Covering about 17,400 square miles, Central Texas is spread around Austin and is roughly bordered by San Marcos to Hillsboro and San Saba to Bryan. This region includes and overlaps the Texas Hill Country, and it lies within the Edwards Plateau in terms of geography.
The most popular areas of this region include:
- Austin–Round Rock
- Waco metropolitan areas
- Bryan–College Station
- Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood
Among these areas, the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood and Austin–Round Rock are the fastest-growing urban areas in this region. Moreover, the installation of the U.S. Army, Fort Hood, is also located in Central Texas, near Killeen.
What makes Central Texas great for businesses is its convenient accessibility. Several companies facilitate by this region by performing their operations without any problem. All the credit goes to several airports, railways, and roadways in Central Texas.
According to Comptroller, the population of Central Texas was 1.2 million (as of 2019). This is an increase of 10.7 percent (from the 2010 consensus), which means Central Texas is overgrowing. Moreover, almost 29% of the population there lives in Bell County, a part of the Killeen-Temple MSA.
From 2010 to 2019, the region’s population grew slower compared to Texas’s state. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey, the median age of this region’s residents is equal to that of the state. Furthermore, the median income of the household was $50 242.
In 2019, Central Texas was accounted for 3.9% of Texas’ total employment rate, which means there is no shortage of job and business opportunities in this part of the state. It is also a leader in nonfinancial intangible assets, animal production, aquaculture, and support activities for the miners.
- Baylor University
- Texas A&M University
- Texas A&M University (Central Texas)
- University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
Top Junior and Community Colleges
- Blinn College District
- Central Texas College
- Hill College
- McLennan Community College
- Temple College
- Texas State Technical College System
- Texas State Technical College – Waco
Best Places to Visit in Texas
1. The Texas State Capitol in Austin
The Texas State Capitol was built in 1888 by Elijah E. Myers. It is known as one of the finest legislatures in the U.S. The Austin downtown core, also a National Historic Park Landmark, impresses most people with its dimension, standing 308 feet tall. It has a 22-acre park that includes monuments of the Alamo defenders and the veterans of the Vietnam War.
You can also get guided tours of the building’s interior and start from the visitor center with its many displays.
Fredericksburg is a great place to visit, which started in the 1800s as a quiet town full of German-speaking people. Later, it was transformed into the bed-and-breakfast in the headquarters of Texas. Fredericksburg’s accommodations range from B&Bs in residents’ houses to log cabins and sprawling apartments above the shops in downtown Fredericksburg.
3. New Braunfels
New Braunfels is a big water park in central Texas. It is commonly known as Schlitterbahn, is the main attraction in New Braunfels. But there are a bunch of other tubing opportunities in the rivers of the area. You can grab your lunch from historic Grist Mill and then enjoy the live music played at the oldest dance hall in Texas, called Gruene Hall.
There is also another place that you can visit in the hot summers, which is Natural Bridge Caverns. You can take a short hike through the caves and explore the fantastic rock formations and weird creatures.
4. San Marcos
If you want watery entertainment, you can visit Aquarena Center in San Marcos. The Texas State University has maintained the delicate spring-fed environment of San Marcos. You can take a cruise in a glass-bottom boat that allows you to look at the thriving underwater life.
The downtown square is great for planning a weekend trip as it has different family-friendly restaurants and a beautifully restored courthouse.
Wimberley is also a great place to visit in Central Texas. If you wonder where the hippies have gone in Austin, well, many of them migrated to Wimberley.
Wimberley is like the little artist’s colony that boosts the quirky little shops selling handicrafts, paintings, and other artworks. This small downtown area also has some locally-owned restaurants and bakeries that you can enjoy with your family.
You would probably know about Austin’s live music scene and its famous downtown bat bridge, but there are also many other things you can do with your kids in this city. If you think that your vacation is burning off all the money you have in your wallet, you can also check out free kids’ activities.
You can visit Lady Bird Lake, as it is an excellent place for kids to burn off steam by the elevated boardwalk. They will not be able to go too far since the path has higher rails and is surrounded by water.
7. Round Rock
Round Rock is located in the north of Austin. It is the home of the Round Rock Express minor league baseball team. The home field of the group, the Dell Diamond, was designed by keeping families in mind. There is also a big lawn area behind the outfield where you can sit on blankets and have a picnic during the game.
The great Inner Space Cavern is just a short drive away from Round Rock. The caves were discovered during the construction of Interstate 35.
The Hyatt Regency Lost Pine Resort is one of the best spa resorts in Central Texas. It is located in the middle of towering pine trees and offers activities like golf and river kayaking.
The devastating wildfire near Bastrop State Park in 2011 affected much of the surrounding area, but the resort still has a healthy pine forest. When you drive in, you should make sure that you don’t get caught by the Bastrop’s sneaky automated traffic light camera.
9. Lake Travis and Lakeway Resort in Lakeway
Lakeway is a kid-friendly place. The Lakeway Resort and Spa overlooks Lake Travis and offers a two-story waterslide for kids along with a swim-up bar to ease the parent’s nerves. This city just a short drive away from the Oasis Restaurant.
It offers fantastic views of the sunset. So, if you are planning a big event with your loved ones, you may want to take a side trip to see some of the most beautiful wedding venues located in Lake Travis.
10. Pedernales Falls State Park in Johnson City
Johnson City is also a great place to visit with your family. It was named after President Lynden Baines Johnson’s cousin and is home to Pedernales Falls State Park. The park’s centerpiece is a series of low, stair-step waterfalls that fall over massive limestone boulders. This park is located 20 miles to the east in the Stone Wall.
Lockhart is a small town in Central Texas. You can check out the three-story Caldwell County Courthouse while walking off the meal. It is one of the most beautifully restored courthouses in Texas.
Barbecue is the main attraction in this small town. The top three barbecue contenders in town are Kreuz Market, Black’s BBQ, and Smitty’s Market.
If you want to avoid Austin traffic while attending races or other events at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) stadium, you can stay at Lockhart. It’s a quick 20-minute drive south of the racetrack.
Central Texas – A Place Worth Visiting
Central Texas is an excellent place to live. It has a low cost of living as compared to other big states like New York. Texas is a great tourist attraction in general as it has many great places that you can visit, such as New Braunfels, the famous BBQ in Lockhart, and San Marcos – and you name it. It would be best to plan a stay for at least one month as there are many great places that you can visit.