In the unlikely event you run out of things to do and places to go in the city of Austin, there are literally dozens of nearby recreational sites, state parks, and tourist attractions that are worth the drive to get there.
Within roughly 90 minutes of Austin, you’ll find everything from wineries and breweries to scenic hiking trails and waterparks for the kids. Museums, historic landmarks, and unique shopping experiences are also just a stone’s throw away!
Shopping Near Austin
In addition to San Marcos Premium Outlets, an “outdoor shopping mecca” featuring 145 luxury and name brand stores, there is also Magnolia Market and “Shops at the Silos” in downtown Waco, Texas. These Waco businesses were started and made famous by Magnolia Network stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, whose show “Fixer Upper” first gained popularity on HGTV.
Besides Waco and San Marcos, you can also discover quaint downtown shopping areas and boutiques in towns such as Wimberly, Marble Falls, Round Rock, Georgetown, and Dripping Springs. According to the Lone Star Travel Guide, “Georgetown is home to one of the loveliest historic downtowns in Texas, with a main square that has been declared the most beautiful in the state.” The website also mentions San Antonio, where you can visit (and remember) the Alamo, stroll on the picturesque River Walk, and take in the sights and sounds of the city’s bustling Historic Market Square. For those who enjoy antiquing, Fredericksburg is a popular stop, especially if you want to check out the Texas Wine Trail (An interest in antiques is optional.) Dripping Springs is yet another nearby destination where you can sample products from local wineries, distilleries, and a local olive orchard.
If you and your family are into exploring nature, hiking, mountain biking, river tubing, and appreciating natural wonders like waterfalls, caves, sunsets, and wildlife, there are several state parks, wildlife refuges, and natural resources worth visiting in the Hill Country and beyond. Here are several of the many attractions available to nature-loving day trippers in the Austin area:
- Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
- Pedernales Falls State Park
- Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
- Marble Falls
- Inks Lake State Park
- Krause Springs
- Colorado Bend State Park (70-foot Gorman Falls)
- Guadalupe River State Park
- Cyprus Bend Park
- River Acres Park
- Canyon Lake
- Rio Vista Park
- Cedar Breaks Park
- Blue Hole Park
- Lockhart State Park
- Landa Park, featuring its Panther Canyon Nature Trail
Cave tours are available at several locations, including Colorado Bend State Park, Longhorn Cavern State Park, Georgetown (“Inner Space Cavern”), and New Braunfels (“Natural Bridge Caverns”).
One of the most popular recreational and tourist attractions within driving distance from Austin is New Braunfels. Whether you’re a couple, a family, or “flying solo,” you’ll never run out of things to do and see when you visit this destination. Some of the top attractions include Gruene Historic District, Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo, Tubing on the Comal River, river rafting, antique stores, museums, art galleries, cultural events, golfing, miniature train rides, trampoline parks, breweries, wineries, and farmers’ markets.
NOTE: Before planning a daytrip to any of the above-mentioned parks, recreation spots, or attractions, check online or call the facility to find out about any possible closures, health requirements or COVID-related policies.
Whether you’re a university student, a professional relocating to Austin, or an established Austinite, the city and surrounding areas offer a wealth of recreational, cultural, and economic opportunities. If you’re planning to move to our thriving and diverse community, find your next home by checking out our list of Austin houses for rent. We also provide an array of property management services for investment property owners and landlords. Book a free consultation with PMI Austin for a rental analysis and more information about our full range of services.