Best Day Trips From the Austin Area

Austin, which is located in the center of Texas, is a thriving cultural center where live music can be heard throughout the city and where a special fusion of Texan charm and global attractiveness enchants both locals and tourists. Austin, the state’s capital, is home to a wide range of opportunities, from its well-known buildings like the State Capitol and the prestigious University of Texas to its thriving dining scene and outdoor recreation options.

But despite Austin’s rapid pace of life and obvious attractiveness, there are several fascinating places to visit that are only a short drive away. These places invite visitors to take wonderful day trips to explore the area’s many natural wonders, fascinating history, and undiscovered jewels. In this post, we’ll explore the top day trips from the Austin region, showcasing an alluring array of locations that guarantee to revive the spirit, broaden horizons, and forge lifelong memories.

You may explore a range of enchanted landscapes, historic villages, and exhilarating attractions outside of Austin’s city limits. These day trips offer a wide range of possibilities to fit any traveler’s preferences, whether you’re looking for a getaway into the peace of nature, yearning for a taste of Texas’ strong cultural legacy, or simply wanting for an experience of the main route.

Each day trip promises a different mix of activities and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Texas, from stunning state parks with breathtaking vistas and meandering trails to charming tiny towns steeped in history and culture. As we uncover the undiscovered wonders that lay just outside Austin’s borders, the opportunities are infinite whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a foodie.

We welcome you to leave Austin and take a series of spectacular day trips as we set out on this journey together. The greatest day trips from the Austin area guarantee to expose a side of the Lone Star State that is as diverse as it is impressive, whether you’re a local interested to explore the area or a guest wanting to dive deeper into the heart and soul of Texas. So buckle in and go with us as we cross the breathtaking landscapes, enjoy the illustrious histories, and savor the flavors of these breathtaking locations, all just a short distance from the energetic city of Austin.

1. Fredericksburg

Old wood wagon with wine barrels loaded in a carriage nearby Fredericksburg, Texas

Address: Fredericksburg, Texas 78624, USA

Fredericksburg, which is located in the Texas Hill Country and is just 1.5 hours from Austin, is a wonderful day trip.

Both locals and tourists love this distinctive town. The town is filled with pride in its German history. It is also available for tasting in the many breweries and restaurants with a German theme.

Visit the National Museum of the Pacific War or the Fredericksburg Pioneer Museum to discover more about its history.

The largest operating wildflower farm in the United States, Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg, offers hiking routes for outdoor recreation.

With more than 100 wineries nearby, Fredericksburg is actually the center of wine country, making it a haven for wine lovers.

2. Marble Falls

Lakeside Park overlooking Lake Marble Falls located in Marble Falls, TX

Address: Marble Fall, Texas 78654, USA

A day trip to Marble Falls offers a ton of things to see and do. Easy peasy, the trip from Austin just takes approximately 1.5 hours!

You can get a great glimpse of the scenery and its untouched nature by hiking the trails of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. A pleasant spot to spend the day outdoors along the water’s edge is Marble Falls Lake.

In the neighborhood’s breweries, such as Bear King, Double Horn, and Save the World, you may sample craft brews and discover how the magic of beer production is created. If you prefer wine, Marble Falls is home to some amazing wineries.

One of the best areas in Texas to find bluebonnet fields in the spring is Marble Falls.

3. San Antonio

San Antonio

Address: San Antonio, Texas, USA

San Antonio is one of the greatest day trips from Austin and is only an hour away. It has historical sites and delicious restaurants.

A trip to The Alamo to learn about the past is a must-do while in San Antonio.

The San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, which is made up of 5 separate complexes, will excite history buffs. The sole UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas is the San Antonio Missions.

Visit the River Walk for some San Antonio-style entertainment. You may take a stroll along the river’s edge there, take in live music, browse the shops, and eat at one of the nearby restaurants. For a new perspective, go on a river cruise.

4. Johnson City

A beautiful flower array in a meadow in Johnson City, Texas

Address: Johnson City, Texas, USA

Johnson City is a fantastic day trip from Austin and can be reached in about an hour of driving. There is a lot of beauty and history in this small town.

The Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park is the main attraction. The former president’s estate, which includes a working ranch, his boyhood house in Texas, and the Texas White House, is located in the large park.

El Charro Restaurant or El Agave both serve excellent Tex-Mex cuisine.

By visiting Pedernales Falls State Park after lunch, you can burn off some of the calories. You’ll work up a sweat here as you hike through the stunning scenery and cool off in the river.

5. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Enchanted rock state natural area

Address: 16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg, TX, 78624, USA

It’s unlike anything else to find the magnificent pink granite monolith at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.

It is not a big thing to travel for the day and hike Enchanted Rock as it is only 1.5 hours away from Austin.

There are eleven miles of hiking paths in the park, rock climbing, caving, and several viewpoints of the lovely scenery. On the Summit Trail, be sure to climb all the way to the top of the rock.

It takes some effort to get there, but it is totally worthwhile! Enchanted Rock is a fantastic day trip from Austin because of this.

6. Kerrville

Kerrville tx city hall 2015

Address: Kerrville, Texas 78028, USA

The Texas Hill Country’s capital, Kerrville, is approximately 1.5 hours from Austin and offers a ton of activities for a day trip.

Spending the day outside is simple when you visit Kerrville-Schreiner Park or take a stroll along the Guadalupe River on the Kerrville River Trail.

Visit the Museum of Western Art, watch a performance at the Cailloux Theater, or explore the Schreiner Mansion to learn something new.

Before departing Kerrville, eat at any of the city’s eateries, including the city’s excellent Texas BBQ.

7. Bryan-College Station

Bryan, Texas

Address: College Station-Bryan, TX, Texas, USA

Visiting College Station and Bryan, the twin cities? Spending the day there is one of the nicest things to do close to Austin (and it’s only two hours away) because both are alive with activity and enthusiasm.

Aggie pride is strong in the cities that are home to Texas A&M University, but you don’t have to be a student to take advantage of everything the areas have to offer.

The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and the Brazos Valley African American Museum should be on your list of things to do in Bryan.

A fantastic way to spend a day is to explore the independent and specialty stores in Bryan’s historic downtown.

In Texas, Bryan is another well-known location to locate bluebonnet fields in the spring.

8. Krause Springs

Visiting Krause Springs

Address: 424 Co Rd 404, Spicewood, TX 78669, USA

An amazing site to spend the day is Krause Springs. Only 40–60 minutes away from Austin, this location is ideal for day trips.

This breathtaking location is the ideal getaway for a refreshing dip because it boasts 32 natural springs that supply swimming pools on 115 hectares.

Particularly during the summer, Texans love Krause Springs for its gorgeous scenery and cool waters.

After you’ve dried off from your swim, take a tour of the property, and don’t forget to visit the butterfly gardens; you’ll love them.

9. Wimberley

Blue Hole

Address: Wimberley, Texas 78676, USA

Do you have a desire to swim in a natural swimming hole? Then you must think about visiting Wimberley for the day.

The Blue Hole and Jacob’s Well are two of this wonderful town’s top-notch natural swimming holes in Texas.

Both of these are popular spots for locals and tourists to cool off in the sweltering summer months. Waters that are fed by subsurface natural springs remain cool all year round.

Swimming in Wimberley’s Blanco River is another alternative for hot summer days.

Other fantastic activities in Wimberley include zip line above Wimberley Valley, wine tasting, and watching glass blowing demonstrations. The large Wimberley cowboy boot art is also there.

With this quick day trip (45–60 minutes) from Austin, you can’t go wrong.

10. New Braunfels

New Braunfels, Texas

Address: New Braunfels, Texas, USA

In search of a great bratwurst? Or perhaps a cold stein of beer? All of this without leaving Texas? Set a course for New Braunfels after that. Here in the Lone Star State, this charming town provides an authentic German experience.

Check out the Gruene Historic District, where you may travel back in time and browse stores with fantastic antiques. The best live music in the area may be heard at Gruene Hall, which is another great activity.

One of the easiest day trips from Austin is to New Braunfels because the trip there only takes 45 to an hour.

11. Hamilton Pool

Hamilton pool

Address: 24300 Hamilyon Road Dripping Springs, TX 78620

The lovely Hamilton Pool Preserve is only a short drive (approximately 45 minutes) from Austin.

This natural pool is the ideal place to unwind after a long day in the city. You can enter the bush and then reach the pool with its stunning pure blue waters by taking very short trips.

Up until recently, swimming and waterfall-side hiking were both permitted. These two activities are currently prohibited due to the risk of falling rocks.

But don’t worry, a day excursion from Austin to enjoy the beauty of the pool and the nearby woodlands is still an excellent choice.

12. Shiner

Opera house, shiner, texas

Address: Shiner, Texas 77984, USA

Texans are familiar with Shiner as the location of Spoetzl Brewery. They enjoy visiting the brewery and sipping their preferred Shiner Beer.

Although the Spoetzl Brewery is a must-see on a day trip from Austin (it’s only 1.5 hours away), once you’ve done it, explore the town’s other attractions.

If you want to enjoy a beer or purchase a new treasure, make sure to swing by Antiques, Art & Beer. You can have a beverage in the beer garden or live music at Howard’s Convenience Store.

13. Lockhart

Caldwell county courthouse 2018

Address: Lorckhart, Texas 78644, USA

Look no further than Lockhart, the Barbecue Capital of Texas (no honestly, it is), to try some of Texas’ best barbecue.

One of the best day trips from Austin is only 30 minutes away.  Numerous restaurants, like as Black’s BBQ, Chisholm Trail Barbecue, Smitty’s Market, and Kreuz Market, are located here and provide the delicacy.

After filling up, take a stroll through Lockhart to take in all it has to offer, including the Caldwell County Museum and the Southwest Museum of Clocks and Watches. A fantastic spot to hike, ride, fish, and swim is the Lockhart State Park.

14. San Marcos

Hays country courthouse historic district 2013

Address: San Marcos, Texas, USA

It makes sense why San Marcos is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts.

After a quick 30-minute trip from Austin, there are a ton of outdoor activities available, including tubing down the San Marcos River and kayaking the Rio Vista Falls.

Visit Wonder World’s caves or Rio Vista Park’s trails to go hiking.

A fantastic area to get some fresh air is Canyon Lake.

Beyond the outdoors, San Marcos has a lot to offer: check out the art scene, shop in the malls, eat, drink, and have a good time at the bars and restaurants.

15. Georgetown

Downtown Georgetown

Address: Georgetown, Texas, USA

A day trip to Georgetown offers a variety of activities, including relaxing, shopping, delicious meals, and adventure. The best aspect is that Austin is only approximately 30 miles away, making it a short and straightforward drive.

Get daring at the Inner Space Cavern, where you can zipline above ground or explore underground caverns. Spend the day outside hiking in Cedar Breaks Park or taking a plunge in Blue Hole Park to cool down.

Be sure to take a trip through the historic downtown, where you’ll adore the architecture, shops, and dining options.

16. Pedernales Falls State Park

Trail to Pedernales Falls in Pedernales Falls State Park

Address: 2585 Park Rd 6026, Johnson City, TX 78636, USA

Spend the day exploring the 5,215 acres of Texas Hill Country at Pedernales Falls State Park.

There is so much to do at Pedernales Falls that you could spend the entire day there and enjoy it. You may ride, hike, and go bird watching in the park. Swim or go tubing if you want to cool off. If you like it, you can also go fishing.

Pedernales Falls is about an hour’s drive from Austin, just like Johnson City.

17. Inks Lake State Park

 

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Address: Inks Lake Park Dr, Cypress, TX 77433, USA

Inks Lake State Park offers the ideal setting for a day on the water. It’s a great day trip because it’s only a little more than an hour northwest of Austin.

You don’t need to bring everything on this day excursion. In addition to swimming and hiking at the park, you may hire kayaks and paddle boards to get on the lake.

Rods, reels, hooks, and sinkers can be rented if you prefer to fish from the shore. You’re essentially set since there are places to buy food and beverages in the park. 

18. Mckinney Falls State Park

Address:  5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, Tx 78744, USA

Despite being a part of the Austin city limits, McKinney Falls is on the list of day trips because you’ll want to spend the entire day lounging around in this park. You won’t realize that you are still technically in the city.

Bring your bike to explore the trails; alternatively, go birdwatching, hiking, swimming, fishing, or just unwind by the waterfalls. There are almost 600 acres of breathtaking natural space at McKinney Falls Park for you to enjoy.

Make sure to pack your swimwear so you may cool yourself at McKinney park’s upper and lower falls. It’s magical!

19. Bastrop State Park

Bastrop state park lake

Address: 100 Park Road 1A, Bastrop, TX 78602, USA

One of the best outdoor day trips from Austin is to Bastrop, where you can get outside and enjoy the fresh air. It’s only a short trip to get away from it all—about 45 minutes away.

Go for a nature stroll in the park to observe how the ground regenerates in the Lost Pines. Bicycle the park’s 12-mile road at a quicker pace. In the park, geocaching is growing, and there are many hidden treasures to be found.

The Bastrop pool is the greatest place to cool off following a challenging trek or simply on a hot summer day.

20. Palmetto State Park

Palmetto State Park

Address: 78 Park Rd 11 S, Gonzales, TX 78629, USA

Only an hour from Austin, Palmetto State Park has a lot to offer as a day trip.

Hike through the park to discover Texas’ unspoiled natural splendor. Keep an eye out for the park’s distinctive dwarf palmetto plants, which resemble miniature palm palms. The park is a terrific area to be close to nature, and birders love it there.

Find hidden treasures left by others in Palmetto’s Geocaches. Water sports are fantastic on hot Texas days and are located on the San Marcos River.

Conclusion

The Austin region acts as a starting point for exploration and adventure, and day trips there reveal a wealth of opportunities beyond the city. Each place offers a distinct charm and a chance to learn about Texas’ varied tapestry, from serene natural wonders to alluring historic communities. The greatest day trips from Austin guarantee priceless memories and a deeper appreciation for the Lone Star State, whether you decide to immerse yourself in the Hill Country’s natural beauty, appreciate the flavors of regional cuisine, or explore the area’s rich history. Explore the delights that lie beyond Austin’s borders as you set out on a journey of discovery and delight.