Austin offers an incredible array of experiences, from live music and delicious food to outdoor adventures. But sometimes, you need a change of scenery without going too far. That's where day trips come in.
Whether you're a local or visiting, Austin provides a strategic starting point for exploring the diverse beauty of the Lone Star State. In this article, we'll take you on a virtual tour of the best day trips from Austin. Each of these spots offers a unique experience that's just less than 2 hours away from Austin.
Nestled on the banks of the Colorado River, Marble Falls is a tranquil escape known for its beautiful lakes and natural wonders. Just a scenic drive from Austin, it's the gateway to the Highland Lakes region. Get ready to immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Marble Falls and its surroundings.
Downtown Marble Falls
Situated on the banks of the Colorado River, Marble Falls is a serene escape with stunning scenery. The town invites you to unwind and immerse yourself in the beauty of the river, with opportunities to explore the nearby lakes, pristine parks, and a collection of charming downtown shops.
Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
Hiking and wildlife enthusiasts, this is your paradise. The Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge is your gateway to the natural wonders of Texas. This protected area is a haven for native flora and fauna, providing a pristine and unspoiled landscape for outdoor adventures.
A family-friendly destination, Johnson Park offers a playground, hiking trails, and picnic areas, making it a lovely spot for all. Children can enjoy the playground, while nature lovers can explore the park's hiking trails. With designated picnic areas, it's an ideal spot for a leisurely outdoor meal.
San Antonio, a city steeped in history and culture, is just a short drive from Austin. As you explore this vibrant destination, you'll walk in the footsteps of early Spanish settlers, stand where legends were made at the Alamo, and meander along the picturesque River Walk.
The Alamo: A Historic Icon
Remember the Alamo! This iconic Spanish mission-turned-battlefield is a must-visit. When you visit, you'll have the opportunity to delve into the past and walk the hallowed grounds that witnessed the Battle of the Alamo.
San Antonio River Walk: Stroll Along the Waterfront
For a leisurely and picturesque experience, take a stroll along the San Antonio River Walk. This enchanting waterway is lined with charming shops, inviting restaurants, and vibrant flora. As you meander along its banks, you'll feel transported to a world of beauty and relaxation, making it an ideal destination for a peaceful day out.
Tower of the Americas: Views for Miles
This iconic tower offers breathtaking panoramic views of San Antonio. Riding the elevator to the top provides a bird's-eye view of the city, helping you get your bearings and appreciate the sprawling urban landscape.
Dripping Springs, with its rolling hills and artisanal distilleries, is a Hill Country gem just a short drive from Austin. From the natural wonder of Hamilton Pool Preserve to the honky-tonk vibes of Mercer Street Dancehall, Dripping Springs has something for everyone.
Hamilton Pool Preserve: A Natural Gem
Nestled in the heart of Dripping Springs, the Hamilton Pool Preserve is a true natural wonder. Its centerpiece is a mesmerizing pool with a collapsed grotto, creating a stunning oasis.
Dripping Springs Distilling
Home to award-winning spirits, this distillery offers tours and tastings. Visitors have the opportunity to embark on guided tours that provide insights into the meticulous process of distillation and the artistry behind creating award-winning liquors.
Mercer Street Dancehall: Honky-Tonk Vibes
Get your cowboy boots on and head to the dance hall. It's not just about the music; it's about the entire honky-tonk experience. Live country music performances set the stage for a night of dancing and fun, all while immersing yourself in the Texan atmosphere.
For a day of cool, clear river waters and boutique shopping, San Marcos is the ideal destination. Whether you're floating down the San Marcos River, exploring the historic square, or embarking on a subterranean adventure at Wonder World Park, this day trip promises relaxation and fun in equal measure.
San Marcos River: A Cool Escape
On a hot Texas day, tubing down the San Marcos River is pure bliss. Nature lovers will appreciate the crystal-clear waters and lush surroundings.
The Square: Shop 'til You Drop
San Marcos' historic square is home to unique shops and boutiques. Whether you're looking for local crafts, vintage finds, or contemporary fashion, The Square has something for every shopping enthusiast.
Wonder World Park: A Subterranean Adventure
Explore the only earthquake-formed cave in the United States. This subterranean adventure is as educational as it is quirky. It's suitable for all ages, making it a great family outing. Explore the fascinating geological features and history of this cave system, and gain a deeper understanding of the Earth's natural wonders.
Georgetown is a small town with immense charm, invites you to wander its historic square, take a refreshing dip at Blue Hole Park, and enjoy local entertainment at the Palace Theatre. This day trip is all about discovering the hidden gems of Georgetown and its rich cultural heritage.
Georgetown's Historic Square
This square exudes small-town charm. The square is adorned with antique shops, inviting cafes, and a thriving arts scene. It's the perfect place to explore at a leisurely pace, with each corner offering a glimpse into the town's rich history and vibrant culture.
Blue Hole Park: A Natural Oasis
Spend your day at Blue Hole Park! This picturesque lagoon is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you're looking to cool off with a swim on a hot day, enjoy a leisurely picnic by the water, or simply bask in the sun's warmth, Blue Hole Park provides the ideal setting to connect with nature and unwind.
Palace Theatre: Entertaining the Masses
Georgetown's Palace Theatre is a cultural cornerstone, entertaining the masses and preserving a piece of history. Catching a show here is not only a source of local entertainment but also a journey into the heart of the town's cultural scene.
Situated along the banks of the Colorado River, Bastrop is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Bastrop State Park offers hiking, camping, and picnicking amid a piney paradise, while Historic Downtown Bastrop takes you on a journey through time. Join us as we explore Bastrop's riverside beauty and history.
Bastrop State Park: A Piney Paradise
This natural haven offers a variety of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers can explore winding trails shaded by towering pine trees, creating a serene and picturesque backdrop for your adventure. If you're an avid camper, the park provides a tranquil setting to pitch your tent and spend a night under the stars.
Historic Downtown Bastrop
This quaint downtown area boasts historic buildings and shops. Stroll along streets lined with historic buildings that have witnessed the town's evolution through the years. Quaint shops and local businesses offer a taste of authentic Bastrop culture, making it an ideal place to immerse yourself in the local community.
Bastrop County Museum
For a more in-depth exploration of Bastrop's captivating history, a visit to the Bastrop County Museum is a must. Inside, you'll discover an array of exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of the region. Learn about the area's past, from its early settlers to its role in various historical events.
New Braunfels is a charming town that seamlessly blends old-world charm with modern delights. Tubing down the Comal River, exploring the historic Gruene District, and spelunking at Natural Bridge Caverns are just a few of the adventures that await you in this unique destination.
Comal River: Tubing and Fun
Escape the Texas heat by embarking on a tubing adventure down the Comal River. Drift leisurely on an inner tube and soak in the serene beauty of the river's surroundings.
Gruene Historic District
Step back in time in the historic Gruene District. This charming enclave is a living testament to the past, offering a delightful blend of music, shopping, and authentic Texas hospitality.
Natural Bridge Caverns
Explore underground wonders at Natural Bridge Caverns. These remarkable underground formations, sculpted over thousands of years, will leave you in awe of Mother Nature's artistic prowess. Guided tours take you through these awe-inspiring caverns, showcasing stunning stalactites and stalagmites.
Visit the hometown of the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, in Johnson City. Discover the history of LBJ at the National Historical Park, marvel at the beauty of Pedernales Falls, and enjoy interactive learning at the Science Mill. This day trip is an educational and scenic delight.
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
Discover the history of the 36th President of the United States. This expansive park offers a fascinating journey through history, allowing you to tour the "Texas White House" where President Johnson conducted significant business. It's a unique opportunity to gain insights into one of the most pivotal periods in American history.
Pedernales Falls State Park
Hike, swim, and marvel at the stunning Pedernales Falls. This natural oasis is a haven for hikers, swimmers, and anyone seeking breathtaking landscapes. The stunning Pedernales Falls, with its cascading waters and rocky terrain, is a mesmerizing sight.
Science Mill: A Hands-On Experience
This interactive science museum is perfect for kids and adults alike. It's not your typical museum – it's an interactive science wonderland. Here, you can explore a variety of hands-on exhibits, fostering a love for science through play and experimentation.
Fredericksburg, a charming town founded by German immigrants, is a slice of Old World Texas. Stroll along Main Street, where boutiques and bistros beckon, hike to the summit of Enchanted Rock for breathtaking views, and sip on fine wines at local wineries. In Fredericksburg, you'll experience a delightful blend of German heritage and Texan hospitality.
Main Street: Shopping and More
Fredericksburg's Main Street is a shopper's haven. Whether you're looking for antiques, handcrafted goods, or the perfect souvenir, Main Street has it all. And when it's time to refuel, you can dine at one of the many restaurants serving up a variety of culinary delights, making it the perfect place to indulge in a day of retail therapy and gastronomic adventures.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Hike to the top of Enchanted Rock for breathtaking views of the Texas Hill Country. Embark on a hike to the top and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the Texas Hill Country. The rock's mystique and beauty are truly enchanting, making it a must-visit destination for those who appreciate the wonders of the natural world.
Fredericksburg is renowned for its wineries. Take a tour of the local vineyards and indulge in some of Texas' finest wines. Whether you're a seasoned wine connoisseur or just looking to savor a glass of something special, Fredericksburg's wineries are a delightful way to unwind and savor the flavors of the Texas Hill Country.
For barbecue aficionados, Lockhart is a pilgrimage destination. Smitty's Market and Chisholm Trail Barbecue serve up some of the best-smoked meats in Texas. After indulging in barbecue bliss, take a hike in Lockhart State Park to balance the flavors with scenic beauty. Lockhart is a carnivore's paradise.
Smitty's Market: A Meat Lover's Paradise
Sink your teeth into some of the finest BBQ Texas has to offer. Smitty's Market is a legend in the world of smoked meats. This legendary establishment serves some of the finest BBQ you'll ever encounter.
Lockhart State Park
After indulging in the delectable offerings at Smitty's Market, head to Lockhart State Park for a nature-inspired escape. Enjoy the scenic beauty and serene environment in this park.
Chisholm Trail Barbecue
More BBQ? Absolutely! This local gem has won the hearts of residents and visitors alike with its delectable dishes. Savor their tender, flavorful meats, and you'll understand why it's a community favorite.
Exciting Day Trips from Austin, Texas
We've explored some of the most fantastic day trip destinations around Austin, offering you a delightful escape from the city's hustle and bustle.
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Posted by Ryan Rodenbeck on