There are plenty of great day trips from Austin where you can explore fun places and get out of the big city. The small towns surrounding the state capital have everything from natural pools, wine tastings, miles of trails, state parks, and more.
All you need is a tank of gas and you can head out on one of these excellent day trips. These cute towns are all centrally located and can make for a wonderful weekend getaway.
The best day trips from Austin, TX
This small town is tucked in the Texas Hill Country that is best known for its swimming holes. Both Jacob’s Well and Blue Hole are worth the drive during the summer months.
If you’re not up for a swim, grab a map and try to find all 48 stops along the boot trail. The boots are decorated by local artists and scattered throughout the town.
Visiting on Saturdays between March and December, guests can shop at Market Days. It’s the largest open-air market in Texas that features over 475 vendors that range from local farmers, artisan crafts, yard art, and holistic remedies. Various live music and food vendors are on site.
This was the home of Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th President of the United States. This tiny town has unique attractions such as the Hill Country Science Mill, art galleries, exotic resort zoo, and Pedernales Falls State Park.
There is so much more to do in this city after shopping & eating cupcakes at Magnolia Market. Take a hike through Cameron Park, stroll through the Dr. Pepper Museum, Texas Rangers Hall of Fame & Museum, and kayak along the Brazos River.
If you are looking for something truly unique, then exploring the Waco Mammoth National Monument or Cameron Park Zoo is a must.
This is an easy day trip from Austin and is home to the off-the-beaten-path swimming hole, Hamilton Pool. Reservations are required, so this day trip requires a little bit of planning ahead of time.
This cute town has a walkable downtown district full of restaurants, shops, and art galleries. It’s also the perfect destination for those looking for an outdoor adventure.
The Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge has over eight miles of hiking trails through cedar forests, meadows, and rocky creeks. Be on the look for the golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped video, both are endangered migratory birds.
The crystal blue waters of Canyon Lake are known as the Water Recreation Capital of Texas. This is the perfect spot for fishing, boating, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.
After a few hours on the water, you play a round of golf, catch a show at the Whitewater Amphitheater or brush up on your history at the Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country.
Founded in 1845 by German settlers, the town still keeps the heritage going with yearly celebrations. During the spring and summer months, visitors can access the Comal River and Guadalupe river for a day of tubing, fishing, or hiking along the shorelines.
Head down a fast-paced waterslide at Schlitterbahn, float down the clear waters of the Coral River as you pass cypress trees on an inner tube, or explore the depths of the Natural Bridge Caverns.
This is one of most favorite towns in the Texas Hill Country. Local shops, restaurants, and art galleries line Main Street. You’ll find the German heritage weaved into the decor and festivals throughout the year.
After spending a day shopping on Main Street, then head to one of the many wineries and distilleries located along the Texas 290 Wine trail.
The town also has plenty of picnic areas, outdoor activities, and historic parks for nature lovers. For the history buffs, spend a few hours going through the National Museum of the Pacific War.
Luckenbach is an absolute must-visit! Walk through the general store, which was built in 1849, grab a drink, and relax at one of the picnic tables while listening to the band.
Enchanted Rock State Park
Located a short drive from downtown Fredericksburg, you’ll find the massive pink granite dome. The climb is steep, but the sweeping views are worth the climb. Reservations are required and it’s best to book 30 days in advance as they sell out quickly.
Located a few miles north of Austin, you’ll found this quaint town. Be sure to stroll through downtown and you’ll understand why it’s named the most beautiful town square in Texas.
After exploring the town square, head to Inner Space Cavern. The cavern was discovered in 1963 while construction workers were drilling to determine if they could build a highway. One of the workers volunteered to be lowered down in the hole to see what was down there. Then after just 3 years of excavating it was opened to the public.
This is an adorable tiny town that everyone needs to visit at least once. It’s famous for the oldest dance hall in Texas, Gruene Hall. Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, and King George have all played on this stage.
Spend a day floating the Guadalupe River, dining at The Gristmill, and shopping along the Gruene historic district in the cute boutique stores, including the Mercantile Store, which has been standing since the 1800s.
Located 30 minutes outside the Austin City Limits, you’ll find the perfect spot for BBQ. The famous Salt Lick has been in business since 1967 and has an amazing BBQ. Along with great BBQ, visitors can also enjoy wineries, breweries, and distilleries.
Considered the BBQ capital of Texas, you’ll find no shortage of delicious places to eat. After lunch, make your way to Lockhart State Park where you can play 9-holes of golf, hike, fish, and swim. Then head to Manny Gammage’s Texas Hatters, and shop for a custom hat. They’ve been making hats for politicians and celebrities for years.
This tiny town only has a population of 90 and is home to the 50-year old antique fair that people from all over the world come to. Besides unique shopping, this town has amazing places to stay and delicious restaurants. I love a good flea market and this is the place to go!
Sure, this isn’t a small town for a day trip, but it’s worth visiting. San Antonio has a historical charm coming from every area of the city. Take a stroll along the River Walk, visit the mission trail (The Alamo isn’t the only one), shop in Market Square and of course, stand in line to get a table at Pie Tierra Cafe.
The main attraction in this town is Krause Springs, a swimming hole that is 68° F year-round. If you’re looking for more adventures, then Cypress Valley Canopy Tours with its ziplining and sky bridges is a must-do.