9 Fun Summer Day Trips to Take From Austin
Long days call for fun day trips around Central Texas -- Don’t you agree? We’re lucky to live in Austin between so many wonderful cities big and small. Whether you’re looking for a day just outside of the Austin city limits or a day trip farther away, there are so many great cities you can explore in less than 24 hours.
If you’re thinking of spending the day in Round Rock, you have to start with a stop at Round Rock Donuts! Shop the day away at Round Rock Premium Outlets or spending some time wandering around Old Settlers Park before heading to the Dell Diamond for a Round Rock Express game. If you’re visiting with kiddos, be sure to check out the Rock ‘n’ River Aquatic Center! For eats and sips, stop by Fire & Ice Pizza Bar, Deckhand Oyster Bar and Industria Coffee.
Head for a show at Georgetown Palace Theater after grabbing a bite to eat at Monument Café. If the weather is warm, a dip in Blue Hole is a great place to cool off. Art and shopping abound on the streets of Georgetown. Artisans Connect Gallery and the Georgetown Antique Mall offering much for the eyes to devour, while local boutiques like Southern Hippie offer chic styles to shop. Be sure to enjoy happy hour at Georgetown Winery.
Dripping Springs is often considered to be the entryway into the Texas Hill Country, peacefully nestled between Austin and Fredericksburg. Grab a breakfast bite at Flores Breakfast and Lunch or a cup of Joe at Austin Java before heading for a mid-morning shopping spree at one of the area’s chic boutiques. A few local favorites are Cowgirls & Lace, Vintage Soul and Revel Wilde. There are plenty of parks to explore (think Reimers Ranch Park, Dripping Springs Ranch Park and Charro Ranch Park), but older visitors may enjoy a trip to Hamilton Pool Preserve, Deep Eddy Vodka Distillery or Solaro Estate Winery.
Located roughly 30 miles Southeast of Austin, Bastrop is a classic old Texas town. With homestyle restaurants like Maxine’s Cafe & Bakery, The Grace Miller, Roadhouse Bastrop and Neighbors Kitchen & Yard, there are plenty of places to grab food all day long. Shop for the perfect pair of boots at Texas Boot Company or head to Lake Bastrop for some down time in the beautiful Texas scenery. The Texas Reptile Zoo, Bastrop Opera House and Copper Shot Distillery make for a few other fun stops.
OUTSIDE OF AUSTIN
This culturally rich Central Texas city is just over an hour from downtown Austin, and has enough to keep any family busy for a full weekend. Some of the most popular attractions are The Alamo, The Riverwalk, and Fiesta Texas, and La Cantera. Explore The Riverwalk and grab a bite to eat for lunch before heading to The Alamo for a history lesson. Spend the afternoon popping into different attractions like the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum and Louis Tussad’s Waxworks or head outside of the city to check out Longhorn Caverns. If you’re spending the night and feeling brave, the San Antonio Ghost Tour is a great way to see a different side of San Antonio.
With the establishment of Magnolia Market and Magnolia Table by Chip and Joanna Gaines, Waco is now a hot destination for tourists in Central Texas. The market has everything from a bakery to an indoor shopping area, food trucks, a garden store, and lush grounds for kiddos to romp around on. Grab some Italian at Baris Pasta & Pizza before heading for a walk around the gorgeous grounds of Baylor University. End the day with a coffee or live performance at Common Grounds or a trip to Spice Village to do a little shopping.
Just a short drive south of the city, Gruene Gruene, New Braunfels, Texas - Official Site is one of the best day trips options for Austinites. There's just enough to explore in one day, with Gruene Hall and The Gristmill sitting side by side in the center of the town. Stop by Gruene General Store for confections and Texas treasures, then walk around the town to take in all of the small sights and historic homes like the Gruene Mansion Inn. Head outside of Gruene towards New Braunfels for a day of tubing on the river if you're feeling adventurous.
After a quick drive south of Autstin, you can jump into the crystal-clear water of the San Marcos River. The river is a popular destination for snorkeling, swimming, tubing and kayaking. Several vendors offer rentals for paddle boards and kayaks.
If you’re in the shopping mood, you can head over to the San Marcos Outlets that feature two different outlet malls, The Premium Outlets and the Tanger Outlets. Together the malls have over 350 stores, so bring your wallet and walking shoes. After your outing, you’ll find plenty of restaurants and bars to wind down at. Stop by San Marcos original, Grins Restaurant, for a relaxed outdoor venue.
Drive down to New Braunfels for a trip filled with fun. They’re plenty of activities to keep any family busy. The most popular destinations areSchlitterbahn, Natural Bridge Caverns, and Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo. Stop by Landa Parkfor a paddle boat ride to see the Comal Springs and beautiful wildlife. Enjoy some southern comfort food at the historic Gristmill. Check out WhiteWater Amphitheatrefor any upcoming shows.