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The Best Day Trips From Austin, Texas
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The Lone Star State is riddled with amazing cities that all boast their own unique character and attractions, but Austin stands out as one of the best Texas cities. In fact, U.S. News awarded Austin third place in the best cities to explore in Texas.

With such a wide array of things to do and places to see in Austin, Texas, you could probably spend days just reveling in its awe, but some might need a break from city life every so often.

Fortunately, this impeccable city is a prime location from which to visit some of the charming small towns in the Lone Star State.

Set on the border of the Texas Hill Country, day trips from Austin are not only possible but also guarantee a memorable experience.

So the next time the city has you feeling a bit claustrophobic, rest assured that the plethora of day trips from Austin can provide you with some much-needed relief and just the right amount of excitement to keep you intrigued.

The Texas Hill Country and surrounding areas are abundant in quintessential small towns, state parks, camping spots, and many other awesome day trips you won’t soon find anywhere else.

So without further adieu, let’s take a look at some of the best Austin day trips set within easy reach of this charming city.

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Day Trips From Austin, Texas You Can’t Miss

Wimberley, Texas

If visiting a charming small town in Texas Hill Country has been on your bucket list for years, that town should certainly be Wimberley, as it truly deserved its spot on the top of the list of best day trips from Austin.

Set a mere 45-minute drive from Austin, Wimberley is ideal for a day trip as it boasts a tight-knit community and a world of art galleries, boutique shops, and restaurants to explore.

What really makes Wimberley such a great place for a day trip from Austin is its diverse array of activities, so whether you’re looking for an adventure in the great outdoors, a day of sipping wine at a local vineyard, or just some colorful streets to admire, Wimberley has what you need.

What is There to Do in Wimberley?

If you’re visiting Wimberley on a hot summer day, the best way to spend your time is by cooling off in the natural pool at the renowned Jacob’s Well.

In the beautiful Jacob’s Well Natural Area, you’ll find some of the best swimming holes in the state, and the water is just cool enough to allow you to beat the infamous Lone Star State heat.

If Jacob’s Well is a bit too crowded for your taste, Blue Hole Regional Park also houses another amazing natural pool.

This section of the Texas Hill Country is riddled with cypress trees and tranquil spring waters, ideal for a relaxing day trip from Austin.

The park itself features everything you could need to stay comfortable on your day trip, including ample parking, restrooms, and lovely picnic spots.

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Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a wine connoisseur, Wimberley Valley Winery is the place to be. Beyond some of the best wineries in the entire Lone Star State, Wimberley Valley Winery also showcases some mesmerizing scenery that can be admired from the large deck holding plenty of fountains and even a giant Jenga set.

Wimberley won’t disappoint those seeking a bit of culture from their day trips from Austin, as it is one of the most artistic communities in the Texas Hill Country.

There are so many art galleries scattered across town that you’d be tempted to spend your entire day trip appreciating their contents.

The town’s famous Sugar Shack Bakery is certainly worth a visit if you really want to make the most of your day trip. The wide selection of baked delights is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth before you head back to Austin to revel in your new memories.

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Rebecca Belcher Photography, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Pedernales Falls State Park

Texas Hill Country has no shortage of incredible state parks that make for great day trips from Austin, but if you don’t know where to start, you can be sure Pedernales Falls State Park is a safe bet.

Pedernales Falls State Park is set a mere 30 miles outside of Austin and features impeccable scenery you won’t find anywhere else.

You can spend your day trip from Austin making the most of the numerous hiking trails in this park before heading to the refreshing river for a cool down.

Nothing quite compares to the sight of the waters cascading down the limestone formations at Pedernales Falls State Park, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts everywhere.

So if you prefer outdoor day trips from Austin, this State Park should be at the top of your to-do list.

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Alexander Hatley, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Canyon Lake

Just because Texas is known for its heat and long stretches of desert landscape doesn’t mean it can’t offer you unrivaled water recreation activities.

Known as the water recreation capital of Texas, the picture-perfect town of Canyon Lake is home to an immense lake that opens to a world of water-based fun.

Canyon Lake is one of the best Austin day trips as it features the deepest lake in the state, which is brimming with fish.

So if you’re looking for an Austin day trip the whole family will enjoy, grab your fishing rod, picnic table, and hiking boots and head to Canyon Lake for a day to remember.

If you think you’ll need more than a day to enjoy all the fun the lake offers, there are several peaceful camping spots around the lake where you can pitch a tent, light a campfire, and be immersed in the natural beauty of Canyon Lake.

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What is There to Do in Canyon Lake?

As you might expect, most attractions in Canyon Lake are centered around the stunning lake. One of the biggest draws of this lake is the tubing adventures, which is ultimately what makes it such a popular spot for day trips from Austin.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can use Canyon Lake as your point of entry before tubing down the Guadalupe River, a top-rated site during Texas summers.

You may want to include some more unique options in your day trip ideas, and Canyon Lake delivers once again by providing the perfect setting for boat rides and skiing adventures across the majestic waters.

Whether you spend your time fishing in the lake, birdwatching, or partaking in some of the thrilling water recreational activities in Canyon Lake, this lovely small town is sure to impress.

Furthermore, San Marcos is just a short drive from here and around 45 minutes from downtown Austin, so you may want to visit this charming Hill Country town if you’re going on a weekend trip to Canyon Lake, as the San Marcos River and Rio Vista Park are truly remarkable sights to behold.

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Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


A short drive from the city sits the charming small Texas town of Gruene, a hub for history buffs and foodies alike.

Driving into Gruene will have you feeling like you’ve been transported a hundred years back, with historic charm lining the streets and residents strutting around without a care in the world.

The small town of Gruene offers the best of both worlds, so if you’re looking to shop at some designer boutiques and indulge in a world-class meal or simply stroll through the Gruene Historic District to gain some insight into the town’s past, Gruene has what you need.

This small town makes for one of the best day trips from Austin if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere and the authentic southern charm Texas is known for.

What is There to Do in Gruene?

The Gruene town center features countless one-of-a-kind shops and adorable eateries, making it the ideal spot to shop the day away with a bite or two in between.

Gruene houses the oldest dance hall in the entire state, so if you are fond of flaunting the two-step, head down to the dance hall, where locals and visitors love to kick up their heels to the great live music sounding through the hall.

Since its inception in the 1800s, the dance hall hasn’t changed too much, so you can still get a sense of the simpler times that played off here.

For a bit of natural scenery, head to the river for a day of floating, a favorite among Texans of all kinds.

Needless to say, Gruene is drenched in historic charm, and the Gruene Historic District is the place to be if you seek some fascinating insights into the past and love to admire age-old artifacts that tell the tales of the Texas legacies.

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Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

New Braunfels

New Braunfels is another one of the best day trips from Austin, especially if you appreciate a bit of German heritage in your outings.

The fun and eclectic town of New Braunfels plays host to both the Comal River and the Guadalupe River, which offer great floating expeditions.

New Braunfels is a gem for every season, which you’ll soon find on your fun day trip to this charming destination.

What is There to Do in New Braunfels?

While enjoying your day trip from Austin to New Braunfels, be sure to check out the following attractions that all contribute to the attractive nature of this town.

As the Comal and Guadalupe River flows through this scenic town, the floating opportunities are endless. Rent a tube from one of the local outlets and spend the day soaking up the Texas sun with your feet caressing the river waters.

New Braunfels has an impressive selection of wonderful restaurants you have to try during your day trip.

For an authentic German taste, check out the Chocolate Pecan Stout and the Guadalupe Brewing Company, which are both cherished establishments by many Texan travelers.

Do you prefer outdoor day trips? Well, beyond the lovely river floating expeditions, the Schlitterbahn Water Park is the perfect backdrop for a day of soaking in the spring-fed rivers and engaging in the myriad of water-based activities the park has to offer.

New Braunfels takes old-school fun to the next level with its charming drive-in movie theatre. Here you can enjoy a classic movie experience from your own car while snacking on some tasty bites offered onsite.

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Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


If day trips from Austin, Texas, to quaint little towns intrigue you, Georgetown is an absolute must-visit!

There is a reason Georgetown is widely known to be one of the most beautiful small towns in Texas, and all it takes is one day trip to understand why.

With a downtown historic district riddled with charming little shops and an inviting atmosphere, even the most critical history buff would be drawn to Georgetown.

Georgetown is also home to some of the most breathtaking natural areas in the state, so you’re guaranteed to get your fair share of scenery.

What is There to Do in Georgetown?

The best way to spend day trips from Austin to Georgetown is by browsing the plethora of unique shops and eateries in the town square.

After you’ve seen all the exquisite items on offer in historic Georgetown and you’re in the mood for some sunlight, Lake Georgetown and Blue Hole Park have everything you need.

You will find a wide selection of swimming holes scattered around Blue Hole Park, making for an idyllic setting to soak all your troubles away.

To experience natural beauty and history simultaneously, the Inner Space Cavern, an ancient cave in Georgetown, is an unmissable site.

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Another Believer, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Johnson City

Set just an hour to the west of Austin, the characterful nature of Johnson City is sure to keep you wanting more. This city is drenched in artistic elements, historical significance, and a wine-tasting scene like no other.

Although Johnson City is technically a Texas city, that doesn’t keep it from boasting the small-town charm you want from day trips from Austin.

Home to the Johnson National Historical Park, Johnson City is a haven of fascination for history lovers from all over the state. Add that to the friendly attitude and array of attractions in the City, and you have one of the best day trips from Austin, Texas, you could hope for.

What is There to Do in Johnson City?

One of the best things to do in Johnson City is a tour of the Johnson National Park, which is a ranch that once belonged to the famed President Lyndon B. Johnson.

The ranch was coined the Texas White House and is still a working cattle farm, offering an honest glimpse into Texas country life.

Set a stone’s throw away from the city center, The Science Mill is certainly worth a visit. This national museum features a world of fascinating exhibits to keep adults and children alike entertained for hours.

For a relaxing day trip from Austin, the city boasts abundant breweries, wineries, and eateries to delight the senses. A day in Johnson City wouldn’t be complete before you’ve sampled some of the world-class wines housed at Texas Hills Vineyards.

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Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Colorado Bend State Park

A list of the best day trips from Austin would be pointless without mentioning the world-renowned Colorado Bend State Park.

This incredible state park features offer 5000 acres of biking and hiking trails in addition to its wonderful camping sites, fishing spots, and tours of a majestic cave.

Visitors often rage about the beauty of the Gormon falls and Spicewood Springs hiking trails, where the river waters invite you to cool down after your walk and enjoy the views of the impressive canyon of Colorado Bend State Park.

If you really want to escape all elements of city life, the hike to Gormon Falls is a must! The journey across three miles of the rocky landscape will take you to the mesmerizing waterfall set in tropical surroundings.

The caving expeditions at Colorado Bend State Park are an unparalleled experience for the adventure seekers out there.

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Morcup, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

San Antonio

Although San Antonio is also a big city in South Central Texas, it still makes for one of the best day trips from Austin in the Hill Country.

Most people never get a chance to dive deeper into the essence of the San Antonio Missions, but the San Antonio river walk gives you a splendid opportunity to do so. This walk combines natural beauty with historical insights to yield an enriching day trip from Austin.

What is There to Do in San Antonio?

If you’d like to learn more about the Missions that contributed to the development of the great State of Texas, the San Antonio Mission Trail is the best way to spend your day trip from Austin.

The San Antonio River Walk is particularly amazing as it takes you through scenic streets lined with quaint little shops and eateries. San Antonio also boasts an impressive array of Mexican food establishments to add a bite to your day trip.

One of the most popular of such restaurants is Nichas, set right across from the Mission San Jose and serving up flavor-infused delights you can’t get enough of.

San Antonio is home to many fascinating museums showcasing the city’s best moments, so you can be sure that the day trips from Austin to San Antonio will have something of everything, from food and culture to outdoor adventures and history.

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Corey Leopold, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Enchanted Rock State Park

Set in the heart of Fredericksburg, a Texas Hill County city full of German heritage, the gorgeous Enchanted Rock State Park offers a day trip you won’t soon forget.

Enchanted Rock is an immense granite dome that hikers from all over the country love to explore. However, Enchanted Rock State Park has much more to offer than this iconic landmark.

Visitors rush to Enchanted Rock State Park for the picnic, camping, and stargazing opportunities it holds. The state park tends to get very crowded, so be sure to make a reservation in advance before heading out for this unrivaled day trip.

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Daniel Ziegler, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Mckinney Falls State Park

Mckinney Falls State Park is one of the shortest day trips from Austin, set a mere 13 miles from the city and giving you a breath of fresh air in a picturesque environment.

Whether you’re looking for a day trip involving fishing, a lovely picnic, hiking, or camping out by the water, Mckinney Falls State Park is the perfect place to do it all. Onion Creek is also a great spot to take a refreshing dip, while Williamson Creek is a fisherman’s paradise.

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Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Marble Falls

The mention of Marble Falls among Texans brings big smiles and pride. Famous for its excellent pie shop Bluebonnet Cafe, Marble Falls is a little Hill Country gem, boasting a wide array of boutique shops, wineries, art galleries, and the pristine Lake Marble Falls.

What is There to Do in Marble Falls

The famous Hidden Adventure Park in Marble Falls is over 2000 acres of pure fun and offers every chance for ATV and dirt bike enthusiasts to pursue their passions. You don’t have to own your own bike to partake in the activities, as there are plenty of places to rent one.

You cannot visit Marble Falls without trying the Blue Bonnet Cafe’s famous pies! There is a flavor for every preference, so your cravings are guaranteed to be satisfied at this lovely cafe.

There is no better place to cool off on a hot summer day than at Lake Marble Falls, where the waters are clear and the fish are plenty.

The reservoir is set on the banks of the great Colorado River, which hosts one of the country’s biggest boat races annually.

The art galleries and adorable little shops in the heart of Marble Falls can’t be missed. The euphoric atmosphere in the streets is best appreciated during the spring when the bluebonnets are in full bloom.

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Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Dripping Springs

Set a mere half hour west of Austin, Dripping Springs is a lively city with a modest population and a genuine small-town atmosphere, perfect for short day trips from Austin, Texas.

Once you’ve experienced the beautiful scenery and charming feel of this city, you’ll be tempted to turn your day trip into a weekend getaway, as there is just too much to enjoy in one day.

Dripping Springs is loved for its stunning natural pools housed at Hamilton Pool Preserve and the diversity of the wildlife at Charro Ranch Park.

If you truly want to get a taste of small-town Texas, we recommend spending the afternoon at the beautiful Hamilton Pool Preserve before heading to Deep Eddy Vodka Tasting Room to sample some flavors that would give Russia a run for its money.

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Fredericksburg is one of the most popular destinations for day trips from Austin, Texas, as it boasts authentic German charm and much to do for visitors of all ages.

The wine scene in Fredericksburg is really happening, so much so that you would never be able to try out all the wineries in this beautiful town in one day.

The historic district is a major draw, as are the excellent restaurants with live music and shopping outlets offering unique items you’ll only find in Fredericksburg.

What is There to Do in Fredericksburg?

Some of the local favorites among the countless wineries in Fredericksburg include Fiesta Winery, Becker Vineyards, and Grape Creek Vineyards. The town is also known and loved for its peach industry, and you will find peach-based delicacies in virtually every shop and eatery around town.

Fredericksburg is drenched in German heritage, and the Pioneer Museum is one of the best places to visit if you want to experience history come to life.

Another must-see if you’re looking for historical enrichment is the Pacific War Museum, where you can gain valuable insights into the life of Admiral Nimitz and his role in the Second World War.

The shopping scene in Fredericksburg also doesn’t fall short of excellent, with many a quintessential boutique found on Main Street.


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Considered by many proud Texans to be the best Austin day trip is the small town of Lockhart.

Lockhart is the barbecue capital of Texas, which says a lot since this state is known for its smoked meat. Beyond the delicious food, Lockhart has much to offer in terms of hospitality and being situated between San Antonio and Austin, it makes for an easy-to-reach day trip destination.

What is There to Do in Lockhart

The Kreuz Market in Lockhart should be at the top of your to-do list if you want to sample some of the best meat cuts carefully prepared in Texan style.

Your day trip to Lockhart should also include a walk down the stunning town streets to browse some of the great shops that offer everything from premium hats to cowboy boots with country music brimming in the background.

Lockhart State Park is a fantastic attraction in itself and features a world-class golf course, plenty of picnic areas, fishing hotpots, and hiking trails, so you can be sure your day trip will include something of everything.

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Inks Lake State Park

Inks State Park offers an unparalleled day trip by the water and is nestled in scenic surroundings about an hour’s drive from Austin.

This state park makes it easy to have a great time by providing an abundance of paddle boards and kayaks for rent.

However, a day at Inks Lake State Park is just as memorable if you choose to spend it swimming and hiking through the picturesque park.

If you prefer dry land over water, consider throwing a line in the water as you sit back with a drink in hand and just absorb the songs of the birds.

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Wrapping Up

There you have it, a comprehensive list of the absolute best day trips from Austin, Texas. As you can expect from a state as vast and diverse as Texas, there are plenty of other amazing regions to explore around Austin, but the travelers have spoken, and these are their top picks.

The beautiful Texas Hill Country has something for everyone, from avid adventure seekers to history buffs and enthusiastic food lovers. So if you’re planning a day trip from Austin, you certainly won’t be disappointed.