Looking to getaway? Austin has it all, but don’t let that keep you from taking a road trip every now and then. Part of the appeal of the capital city is its proximity to many beautiful areas. The Texas Hill Country is easily accessible from Austin, including many day trip destinations to enjoy the rolling scenery.
Here are a few of our favorites!
1. New Braunfels
Approximately an hour southwest of Austin, New Braunfels is a top spot to get away from the city. Visitors to New Braunfels have access to the Comal River, which runs through the city, as well as the Guadalupe River nearby. Tubing, fishing, and wandering the banks are popular ways to spend the day and plenty of opportunity to have fun at Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Don’t miss the popular attractions in Gruene. The Grapevine Garden takes place on the third Thursday of the month and offers tastings from some of Texas’ best wines and craft beers.
Just 30 minutes north of Austin is the charming city of Georgetown. It is home to one of the most beautiful town squares in Texas. Local shops and restaurants comprise the historic facades of downtown Georgetown and sell everything from baked goods to antique collectibles.
Check out some of the local attractions here.
Offering some of the best scenery the Texas Hill County has to offer, Fredericksburg is less than two hours west of Austin. This photogenic small town displays its German heritage on the streets. The German village of Fredericksburg is lovely to walk through on a sunny day, and this part of Texas receives sun over 300 days of the year. Don’t miss Enchanted Rock State Park for hiking, cycling, picnics, or camping. Known for their museums, wineries, breweries, peaches, bed and breakfasts cottages, horseback riding and live music venues, there’s something for everyone in Fredericksburg. Fredericksburg, Texas is home to more than 400 festivals and special events each year, not to mention dozens of live music performances each week
4. San Antonio
One of the few larger cities in Texas other than Austin, San Antonio is about an hour and 20 minutes from Austin’s city center. The vibrant streets of San Antonio are wonderful to explore for a day trip. The centerpiece of many visits, the San Antonio Riverwalk, features stone walkways and many restaurants on the water. Visitors can hop on a boat and tour the San Antonio River to take in this cultural epicenter of the city. San Antonio is also home to Seaworld, the Alamo, wineries, Shops at La Cantera, Natural Bridge Caverns and Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Be sure to check out the JW Marriott Hill Country during your visit which offers a destination in and of itself with water park, lazy river, sand beach pools, spa, PGA tour-approved golf course, adult and kid-friendly activities, 7 restaurants and more!
5. Lake Travis
Looking for a visit to the lake? Lake Travis is just shy of 19,000 acres and known as the crown jewel of the Central Texas Highland Lakes. It’s one of the most visited freshwater lakes in Texas and offers a great attraction for water enthusiasts. There are plenty of rental options for houseboats, party barges, ski, wakeboard, wake surf boats, pontoon boats, jet skis and wave runners, sailboats, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, as well as flyboarding. Additionally, you can partake in ziplining and multiple waterparks along the waterfront – Waterloo Adventures and Volente Beach to name a few. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy dinner and drinks at the OASIS, which is situated along a 450-foot-high cliff with breathtaking sunset views and live music. If you want to take a bite of all the lake has to offer, try Lake Travis’ Ultimate On-The-Water Pub Crawl for great food, drinks and live music on water.
6. Round Rock
A quick drive north from Austin brings you to Round Rock, which is known for Dell Computers, start-of-the-art sports facilities, world-famous Round Rock Donuts, Round Rock Premium Outlets, Brushy Creek Crossing, Rock ‘N River Water Park and the new Kalahari resort. This city is rich in history and hospitality and offers a great spot to getaway without venturing too far from Austin
7. Drippings & Driftwood
The beautiful town in known as the “Gateway to the Hill Country” and is a quick 25-minute drive from Austin. Dripping Springs offers a wonderful getaway for the day or weekend. With countless boutique shops, wineries, breweries, distilleries and find dining, there’s something for everyone. One of our favorite spots is Ghost Note Brewing, which offers craft beer, small bites and live music in a beautiful outdoor setting. Be sure to take a dip in the Hamilton Pool Preserve while you’re there!
For more information on planning your visit, check out this visitor’s guide.
An hour outside of Austin leads you to this quaint little village in the heart of the Hill Country. Wimberley offers shopping, dining, dance halls, live music and plenty of opportunity to explore the outdoors. Be sure to visit the Blue Hole, which is one of the best loved natural swimming holes in Texas.
9. Marble Falls/Horseshoe Bay
Both of these destinations – Marble Falls and Horseshoe Bay – are known for their golf courses, hotels and resorts, and water sports. There’s something for everyone! Don’t miss Sweet Berry Farms, Save the World Brewery, Blue Bonnet Café for delicious pie!, Heart of Texas Wine Tour, Hidden Falls Adventure Park, Horseshoe Bay resort.
Take a quick drive down the road to Bastrop and explore their downtown square which is rich in history and offers window shopping, comfort food, art galleries and museums. Situated on the edge of Bastrop is the well-known Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort. The resort sits on 405 acres lining the Lower Colorado River and is also home to the award winning 18-hole Wolfdancer Golf Club course and the Spa Django. The resort offers two outdoor pools, arcade/game room, five restaurants, live music and a plethora of family friendly events.
Check out their event calendar here.
11. San Marcos
San Marcos is located halfway between Austin and San Antonio and is known for its charming college atmosphere, the country’s largest outdoor mall, quaint downtown square and abundant waterways which offer kayaking, paddle boarding, and floating the river. There are plenty of options for exploring the outdoors, spending quality time with family, shopping and taking in the heritage of this wonderful town!
Galveston is an island city on the Gulf Coast of Texas. It’s known its beautiful beaches and historic downtown area. Aside from the beaches, visitors can stroll along the Strand, which offers an array of restaurants, cafes, galleries, and antique stores. The wharf area of the strand is home to Pier 19, Texas Seaport Museum and the Grand 1892 Opera House. Don’t miss Moody Gardens and Aquarium during your visit as it’s a great spot to check out marine life, rainforest life including monkeys and sloths and the waterpark, Palm Beach, which offers freshwater lagoons, slides, a lazy river and more! Along the seawall, you’ll find the Pleasure Pier, which is home to fun roller coaster rides, and activities for all ages.
13. South Padre Island
Visitors to South Padre Island can enjoy dolphin watching, fishing, parasailing, surfing, kiteboarding and wakeboarding over the clear blue waters. For visitors looking for a thrill, Beach Park at Isla Blanca, offers man-made waves for surfing, loads of water attractions, sandcastle lessons, or treasure hunting on the Black Dragon Pirate Ship Cruise. For adults, there’s endless opportunities to enjoy relaxing spa treatments, indulge in shopping or end the day with a cold brew at the Padre Island Brewing Company.
14. Port Aransas
Looking to getaway to the beach? Port Aransas (aka. Port A) is located on the Texas coast and known for its Gulf of Mexico beaches, fish-filled waterways, dolphin sightings, ferry rides and more! One of our favorite family friendly spots is Cinnamon Shore which offers a variety of activities to keep everyone busy including paddleboard yoga, sandcastle lessons, surf lessons, s’more nights, movies on the lawn, outdoor music, beach time, pool time and more!
Rockport is a wonderful place to live and visit! This place offers endless recreational possibilities, beautiful coasts, and mild weather. Spend your day enjoying the beach, renting a boat, hiring a fishing guide, exploring historic landmarks, visiting their unique museums, or swinging by Goose Island State Park for camping, hiking, birding and fishing. For the youngsters in your group, don’t miss the Pirate playground Rockport Beach or the Community Aquatic Park. End your day at the Sugar Shack for live karaoke, live music, great food and drinks. Or any of the restaurants in the Coastal Bend at Fulton Harbor.
Located on the shores of Lake Grapevine, the Gaylord Texan Resort offers guests a one-of-a-kind experience. Enjoy the ten-acre Paradise Springs Water Park, live entertainment and events, award-winning restaurants, bars, modern guest rooms, a world-class spa, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Located near DFW Airport, LEGOLAND® Discovery Center, Cowboys Golf Club, Historic Downtown Grapevine, and water sports on Lake Grapevine itself, are all convenient so everyone can do more of what they love. This destination offers something for the entire family.
17. Canyon Lake
Spend your day on the lake sailing, water skiing, kayaking and fishing. Don’t miss the chance for a tubing adventure on the Guadalupe River, wine tastings, shopping, and lunch at the famous Gristmill Restaurant known for its stunning tiered patio along the Guadalupe River. Or, take a quick trip over to Gruene Hall for a fun evening dinner and live music. If you’re looking for lodging off the beaten path,
Check out Summit Resort and stay in one of their 30 log cabins along the Guadalupe River!
18. Tyler/Lake Palisades
Tyler is also known as the Rose Capital of America! Be sure to visit the world-famous Tyler Rose Garden and enjoy a rose infused beverage at The Foundry Coffee House or Café 1948. Families can visit the Caldwell Zoo, swing by the Discovery Science Place or partake in a drive-through safari at Cherokee Trace. If you’re looking for an aquatic adventure, be sure to head to Splash Kingdom Family Waterpark or the Waterpark at Villages Resort. The thrill seekers in your group will not want to miss the New York Texas Zipline just down the way in Larue. Lake Palisades is loaded with fish, fun and plenty of opportunities for relaxation. For the shoppers in the group, you do not want to miss Canton Days, which takes place the first Mondays of the month as well as the many festivals that are local to the area.
This small Texas town gained notoriety thanks to Waylon Jennings’ song, “Luckenbach.” Known as a venue for country music and it’s German-Texan Heritage, Luckenbach is located roughly 50 miles north of San Antonio and 69 miles west of Austin.
20. Garner State Park
Rent a cabin at Garner State Park on the Frio River and enjoy swimming, hiking tubing, paddle boating, fishing, canoeing, geocaching, and biking. Spend your evening at the park’s concession building for jukebox dancing, a park tradition since the 1940’s. Be sure to arrive early as parking fills up quickly and can close as early as 8:30 pm.
Check the Events page for upcoming events.
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