When on a long road trip, finding interesting places to visit on the way to your goal can be a great morale booster. If you’re traveling through the Lone Star State, a great stop is the the USS Texas, located just east of Houston. It is the last remain “dreadnought” in the world. The dreadnoughts were big-gun battleships built at the beginning of the 20th century. Commissioned in 1914, Battleship Texas is the last surviving U.S. naval ship that served in both World Wars. The state of Texas saved her from being used as a bombing target, and she is currently part of the Texas park system.
Battleship Texas is a fun stop for everyone in the family. Choose a self-guides tour through the ship; there are also free hourly tours available. The main deck still has all of her armament in place, and many of the guns the kids can get on and crank to operate. They will have a lot of fun working together to aim at a target, with one cranking to move the gun horizontally, while the other was moving the gun vertically.
Below, on the second deck, nearly the entire floor is open to the public. Many of the rooms are furnished and have plaques describing their use. The park offers “hard hat tours” of the battleship; they are given one day a month, during the winter months — if you are truly interested in WWII, this may be a great event to schedule your trip around.
Right across the street is the San Jacinto Monument, where the final battle in the Texas War for Independence happened. At the San Jacinto Monument, you can watch the movie, “Texas Forever,” which tells the story of the battle that happened there; how Santa Ana was surprised by Sam Houston and his men, was captured, and surrendered. The beautiful monument erected there is 570 feet tall (3 feet shorter than the USS Texas on end), and is topped by a 220 TON star. There is an observation deck near the top of the monument that is accessed by elevator (must buy tickets).
Located just minutes south of I-10, this is an easy on-the-go stop. You can enjoy self-touring the ship, and watching the movie at the monument. It’s a perfect ‘stretch your legs’ stop, and a great place to get an inside glimpse to the lives of WWII soldiers. It’s great to find fun on-the-road stops — they’ll make the trip to and from your destination much more enjoyable.