Thanks for all the great advice.... I have Skipper Bob's guide to the Gulf Coast on order!
As long as the weather looks good we'll probably try the outside route, I don't mind the lit rigs (except it reminds me of work). It is only me and my husband but he is very experienced and I'm getting there :-) and don't mind a bit of night sailing.
We're looking at putting the boat in Watergate Marina once we get to Clear Lake - this is all of course assuming that the survey goes well next week and we proceed with buying the boat.