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Austin: When to Go

Although Austin's supply of hotel rooms has increased, it's still important to book ahead of time. Try to avoid coming in March unless you're planning to come to the SXSW music festival. This is the busiest month of the year, and rooms are expensive and hard to come by. Summer season is typically busy, and legislative sessions (the first half of odd-numbered years) and University of Texas events (graduation, say, or home football games) can also fill up the town's lodgings.

Climate -- May showers follow April flowers in the Austin/Texas Hill Country area; by the time the late spring rains set in, the bluebonnets and most of the other wildflowers have already peaked. Mother Nature thoughtfully arranges mild, generally dry weather in which to enjoy her glorious floral arrangements in early spring -- an ideal and deservedly popular time to visit. Summers can be steamy -- the past several summers have seen atypically long stretches of triple-digit temperatures -- but Austin offers plenty of great places to cool off, among them the Highland Lakes and Barton Springs. Autumn and early winter usually bring the most comfortable weather. But in winter there's always the possibility of a cold front dropping temperatures out of the comfort zone.

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