Photo courtesy of Lawn Love.

With the winter season behind us, it’s time to start looking forward to spring and all the joy it brings, especially camping under the wide open Texas sky. Before you plan your next trip, it might be useful to learn that the Lone Star State recently ranked third in Lawn Love’s 2023 report for Best States for Camping.

Lawn Love compared every U.S. state based on 25 unique metrics, including campsite access, acreage, safety, affordability, and more.

Texas’ third place ranking was determined based on its high scores in several major categories. The Lone Star State has the second highest number of campgrounds, campsites with water, and camping supply stores.

In two other top five category rankings, for the total acreage of campgrounds and average income-adjusted RV rental cost, Texas ranked No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. The state ranked just outside the top five at No. 6 for total acreage of state and national parks.

Beating Texas for the best and second best states for camping were California and Washington, which have the most attractions and highest acreage of national and state parks. This is California’s second year in a row as the top state in Lawn Love’s report. Rounding out the top five after Texas is Florida (No. 4) and New York (No. 5).

Guy deBrun, a camping enthusiast and lecturer at James Madison University, shared his top three tips for staying safe while camping overnight in the wild:

  • Allow yourself enough time for traveling: “Create a time control plan that considers the distance you need to travel, and add one mile for every thousand feet of elevation you need to gain. Divide that by your average rate of travel (usually two miles per hour on a trail with a pack).”
  • Dress in appropriate clothing: “Cotton clothing should be avoided in all but very hot and dry climates. It robs the body of heat because it does not wick moisture and dries slowly.”
  • Use good judgment: “Know your limits, plan your route, and communicate your plans with someone at home.”

The lecturer also recommended every camper have a way to purify their drinking water, such as a chemical treatment or filter, when they embark on their trip.

More information about Lawn Love’s report and its methodology can be found at lawnlove.com.

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Austin's Moody Center offers $25 tickets to Beck, Phoenix, Logic, and more, plus nonprofit-supporting tours

Backstage at Moody Center

Austin is a big city now, with a big entertainment venue to match. Moody Center is one year old as of April 20, 2023, and already one of the most successful venues of its size in the world. But many Austinites still haven't had a chance to check out the new arena that replaced the Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center after its four-decade run.

Besides buying an expensive ticket — no shade to Moody Center, but arena shows always cost a little more — local music lovers have two new chances to stop by and see what the fuss is about. The venue is celebrating its growth with new venue tours benefiting local nonprofits, and a limited run of $25 all-in concert tickets to select high-profile shows, as part of Live Nation Concert Week.

For just over the price of a Saturday cover at some small venues downtown, fans can see Beck and Phoenix, Logic with Juicy J, Illenium with All Time Low, Hippo Campus with Gus Dapperton, and more. Although the Austin Gamblers Professional Bull Riding team is not booked through Live Nation, it is also part of Moody Center's deals. A few shows have already sold out of the $25 tier, but still have reasonable prices left, including Duran Duran and Sam Smith. (These also may be worth checking for on resale pages as people who jumped on them start realizing they can't make it.)

There does not seem to be one page that lists all the active participating events, so concertgoers' best bet is to scroll through and check shows that pique their interest, just in case. You'll have to sit relatively far back, but for $25, just getting in the door is a win. The promotion goes on until May 16, or until tickets run out, and is active at other venues including popular Austin venues Emo's and Germania Insurance Amphitheater. An FAQ can be found at livenation.com.

For a more leisurely look at the arena with behind-the-scenes access, the series of venue tours will be offered on various dates in June, July, and August. These tickets are also $25, and proceeds benefit Red River Rising (RRR), Moody Center's "community platform initiative" for local outreach.

With help from the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM), the Community First! Village, and Red River Cultural District as partners, RRR hopes to generate opportunity for local musicians and reduce homelessness in the area. The platform works by distributing the funds it raises to these organizations, for the nonprofits to use as they see fit.

Venue tours will trace the process of building and opening the venue "from a paper napkin blueprint drawn by Matthew McConaughey in 2018 to the award-winning $375-million-dollar development," according to a release. For 75 minutes, visitors will learn about how the venue runs, while getting a look at the spaces usually reserved for artists and VIPs, like dressing rooms and the Moët & Chandon Imperial Lounge. They will also have a chance to put a message on the marquee on a first-come-first-served basis.

More information about venue tours, including booking links, is available via Ticketmaster.

After break-in, East Austin restaurant goes cashless rather than risk it for the biscuit

Cash me outside

Popular Austin eatery Bird Bird Biscuit has decided to go cashless after its Manor Road location was broken into on Wednesday, May 10.

The person who broke into the brick-and-mortar smashed the order window and stole the cash box that had a few hundred dollars in it. With security issues in the area and because a majority of the restaurant's customers already order online, the owners decided to switch to a fully cashless system for a while to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“We want to just make sure that we don't incentivize if the same person has come in again, we just want them to know, hey, look, we don't have any cash here,” said Brian Batch, co-owner of Bird Bird Biscuit.

Batch explained that it's not just Bird Bird Biscuit that has been broken in to recently. But Batch remains positive after the incident and hopes the person stops breaking into places.

“I hope the person who's going through what they're going through, I hope that they like heal up,” Batch said. “They stop breaking into people's houses like that. That's my real hope.”


Read the full story and watch the video on KVUE.com.

Chick-Fil-A tops the Texas fast-food pecking order as the state's most-searched chain


Though Texas is home to some classic local fast food chains like P. Terry’s, Whataburger, and Torchy's Tacos, none of them hold a candle to this chicken sandwich-specializing chain that originated out of Hapeville, Georgia.

That’s right, Chick-Fil-A is the most popular fast food chain in Texas, according to a new national study by price-tracking experts PriceListo. The site tracked monthly average search volumes by region over the past year to discover the trends.

Overall, the restaurant that popularized the slogan “Eat Mor Chikin” ranked as the third most searched-for fast food chain in the United States with 11.2 million monthly searches. It’s the top fast food eatery in its home state of Georgia as well as Texas (and it's ruled the roost for quite a while now), and in five additional states, most of which are located in the South: Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Following Chick-Fil-A as the second most popular fast food joint in the Lone Star State is McDonald’s. 22 states searched for the golden arches more than any other chain, making it the No. 1 most popular fast food restaurant in the nation. The report found that McDonald's received nearly 14.9 million monthly searches over the past year.

PriceListo stated that the fast food industry is estimated to be worth $367 billion in 2023.

“This research sheds light on America's favorite fast-food restaurants, displaying a wide variety of tastes across the country, from burgers to pizza or fried chicken to iced coffee,” a spokesperson said in a release.

The top five most popular fast food restaurants in the United States are:

  • No. 1 – McDonald’s
  • No. 2 – Domino’s
  • No. 3 – Chick-Fil-A
  • No. 4 – Starbucks
  • No. 5 – Pizza Hut and Papa John’s (tied)