There’s no question that Austin is one of the most exciting places in the US. With its great food, music, and nightlife, it’s a city that never stops buzzing. But no matter how long you plan to stay in Austin, there’s always something more to explore beyond its city limits. The options range from outdoor adventures in the Hill Country to charming small towns with lots of history. So if you’re looking for the Best Day Trips From Austin, there’s sure to be something on this list that grabs your attention. Read on!
Day Trips From Austin
Located about an hour and a half from Austin, Fredericksburg is a small town with a lot to offer visitors. This German-settled town is best known for its abundance of wineries and vineyards. The Fredericksburg Winery Association features a map of all the local wineries, making it easy to plan your Wine Trail.
In addition to its many vineyards, Fredericksburg is home to the National Museum of the Pacific War. This museum tells the story of WWII in the Pacific theater through interactive exhibits, displays, and films.
The town’s German heritage is on display at the Vereins Kirche Museum. This historic church was built in 1854 by German pioneers and features exhibits on early Fredericksburg history. In addition, this town retains its German roots with a number of German restaurants and shops located in the town’s historic downtown area.
If you’re looking for outdoor adventure, there are plenty of hiking and biking trails located in the area. The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is a popular spot for hiking and rock climbing.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Fredericksburg, I recommend the Hill Country Herb Garden. This bed and breakfast is located on a working herb farm and features beautiful gardens to explore. This hotel also offers cooking classes, making it the perfect place to learn more about German cuisine.
I enjoyed my time in Fredericksburg and would recommend it as one of the best places to visit near Austin. This is a great place to start if you’re looking to explore the best of Texas Hill Country.
2. New Braunfels
New Braunfels is a city located an hour southwest of Austin in the Texas Hill Country. The city is best known for its German heritage, as it was founded by German settlers in 1845.
Today, New Braunfels is a popular tourist destination, with a number of attractions for visitors to enjoy. The Gruene Historic District is a great place to start, as it features a number of well-preserved Victorian and German-style buildings. The district is also home to a number of shops, restaurants, and bars.
For some outdoor fun, head to Landa Park, which is located on the Comal River. The park offers swimming, fishing, and picnicking facilities, as well as a playground and a miniature train. Tube rentals are also available for those who want to float down the river. Another popular attraction is the Schlitterbahn Waterpark. The waterpark features a number of slides and rides, as well as a lazy river and swimming pools.
If you’re looking for a taste of German culture, be sure to visit the New Braunfels Farmers Market. The market features a variety of German and Texas-grown produce, as well as baked goods, cheese, and meats. You can also sample some of the local wines at one of the many tasting rooms in the city.
For a glimpse into the past, take a tour of the Sophienburg Museum & Archives. The museum features exhibits on the history of New Braunfels, as well as a research library with documents and photographs.
As you can see, there’s plenty to do in New Braunfels, which makes it one of the best Austin day trips. Personally, I enjoyed my day trip to New Braunfels and was glad to have taken the time to explore this charming town. It’s definitely one of the best weekend trips from Austin that should be on your list.
3. San Antonio
The best day trips from Austin often include a visit to San Antonio. After all, this historic city is only about an hour away by car.
The San Antonio Riverwalk is one of the most popular attractions in San Antonio. Stretching for over 15 miles, the Riverwalk winds its way through downtown San Antonio, past popular restaurants, bars, and shops.
For history buffs, the Alamo is a must-see. This former Spanish mission was the site of a 13-day battle during the Texas Revolution. Today, visitors can explore the Alamo complex, which includes the church and Long Barracks Museum.
Nearby, you’ll find The Shops at La Cantera, an upscale outdoor shopping mall with more than 150 stores and restaurants. If you’re looking for a bite to eat, I recommend Cheesecake Factory or one of the many other dining options available.
For something a little different, check out the San Antonio Zoo. This 56-acre zoo is home to more than 750 species of animals, making it one of the best zoos in the country.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping activity, consider a visit to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. This theme park features more than 100 rides, shows, and attractions, making it one of the best things to do near Austin.
No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it in San Antonio. From history and culture to shopping and dining, this city has something that will suit your needs.
Georgetown is a beautiful city located just 30 minutes north of Austin. With a population of just over 70,000 people, Georgetown feels like a small town, but with all the amenities of a larger city. The historic downtown area features a number of Victorian and turn-of-the-century buildings, while the Southwestern University campus gives the city a college town feel.
The Georgetown Palace Theatre is a popular attraction, as it is one of the few remaining vaudeville theatres in the country. The theater hosts a variety of shows and events throughout the year. For some outdoor fun, take a hike or bike ride on one of the many trails in Georgetown. The San Gabriel River and Cimarron Hills Nature Preserve are great places to explore.
For a taste of local history, be sure to visit the Williamson Museum. The museum is dedicated to preserving the history of Williamson County and features a number of exhibits on the area’s past. You can also tour Georgetown Railroad Museum and see the restored steam locomotives. Wildflower Center is another popular attraction in Georgetown, especially during the spring when the flowers are in bloom.
If you wish to spend a night here, there are several hotels in Georgetown, including the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Georgetown, which offers an outdoor pool and complimentary breakfast.
So whether you’re looking for a day trip or a weekend getaway from Austin, Georgetown is a great option. With its small-town feel and proximity to Austin, it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the best of both worlds.
Wimberly is a small town located in the Texas Hill Country, about an hour away from Austin. This quaint town is best known for its scenic views and outdoor activities. This is the perfect place to spend a day or two exploring Hill Country. There are a number of hiking and biking trails in the area, as well as several rivers for swimming, fishing, and tubing.
Blue Hole Regional Park is one of the most popular attractions in Wimberly. This swimming hole is spring-fed and offers a refreshing break from the Texas heat. The park also features a number of hiking trails and picnic areas. Another popular destination is The Jacob’s Well Natural Area. This site features a spring-fed pool that is popular for swimming and diving. The well is also a popular destination for scuba divers in Texas.
If you’re looking to do some shopping, Wimberly Square is the place to go. This pedestrian-friendly square is lined with local shops and restaurants. I suggest stopping into one of the many art galleries or antique stores.
Wimberly is also home to several bed and breakfasts and Airbnbs, making it the perfect place to stay for a weekend getaway from Austin. I opted for an Airbnb, which was a comfortable and convenient place to stay.
Overall, I had a great time in Wimberly and would recommend it as a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. So if you’re looking for the best day trips from Austin, be sure to add Wimberly to your list!
Waco is another excellent option for a day trip from Austin. Located about an hour and a half away from the city, Waco is best known for being home to Baylor University. However, there is much more to Waco than just the university.
This town has a rich history, and one of the best ways to learn about it is to take a tour of the Magnolia Silos. These silos were once part of a working cotton mill and were made famous by HGTV’s Fixer Upper Show. Even if you’re not a fan of the show, the market is worth a visit. The silos are now home to a popular bakery, grocery store, and cafe.
The Waco Mammoth National Monument is another must-see for history buffs. This site is home to the remains of 24 Columbian mammoths that were discovered in 1978. Visitors can take a tour of the site to learn more about these massive creatures. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is another top attraction in Waco. This museum honors the Texas Rangers, a legendary group of lawmen with a long history in the state. In addition, I recommend stopping by The Dr. Pepper Museum. This unique museum tells the story of the infamous soda and features a reproduction of the original bottling plant.
And if you’re looking for outdoor adventure, Waco is home to several parks and green spaces. Cameron Park is one of the best, offering hiking trails, a scenic river, and plenty of picnicking spots. Within the park, you’ll also find The Cameron Park Zoo, which offers you the opportunity to see a variety of animals, including lions, tigers, and bears.
When it comes to food, Waco has a lot to offer. For a quick bite, I suggest stopping by Health Camp, a local institution serving burgers and shakes since 1946. If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, the Diamondback Grill is the place to go. This grill features locally sourced ingredients and offers an excellent view of downtown Waco.
There are also several hotels in Waco if you’re looking to turn your day trip into an overnight one. I recommend the Courtyard by Marriott Waco, located downtown near all the best restaurants and attractions.
7. Inks Lake State Park
If you’re looking for the best day trips from Austin that involve enjoying some of the natural beauty Texas offers, you’ll want to head to Inks Lake State Park.
Inks Lake State Park is located in the Hill Country of Texas, about an hour away from Austin. The centerpiece of the park is Inks Lake, a man-made lake that was created in the 1930s. The lake is a popular spot for fishing, swimming, and boating. There are also several hiking trails that wind through the park, offering beautiful views of the lake and the surrounding Hill Country. In addition, the park also has several opportunities for bird watching, as it is home to a variety of bird species.
Camping is another popular activity at Inks Lake State Park. The park offers both tent camping and RV hookups, as well as cabins for rent.
One of the best things about this park is that it’s open year-round, so you can visit any time of the year. I visited in the spring, and the wildflowers were in bloom. The park is also beautiful in the fall when the leaves of the trees change color.
8. Pedernales Falls State Park
Situated about an hour west of Austin, Pedernales Falls State Park is one of the best places to visit near Austin if you want to explore the Texas Hill Country. The park features over 5,000 acres of land to hike, bike, and picnic.
However, the centerpiece of the park is the Pedernales River, which flows over and around a series of limestone outcroppings to create the falls. The best way to experience this river is by swimming in one of the many pools. But be aware that there are no lifeguards on duty.
There are several different trails to choose from, ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. I opted for the easy to moderate Pedernales Falls Trail System, which follows the dramatic rock scenery of the Pedernales Falls for about 2 miles. This trail is perfect for a leisurely stroll and offers several different viewing areas of the river.
If you’re looking for a more challenging hike, the Wolf Mountain Trail is a 6-mile round trip that takes you to the summit of Wolf Mountain. This trail is best suited for experienced hikers, as it is steep and rocky in places.
After a day of hiking, biking, or swimming, head to one of the many picnic areas in the park to relax and enjoy a picnic lunch. Be sure to bring your own food and water, as there are no concessions available in the park. And if you’re planning to camp overnight, there are several campsites available.
9. Canyon Lake
I had never been to Canyon Lake before, but I had heard good things from friends who had been there. Located about an hour away from Austin, this man-made lake is also known as the “water recreation capital of Texas.”
Canyon Lake is a reservoir on the Guadalupe River that was created in 1964 with the construction of the Canyon Dam. The lake is situated in the scenic Hill Country of Texas and is a popular spot for camping, fishing, boating, and swimming.
There are several parks located around the lake, such as Canyon Lake Park and Potters Creek Park. These parks offer a variety of amenities, including picnic areas, playgrounds, hiking trails, and swimming beaches.
If you’re looking for a more adrenaline-pumping activity, I recommend checking out Canyon Lake Gorge. This natural gorge was carved by the rushing waters of the Guadalupe River and is a popular spot for rock climbing and rappelling.
Canyon Lake is a great place to spend a day if you’re looking for something different from the usual Austin scene. The lake is beautiful, and there are plenty of things to do to keep you entertained. So if you’re looking for the best Austin day trips, I highly recommend Canyon Lake.
10. Marble Falls
Last on my list of best day trips from Austin is Marble Falls, a hidden gem located in the Highland Lakes region of Texas. Known for its natural beauty and small-town charm, Marble Falls is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
One of the best ways to experience Marble Falls is to take a leisurely stroll down Main Street. This historic street is lined with quaint shops and cafes, making it the perfect place to find a unique souvenir or grab a bite to eat.
If you’re looking for outdoor fun, there are plenty of options for hiking and biking in the area. The Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to see some of the local wildlife and explore.
Of course, no trip to Marble Falls would be complete without a stop at either Johnson Park or Lakeside Park. These are the two popular waterfront areas in town, and they offer great opportunities for boating, kayaking, paddle-boarding, and picnicking.
There are many great day trips from Austin, but these are just a few of my favorites. Whether you’re looking for a historic city to explore or a place to relax in the great outdoors, you’ll find it within a short drive of Austin. So get out there and enjoy all that Texas has to offer.