Falls, Burnet, etc. They are all great little towns within reasonable distance of Austin and San Antonio. There are numerous places to ride within an hour or so. Flat Rock Creek near Fredricksburg is great, and Reveille Peak Ranch near Burnet is, in my opinion, the best riding in Texas. Liberty Hill is another one you should look at. Although it is growing crazy fast, it's a little closer to Austin and I've heard the schools are amazing. Also, some of the towns east of Austin, like Giddings and La Grange, are great too. That area is kinda flat and the towns are pretty small, but Bluff Creek Ranch in Warda (halfway between Giddings and La Grange) and Rocky Hill Ranch in Smithville are great places to ride.

  20. #20
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    Its funny to me to see such strong suggestions for places like Burnet, Giddings, La Grange (and sorta Fredericksburg). I've lived in TX my whole life, grew up in a small town in South TX, so I don't mean this in a derogatory way....but those towns are pretty rural and don't offer too much in ways of well-rounded 'things to do'. The difference is, now Cen Tex is EXPLODING in population and these places are starting to pop-up on lists of viable places to live. YMMV of course, and I do have a soft spot for what small town life offers. But I can't image someone from CA, Portland, or Seattle finding comfort in small town La Grange.

    Later,
    CJB

  21. #21
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    It's been a while, but if I wanted small town feel, love to fish, outdoors, camping / trail riding w/ scenery and techy trails.

    East of Austin: Smithville, Bastrop, La Grange.

    North of Austin: Georgetown and even Jarrell as they have some affordable houses there still (under $150k, seriously... no kidding, but closest trails up in Jarrell would be Lake Georgetown and Cameron Park in Waco).

    West of Austin: Liberty Hill, Burnet / Marble Falls.

    South of Austin: Lakeway, Bee cave, Cedar Valley area.

    Best of all I think all these areas I mentioned should have a dairy queen or a burger joint that offers burgers on there menu that serve bacon... so your safe.
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  22. #22
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    I currently live in Jonestown, TX. Pretty quiet, amazing park (Jones brothers park). You'd have to drive 15 minutes to get anywhere, but I like it. Lago vista as well. Development seems to be starting there, so I don't know how long it will be like that. The conservatory in Lago vista may have some trails, haven't been there to tell you myself, though

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  23. #23
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    I like the Austin area. I have family that live in Lakeway (previously mentioned) and I would live there if I were in central TX. I live in a Dallas suburb now. I think the trails in DFW are surprisingly good considering the land that is here to work with. I visit Austin a few times a year and also head to Arkansas. Some of the trails in Arkansas are great so I like being closer to them (I'm < 4 hours from Iron Mountain in AR!). The occasional summer trip to Angel Fire/NM during July and August really help break the monotony of the heat.

  24. #24
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    [QUOTE=CBaron;12711509]While Canyon is closer to Palo Duro (20 miles away), you could drive 100 mile in most any direction in the Texas panhandle and it not change the scenery any. It all looks like this:

    Name:  cd74b870a9914a0a5c065c7ea72cdd98l-m0xd-w480_h480_q80.jpg
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    Camped at Palo Duro on a southwest run to Colorado two weeks back. P.D. Beautiful canyon with great hiking and biking, but the ground kept our tent hot all night, and the coons were simply *******s. Your picture does not do justice to the never ending lackluster that is northern Texas. Hours upon hours of dried up disappointment are how I'd describe it. It was fun being in a part of the country I'd not yet visited, but to live and ride in Amarillo... or anywhere along I-40... no thanks.

    We stopped in Amarillo to get groceries before hitting P.D. Didn't see a single soul walking or biking anywhere. I think it was Cancer Threat Level 9 that day.
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  25. #25
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    I grew up in NW Austin so I'm slightly bias, but NW Austin, Cedar Park, Leander and Georgetown are great "smallish" communities. Leander and Georgetown are some of the fastest growing cities in the country, Georgetown has almost anything you need with Round Rock just down the street with everything else. Leander is just North of Cedar Park and West of Georgetown, the city doesn't have too much in the way of shopping (yet) but the Leander School District is great, the city has a ton of small parks and there's any store you could need within 5-10 miles. LISD covers Cedar Park and even down into parts of Austin. I think I'm with most people here and would steer you clear of Houston.


    As far as the weather, it gets hot and it gets humid in the Central Texas region but it only lasts a few months. As long as you ride early its not terrible, and you can ride year round.


    From the MTB aspect I'd say a majority of the trails are in NW Austin and North of Leander. Brushy Creek, Walnut Creek, Lake Georgetown has a good trail around it and Reveille Peak Ranch. West of Austin is Emma Long Park, Lakeway, Pace Bend Park and Reimers Ranch. Central Austin has the Barton Creek trail system, tons of unmapped trails I'm still trying to decipher. Over all the Central Texas area offers almost every type of terrain you could ask for except beautiful mountains and massive downhills.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBaron View Post
    I'm about to break one of my own rules (to not recruit more people to Austin). But compare the images above, to the one below of a normal pic of riding in Austin. Then see if you can tell why this town is exploding in population.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20130425_115253-768x1024.jpg 
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ID:	1079669


    Hmmmm.....now that I think about it more throughly....Canyon, is a great place to live. I hear, in fact, one of the best 10 place is the US. Everybody's going there. Sounds good to me! :thumbs:


    Cheers,
    CJB
    Cody, whose bike did you steal? That rear look flexy...moto make you soft.

    Stop recruiting more transplants, Austin sucks.

    Seriously though - surrounding Austin would be my choice - Liberty Hill, Bertram, Burnet, Marbles Falls, Lago Vista, Jones Town, Dripping Springs or the like - all still close enough to Austin and close enough to LOTS of trails.

    No where else in Texas nets you hundreds of miles of singletrack while being near a city with plenty to do.

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