Natural beauty and adventure await around every turn in the Texas Hill Country. No matter your interests, there is sure to be a place to explore. Everyone is welcome, and you are certain to meet others along your journey that make the experience even more delightful. Let’s explore some of the most interesting places that you can visit in a day or two.
Colorado Bend State Park is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts that enjoy hiking, camping, and taking beautiful pictures of nature. The park is about two hours northwest of Austin, so plan accordingly with lots of snacks and drinks. Unless you plan to pack a full picnic lunch, you will want to eat before arriving at the park. One suggestion for lunch is Cooper’s Old Time BBQ in Llano. In the park, you must certainly hike the trail to Gorman Falls, but keep in mind water levels change throughout the year. As on any wilderness hike, don’t forget the bug spray!
For those not wanting to pack bug spray, take a drive out to Luckenbach, Texas. You may recognize the name from a popular Willie Nelson song. Luckenbach has a limited selection of food, a couple of drink stations, and a dancehall! I would once again encourage you to take plenty of snacks and drinks, especially if you are taking children with you. There is a popular photo spot in front of the old Luckenbach, Texas, post office, so be sure to snap that picture! The large grassy areas are great for the kids, and there are typically some outdoor yard games set up. There is a gift shop on site as well.
Continuing west past Luckenbach, you will find numerous wineries as you approach Fredericksburg. It is a small town with a German history, but the wineries have made it extremely popular. It is best to research and map out your stops if you want to try tastings at various locations. Once in Fredericksburg, you will have plenty of options for shopping and dining.
If you prefer to stay a bit closer to the Austin area, then venture to Spicewood, Texas, just west of Austin. Spicewood offers a variety of things to do from wineries and distilleries to outdoor heart-pumping adventure. Cypress Valley is a hidden beauty where you can zip line and even stay overnight in a treehouse! The property also offers some opportunities to swim and maybe even see a bison on their working ranch. The website is https://www.cypressvalley.com, so do your research before heading out. Spicewood also provides several access points to enjoy beautiful Lake Travis. We are fortunate to have this gorgeous lake so close by. If a large lake is not what you are seeking to explore, then check out Krause Springs for a naturally refreshing swim. Their website is full of details for planning your trip. Check them out at https://www.krausesprings.net.
If your adventures take you south from Austin, then add Gruene and New Braunfels to your list. You will find everything from river tubing, to shopping, and even a drive-through animal safari at Natural Bridge Caverns. A suggested dining spot is the popular Gristmill overlooking to Guadalupe River. You can expect to wait for a table during peak times, but it is worth it. You will also want to snap a picture in front of the historic Gruene Hall right next door. Check the concert schedule ahead of time, and pack your boots if you like to dance the night away.
The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) has numerous park options in and around the Austin area. The LCRA parks make a great destination for day trips or camping overnight. Be sure to reserve your spot online as all outdoor parks are very popular. Visit www.lcra.org/parks to find the right park for you!
Another option for park enthusiasts is any of our magnificent Texas State Parks. You can get more information about these Hill Country gems by visiting https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks. Some of the more popular state parks are Pedernales State Park just outside of Dripping Springs, Enchanted Rock State Park near Fredericksburg, and McKinney Falls State Park in Southeast Austin.
You can always count on the Hill Country to bring you adventure. From hiking, camping, swimming or just sightseeing, you won’t be disappointed for a day trip or weekend getaway. Enjoy the natural beauty and all the Hill Country has to offer.
Never stop exploring!