If you’ve grown tired of Austin, head to a nearby city for the day to experience something new. No matter if you want to spend your day hiking, shopping or browsing a museum, there is a place on this list that is sure to offer you a fun day trip. All you need is a full tank of gas and an adventurous spirit to spend your day at one of these 13 day trips from Austin, Texas.
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Take highway 290 west for two hours from Austin and you’ll hit one of Texas’ cutest towns. Fredericksburg, Texas is one of the most popular central Texas town and for good reason. No matter if you want to enjoy the wineries in the area or the antique boutiques in downtown Fredericksburg, you won’t regret spending the day here.
Waco, Texas offers plenty of cool attractions for day trippers. Only an hour-and-a-half drive from Austin, you’re first stop should be Magnolia Market, the store of Chip and Joanna Gaines of the show “Fixer Upper.” Chip and Joanna have made a mark on Waco, boosting the town’s popularity. However Magnolia Market isn’t the only thing found in Waco. The Dr. Pepper Museum, Cameron Park Zoo, Waco Mammoth National Monument, and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame are also notable attractions found in Waco, Texas.
Enchanted Rock State Park
Take a day hike in Enchanted Rock State Natural Area the next time you’re thinking of getting out of the city for the day. An iconic Texas state park, Enchanted Rock is a go-to for all nature lovers, hikers, rock climbers and campers. Named after the park’s pink granite hill that rises 425 feet, Enchanted Rock is truly a treasure that every Texan should experience.
From the Riverwalk to the Alamo to Six Flags Fiesta Texas, you won’t have a boring day when you spend it in San Antonio. There are plenty of cool spots in San Antonio, no matter what type of traveler you are. Aside from the Alamo, day-trippers will enjoy exploring historical attractions like the San Fernando Cathedral or the Missions. Museum lovers, nature enthusiasts, foodies and history buffs will all enjoy a day in San Antonio.
Texans from all across the state head to New Braunfels to float the Comal or Guadalupe River. Schlitterbahn Waterpark, one of Texas’ largest waterparks, is also found in this central Texas city. Less than an hour drive from Austin, New Braunfels is the perfect destination for a summer day trip.
This hill country town is home to a quaint downtown full of specialty shops and antique stores. Head here for Wimberley Market Days during the first Saturday of the months of March through December to experience one of the largest flea markets in Texas right in Wimberley. You can also spend the day at one of the local wineries near Wimberley.
An hour drive outside of the city, Johnson City offers a number of fun attractions for daytrippers. If nice weather is in the day’s forecast, head to Pedernales Falls State Park for a hike. If you’re looking for indoor fun, Johnson City’s science museum, the Science Mill, is a great option. Johnson City is popular among history buffs too. Spend the day exploring the LBJ Ranch or the Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead.
Longhorn Caverns State Park
Explore one of Texas’ natural caves at Longhorn Caverns State Park found in Burnet. There are a number of different tours of the caves offered at this state park. Full of history and natural beauty, an experience at Longhorn Caverns State Park will make for an unforgettable day. Comanche Indians to Confederate soldiers, this Texas cave has a rich history.
There’s no better way to cool off during the Texas summer than at the lake. Canyon Lake, less than a two-hour drive from Austin, is home to a number of water and outdoor recreation options. The town of Canyon Lake is commonly referred to as the “Water Recreation Capital of Texas.” Therefore, paddleboarding, boating and swimming are popular activities here. However, with 80 miles of shoreline, this massive lake is also popular among hikers, bikers and horseback riders too.
If you don’t feel like driving two hours to Canyon Lake, Austin is home to Lake Travis, which is situated only 45 minutes outside of the city. Water skiing, boating, diving, fishing and sunbathing are the activities that draw Austinites to this scenic lake. Lake Travis is a great way to spend the day in the Hill Country.
This tiny Texas town may sound familiar, as it was made popular by a Willie Nelson song “Where Everybody’s Somebody in Luckenbach.” Found an hour and a half from the capital city, Luckenbach is nestled in the Hill Country. While you’re in this tiny town, visit the general store and take a picture outside of the old post office. Many visitors flock to Luckenbach not just for its small-town charm but also for its country music scene.
San Marcos, home to Texas State University, is a nearby town that is worth a day’s visit. San Marcos is truly a summer destination, as Texans from all over the state flock here to float the San Marcos River. Since this central Texas town is only 45 minutes outside of Austin, San Marcos is an ideal day trip for Austinites. If you don’t feel like floating the river, there are a number of parks and natural areas to explore here too.
One of the closest cities to Austin on this list, Dripping Springs’ sprawling hill country scenery will make you forget that you are only 30 minutes outside of the city of Austin. Referred to as the “Gateway to the Hill Country” and the “wedding capital of Texas,” Dripping Springs is perfect for a day outdoors or for your upcoming nuptials. Explore the historic downtown, visit Deep Eddy Vodka, or take a plunge in Hamilton Pool while you’re here for the day.