Staycations are perpetually in fashion, and they are particularly handy during times when traditional travel is difficult like pandemics. Due to all the great spots here 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 of the Capitol of Texas.
Here is a handy guide to help plan your next staycation from beautiful and sunny Austin, Texas.
1. Blue Hole Regional Park
The park features approximately 4.5 miles of trails, picnic areas, a community pavilion, playscape, and a basketball court. During these strange times, you must secure a pass from Wimberly’s recreation department in order to visit Blue Hole Regional Park.
The presence of turtles and fish in the water grants children the opportunity to interact with wildlife in their natural habitat.
2. Jacob’s Well
Jacob’s Well is a perennial karstic spring located northwest of Wimberly, Texas. The spring is managed by the Hays County Parks Department.
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. This city is home to Hamilton Pool Preserve, one of the natural wonders of the Hill Country.
Dripping Springs is 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. This city is great for birdwatching!
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. It's a great place to take a stroll with the family and collect all sorts of treasures!
Round Top prides themselves on big city amenities with a small-town feel. This city is a comforting retreat from the bustle of everyday city life.
H2: 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 and also great for overnight camping. There are 24 RV spots for camping with water and electricity.
H2: 6. Inks Lake State Park
This pink granite-filled state park is the perfect place to spend the day. There is a plethora of outdoor activities such as volleyball, hiking, taking pictures, or picnicking. On the water, families can go tubing, water skiiing, scuba diving, etc.
For those with a bit more of an adventurous streak, you can visit Devil’s Waterhole. Camp Longhorn, one of the oldest and most popular summer camps in Texas, is originally based on the edge of Inks Lake.
H2: 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.
8. Enchanted Rock State Park
This wonderfully pink mountain is located approximately 17 miles north of Fredericksburg.
Allegedly, Native tribes would even hold sacrifices on the rock. Now, the area is mainly used for camping and hiking. The Granite Gripper is an annual rock climbing event help 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.
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, 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 2 endangered bird species and 7 miles of hikeable trails.
Right in the heart of the Hill Country lies Fredericksburg. This charming town is full of year-round festivals, fine dining, and over two dozen wineries. A day in Fredericksburg is one of luxury and bucolic decadence.
This city is steeped in German culture, and it shows in the food and culture of modern-day Fredericksburg. For the history-buff in your family, the Fredericksburg Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places.
For those who enjoy slipping on their cowboy boots and hitting the dance floor, Gruene has the perfect attraction for you. Gruene Dance Hall is by far the city’s most popular establishment. The city’s most popular annual event, Wurstfest draws in crowd sizes of more than 100,000 over its ten-day span.
During the summer, New Braunfels and Gruene attract huge crowds of Texans who want to escape the heat and cool off at the city’s own waterpark, Schlitterbahn, or float down the city’s two rivers, the Comal and the Guadalupe.
14. Horseshoe Bay
This classy resort getaway is located on the southern shore of Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, locally known as lake LBJ. Horseshoe Bay is about an hour’s drive and 52 miles northwest of Austin.
The lake is open to all sorts of watersport including fishing. The Horseshoe Bay Resort is a destination to visit in its own right with a magnificent central pool area complimented by a central fountain and complimentary hot tub areas.
15. Lake Travis
Lake Travis is a lake fed by the Colorado River approximately 18 miles and 30 miles northwest of Austin. This lake holds 1.3 million acres•feet of water and has a maximum depth of 210 feet.
The lake’s close proximity to the city makes it a breeze for Austinites to escape and make a quick half-hour drive in order to enjoy the day at Lake Travis. The lake is a perfect way for Austinites to escape the near year-round Texas heat and cool off on one of the best lakes in the state.
16. Canyon Lake
Canyon Lake is approximately 70 miles southwest of Austin. It’s relatively distant proximity from the city makes it secluded and serene for Austin residents to escape the summer heat and density of the city to this pristine water hole on the weekend.
Lakes allow Texans to enjoy swimming, boating, tubing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, sun-bathing, or simple walks in nature
This outdoor art installation includes 48 uniquely decorated boots that were crafted by local artists and line a well-maintained trail. Perfect for art lovers and Instagram aficionados alike.
If you want to have the best BBQ, there’s only one city you’ll hear recommended from Texans over and over again. That city is Lockhart.
Kreuz Market, Smitty’s Market, and Black’s Barbecue are the three main bbq joints who have the longest histories and the largest Texan followings. With 16-hour smoke times and warm smiles, prepare to leave these historic Texas staples happy and full.
One great spot to visit in Waco is the Dr. Pepper Museum. This historic location grants visitors the opportunity to experience the storied history of one of the most iconic sodas in the world.
For those who are connoisseurs of sports rather than soda, Waco is also home to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. The hall currently houses over 300 Texan legends.
20. Johnson City
One notable attraction is the Hill Country Science Mill that can provide a fun yet enjoyable experience. During these difficult times, the Science Mill is holding virtual session in order to support Texas STEM programs and Texan students.
With a plethora of distilleries, wineries, a zoo, and historic parks, there is enough to do to fill an entire day in Johnson City.
One conclusion to draw from all of this is that Austinites have it good when it comes to basic geography. With so many ridiculously cool spots to visit within a day’s drive, you’d never get bored living in Austin.
If you’d like to visit all of these spectacular locations year-round, then please check out our article on the ‘25 Best Cities in Texas’ to see how Austin stacks up against the rest of the state. If you like what you see, then you can check out homes and contact one of our expert agents here at HomeCity.