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Best Weekend Getaway Houston 2008 - Matagorda Bay

Readers' Choice: Austin

Whether you want to bird, hike or fish, you can do it at Matagorda Bay Nature Park. And while it's definitely wilderness, the 1,600-acre park has plenty of amenities. Butterflies stop in Matagorda Bay from September through November, while the January and February skies are full of birds. (More than 250 varieties have been counted in a single day, but some 300-plus species call the bay home.) There are plenty of walking paths dotted with picnic tables and wildlife-watching stations. The Nature Preserve sports four free public piers. You can kayak along the park's course or swim in the Gulf, picnic in the dunes or have a cookout. And you have your choice of accommodations, from tent camping on the beach (how very Beach Blanket Bingo!) to an RV park, or nearby motels and bed-and-breakfasts.

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