20 Day Trips From Austin

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Although Austin has many wonders and adventures to offer, the world outside of the city is equally as fascinating. There’s so much to explore, all within just a few hours’ drive. Here are our favourite day trips from Austin.

Austin, Texas

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20 Day Trips From Austin

1- Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg was founded by German immigrants in the 1800s and has continued to honour and cherish its German heritage to this day.

In fact, Fredericksburg is the birthplace of a certain dialect of German known as Texas German!

For those wine lovers among you, Fredericksburg is an absolute must-see as it is famous within Texas for having some of the most incredible wineries, many having received both national and international acclaim and awards.

Take a city trolley tour to explore the best of what the city has to offer, all while saving your feet from aching the next morning.

Fredericksburg is 78 miles (126km) and an hour-and-a-half drive from Downtown Austin.

2- San Antonio

best day trips from austin
San Antonio is a fun day trip from Austin.

San Antonio also has a culturally rich history filled with Spanish (instead of German) influence that lives on to this day.

The most famous part of the city includes The Alamo, which is famous for the Battle of the Alamo that took place at this previous Spanish mission in 1836.

After visiting the Alamo, stroll down the San Antonio River Walk and catch a show at the historic Aztec Theater.

Consider taking a River Walk cruise to truly experience the area’s beauty.

For a taste of something as unique as the city itself, check out the Hopscotch Immersive Art Experience that is guaranteed to transport you to another world.

San Antonio is 80 miles (129km) and an hour-and-a-half drive from Downtown Austin or join this organised tour to see the best of the city.

3- Waco

day trips from austin waco
If you’re after an interesting day trip from Austin, head to Waco.

Enjoy the experience of a lifetime on a sunset horseback ride in Waco and experience being a Texas cowboy for a day.

If horse riding doesn’t appeal, take a Waco wine tour and taste some of Texas’s best wine.

Although not as widely known as the wineries of Fredericksburg, Waco is home to a selection of excellent wineries and tasting rooms.

Waco is 102 miles (164km) and a 1-hour 45-minute drive from Downtown Austin.

4- Johnson City

Escape from the big city atmosphere of Austin to the quaint and quiet Johnson City.

Just an hour from Austin, this peaceful city tucked away within the Texas Hill Country is full of charm and natural beauty.

During your visit, stop by the Texas Vintage Motorcycle museum to see vintage motorcycles from the 50s, 60s and 70s. And perhaps after, stop by Farmhouse Vineyards to tick another vineyard off your Texas Hill Country Winery checklist.

Johnson City is 48 miles (77km) and approximately an hour’s drive from Downtown Austin. Check out this Texas Hill Country day trip from Austin.

5- New Braunfels

day trips from austin New Braunfels comal country courthouse
One of the day trips from austin for history lovers is to visit New Braunfels. Pictured here is the Comal County Courthouse

Just as with Fredericksburg, New Braunfels is known for its German heritage that is still visible within the city today in the form of architecture, art and cuisine.

For a glimpse at a park that is as historic as it is beautiful, pay a visit to Landa Park.

Find the perfect finish to a day out at the Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theater which is guaranteed to transport you back to a time long since gone.

New Braunfels is 49 miles (79km) and an hour’s drive from Downtown Austin.

6- Dripping Springs

If you’re keen on tasting something other than wine, check out the olive oil and balsamic vinegar tastings offered by Texas Hill Country Olive Co. in Dripping Springs.

However, if you haven’t yet drunk your fill and are looking for more of the Texas Hill Country wine trail, visit the Bell Springs Winery.

Dripping Springs is 24 miles (39km) and approximately a 30-minute drive from Downtown Austin. You might also like this half-day country brewery and distillery tour from Austin.

7- Wimberly

Wimberly perfectly depicts small-town Texas and has a historic downtown district.

Most of the population reside in ranches outside the town’s main area, but this doesn’t mean there’s not a wealth of exciting experiences to be found here.

In direct contradiction to the peaceful ambience of the small town, however, Wimberley Zipline Adventures provides a compelling way to soar over the hills and creeks for which this area is known.

Explore the town’s history by visiting the Wimberly Valley Museum.

Wimberly is 37 miles (60km) and approximately an hour’s drive from Downtown Austin.

8- Lockhart

texas day trips from austin Fresh prepared meat with rosemary potatoe onion and red sauce on a wooden plate.
Visiting the “Barbeque Capital of Texas” is one of the fun day trips from Austin.

Known as the “Barbeque Capital of Texas”, Lockhart is the perfect place to head to for an unforgettable meal.

Its reputation for tasty barbeques is not the city’s only claim to fame, however, as the Dr Eugene Clark Library in the city is the oldest operating public library in Texas.

Also, the critically acclaimed film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (starring both Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio) was partially filmed in Lockhart.

Visit the town square and historic courthouse to stand where these stars have stood before!

Lockhart is 30 miles (48km) and a 40-minute drive from Downtown Austin.

9- Georgetown

day trips from austin texas Close up backlit red poppy flowers in green field, low angle side view.
Georgetown is a day trip from Austin and great to visit during the city’s Poppy Festival.

Georgetown is home to Southwestern University, the oldest university in Texas.

The city is also marked by its breathtaking Victorian architecture and the William County Courthouse Historical District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Georgetown is known as the “Red Poppy Capital” of Texas due to the poppies planted throughout the city.

Georgetown’s Red Poppy Festival, which celebrates these flowers, is held every April in the city square, so make sure to put it on your calendar.

Georgetown is 28 miles (45km) and approximately a 40-minute drive from Downtown Austin.

10- Marble Falls

best one day trips from austin
Going wine tasting can be done as a fun day trip from Austin.

Jump on the trend train by playing a game of Disc Golf at the Flat Creek Estate Winery, either before or after a wine tasting (as Marble Falls is within the famous Texas Hill Country region and trail of wineries).

Marble Falls has something for the entire family with its excellent range of different available adventures.

For the thrill seekers, head out to the Hidden Falls Adventure Park to ride ATVs across various trails (in varying difficulty levels).

For some family fun, take a trip to Sweet Berry Farm and pick your own strawberries for an afternoon snack.

Marble Falls is 49 miles (79km) and approximately an hour’s drive from Downtown Austin.

11- College Station

College Station is home to the widely known Texas A&M University and its students, known as “Aggies”.

Because of this, the city has unbeatable nightlife, a cool bar district and a plethora of incredible restaurants.

College Station is home to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the Museum of the American GI for all those history buffs among you.

If you have the chance to catch a college football game at the Kyle Stadium, this is an experience not to be missed.

The atmosphere at these games is unrivalled and the half-time performances are genuinely spectacular.

College Station is 107 miles (172km) and approximately a two-hour drive from Downtown Austin.

12- Hamilton Pool Preserve

day trips from austin hamilton pool
One of the best day trips from Austin for nature lovers is Hamilton Pool.

The Hamilton Pool Preserve is truly a slice of paradise hidden within the rolling hills of Texas, with its breathtaking main cave and neighbouring waterfall functioning as the crown jewels of this little piece of heaven.

The park stretches across 232 acres (94 ha), including hiking trails, picnic tables and swimming holes.

Note that furry friends are not permitted here and that you must make a reservation in advance.

The Hamilton Pool Preserve is 31 miles (50 km) and a 45-minute drive from Downtown Austin.

13- Shiner

If you ask any Texan what their favourite local dark beer is, a solid majority will respond with Shiner.

So head on down to the Spoetzl Brewery to try some for yourself and receive a guided tour about how this tasty beer is made.

Test your brain and investigative skills with a stop at Shiner Escape Rooms to see if you can beat the clock and escape from themed rooms, including the Shiner Beer Escape.

Shiner is 85 miles (137km) and an hour-and-forty-five minute drive from Downtown Austin.

14- San Marcos

austin day trips San Marcos
For lovely architecture, take a day trip from Austin to San Marcos.

San Marcos is thought by archeologists and historians alike to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited areas in the Americas (for over 10,000 years).

That means this city has had plenty of time to develop its incredible culture and grow into the fantastic destination that lives on today.

The San Marcos River has never run dry in its history.

It is always a scenic and peaceful space to swim, relax, and participate in the age-old Texan tradition of inner tubing.

Grab a bottle of beer, some friends, and your tube and head down to the river to let the current take you on a relaxing adventure.

Don’t forget the sunscreen.

San Marcos is 32 miles (51km) and a 45-minute drive from Downtown Austin.

15- Inks Lake State Park

Just as with the San Marcos River, the water levels at Inks Lake State Park stay relatively the same throughout the different seasons, making the park a perfect getaway for the family year-round.

Here you can hike, geocache, picnic and go bird watching while on the water, you can also swim, take a boat ride, kayak and fish.

Inks Lake State Park is 66 miles (106km) and approximately an hour-and-a-half drive from Downtown Austin.

16- Pedernales Falls State Park

day trips austin Pedernales Falls State Park
There are lots of excellent day trips from Austin to explore nature, such as visiting Pedernales Falls State Park.

Continuing on with the trend of stunning natural beauty, the Pedernales Falls State Park is a breathtaking spot just an hour outside Downtown Austin.

The park stretches over an incredible 5,212 acres (2109 ha) and is full of babbling rivers and tranquil pools.

Here you can find many of the same attractions as the Inks Lake State Park, such as picnic grounds, hiking trails and geocaching sites.

Pedernales Falls State Park also offers the opportunity to take horseback rides and has a butterfly garden on site.

Pedernales Falls State Park is 42 miles (68km) and an hour’s drive from Downtown Austin.

17- Colorado Bend State Park

The Colorado Bend State Park is impressively even larger than the Pedernales Fall State Park, measuring in at a whopping 5,328 acres (2156 ha) and has 35 miles (56 km) of hiking trails.

The park is brimming with waterfalls, caves and natural springs.

When visiting the park, visit the 70 ft Gorman Falls waterfall.

Colorado Bend State Park is 95 miles (153km) and approximately a two-hour drive from Downtown Austin.

18- Cedar Creek

Cedar Creek is a quaint and quiet town whose main highlights include the Dinosaur Park, the McKinney Roughs Nature Park, the Capital of Texas Zoo and the Zip Lost Pines zipline.

The life-sized statues at the Dinosaur Park range from a two-foot Compsognathus all the way up to a 123 ft Diplodocus.

Walk through the dinosaur trail to experience a taste of how life was 65 million years ago.

Check out the Dino Dig and try out being a paleontologist for a day.

Cedar Creek is 22 miles (35km) and a 30-minute drive from Downtown Austin.

19- Hippie Hollow Park

Hippie Hollow Park is the only legally recognised clothing-optional public park in Texas and has been an increasingly popular nude swimming spot since the 1960s.

At this moment, access to the park is restricted to those over 18 years old due to its nude nature (a decision that was contested in court in 1999 but was ultimately upheld by the courts and currently remains in place).

Hippie Hollow Park is 17 miles (27km) and a 30-minute drive from Downtown Austin.

20- Gruene

day trips from austin Gruene
Gruene is another day trip from Austin for history lovers.

If you’re looking for the perfect small-town Texas location, look no further than Gruene, an hour outside Downtown Austin.

This cosy town (turned district of New Braunfels) could not be more different to the activity and flurry of big city life.

The Gruene Historic District still includes original 1800s German buildings such as the Gruene Hall and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into the past while walking through these historic streets.

Gruene is 47 miles (77km) and an hour’s drive from Downtown Austin.

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Georgina Fullerton is a British American who has lived and travelled all over the world. Travel, writing and adventure are her main passions in life and she loves exploring new places, languages and cultures. She has visited over 15 countries and has a tattoo of all of her favourite monuments from around the world. Georgina has a degree in Linguistics and a degree in French and has taught English to teenagers in France. She lives just outside Dallas, Texas, where the sun never stops shining.