Take a 50-minute drive through the hill country and arrive in Wimberley, a small town with a lot to offer. Spend an afternoon wine tasting at one of the vineyards like the Wimberley Valley Winery. During the summertime, enjoy an evening show at the EmilyAnn Theatre, an outdoor venue with a scenic view.
If you want to get out of Austin but still want to spend a day in the city, why not drive 90 minutes down the road and go to San Antonio? You can feel like a typical tourist and visit the Alamo or the Riverwalk, or explore and try to find some hidden gems within the city. For some silly gambling fun, check out Little Woodrow’s turtle races.
In Gruene (pronounced ‘green’), the river goes on forever and the party never ends. Spend a few hours floating on the Guadalupe and Comal rivers under the shade of the trees, and when you’re done, stop by Fickle Pickles Antiques and Pickles for some shopping and, you guessed it, the best pickles in town.
Just north of Austin’s sprawling neighbor Roundrock, Georgetown is a quaint suburb. Visit its historic square and try a dish at 600 Degrees Pizzeria, which has been around since 1966. Take a stroll through downtown and check out the Artisans Connect Gallery or the Inspiration Glass Studio.
There aren’t really any ‘falls’ to speak of, but Marble Falls has plenty to make up for that. Take the hour drive west of Austin and spend a few hours touring the Save The World Brewing Company, a philanthropic microbrewery. For families, autumn is an especially magical time in this town. Pay a visit to Sweet Berry Farms for pumpkin patches and hay rides.
Grab a few friends and drive about an hour outside of the city to the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Erosion from the Colorado River carved magnificent canyons that are easily accessible through several hiking trails. There are also public observation decks where you can watch all kinds of wildlife from birds to deer. The refuge offers special events throughout the year, so check their calendar before you go.
Radha Madhav Dham
Open to people of all backgrounds and faiths, this Hindu temple is one of the largest in the country and is definitely worth a visit. Immerse yourself in Eastern culture and escape Texas for a few hours. Make sure to go for yearly holidays, such as Holi (also known as the Festival of Colors) during the spring.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
So close that it’s accessible through Capital Metro (Austin’s public transportation system), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is perfect for a quick escape. Relax while you walk through the beautiful landscape and visit the butterfly garden. There’s even a museum so that you can learn about all of the flowers that you see. Admission is $10 per adult.
18 miles north of Fredericksburg is the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, which first opened in 1978. For $7 (though it’s free for nature explorers under age 12), you can explore everything the land has to offer. Enchanted Rock was named for a native tribe who believed they saw magical fires glowing atop a large rock formation at night.
You don’t even have to leave Travis County for this getaway. Hamilton Pool is located in Dripping Springs and is super popular on hot days. Get there early, because to preserve the pool, only a certain number of guests are allowed in at a time. Dive into the 50-degree water and lay in the shade of the trees. If swimming doesn’t intrigue you, organized hikes are also offered from October through April.
By Andrea Nelson