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Halff summer destinations

Summer is often thought of as a time for a nice getaway. Many people across the country take to the coasts for a relaxing vacation on the beach, while others retreat to the mountains to leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind for a few days. Some even venture to an extraordinarily large castle full of costumed characters in Orlando, Florida, to rediscover the "happiest place on Earth."

Not every trip can be a full-fledged excursion, however. Luckily, summer is just as conducive to a quick trip across the city as it is a vacation. Here are seven standout places to check out while the temperatures are warmer than ever, all courtesy of Halff.

Waco, TX: Waco Riverwalk

Now that Waco has become a Texas tourist attraction with venues such as the Waco Silos District, the Dr Pepper Museum, Cameron Park Zoo and lots of great shopping, it might be time to book a trip. Interested in a peaceful bike ride or stroll through the heartland of Texas? If so, the Waco Riverwalk provides roughly 7 miles of trail looping along both banks of the Brazos River. The scenic riverwalk stretches from Baylor University to Cameron Park and passes underneath the city's historic suspension bridge.

Halff was responsible for the design of 1.2 miles of the concrete trail, which begins at Brazos Park East and runs along the Brazos River, ending at the intersection of Herring Avenue and MLK Boulevard. We were later hired for the federally funded Waco Riverwalk Extension project, which begins at the Franklin Avenue Bridge and runs along the Brazos River, connecting to the new Baylor McLane Stadium.

Be sure to check out our recently completed Brazos Park East project while you're there.

Arlington, TX: Southwest Nature Preserve

If you want to leave the concrete jungle of Dallas-Fort Worth for a quiet afternoon of fishing but can't make it out of the metroplex, the Southwest Nature Preserve might be what you're looking for. Located just south of Interstate 20 and adjacent to Bowman Springs Drive, the nature preserve has three ponds, one of which is complete with a fishing pier and a terraced outdoor seating and education area. The preserve is also home to several significant native plant communities. If in search of some scenic views, the preserve boasts a high bluff on sandstone outcroppings that allows visitors to see as far as downtown Fort Worth.

Halff developed a comprehensive master plan for the preserve focusing on passive recreational and educational opportunities that allow for the enjoyment and preservation of this natural site.

Mission, TX: World Birding Center

Few activities are as fascinating as birdwatching (also known as "birding"). Texas Parks and Wildlife's World Birding Center is one of the most extensive centers for birding in the United States. The center consists of a main "starting point" facility located in Mission, Texas, and features 10 other satellite facilities in nearby communities. Because several key migratory pathways converge in South Texas, this area is known globally as one of the premier birdwatching sites. Halff provided civil engineering services for this project.

Dallas, TX: Latino Cultural Center

Halff worked with renowned architect Ricardo Legorreta to create the beautiful Latino Cultural Center, which was designed and built to celebrate Latin heritage while providing a repository for fine Latin art, including Folkloric Dance and Teatro. The center hosts a variety of multidisciplinary events and activities throughout the year, such as gallery exhibits, shows and dance and musical performances. The center's current summer show is Cara Mia Theatre's "Our Stories: Bridging Communities and Building Trust Through Story."

Click here to check out the center's upcoming events.

San Marcos, TX: Rio Vista Dam

Whether you're an extreme kayaker or just want to relax on the water in an inner tube—or maybe you're somewhere in between—the San Marcos River is a terrific option. The river's Rio Vista Dam and corresponding waterway serve as significant recreation and tourist attractions, as well as a habitat for endangered species and vegetation.

Did you know the Rio Vista Dam is more than 100 years old? The dam was originally constructed as a log crib dam out of cypress and cedar wood, and it was later plated with unreinforced concrete. After the state of Texas deemed the dam structure a "high hazard" due to erosion, scour and undermining, Halff repaired the dam structure and restored the area to a more natural setting in 2006 by reconstructing the dam into three drop structures as a challenging white water course for tubing and kayaking.

Georgetown, TX: Garey Park

After more than a decade of planning, the $13.5 million Garey Park was worth the wait—and a trip to see it for yourself. This newly completed, 525-acre park is one of the largest municipal parks in Central Texas and features a variety of amenities, including hiking trails, an equestrian arena and an event center. Halff provided a variety of services for this project and worked closely with Jack Garey, former president of Garey Construction Company, to incorporate his family's history into the project.

Dallas, TX: White Rock Lake

Last, but certainly not least, is White Rock Lake, a 9,000 acre-foot reservoir in Dallas. The lake resides in one of the most heavily used parks in the Dallas park system, and it's also the host of many special events and runs. White Rock Lake offers a variety of active and passive recreation options, including a lake museum, the Dallas Arboretum, a dog park, picnic areas and boating activities. For more information on what to see there, visit this link.

Halff designed roughly 24,200 sf of retaining wall, three cantilevered overlooks and more than 25,000 sf of new pavement. Halff also improved park facilities in the spillway area with a spillway-specific landscape master plan (known as the Spillway Aesthetic Plan). The plan allows pedestrians and casual observers space to congregate and observe the spillway while cyclists and joggers are safely located on a separate trail.

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