What I Love About Austin ~ Day trips
Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the US and much of what brings people to move to Austin is all of the events and activities available in Austin. However, for me, much of the attraction of Austin is everything close by. So in this installment of “What I Love About Austin”, we are going to cover day trips.
The number one place to visit on a day trip from Austin is San Antonio. It is worthy of more than a day trip, but you can drive there, enjoy many of the things San Antonio has to offer and drive back in the evening, with a day well spent.
San Antonio has the River Walk with it's water taxis and lots of great restaurants, a mall with an IMAX theater and engaging entertainment.
There is also the San Antonio Zoo, which is known as one of the better zoos in the US. The Alamo is in the heart of San Antonio, and next to the River Walk. The Alamo is revered by all Texans, most Americans and many from around the world.
You can also visit the “Tower of the Americas”, the Spanish Governor's Palace, and many missions and cathedrals, dating back to the 1700's.
Leave early to take advantage of as many sites as possible and make plans to return often or for a multi-day visit. San Antonio is about an hour and a half from Austin and is well worth the visit.
Fredericksburg is a small German town, just outside of Austin, settled in 1846. Oktoberfest is a month long celebration of the German heritage, with lots of food, beer and music. Fredericksburg is also known as a place many Austinites go to shop for antiques, and one-of-a-kind decorator and even clothing items. It is also home to the National Museum of the Pacific War, Pioneer Museum, the Fredericksburg Crawfish Festival, and the Fredericksburg Food and Wine Fest.
There are several excellent restaurants in Fredericksburg and it's only about an hour and a half from Austin.
Lockhart is about 30 minutes out of Austin, and one of the Barbecue Capitals of the world. I've heard stories about former president Lyndon Johnson holding up the take off of Airforce One from Austin so that he could take barbecue from Lockhart back to Washington DC.
The old courthouse in Lockhart is on the National Register of Historic Places. Lockhart epitomizes what small town America and especially Texas is all about.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Enchanted Rock contains over 1,600 acres, marked by a dramatic 425 foot tall pink granite dome that covers 600 plus acres. It is estimated to be one billion years old and was inhabited by humans starting about 11,000 years ago.
The park is a great place for outdoor lovers to get in their hiking, backpacking and rock climbing. Rock climbers must check in at the park headquarters. There is more than seven miles of hiking trails.
When the parking lot is full, the park closes to additional visitors so leave early on your trip to Enchanted Rock which takes about 2 hours from Austin.
New Braunfels & Gruene Hall
New Braunfels is a not so sleeply little town, little less than an hour down I35 from Austin. It is known as one of the fastest growing tech cities in the US, along with Austin and is slated to be pretty much in the center of a new metroplex comprised of Austin, San Antonio and New Braunfels.
Downtown New Braunfels is a mix of yesteryear and fashion and the Gruene Historical District is home to Gruene Hall, an old fashion Texas dance hall and live music venue that once had Elvis Presley listed on the billing.
New Braunfels is known by locals as having all of the live music and university atmosphere as Austin, just in a smaller, more manageable version.
New Braunfels hosts the Comal County Fair and Parade, Gruene Music and Wine Festival, Wurstfest, Gruene Christmas Market Days, Weihnachtsmarkt, and New Braunfels Farmers Market. So there is always entertainment and shopping in New Braunfels.
Wimberley is another sleepy little Texas town, with shopping, music and food. It's just about an hour from Austin. Wimberley has been designated as a Texas Cultural District by the Texas Commission on the Arts because of it's artists community.
Wimberley has it's own “Trail of Lights”, a Farmer's market, and lots of shopping for unique and interesting items. Plus the restaurants in Wimberley offer unique dining experiences, some with musical entertainment.