Tahlequah Daily Press

Checking It Out

May 8, 2008

Head south for Texas, west for California

(Continued)

TAHLEQUAH DAILY PRESS —

But back to San Antonio. That city has a very good mass transit system, with buses stopping practically every block. You'll want to visit the Riverwalk and take in one (or more) of the terrific restaurants there. It's hard to beat the ambiance. Anyone who's been to OKC's Bricktown has seen a scaled-down version. You can also visit the Alamo while you're downtown.

You can get to either Sea World or Six Flags Fiesta Texas via bus, and there will most likely a stop very near your hotel. I've not visited Fiesta Texas, but I have been to Sea World San Antonio (www.seaworld.com; the music's a little annoying, but you can turn it off), and I can promise a good time for your family -- especially the kids. Not only can you see several shows featuring Shamu and friends, you can enjoy a growing number of rides. Right now you can get four single-day tickets for $174 online; otherwise, you'll pay $43.50 for a ticket.

Heading West

If California is the place you think you ought to be, maybe you're right -- but be prepared! The Golden State is as good as its name when it comes to high prices. It gives Florida a run for the money in terms of -- well, money -- but there's always plenty to do.

Personally, we prefer northern California, but since my husband's parents live in southern California, we're far more familiar with that patch of rather smoggy real estate. Planning your trip, and looking for reasonably priced airline tickets in advance, is the only way to go. Either Southwest or American is usually the cheapest, as in practically every other case. Unless you care to take the train; in that case, the best way is to continue on the Texas Eagle past San Antonio. That'll run you $131 for a trip from Fort Worth to Los Angeles (or $117.90 for AAA). A sample itinerary starts June 20 at 2:40 p.m. and arrives in LA June 22 at 10:10 a.m., but long-distance trains are notoriously late. You'll need a private compartment for a trip of that duration, and planning a couple of months in advance is a must. A superliner roomette will cost between $345 and on up to as high as $500, depending on when you book and how full the train is at that time. A family bedroom or a room with a shower and other amenities costs considerably more.

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