With its proximity to Mexico, its long history of ranching and its more recent history as the USA’s commercial hub, Texas has always had a vibe that is all its own, and an inclination to dance to its own tune.
The truth is, there is nowhere quite like the Lone Star state. Here are just a few fun and surprising facts you might want to keep in mind next time you visit the Land of Boots and Hats.
Fun and Surprising Facts about the Lone Star State
It’s Big (Like, Huge!)
Texas is big – very big. Alaska is the only US state that is larger. But Texas is also bigger than any country in Western Europe. In fact, if Texas was a country, it would be the 40th largest in the world.
Perhaps it’s because it is so large that Texas tends to do everything large. It is home to the largest ranch in the USA – at 1,289 square miles King Ranch in South Texas is bigger than Rhode Island.
You Can Drive at 85 mph
If you like to drive fast and don’t want to get a speeding ticket, head for Texas. Here, you’ll find the fastest average speed limits in the USA.
Texas is also the only state where you can legally drive at 85 mph – but only along a 40-mile stretch of SH-130 between Austin and San Antonio.
You Could Get Arrested for Playing Texas Holdem
Texans love their poker, and the state gives its name to the most popular variation of the game. There are dozens of poker clubs across Texas, so learn everything you need to know about poker hands online before you arrive.
But also do your homework about where to play. Two high-profile poker clubs were raided by police in recent months for unknowingly breaching the state’s gambling laws.
These laws are quite convoluted, and are expected to be revised in 2023 for better clarity – until that happens, it might be safer to play poker online.
Big on Bats
The largest known colony of bats in all of North America is in – you guessed it, Texas.
Bracken Cave is located just outside San Antonio, and is home to an estimated 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats that fly up to 100 miles to roost there between March and October, before returning to Mexico in the winter months.
The bats are welcomed by local landowners. By eating tons of insects every night, they are thought to save Texan cotton farmers about $1 million every year.
The USA has three power grids. One covers the states to the east of the Rockies, one covers states to the west of the Rockies and one covers Texas. So what makes Texas so special?
A history teacher might tell you it was set up in the 1940s to ensure Texas factories would be self sustainable in serving the war effort. That’s part of the reason.
The grid was actually established in the 1930s, just around the time President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Power Act, which gave the Federal Power Commission oversight of interstate electricity sales.
That’s right, fiercely independent Texas wanted nothing to do with it and kept power generation within state lines.
85 MPH? I never knew this. Glorious. I am used to the 65 or even 55 speed limit in the Northeast US. All is bigger in Texas.
Fun fact for the day :D!