Day Trips Around Austin
With the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns, live music and a cool culture, Austin holds a lot of appeal for students, families and people of all ages who like to have fun. Sitting on the edge of Hill Country, Texas’ capital boasts plenty of attractions (bat-watching, anyone?), but also is an excellent home base for a plethora of enjoyable day trips.
Here are some of our favorites:
Directly up IH-35 about 100 miles north of Austin, you’ll find Waco, the small Texas town made famous by Chip and Joanna Gaines in their HGTV show, “Fixer Upper.” The Gaines family has created a wildly popular shopping mecca with their Magnolia Market, a bustling bakery and home emporium, plus nearby ventures including a restaurant and a bed and breakfast.
If shopping is not your bag, Waco is actually a great spot for families. Cameron Park Zoo sits on 52 scenic acres and is home to more than 1,700 animals representing 300 species, housed in natural habitats. Sports fans should stop by the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and Texans and visitors alike will enjoy exploring legendary lawmakers of the Old West at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum.
Known for its juicy Hill Country peaches and proud German heritage, Fredericksburg serves up plenty of fun about an hour-and-a-half drive from Austin. The town’s multi-day Oktoberfest, held each fall, is a spirited celebration with lively oompah music, authentic German food, lederhosen-clad guests and a family-friendly kids’ play area. All year, you’ll find abundant opportunities to shop, relax at a peaceful bed and breakfast or enjoy one of the area’s 40 wineries or tasting rooms.
History buffs will want to discover the Pioneer Museum, which brings to life pioneer days in the Texas Hill Country, plus take in the world-class National Museum of the Pacific War. For breathtaking fields of color, check out Wildseed Farms, a live working wildflower farm that welcomes guests to explore their fields and gardens. Enjoy stunning views of the Hill Country after an invigorating hike up the trail at Enchanted Rock, one of the biggest rock formations in the U.S.
Right in Austin’s backyard is Dripping Springs, the “Gateway to the Hill Country.” A short, 25-mile drive puts you in the heart of the Downtown Historic District, with shops, art galleries and historic architecture. Opt for a responsible tasting at one of the many local breweries, wineries and distilleries. Or enjoy a dip or a hike at a Central Texas gem just north of Dripping Springs – Hamilton Pool, Reimers Ranch Park or Westcave Preserve.
Lake Travis/Lake Buchanan
Clear, sparkling gems in the Highland Lakes chain, 63-mile Lake Travis and 30-mile Lake Buchanan offer plenty of water-based recreation. Stretching along miles of scenic shorelines, activities include fishing, swimming, boating, canoeing, sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing and even scuba diving.
Make memories at Sweet Berry Farm, which offers seasonal berry picking, a pumpkin patch, hayrides and more family fun. Outdoor enthusiasts, hikers and bird watchers will want to pay a visit to the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, a scenic and safe refuge for the endangered golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo.
New Braunfels is a popular destination in Texas, and for good reason. The town’s main attraction is Schlitterbahn, a German-themed, sprawling water park, complete with hair-raising rides, a lazy river, a wave pool and watery fun for all ages. The Comal River and its nearby counterpart, the Guadalupe River, are well-known for hosting fun-seeking visitors floating in inner tubes, aiming to beat the heat on a toasty day.
Explore a Trendmaker Neighborhood
With so much to discover, Austin is a great place to live. Trendmaker offers a wide range of homes in the Austin area, including great communities in Georgetown, Round Rock, Leander and Kyle. Learn more about our communities and floor plans here.