The end of summer often means the end of long vacations, but that doesn’t mean the getaways have to stop. Just outside of Austin awaits numerous activities to enjoy for a day or weekend escape. Take a look at some of the best places to travel to for the day from Austin.
Northwest Austin Vineyards
Head about an hour north of downtown Austin and visit some of the best Hill Country vineyards. The scenic drive and the ambiance of the vineyards will make you feel like you’re visiting the European countryside. Try Flat Creek Estate, spread over ponds and rolling hills, where you can take a tour of the property, sample the wine, and end it all with a meal at their bistro. Another great option is Stone House Vineyard near Lake Travis. The limestone structure sitting amongst the vineyards that back up against the clear lake is worth almost an hour’s drive. If you can’t choose between one, why not try them both? Spend the day basking in the Texas Hill Country beauty.
Rich in German culture, Fredericksburg is a great place to spend a whole day. Just 40 minutes from Austin, you can start your day early with a hike through Enchanted Rock. This massive rock dome rises about 425 feet above the surrounding area. The breathtaking views of the Texas Hill Country make the trek to the top of the dome well worth it. After the ‘enchanted’ hike, head downtown where you can eat at one of the many delicious restaurants along Main Street. For German fare, visit Der Lindenbaum, and then head over to Das Peach Haus, a peach vineyard and store, for a taste of Fredericksburg’s famous peaches.
In New Braunfels flows the Comal River, a natural spring-fed river. One way to beat the heat during the Texas summer is to spend the day tubing. Along the river are three minor rapids. It’s a perfect place to relax, cool off, and spend time with friends or family.
About 1.25 hours from Downtown Austin, Longhorn Cavern State Park is a true historical gem. The park opened to the public in 1938 and is well known for the limestone cave formed from an underground river. In earlier years, Indians, Confederate soldiers, and outlaws used the cave, and in the 1920s during the Prohibition, it was used as a speakeasy, a sort of nightclub where people drank, danced, and musicians played their instruments till the early hours of the morning. The tours of Longhorn Cavern are made most memorable not due to the geographical formations but rather the diverse history that took place in the very caverns.
This day trip could potentially turn into a weekend trip depending on your choice of adventures. Some highlights include zip lining through the Cypress tree tops, swimming in their spring-fed pool, and ending the night asleep in one of their modern tree houses. One of the most unique places outside of Austin, you can actually rent out a luxurious modern tree house. This is a getaway so high up in the air that you won’t want to come back down.
This is for the major adventure junky in you. Take your jeep or rent one of their ATVs and take an off-roading trail ride. Whether you’re a beginner or fairly experienced, you’ll enjoy the thrilling journey through unsurfaced trails, mud, rock, and riverbeds.