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Wilde About Texas: A tour of Texas just off the highway
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Each year, millions of visitors enter Texas for the very first time and for many of them their first stop is a TxDOT welcome center.
Entering Texas on Interstate 10, the first thing you see is the six flags of Texas blowing in the wind. It's a sight that prompts of thousands of people to pull over each year.
In addition to providing a place to take care of travel necessities, the welcome center has information on things to see and do across the state.
For truck driver David Pierce, it offers something that truck stops don't.
"It's smaller, it's cleaner and it's usually safer I think. There's usually some kind of police officer or security on premises," Pierce said.
In addition to travel information and maps they have a board walk—a great place to stretch your legs and get a little closer to nature.
"It's like swampland,” Gregory Burten said. “I’ve got a truck and I drive through here all the time.”
He says the wildlife just off the freeway, keeps him coming back.
"Got some 'gators out here, raccoons, sometime you can catch some otters out here every now and then. There's some big turtles out there, I've seen them," Burten said. “Just the quietness out here, get your mind off of driving a truck all the time.
TxDOT operates 12 information centers across the state. They're staffed year-round to give visitors tips on how to experience the Lone Star State.