Austin, Texas, the state capital, is a vibrant and entertaining metropolis that will more than meet your needs. However, even the World’s Live Music Capital has its limits, and the best way to escape its oppressive atmosphere is to get out of town for a while. For some, this may be a welcome opportunity to unwind, take it easy, and enjoy themselves.
In addition, a short journey allows you to return home before nightfall if that is your preference. Fortunately, Austin’s convenient location means you can access a wide variety of destinations within a few hours’ drive. Explore our best day trips from Austin to learn more about how you may spend a day away from it all.
19 Best Day Trips From Austin, Who Is Worth Considering In 2023
1. Krause Springs
Krause Springs is another beautiful and refreshing retreat from the best day trips from austin, yet it’s only 45 minutes away. The water from the several springs in this area has formed a big pool on this 115-acre piece of natural property.
There are 32 springs in the area, providing access to fresh water and the possibility of outdoor pursuits like swimming, fishing, and kayaking.
You can explore the region on foot or by bike and even pitch a tent for the night. It’s also possible to have a private party here.
2. San Antonio
San Antonio is a major Texas city located a little over an hour’s drive from Austin; it may appear similar to the vibe in best day trips from Austin, but it may provide you with a practical and exciting change of scenery. A visit to downtown San Antonio is a great way to get a feel for the city and everything it offers.
The River Walk, Arneson River Theater, Market Square, SeaWorld, the Alamo, the San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, the San Antonio Botanic Garden, ArtPace, and many others await your visit. Another reason to come to this city is to participate in one of its many exciting events.
3. Lockhart State Park
Trips from Austin to Lockhart State Park take 40 minutes, putting you in the middle of nature without traveling too far from the city. Clear Fork Creek is the focal point of this state park and the source of many enjoyable activities, such as fishing. There is a pool at the park where you can swim, splash, and float.
In addition to the nine-hole golf course and the campsite, there are also hiking and bike paths, a picturesque dam-formed waterfall, and a picnic area. There’s also the option of venturing into Lockhart, Texas, the nearest major city, especially if smoked meat is on the menu.
Texas’ Kerr County is home to the city of Kerrville, which can be reached from Austin in under two hours. Especially around the Guadalupe River, this city is home to several beautiful parks where you can relax and take in the sights. Kerrville-Schreiner Park, Carver Park, and Lehmann & Monroe Park are just a few examples.
The Museum of Western Art, the Sculpture Prayer Garden, the Duncan-McAshan Visual Arts Center, the Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, Stonehenge II, and more are some of the cultural attractions you may visit here. Folklife, food, drink, art, culture, crafts, markets, stalls, and other festival themes are common in Kerrville.
5. La Grange
Austin’s proximity to Texas’s modest and charming City of La Grange makes the trip well worth your time. Because of its low population density, this community is perfect for a day trip from bustling Austin.
The Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Sites, the Texas Heroes Museum, the Texas Quilt Museum, and the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center are just a few of the attractions in the area. It’s possible to find relaxation and good cheer by visiting one of the many vineyards or farms surrounding this city.
If you’re searching for the best day trips from austin that combines small-town charm (see the numerous adorned boot sculptures for photos and shop at the town’s many fine boutiques) with outdoor adventure, colorful and laid-back Wimberley is a popular pick.
Jacob’s Well and the Blue Hole are two of the most popular swimming holes in the Hill Country, and they’re both located in Wimberley, which has a charming historic district.
Georgetown, located north of Austin, features one of the most picturesque historic downtowns in Texas, with a central plaza named the most beautiful in the state.
After you’ve had your fill of Georgetown’s urban attractions, take in some of the area’s natural beauty at either the Blue Hole (not the same one as in Wimberley!) or the incredible Inner Space Cavern.
8. New Braunfels
The gorgeous Gruene Historical District (home to the famous Gruene Hall), river rafting, a trip to Schlitterbahn, or a trip to the magnificent Natural Bridge Caverns are just a few of the many things to do in New Braunfels, despite the town’s relatively modest size.
While it would be impossible to see everything there is to see and do in New Braunfels in a single-best day trips from Austin, you can still have a fantastic day by picking and choosing.
9. Round Rock
Though modern Round Rock is essentially a suburb of Austin, the city has a rich history dating back to 1848 and plenty of exciting attractions to enjoy.
Check out the local bat colony, take a stroll around the quaint downtown, relax in a park, locate the round rock from which the city takes its name, and, most importantly, if you ask us, indulge in some of the world-famous Round Rock Donuts.
10. San Marcos
Day trips to San Marcos usually involve one of two activities: floating down the river or shopping at the largest outlet mall in the United States.
Nonetheless, you can certainly make room for both! San Marcos is a great day trip destination from the best day trips from Austin due to its abundance of unique attractions, like snorkeling, exploring the city’s vibrant murals, and taking a glass-bottom boat tour.
11. Hamilton Pool Preserve, Dripping Springs
One of the most exciting day trips from Austin is to Hamilton Pool. You may cool down from the Texas summer heat in this secluded cave, which features one of the state’s most impressive waterfalls.
This natural wonder of the Texas Hill Country results from Hamilton Creek plunging down a cliff into a tiny canyon. The journey time to the preserve from Austin is roughly 45 minutes.
Hamilton Pool is a weekend hotspot due to its picturesque appeal and bizarre character. Reservations are required for all visitors to keep the preserve from becoming too crowded. Reservations are available for morning and afternoon timeslots, and only one vehicle is permitted per reservation.
12. Palmetto State Park
Palmetto State Park, located within an hour’s drive southeast of Austin, offers a refreshing getaway into a tropical landscape. This state park gets its name and lively vibe from the dwarf palmetto plants that thrive in the area, and the San Marcos River is mainly responsible for this.
The San Marcos River, which flows quickly through the park’s central area, is another major draw for visitors.
The San Marcos River, which flows through the park, is a popular spot for swimming, fishing, canoeing, and tubing among visitors. Rentals of stand-up paddleboards and tandem kayaks are also available at this state park.
Moreover, there is an oxbow lake in the park with a fishing pier for visitors to enjoy. Palmetto Interpretive Trail is one of the most significant ways to see the park’s namesake flora and is one of the park’s land-based activities.
13. Inks Lake State Park
Several fantastic state parks are within a day’s drive of Austin. Inks Lake is a popular day trip and camping spot about 50 miles northwest of the city center.
The lake, a reservoir on the Colorado River, is 830 acres in size and is located in the Central Texas Highland Lakes system, which ultimately drains into Austin.
Lady Bird Lake, located in the heart of Austin, is another of the Colorado River’s Highland Lakes.
The park is frequented by those interested in boating, fishing, and water skiing on one of the most excellent lakes in Texas. The park has two piers, fish-washing facilities, and loaner equipment for anglers.
There are around two hundred camping spots and hiking routes around the shoreline. One of the most significant ways to take in the park’s scenery is via the 1.8-mile-long Pecan Flats Trail.
14. Johnson City
Johnson City, located an hour west of Austin in Hill Country, is most famous as the birthplace of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States.
The former President was laid to rest in Johnson City. Johnson City is home to several state and national parks, where sightseers can learn more about the city’s rich history.
The “Texas White House,” as well as Johnson’s birthplace and boyhood home, can all be found at Lyndon B. Johnson National Park. In the same location as the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site lies the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm.
Johnson City is notable for its association with Lyndon Baines Johnson; it also features numerous galleries and outdoor recreation areas.
For a good reason, Fredericksburg is a Hill Country hotspot; it has a rich history, is centrally located along the official Texas Wine Trail, and is known throughout Texas for its strong German influence.
Visitors from Austin can spend a day in Fredericksburg sampling wine at any of the city’s half-dozen wineries (or more, who’s counting), shopping for antiques, hiking to the top of Enchanted Rock, or picking peaches in the summer.
16. Marble Falls
A picturesque Hill Country town, Marble Falls can be found on the shores of Lake Marble Falls (which isn’t situated on marble at all, but that typical Texas mainstay of limestone) and is ideal for nature lovers and those who want to explore the quaint and gorgeous downtown area.
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Although only 2,000 people call the little hamlet of Shiner, Texas home, virtually every Texan has heard of it because it is the birthplace of Shiner Beer, a ubiquitous beverage throughout the Lone Star State.
Visiting the Spoetzl Brewery, where Shiner Beer is brewed, is the most popular thing to do in Shiner because of this, but when you’ve finished your tour, you should spend some time in the charming downtown area.
In recent years, the opening of Magnolia Market, owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV fame, has made Waco one of the best day trips from Austin for a totally different reason.
But Waco isn’t just about the Silos; there’s also the Dr. Pepper Museum, Baylor University’s picturesque campus, and the Wooly Mammoth National Monument to see.
19. Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
Many different kinds of plants, animals, and birds call Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge home. A 45-minute journey from Austin will bring you to this wildlife reserve, where you can escape the city for peace in the wild and possibly spot endangered species like the black-capped vireo and the golden-cheeked warbler.
Hikers can explore the refuge’s almost 2,100 miles of trails and learn about the area’s rich cultural heritage as they go.
Painting, birdwatching, archery, restricted hunting, running, photography, and picnicking are other things you can do here. You can also visit this area to see birds entering or leaving the sanctuary.
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Austin is located in the Texas Hill Country, making it the state capital and one of the friendliest towns to visit. There are many wonderful and best day trips from Austin to do.
Have you ever wanted to enjoy a glass of wine while gazing out at a vineyard? Visit a massive underground cave? Do some antiquing? River float? Should you travel to a different metropolis? Explore a national forest? Indulge in some of the finest barbeque available.
These are all within a day trip’s drive of Austin, so it doesn’t matter what your interests are; there’s something for everyone.