20 Day Trips from Austin for the Perfect Staycation8 Oct Alexander Pfirrmann
Staycations are perpetually in fashion, and they are particularly handy during times when traditional travel is difficult like pandemics. Since there are so many great spots in the city like Sculpture Falls, some Austinites may not be aware of how many cool and unique Texas locations there are within a day’s drive.
Here is a handy guide to help plan your next staycation from beautiful and sunny Austin, Texas.
1. Blue Hole Regional Park
About an hour and a half from Austin, this park features approximately 4.5 miles of trails, picnic areas, a community pavilion, playscape, and a basketball court. During the pandemic, you must secure a pass from Wimberly’s recreation department in order to visit Blue Hole Regional Park. Most other times, though, you can show up on a whim!
The hole is a beautiful place for swimming and photos, and the presence of turtles and fish in the water grants children the opportunity to interact with wildlife in their natural habitat. The tree-lined shore and gorgeous blue water make it the perfect place to relax on a sunny day.
2. Jacob’s Well
Jacob’s Well is a perennial karstic spring located northwest of Wimberly, Texas and managed by the Hays County Parks Department. It's most alluring feature is a 12-foot opening to the spring which is extremely deep in contrast to the shallow water around it. It makes for a great picture but is also eery and mysterious.
This natural wonder has portions of its cave system that go down as deep as 140 feet. Open-water scuba divers will occasionally flock here to practice their diving in these cool natural spring waters.
3. Dripping Springs
Located 25 minutes west of Austin, Dripping Springs is popularly referred to as the gateway to the Texas Hill Country. The city is home to Hamilton Pool Preserve, one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the Hill Country.
Dripping Springs is also an extremely popular wedding destination, and it was named one of the first Dark Sky communities in Texas due to the clarity of its starry night skies. Another thing Dripping Springs is known for? It's many wineries! A day spent visiting Hamilton Pool, enjoying some wineries and stargazing after dark could be a wonderful mini-get-away from Austin.
4. Round Top
Round Top is best known for its bi-annual Round Top Antique Show which brings in thousands of antique and HGTV lovers to one of the greatest shows in the state. These events showcase everything from jewelry, art, vintage furniture, collectibles, and textiles in large tents. People can walk through and "treasure hunt" to their heart's desire.
After some serious antiquing there are plenty of places to grab a bite—Round Top prides itself on having big city amenities with a small-town feel. This city is a comforting retreat from the bustle of everyday city life!
5. Krause Springs
Krause Springs is located 30 miles west of Austin in Spicewood, Texas. This 115-acre property is on the National Registry of Historic Sites and features 32 natural springs, all of which flow into Lake Travis.
This location is great for daytime swimming trips, but it's also great for overnight camping. There are 24 RV spots for camping with water and electricity as well as primitive camping available.
6. Inks Lake State Park
This pink granite-filled state park is the perfect place to spend the day. There are a plethora of outdoor activities such as volleyball, hiking, taking pictures, or picnicking. On the water, families can go tubing, water skiing, scuba diving, etc.
For those with a bit more of an adventurous streak, you can hike to Devil’s Waterhole, which boasts a swimming hole surrounded by beautiful pink granite rocks and cacti. Camp Longhorn, one of the oldest and most popular summer camps in Texas, is originally based on the edge of Inks Lake.
7. Shiner, Texas
This charming Texas brewery town is home to one of the state’s proudest exports, Shiner beer, and is located approximately 65 miles northwest of Austin. As of 2016, Shiner Bock was the 5th largest craft beer by sale volume in the US.
The Spoetzl Brewery first began in 1909 by German and Czech immigrants who decided to call Central Texas ‘home’. Now more than a century later, Shiner is home to the oldest independent brewery in the state of Texas. Come, sample some beers and spend the day in this quaint little town. Just make sure you have a designated driver!
8. Enchanted Rock State Park
Located approximately 17 miles north of Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock is one of the most iconic natural wonders in the entire state of Texas. Tonkawa, Apache, and Comanche folklore would attach spiritual and magical meaning to the wonderfully pink rock, hence the name. Allegedly, Native tribes would even hold sacrifices on the rock back in the day!
Now, the area is mainly used for camping and hiking—the natural wonder itself is a sight to behold. If you're looking for a fun annual attraction, the Granite Gripper is a rock climbing event held at the park in order to raise funds for conservation efforts.
9. San Antonio
The Alamo City is the perfect location for a Texas staycation. Will endless attraction for families and history buffs alike. Downtown you can find The Alamo, the site of a famous Texas battle, and tons of old, enchanting hotels. The River Walk is a fun place to eat dinner, walk around and soak in some of San Antonio's cultural spirit.
For adventure seekers, they can spend the day chasing adrenaline on the rides at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Seaworld. For naturalists, they can spend the day at San Antonio’s calming Japanese Tea Garden, the wild San Antonio Zoo, or the historic Pearl Brewery.
10. New Braunfels
New Braunsfels is the perfect oasis to cool off on a hot Texas summer day. The Guadalupe and Comal rivers run through this Hill Country gem and allow for residents and visitors alike to spend the hottest summer days floating on tubes in the water.
New Braunsfels is also home to Schlitterbahn, one of the best and most well-known water parks in all of Texas. Schlitterbahn allows families to enjoy a freshwater day full of fun and relaxation deep in the heart of the Hill Country.
11. Marble Falls
If you’re looking for a less boozy and more adventurous time in Marble Falls, look no further than Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Situated 20 miles east of Marble Falls, this refuge is home to two endangered bird species and seven miles of hikeable trails.