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20 Awesome Day Trips From Austin, Texas

Travels With Elle logo: MainLogo Travels With Elle 8/14/2022 Travels With Elle

Austin is already known to be a ton of fun to visit. If you’re the type who’s open to venturing out of the city, a whole new world awaits you!

Truly, you’ll be surprised at how much there is to see and do in this area of Texas. Whether you’re interested in exploring history, checking out amazing scenery, or enjoying a bit of adventure, Texas has got you covered.

From lovely German towns to kitschy roadside attractions, river tubing meccas to unforgettable wine tasting opportunities, there’s so much to explore outside of Austin.

If you’re looking for some fun day trips from Austin, Texas that will keep you entertained, then look no further! This is where you will discover the best day trips from Austin – I guarantee you, there’s something for everyone!

These destinations will make your time in the Lone Star State absolutely unforgettable.

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20 Awesome Day Trips From Austin, Texas

1. New Braunfels

Distance from Austin: 45 minute drive

New Braunfels Texas - Gruene Historic District © Provided by Travels With Elle New Braunfels Texas - Gruene Historic District

New Braunfels is a magical Texas German city nearby Austin that offers visitors a chance to experience a whole variety of activities.

The city is home to a number of historic sites, including the picturesque Gruene Historic District, which is home to Texas’ oldest dance hall. This is a must-see when you’re in town! While you’re here, take some time to experience the unique shops, charming cafes, and lively bars that line the tree-shaded streets!

New Braunfels also has a thriving music and arts scene, with a number of art galleries, concert halls, and performance venues.

And of course, no visit to New Braunfels would be complete without sampling some of the city’s famous German food. From sausage to strudel, there are plenty of culinary delights to discover in New Braunfels.

During the summer, visitors can also enjoy rafting and tubing on the Comal River, or hiking and biking on the numerous trails in the area. Schlitterbahn, a family-friendly waterpark, is another great spot to spend some time, especially on those hotter days.

Day-trippers from Austin also come to enjoy canoes, tube floats, inner tubes, and kayaks on the Guadalupe River. And for the kids, do not miss Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo, a roadside attraction featuring snakes, exotic breeds, and even a petting zoo.

In terms of special events, there are a good amount of notable ones! Wurstfest, an annual ten-day salute to sausage and beer held every fall, draws thousands of tourists annually. Plus, there are several ongoing events throughout the year including Gruene Market Days and New Braunfels Farmer’s Market.

2. Jacob’s Well

Distance from Austin: 47 minute drive

Jacobs Well - Day Trips From Austin Texas © Provided by Travels With Elle Jacobs Well - Day Trips From Austin Texas

Jacob’s Well is a popular swimming spot located just outside of Austin in Wimberley, Texas. The well is actually a series of underwater caves that have been formed by the collapse of an underground river.

Visitors can swim in the cool, clear waters of the well, explore the caves, and even jump from the cliffs into the water below! The surrounding scenery here is beautiful, and the opportunity to cool off in the well on a hot day is hard to pass up.

Whether you’re a local looking for a new place to explore or a visitor to Texas looking for an adventure, Jacob’s Well is definitely worth a visit.

3. Natural Bridge Caverns

Distance from Austin: 1 hour 5 minute drive

Natural Bridge Caverns - Day Trips From Austin Texas © Provided by Travels With Elle Natural Bridge Caverns - Day Trips From Austin Texas

Natural Bridge Caverns is one of the top tourist destinations in Texas. Located just a short drive 1-hour drive from Austin, the caverns offer a variety of activities for visitors of all ages.

Visitors can explore the caverns on guided tours, and there are also opportunities to go rappelling and rock climbing! The caverns themselves are a stunning example of nature’s beauty, and the tour guides provide an informative and entertaining commentary about the history and geology of the cave system.

In addition to touring the caverns and rock climbing, Natural Bridge Caverns also offers zip lining, a ropes course, mini golf, and Evenings at the Bridge, a nighttime laser show set against the backdrop of the illuminated caverns.

The caverns are open year-round, making them a great day trip option from Austin any time of the year.

4. Marble Falls

Distance from Austin: 1 hour drive

Marble Falls is a city in the Highland Lakes region of Texas, about halfway between Austin and San Antonio. The city is known for its beautiful and charming downtown area, which features a number of shops and restaurants.

Marble Falls is also home to several scenic parks and lakes, making it a great destination for multiple day trips from Austin! Every year, visitors flock to Marble Falls to see the bluebonnets blooming throughout the surrounding hills.

From beautiful bluebonnet fields to the nearby Longhorn Cavern State Park, it’s no surprise that Marble Falls is considered one of the best towns in the Texas Hill Country to visit!

If you’re looking for something more adventurous, you can hike or bike the trails at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. And of course, no visit to Marble Falls would be complete without taking a scenic drive along the infamous “Twisted Sisters” roads.

When you’re in town, be sure to hit up the Blue Bonnet Cafe–this spot has been serving up some of the most delicious pie in Texas for over 100 years!

5. Fredericksburg

Distance from Austin: 1 hour 30 minute drive

Fredericksburg Texas - Main Street © Provided by Travels With Elle Fredericksburg Texas - Main Street

Fredericksburg is a charming small town set in the hill country of central Texas. The town is best known for its German heritage, and it’s one of the biggest draws of the town!

You can find many German-style bakeries and restaurants throughout Fredericksburg, as well as great wine tasting opportunities, award-winning shopping, and a number of historical sites, including the National Museum of the Pacific War and the Fredericksburg Pioneer Museum.

If you’re looking for outdoor activities, there are several hiking and biking trails in the area, and you can also go tubing or canoeing on the nearby Guadalupe River. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is also nearby (just 20 minutes away) and totally worth a visit.

Fredericksburg makes for a perfect day trip from Austin, so if you find yourself in central Texas looking for a new destination to explore, be sure to check out this wonderful town!

6. Johnson City

Distance from Austin: 1 hour drive

pedernales-falls-sp-johnson Texas © Provided by Travels With Elle pedernales-falls-sp-johnson Texas

Johnson City is a small town in the Texas Hill Country, about an hour’s drive from Austin. Despite its size, there’s plenty to do in Johnson City.

For starters, the town is home to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, which includes the Lyndon B. Johnson Boyhood Home and the LBJ Ranch.

Visitors can also tour the Blossom Hill Winery or go hiking and swimming in the Pedernales Falls State Park. For those looking for a more active vacation, there are plenty of opportunities for golfing, fishing, and swimming in the nearby lakes.

Whether you’re interested in history or nature, there’s something for everyone in Johnson City!

7. Blue Hole Regional Park

Distance from Austin: 45 minute drive

Blue Hole Regional Park - Day Trips From Austin Texas © Provided by Travels With Elle Blue Hole Regional Park - Day Trips From Austin Texas

Blue Hole Regional Park is a great spot for a day trip from Austin, Texas.

This regional park is home to a natural, spring-fed swimming hole lined with the iconic Cypress Trees located deep in the heart of the Texas Hill Country.

The park has a wide variety of things to do, including swimming, hiking, and picnicking. Visitors can also go fishing in the park’s lake or rent a canoe or kayak to explore the nearby river.

The park features 4.5 miles of trails, picnic areas, a playground for the kids, basketball court, sand volleyball court, amphitheater, and the Blue Hole Swimming Area.

The swimming area is a lot of fun, and reservations are recommended. Do try and book an early visit as it tends to get crowded later in the day!

Be sure to pack your picnic, cooler, and lounging chairs in a wagon or rolling cart so you can get to the swimming area with ease.

8. San Antonio

Distance from Austin: 1 hour 15 minute drive

San Antonio - Day Trips From Austin Texas © Provided by Travels With Elle San Antonio - Day Trips From Austin Texas

San Antonio, Texas is a city rich in history and culture. Founded in 1718, the city was the site of the Battle of the Alamo and is home to five Spanish missions, including the Alamo! Today, San Antonio is a thriving city with a vibrant nightlife, world-class museums, and unique Tex-Mex cuisine.

Visitors to San Antonio will find no shortage of things to do. The Alamo is one of the most popular attractions in the city, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you want to learn more about this historical event.

If you’re interested in history, you can also check out the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. For a taste of Texas culture, be sure to visit the River Walk, where you can find all sorts of shops and restaurants to busy yourself with. And, of course, no trip to San Antonio would be complete without a visit to the famous Alamo Drafthouse Cinema!

Whether you’re looking for history, culture, or just an all-around good time, you’ll find it in San Antonio!

9. Lake Travis

Distance from Austin: 35 minute drive

Lake Travis - Best Day Trips From Austin Texas © Provided by Travels With Elle Lake Travis - Best Day Trips From Austin Texas

If you’re looking for a day trip that’s just a hop and a skip away from Austin, Texas, look no further than Lake Travis. This huge reservoir is, quite indeed, huge.

Lake Travis is long, spanning 64 miles with over 271 miles of shoreline. Whether you want to spend the day swimming, boating, fishing, ziplining, golfing, or just relaxing on the lakeshore, Lake Travis is the perfect spot.

If you’re looking to spend some adrenaline-pumping time on the water, do not miss Lake Travis Waterloo Adventures. This floating obstacle course is one of the most unique activities in Lake Travis!

There are also plenty of restaurants and bars in the area if you need to grab a bite or refuel after a day spent in the sun! If you’re looking for a staycation within Austin’s city limits, Lake Travis is an awesome spot to consider.

10. Hamilton Pool Preserve

Distance from Austin: 45 minute drive

Hamilton Pool Preserve - Best Day Trips From Austin Texas © Provided by Travels With Elle Hamilton Pool Preserve - Best Day Trips From Austin Texas

The legendary Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs is one of the most famous swimming spots in all of Texas!

Hamilton Pool Preserve is home to a stunning waterfall and pool, which are surrounded by lush green vegetation. Visitors can swim in the pool, hike on the trails, or simply relax and take in the natural beauty of the preserve.

Because this spot has become so popular in recent years, you’ll probably need to wait weeks for a reservation! Having said that, it’s absolutely worth the effort it takes to plan a trip there.

11. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Distance from Austin: 1 hour 45 minute drive

Enchanted Rock - Best Day Trips From Austin © Provided by Travels With Elle Enchanted Rock - Best Day Trips From Austin

Situated just a little over an hour and a half from Austin, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is one of the most popular day trip destinations in Texas.

The park is home to a massive granite dome that dominates the landscape, offering stunning views for miles around. Visitors can hike to the top of the dome via the 1.3-mile Enchanted Rock Summit Trail, go rock climbing, or simply enjoy a picnic in one of the many scenic areas.

If you’re looking for a longer hike to fill up your time there, opt for the 5.4-mile Enchanted Rock Loop Trail.

There are also several camping sites available for those who want to stay longer! Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a relaxing day in nature, Enchanted Rock has something to offer everyone looking to spend some time outdoors.

12. Krause Springs

Distance from Austin: 45 minute drive

Nestled in the scenic Hill Country of Texas, Krause Springs is a popular destination for visitors seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Located just a 45-minute drive from Austin, this spring-fed oasis offers a refreshing escape for day-tripping swimmers, sunbathers, and picnickers alike.

By far the most popular thing to do here? Take a dip in one of the 32 springs on the property (including several manmade pools and one natural pool that flows into Lake Travis).

In addition to its water-based activities, visitors can enjoy the butterfly grotto, go camping or explore hiking trails through woods full of cedar and juniper trees.

Pro Tip: Wear water shoes with grip on the bottom, as the staircase leading down to the pool areas can be slippery. I suggest either bringing a picnic lunch (or picnicking materials for cooking with one of their grills), or grabbing some BBQ from Opie’s nearby.

13. Waco

Distance from Austin: 1 hour 30 minute drive

Waco Texas - Best Day Trips From Dallas Texas © Provided by Elle Leung Waco Texas - Best Day Trips From Dallas Texas

Just a 1.5 hour drive from Austin, Waco is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are plenty of things to do in Waco, from visiting the Baylor University campus to exploring the Magnolia Market at the Silos. Don’t forget to stop by the Silos Baking Co. for a baked treat or two while you’re here!

The Magnolia Market shopping complex is located in downtown Waco, where you can search for a multitude of unique home décor items. And if you’re a fan of reality TV, you can even take a tour of some of the sites from HGTV’s Fixer Upper!

While you’re here, do not miss the Dr. Pepper Museum. This museum showcases the many items related to the start of Dr. Pepper. There is a toy train that will delight children. If you don’t do the tour, you can still enjoy ice cream at their ice cream parlor as well.

14. Waco Mammoth National Monument

Distance from Austin: 1 hour 30 minute drive

The Waco Mammoth National Monument is a fascinating U.S. national monument in Waco, Texas. The site protects the remains of a herd of Columbian mammoths that died approximately 65,000 years ago in a flood.

The Waco Mammoth Site was discovered in 1978 by two brothers who were looking for arrowheads in the area. In 2015, the site became the first national monument in Texas!

Today, visitors flock from all over the country to gaze upon the mammoth bones. Don’t miss the Waco Mammoth National Monument’s Dig Shelter, showcasing 6 Columbian mammoths’ remains.

Just a few minutes away, make a stop at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, where you can enjoy the history of the Texas Rangers.  This museum will give you details on how the Texas Rangers were formed, as well as information on the Lone Ranger, Walker Texas Ranger, and even Bonnie and Clyde.

15. Colorado Bend State Park

Distance from Austin: 1 hour 45 minute drive

Colorado Bend State Park Texas © Provided by Travels With Elle Colorado Bend State Park Texas

Colorado Bend State Park is a great and underrated place to enjoy the outdoors, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is located just under 2 hours from Austin, making it a perfect destination for a day trip or even a weekend getaway!

Colorado Bend is situated in the Hill Country along the Colorado River and is home to Gorman Falls, a 65-foot waterfall wonder that can be reached via the 2.8-mile Gorman Falls Trail hike. The park also offers a variety of activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and canoeing.

Visitors can also enjoy views of the Colorado River from various vantage points throughout the park!

16. Stonehenge II

Distance from Austin: 2 hour 5 minute drive

For a taste of England in Texas, head to one of Texas’ most unique roadside attractions, Stonehenge II.

Stonehenge II is pretty much a full-scale replica of the famous Stonehenge monument in England. Built in the late 1980s, Stonehenge II is 90% as wide as England’s original, and 60% as tall.

While the purpose of the replica is uncertain, it is thought to be aligned with the movements of the sun and moon, just like the original Stonehenge.

Visitors can explore this site for free and learn more about its history and construction.

17. Garner State Park

Distance from Austin: 2 hour 45 minute drive

Garner State Park - Day Trips From Austin Texas © Provided by Travels With Elle Garner State Park - Day Trips From Austin Texas

Garner State Park is one of the true gems of Texas. Garner State Park is best known as the premier spot for floating down the Frio River during the day and dancing at night.

You can easily rent paddle boats, SUP & kayaks at the dam and find all of the things you need for a fun river float day at the Park Store.

Besides easy access to the Frio, the park offers many miles of hiking trails and camping options. You can also study nature, picnic, canoe, fish, play miniature golf, geocache and ride bikes. And, of course, you can dance!

Since the 1940s, young folks (and the young at heart) have been gathering at the park’s concession building on summer evenings for a jukebox dance. The coolest thing is that they still do this today! Arrive early, as parking lots get full and gates can close as early as 8:30 p.m.

With its stunning scenery and ample recreational opportunities, Garner State Park is a great place to spend a day or weekend away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

18. Hico, TX

Distance from Austin: 2 hour 5 minute drive

If you want to escape the big city, look no further than the charming, small town of Hico, Texas. Known for its western heritage, Hico is a great place to visit if you’re looking to experience a bit of Texas history. Whether you’re looking for history, nature, or just some good old-fashioned fun, Hico, TX has something for everyone.

First off, start by exploring Hico’s Historic Downtown. This downtown area is full of historic buildings and charming shops along Main Street.

For the history buffs and kids, visit the Hico Railway Museum, a great place to learn about the history of the railroad in Texas. The museum features a variety of exhibits, including a caboose and locomotive.

From there, make your way to the Billy the Kid Museum. Billy the Kid was an outlaw and gunfighter of the American Old West, who killed eight men before he was shot and killed at the age of 21. Here you can learn about the controversy between Billy the Kid and Bushy Bill.  Were they one and the same person?  Or was Bushy Bill lying?  Visit the museum and decide for yourself!

Before heading back to Austin, make a stop for last-minute treats at Hico Popcorn Works, a family-owned business that offers a trip back to yesteryear. This shop offers fudge in 19 flavors and popcorn in 42 flavors or colors, with the ability to customize for special occasions as well.

19. Dinosaur Valley State Park

Distance from Austin: 2 hour 35 minute drive

Dinosaur Valley State Park - Best Day Trips From Dallas Texas © Provided by Elle Leung Dinosaur Valley State Park - Best Day Trips From Dallas Texas

Ever thought to yourself–“I want to go where the dinosaurs roam”? Well, you can! Seriously though, Dinosaur Valley State Park offers you the ability to walk among real dinosaur footprints!

This unique state park is home to some of the best-preserved dinosaur tracks in the world. Visitors can hike, bike, or even take a horseback ride through the park to see the amazing fossils for themselves.

Depending on the water level, you can see actual dinosaur tracks up close and personal. There’s also a great visitor center where you can learn all about the dinosaurs that once roamed this area. After your educational adventure, go to Kona Ice and the small gift shop to get some frozen treats to cool off from the hot Texas sun.

Whether you’re a budding paleontologist or just looking for a fun day out with the kiddos, Dinosaur Valley State Park is definitely worth a visit.

And if seeing the dinosaur tracks at the state park wasn’t enough, you can visit Dinosaur World after to see life-size statues of various dinosaurs.  There is also an extensive gift shop that you can visit for your dinosaur enthusiast.

Before ending your day trip, visit Fossil Rim Wildlife Center–this exciting drive-through zoo can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own car.  Alternatively, you can take a guided tour and see parts of the center not available to car drivers.

20. Explore Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin © Provided by Travels With Elle Downtown Austin

Did you know you can have a ton of fun within the city of Austin? If you haven’t had the chance to explore this wonderful city, why not take a day trip to explore its backyard?

There’s no shortage of things to do in Austin, Texas. From exploring the city’s vibrant music scene to visiting its many museums and historic sites, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Here are just a few of the things not to be missed:

  • Catch a show at one of Austin’s many live music venues. From country and blues to rock and indie, there’s a musical style for everyone. You can check out who’s playing at spots like The Continental Club, ACL Live at the Moody Theater, Stubb’s BBQ, and Antone’s.
  • Play tourist and visit the Texas State Capitol. Tours are available daily.
  • Stroll through Zilker Metropolitan Park, which offers hiking and biking trails, a playground, and swimming in Barton Springs Pool.
  • Take a tour of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, which chronicles the life and career of the 36th president of the United States.
  • Sample some of Austin’s famous BBQ at one of the city’s many barbecue joints. Franklin Barbecue and Terry Black’s Barbecue are great places to start.
  • Check out the World Famous Congress Bridge Bats.
  • Visit the Wonderspaces museum, offering 28,000 square feet of art installations of light, mirror, technology, and imagination.
  • Go hiking at McKinney Falls State Park.
  • Catch a magic show at Magic’s Theater on Friday and Saturday nights. You can also see some cool historical pieces from Harry Houdini’s collection!
  • Go on a Best of Austin Tour with a local guide
  • Go on an “Austin in a Nutshell” bike tour
  • Take a Haunted Austin Walking History Tour

And that wraps up this post on some of the fun places you can visit from Austin. I hope you were able to find the perfect Austin day trip for your next adventure!

Looking for more travel tips? You may also like:

15 Exciting Day Trips from Dallas, Texas

4 Towns to Visit for an Authentic Wild West Experience

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