Austin may have drawn you to Texas, but it’s not the only destination worth visiting. From ranches to swimming, the state is filled with cultural gems and hidden hotspots that the locals sometimes like to keep that way. So venture outside the city of the weird and take a Texas day trip to see what else there is to explore in the Lone Star State.
Hamilton Pool Preserve
Secluded down at the end of a winding dirt trail after a hot and dusty hike, you’ll suddenly find yourself face to face with a 50-foot (15.2-meter) waterfall that is part of Hamilton Pool. It flows into the non-chemically treated pool and large stalactites grow from the ceiling, where moss, maidenhair fern and cliff swallows are also visible. Enjoy wading, swimming or a back massage from the surge. If you aren’t ready to swim, wander around the rock outcroppings above and behind the waterfall for a beautifully distorted view of your surroundings. Thousands of years ago, the dome of an underground river collapsed, forming the natural pool located approximately 23 miles west of Austin. It consists of 232 acres of natural habitat, featuring a green pool surrounded by slabs of limestone.
Everyone is always talking about Fredericksburg, and with good reason. In a little under two hours, you’re a world away from Austin and its attractions. This little town is lined with antique shops and on just about every street corner you can try some Hill Country wine. Whether you stay overnight or just come through for the day, you’ll find yourself lulled into the pace of small-town life with a pull so strong that you’ll find yourself returning more frequently than you ever thought possible.
Central Texas Wineries
While one doesn’t normally associate Texas with wine, the state has made leaps and bounds in their viticulture. From Driftwood to Fredericksburg, the Texas Hill Country is dotted with vineyards as far as the eye can see. Just make sure you have a designated driver with you when you go, or try a wine bus tour that takes guests through beautiful Hill Country.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Want to spend time outdoors? Look no further than the gigantic lump of pink granite that is Enchanted Rock. This truly enchanting hill of stone sprawls 640 acres and elevates to nearly 2,000 feet above sea level. With so much space, there’s always a spot for visitors to get some seclusion and explore its caves, stargaze and birdwatch. There’s also the option to join a group and rock-climb before a picnic. Just try to go on off-hours as weekend afternoons present a parking challenge. There are also many great hiking trails in Austin and outside the city.
If you’re a fan of Texas barbecue, then it’s worth taking a day trip out to Lockhart. The travel time to reach the barbecue hub of Central Texas is about the same as the waiting time in line at Franklin Barbecue (actually, you could probably get there, eat and then drive home in the amount of time it would take you to wait in line at Franklin’s). Lockhart is packed with regional Texas barbecue treasures like Smitty’s Market, Kreuz Market and Black’s BBQ – all of which are a must-try if you’re fastidious about your smoked meats. Plus, it’s nice to get away from the city and enjoy the real Texas country.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.