As the beautiful and big Austin is the capital city of Texas, it is situated just on the right spot for awesome day trips from Austin. It’s a lively city with a variety of activities so it’s no wonder that its surroundings are as exciting.
No matter if you prefer quiet places where you can drink wine and relax or bustling places full of adventure, there are satisfying trips for everyone.
Huge and deep caves, vineyards, rivers as well as parks, and picnic spots are only some of them. And the best news is that they are only a few hours away from the capital.
Since I had a car with me at all times I had no trouble reaching them while I was staying in Austin over the summer. Do you want to find out the top 15 awesome day trips from Austin that you can go to anytime? Follow suit as here we’ll present all of them.
15 Awesome Day Trips From Austin
If you want to experience the energy of a small town, Wimberley should definitely be on your list of day trips from Austin. It’s located at a driving distance of around 45 minutes. And although it’s small, it offers many interesting things to see and do.
For starters, you should check out the swimming holes. They are real natural beauties. I went to both Blue Hole and Jacob’s Well and I had a really great time.
Understandably, the water is the warmest in the summer months. But still, you can visit them throughout the whole year and enjoy the fresh air and nature.
Another interesting spot is the ‘Bootiful Wimberley’ trail. Basically, it represents a walk during which you see 48 artistic boots. They have decorations of local artists all over them, making them an interesting sight.
For some people, this is a bit of a strange activity but I had fun following the trail and looking for the boots around town. Don’t worry as there is a map you can follow to spot all boots.
Finally, have in mind that between March and December, the town hosts the traditional Wimberley Market. There you can go shopping for all types of things, including antiques, clothes, food, and similar.
It happens on the month’s first Saturday. So, if you visit this town at this period of the year, make sure you check out this market, as well.
This is one of the most popular day trips from Austin. One of the main reasons for this is that it offers many interesting activities to fill your time.
After driving there for about 35 minutes out of Austin, you can start the day at the historic district. I was amazed by the wonderful architecture all around the place.
Then, I recommend a short drive north to the natural parks and pools. Specifically, Hamilton Pool is great for a swim. Just note that you should make a reservation prior to arriving there.
Fresh and in a good mood you can follow my example and visit Reimers Ranch Park next for a walk among the greenery. I took some really nice pictures there, too.
Finally, you can end the adventure in one of the local breweries or restaurants with a sip of beer and a delicious meal.
Speaking of meals, Lockhart is a serious contender for winning the title ‘the capital of barbecue’. This is mainly due to the multiple restaurants located in the place.
What’s really nice is that all of them have amazing food. I ate in one and the barbecue was absolutely delicious. My friends from Lockhart told me that the other restaurants were as great.
Some of the popular ones include Kreuz Market, Smitty’s, and Chisholm Trail BBQ. So, you know where you should be if you want to try out delicious food while visiting Austin.
But food isn’t everything this place has in store for you. In fact, there you can ride a horse during a guided tour, discover exciting scenery while hiking on the trails, and visit the state park in the area.
It has a golf course and a pool where you can cool down and relax. Finally, you should consider going shopping in some of the many shops and attending interesting events that are usually organized to mark certain occasions like big holidays or simply to give people a fun space during summer.
I completely understand that you may be interested in just day trips from Austin. But, in the case of San Antonio, you can consider staying a bit longer.
That’s because the city has so much to offer that it will be a waste to rush everything in just twenty-four hours. In general, I love walking to get the feeling of a city or a place I visit.
Luckily, San Antonio is the right destination for that. The River Walk is three miles long and is situated along the San Antonio River. Besides the views, there are plenty of attractions for the entire family.
Speaking of traveling with families or groups, you can enjoy some adventurous and educational attractions like SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
History fans will find something for them in San Antonio, too. The city has a rich history which can be seen in places like the Alamo, the Spanish Governor’s Palace, and similar.
The distance from Austin is less than half an hour.
This gem is located very close to Austin, making it a great spot for a day trip. As it’s peaceful and quiet, it’s especially suitable for those that want to get away from the city crowds and get some rest in nature.
Basically, this is a park spread over 700 acres with many trails for hiking and walking as well as exciting swimming and fishing places like the Onion Creek. The amazing plants and animals I encountered made the stay there even more memorable.
I also discovered that this park started operating in 1976 and since then the falls have been among the top attractions of people that come to Austin.
Moreover, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you should know that there are as many as 81 camping spots in the park where you can stay in nature during the whole day and even extend your stay. Looking for fun activities you can do with your whole family?
Then, you’ll be delighted to hear that you can embark on a treasure hunting adventure through the numerous ranger programs, suitable for all ages.
I really like being near water, so when my friend suggested Lake Travis, I had to check it out. And I have only words of praise to share about it.
It’s clear why it’s considered to be one of the most famous lakes in the state. Starting from the clear water to the scenic surroundings, it has a lot to offer.
So, I spent the whole day there swimming, exploring nature, and trying some exciting water sports. In fact, I tried water-skiing for the first time there.
Not to mention that I had an amazing time walking across the shoreline with the hills filled with all types of different flowers. I think I can still feel the wonderful smell in my nostrils.
So, if the weather permits and you have a day to spare, I definitely recommend visiting this place. It’s one of my top weekend day trips from Austin that are worth visiting.
Many people told me that this city and Wimberley have some things in common. I visited both and I can say that the fact that connects them is that they provide various interesting activities to do and places to visit.
If you travel with kids, you’ll especially like the Science Mill of the Hill Country. The place is one of the top attractions for a reason.
There are educational exhibitions inside that are interactive and fun for the visitors. This way you learn new things related to different topics and have a great time along the way.
This is not all, though. It was even more special for me to hear that the Science Mill is made inside a real mill for grist.
Aside from this, the grownups can enjoy a delicious drink in one of the local wineries, distilleries, and breweries. If you have more time, you can plan to go on a safari at the zoo or visit one of the amazing parks filled with natural and historical beauties.
No matter what you go for in the end, this is certainly one of the day trips from Austin that will leave you wanting for the day to last longer.
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Did you know that Luckenbach was once proclaimed to be a ghost town? This is because the small town had only three citizens in the 1960s.
Then, in 1970, a wealthy rancher bought it and it became an interesting location to visit if you are near Austin. In fact, it became popular with the song that Willie Nelson sang about everybody being somebody and the town having an unusual history.
As there is usually vibrant live country music during the weekends, it’s nice to plan your day trips from Austin during that time and come to this place.
From the moment I lay foot on the ground, I could see and feel the genuine Texan spirit and lifestyle. Located in the Hill Country, it’s a peaceful place where you can forget about your worries and responsibilities for a while, experiencing the ranch life and having fun alongside the other visitors.
Does this sound like something for you? Then, don’t hesitate to give it a try.
Enchanted Rock State Park – One of the Unmissable Day Trips from Austin
This place represents one of the largest naturally-formed rocks in the entire United States. And guess what? It’s very close to Austin, so I had to go and see the beauty with my own eyes.
I was astonished to see that the rocks go as high as 425 feet. This height makes them even more spectacular together with the interesting past of the natives that once lived there. Another fun fact is that the park has been proclaimed a Natural Landmark in 1970 and since then it’s open to visitors from all over the world.
However, aside from the rocks, the park has other exciting things to offer. In the surroundings, there are many trails for walking and hiking while enjoying the scenery. In the meantime, you can also watch and admire the wonderful birds in the area.
Speaking of birdwatching, one more destination of the amazing day trips from Austin – Marble Falls offers such a unique opportunity. Among other things, it’s a refuge for wildlife, so you can catch some special animals, including many species of birds with your camera or goggles.
Especially, look out for the so-called golden-cheeked warbler, which is an endangered bird and looks truly phenomenal. I still keep the photos I took of it and they amaze me every time I look at them.
In case you wish to relax after this, you can go to the nearby waters and splash some freshness onto your face before lying on the grass and enjoying the experience.
Yet this is only scratching the surface when it comes to this place. Moreover, Marble Falls is known for many other outdoor activities that can keep both the youngest and oldest visitors busy. Depending on the weather and the season, you can go and pick berries at the Sweet Berry Farm.
You’ll surely return energized and with a full basket of delicious fruits. I know I did. And you can always just wander around and explore what nature has to offer without any obligations to think of. In any case, this is an area that you shouldn’t overlook if you come near Austin.
Located just around 45 minutes from Austin, New Braunfels is one of the most popular summer destinations for Texans and tourists. There are many reasons why this is the case.
For starters, it’s a city with many interesting things to try. Whether you’re a fan of history or adventure, there is something for everyone.
Of course, you can’t do all of the things in a single day, so here I’ll present some of the most exciting ones and you can decide which ones suit you best. If we have a deal, let’s continue.
New Braunfels is widely known for its rivers. In fact, if it wasn’t for them maybe people wouldn’t have come there so often. Guadalupe and Comal Rivers with their cool and fresh waters regularly attract people from all parts of the country.
You can go kayaking on them or swimming when the weather is warmer. Fans of water will rejoice at the fact that the large Schlitterbahn Waterpark is located in the town, as well.
Your whole family can have a great time discovering the attractions like the lazy river, giant slides, and the wide pools. There is even a beach where you can relax completely.
Some Indoor Things To Do In New Braunfels
In case you like shopping more, I recommend checking out the numerous boutiques in the historic center of the city. Although this is a small town, it maintains the spirit of small communities, offering stores packed with things that can only be found there.
And after the tiring shopping, you can go and grab a wholesome meal in one of the lovely local restaurants. In the evening, there are many plays, concerts, and ballet performances in the theaters that you can see while you’re in town.
So, make sure you explore what the Brauntex Performing Arts and Circle Arts Theaters have on their schedule. Finally, don’t forget that here you can also find many parks for long and quiet walks as well as wine tasting opportunities.
With all of this in mind, I think it’s clear why this place is rightfully on the list of amazing day trips from Austin that everyone should visit.
The city, which is located in the heart of Texas, is quirky, beautiful, and fun in all the great ways reserved for memorable day trips from Austin. One of the places I loved there was the Magnolia Market.
It has something for everyone in the truest sense of the phrase. And if you’re like me who wants to buy something from every person I visit, then this is where you’ll find the right souvenirs.
What’s more, Magnolia Market was featured in the hit show Fixer Upper. This was more than enough to make the market even more popular for shoppers from all over the country.
Furthermore, Waco is known for the Dr. Pepper Museum. Dedicated entirely to the famous soda, the premises of the museum were the place where Dr. Pepper was bottled from the beginning of the twentieth century until the sixties.
Besides learning fun facts, you can stroll through the exhibits and buy some merchandise. If you’re into sports, you simply have to visit the Texas Sports Hall of Fame which is located in this city.
Waco represents a cool option for day trips from Austin because of its proximity (just an hour and a half drive), its spaces for walking, shopping, and relaxing.
If you want a change of scenery and atmosphere (in a good way, of course), Houston is a stunning option. This vibrant and diverse city, the birthplace of the one and only Beyoncé, is home to beautiful people, smells, and views.
It’s a real delight to the senses, especially the ones responsible for taste. The food scene is fantastic, boasting amazing bars and restaurants.
Once you’re done with eating out, you can burn some calories and stroll around multiple museums where you’ll learn a lot, too. Some of these venues include The Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Natural Sciences, the Children’s Museum, and more.
You shouldn’t miss the Space Center. It’s one of the most widely known facilities of the kind in the entire country, not just the state.
What’s especially worthy of praise is the fact that a lot of these educational facilities are free or very budget-friendly. Also, there are plenty of venues and activities if you’re traveling with your family, your partner or by yourself.
To sum up, Houston, we don’t have a problem. In fact, from now on, we love each other even more! If you’re planning your day trips from Austin to Houston, it will take you less than three hours.
Located just a bit north of Austin, Georgetown is an amazing destination if you have a thing for small-town vibes like myself. Moreover, the town is famous for its historic downtown.
This downtown area is home to ‘the most beautiful town square in the state’ as many people like to call it. And they aren’t far from the truth. I loved the Victorian-styled buildings and the amount of history this place carries.
You can enjoy a tour of Williamson Country Courthouse, the Williamson Museum, the Georgetown Art Center, and more for a deep dive into the historic moments of the town and even the state.
If history isn’t on your agenda, that’s fine. There are plenty of places for shopping, dining, tasting delicious wine, and other hedonistic experiences.
For all the adventure seekers, make sure you visit Blue Hole, which is around five minutes away from the town square. Besides swimming there, you can go on a picnic, enjoy the trails and more.
The Inner Space Caverns is another Georgetown highlight for me. Discovered by mistake, these caverns are a beautiful sight to see with your own eyes. It will stay with you for a long time.
If this piqued your interest, consider that the driving distance to Georgetown from Austin is just around 35 minutes.
As the state’s third most populous city, it gives you the metropolitan feelings you may want in your day trips. Dallas isn’t considered to be one of the most popular options for day trips from Austin, but that should change.
One of the things I love most about it is the versatile food scene. You can try a plethora of dishes from all over the world (not just Texan barbecue).
Moreover, I am a football fan. So, if you’re like me, you may want to spice up your day trip with a game of the Dallas Cowboys, too.
Activities like these are great if you’re traveling with other people as they will get the energy up and running, plus you get some special bonding time.
You also can’t ignore Dallas’s huge historical importance. In 1963, this city sadly witnessed the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
If you want to find out more about the history of it all, the Sixth Floor Museum is a nice place to start your tour of exploring. The distance between Austin and Dallas by car is around 3 hours, so make sure you plan your trip accordingly.
How to Reach the Day Trips from Austin
Luckily, Austin has a great transportation network that enables people to move inside the city and near it. The obvious option is by driving a car.
No matter if you rent one or take your own, you can follow a map and drive to all the before-mentioned day trips from Austin. Grabbing a taxi to take you is a possibility, too.
But there are other ways that are in some instances cheaper. One of them is public transportation. There are many bus routes that lead especially to some of the bigger cities we spoke about like Dallas and Houston.
Also, you can consider going by train through one of the many rail lines that lead to different locations across the country. And if your destination is really close you can always rent a scooter or ride a bike.
Final Remarks About Day Trips from Austin That Everyone Should Visit
All in all, Austin in Texas is a vibrant city. As you can see, it has many things to offer both inside it and outside. That’s why, you should think about going on an unforgettable day trip to one of the amazing destinations that we covered in this post.
All of them are located no more than 45-50 minutes from the city and are special in their own way. Those that can’t get enough of cities and everything they have to offer will be happy at the opportunity to see the big Dallas, Houston, Georgetown, and the likes.
Either way, your stay in this area will leave you eager for more and more adventures. Just please tell us which ones of the places are your favorites and have won your heart.