Looking for the best day trips from Austin, Texas?
Discover amazing destinations in the Texas Hill Country and beyond within easy reach of Austin in this epic guide.
When it comes to day trips in Texas, Austin is our favorite base.
The city’s location in the center of the Texas Hill Country ensures you have numerous options for day trips at your disposal from state parks and waterfalls to museums and amusement parks.
Enjoy a dip in Blue Hole Regional Park in Wimberley or visit the Alamo in San Antonio. Admire the Christmas lights in Johnson City or float down the San Marcos River.
Most of the Austin day trips are within Central Texas but you can also visit attractions such as Brenham and College Station in Eastern Texas.
Looking for a break from Downtown Austin and looking for fun things to do outside the city?
Plan a trip to these amazing destinations near the Big City for a breath of fresh air, natural beauty, and unique attractions!
Also Read: Best Things to do in the Texas Hill Country
Best Austin Suburbs that make amazing day trips
Austin’s many suburbs make excellent day trips if you are looking for a quick and easy getaway.
Here is our list of amazing day trips just an hour away from Austin, Texas.
Round Rock is the top day trip destination for Austinites to enjoy a day outdoors.
There are many things to do in Round Rock and great places to eat at the same time.
Some of the most popular activities include playing a round of golf, fly fishing, exploring nature trails, enjoying a game at Old Settlers Park, and shopping at The Arboretum.
Georgetown is one of the best day trips from Austin for those who love nature, architecture, and good Tex-Mex.
Downtown Georgetown is famous for its pretty Town Square, old architecture, historic courthouse building, and small town charm.
A must see stop in Georgetown is the Inner Space Cavern where you can go on cave tours, enjoy zip lining, and even see fossils.
During spring, the town is ablaze with red poppies and is an amazing sight.
Another one of our favorite day trips from Austin is to San Marcos.
This college town has a hip vibe and plenty of attractions.
Float down the San Marcos River for a relaxed fun day. Visit the museums to learn about the history of San Marcos.
Enjoy shopping at boutiques or check out one of its many local breweries.
One of the best day trips from Austin, Texas for foodies is to Lockhart!
Lockhart is famously known as the barbecue capital of Texas and a must for smoked meat lovers.
Find the best bbq in Lockhart at Smitty’s Market, Kreuz Market, and Black’s BBQ.
Best Dinosaur Attractions to visit on a day trip from Austin with kids
The Texas Hill Country and surrounding areas are home to the best dinosaur attractions in Texas!
Visit some of these awesome places to dig for fossils, see life-sized dinosaurs up close, and learn more about prehistoric times.
Also Read: Best Things to do in Texas with kids
Dinosaur Park, Cedar Creek
The Dinosaur Park near Bastrop features several acres with over 40 life-sized dinosaurs.
Kids can walk on the trail to see the dinosaurs including T-Rex, Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops.
There is also a fossil dig pit where kids can search for fossils and more.
Dinosaur Tracks, Leander
In Leander, you can see preserved dinosaur tracks in the bed of the San Gabriel River.
This is a hidden gem and you will often find the area to yourself.
Best time to visit to see the tracks is in summer when the water level is pretty low.
The exact address to the parking lot is 601 S. Gabriel Dr, Leander, Texas; from there follow the unmarked trail to the river bed under the highway bridge.
Love dinosaurs? Take younger kids to see dinosaur tracks at the Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country in Canyon Lake.
At the museum, they can see fossilized tracks made by acrocanthosaurus and iguanodon.
They can also dig for their own fossils on the Fossil Ridge tour.
The Canyon Lake Gorge Tour is another favorite to see preserved tracks and fossils.
Canyon Lake is also one of our favorite day trips from Austin for outdoor lovers.
The lake has excellent fishing and boating. Canyon Lake also offers good swimming in the summer months.
Waco Mammoth National Monument
Waco, Texas is a great place to visit for kids of all ages.
This makes it one of the best day trips from Austin if you are looking for something outdoorsy, cool, and educational.
The Waco Mammoth National Monument preserves the remains of 24 Columbian mammoths.
You can go on a ranger-led tour to see their skeletons, learn about life back then, and even dig up fossils yourself!
There are also replica mammoths for children to play with in the park.
Also Read: Best Dinosaur Museums in Texas
Best State Park Day Trips from Austin
Enjoy nature? Go on one of these day trips from Austin to some of the best state parks around the state capital.
Pedernales Falls State Park
One of our favorite day trips from Austin for nature lovers is to Pedernales Falls State Park.
The park offers many short and long hikes to the waterfalls , swimming holes, cliffs, and the Pedernales River.
Don’t forget to bring your mountain bikes for a spin down one of the many trails in the park.
Inks Lake State Park
Located near the town of Burnet, Inks Lake State Park is our favorite Austin day trip for those looking to get outside and enjoy nature.
The jewel of Inks Lake State Park is Inks Lake. The lake offers excellent fishing and boating.
Other things to do in Inks Lake State Park include jumping from the cliffs at Devil’s Hole, camping, kayaking and hiking.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Another one of our favorite day trips from Austin is Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.
The pink granite dome, which is a designated wildlife sanctuary and natural landmark, is the highest point in the Hill Country.
There are over 80 miles of trails to explore Enchanted Rock. Pick up your rock climbing permits at the visitor center.
The park is a favorite among families and very popular for wildflowers in spring.
Guadalupe River State Park
Guadalupe River State Park offers excellent camping, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking.
More than 9 miles of the park’s 40 mile loop are available for mountain biking.
The water in the river often reaches 80 degrees during summer making it perfect for tubing.
The park is our top pick for autumn day trips from Austin, Texas.
During fall, you can enjoy vivid colors on the river bank trees, making this one of the best fall destinations in Texas.
Colorado Bend State Park
Located in the Texas Hill Country, Colorado Bend State Park is a perfect day trip for campers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The park offers scenic hiking trails, wildflowers, swimming holes, and an abundance of wildlife!
The highlight of a visit here is Gorman Falls, the tallest accessible waterfall in Texas.
This 70 foot tall beauty cascades down the cliffs and can be seen after a moderate 2.5 miles round trip hike.
Other hiking trails along the banks of the Colorado River are also popular with outdoor lovers.
Natural Bridge Caverns
Another unique attraction near Austin is the Natural Bridge Caverns. While not a state park, this area has amazing natural attractions.
The attraction is home to one of the largest natural bridges in the world.
On a visit, you can admire a spectacular cave system and see geological formations such as stalagmites, stalactites, and much more.
Natural Bridge Caverns is located between San Antonio and Austin in New Braunfels.
Other attractions at Natural Bridges include zip lining, gem mining, and bat flights at dusk.
Also Read: Best Bat caves in Texas
Best Spring Day Trips from Austin for nature lovers
Austin is the perfect place to scout for bluebonnets and other wildflowers in the Texas Hill Country.
Here are our favorite places to see the state flower near Austin.
Marble Falls is an amazing day trip from Austin for those who love exploring hidden gems.
This small central Texas town, located on the shores of Lake Marble Falls, has a charming downtown area.
Admire the sculptures on Main Street, browse through local shops, and pick strawberries at Sweet Berry Farm while in Marble Falls.
During spring, Marble Falls is one of the best places to see bluebonnets in Texas.
Highland Lakes Bluebonnet Trail
Looking for the perfect day trip from Austin to see the gorgeous bluebonnets in spring?
Drive the Highland Lakes Bluebonnet Trail!
The route will take you through the cities of Marble Falls, Burnet, and Llano.
The small town of Burnet is known for its bluebonnet festival while Llano is the bluebonnet capital of Texas.
Along the way, stop at Turkey Bend Recreation Area in Marble Falls.
Located on the northern shore of Lake Travis, it is known for gorgeous wildflower fields along the water.
Best Swimming and beach day trips from Austin
Looking for the perfect summer day trips from Austin to cool off on hot days?
Here are some of our favorite nearby swimming spots!
Wimberly, located in the Texas Hill Country, is one of our favorite day trips from Austin.
Wimberley is home to Texas famous swimming hole, Blue Hole.
This spring-fed natural pool is perfect for a refreshing dip and extremely popular in the summer!
Other things to do at Blue Hole Park include picnicking, hiking as well as play areas.
Wimberley itself is also an amazing destination with scenic drives, rugged landscapes and wildflower fields blooming in springtime.
Lake Travis itself is another great day trip from Austin.
Take a tour of the lake on board a paddle wheel cruise.
Launch a boat from the Emerald Point Marina and enjoy a day on the water.
Other popular lake activities include fishing, kayaking, and paddle boarding.
In fact, Lake Travis is one of the best kayaking destinations in Texas.
End the day with a romantic meal at one of the lakeside restaurants.
Hamilton Pool Preserve
Probably one of the most popular Austin day trips is to Hamilton Pool Preserve in Dripping Springs.
This is one of the most famous swimming holes in the Hill Country.
There is nothing better on a hot summer day than to splash in the great swimming hole and admire the views of the waterfall and the cliffs.
Make sure to reserve your tickets before planning a trip to Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs.
Spicewood Springs, located between Austin and San Marcos, is the perfect day trip for those who love to swim.
Take a dip in the natural spring swimming pool at Krause Springs or enjoy boating on Lake Travis at Muleshoe Bend.
Spicewood Springs is also home to several wineries.
Best Small Town Day Trips from Austin
Several Texas Hill Country small towns are great day trips from Austin.
Admire the charming Main Street, shop local, and have a romantic day exploring these destinations.
Johnson City is the right choice for anyone looking for a family day trip, especially if you love American history.
One of the famous attractions in Johnson City is the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.
At Johnson National Park, visitors can tour the LBJ Ranch which served as the Texas White House for the President, see a living history farm, pay respects at the Johnson Family Cemetery and learn about the LBJ Presidency.
Other fun things to do in Johnson City include the Science Mill museum for children, charming downtown, and plenty of wineries.
Dripping Springs makes an excellent day trip near Austin.
The city is quickly becoming one of the top spots to visit in Texas for its natural beauty, local wineries, and bustling restaurants.
Popular things to do in Dripping Springs include taking a stroll in the historic downtown district, antiquing, checking art galleries by local artists, and checking out the local breweries.
The small town of Gruene is a must if you are visiting the nearby city of New Braunfels on a day trip.
Gruene is located just 10 mins away from New Braunfels.
The Gruene Historic District is home to several landmarks including the Gruene Hall, which is the oldest dance hall in Texas.
Enjoy shopping at the general store and have a romantic dinner at the Gristmill restaurant while in Gruene.
Luckenbach is a great one stop shop if you are looking for cool ideas for day trip ideas from Austin.
This small Texas town is known for its handful of buildings and locals.
The town is a must for country music fans; on weekends you will find country, western, and Texas swing musicians playing to full crowds.
Driftwood, Texas is home to the famous Salt Lick bbq and a must
Salt Lick bbq is considered by many to be one of the best bbq’s in Central Texas.
They are famous for all types of smoked meats including the Texas brisket.
Other Driftwood attractions include a vintage Texaco gas station, charming downtown, and plenty of wineries.
The town is also home to the Desert Door Distillery which is famous for sotol, a distilled Mexican spirit similar to mezcal.
If you are looking for a day trip from Austin, Texas to enjoy the beautiful scenery of farm lands and nature, we suggest heading out to Brenham.
At Blue Bell Creameries, tour their impressive facility, learn what makes their ice cream so famous, and sample different flavors.
Besides Ice Cream, there’s plenty of other fun things to do in Brenham including bluebonnet trails, Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site, and beautiful murals downtown.
Lampasas, located west of Austin, makes an excellent day trip from the city.
The small town is most famous for the natural mineral springs swimming pool at Hancock Springs Park.
Lampasas also has a pretty downtown with plenty of murals and public art.
Also Read: 20 Awesome Things to do in Lampasas, Texas
Best Cities to Visit on a Day Trip from Austin
Several Texan cities are also located close enough to see on a day trip from Austin.
They are home to popular urban attractions, shopping, nightlife, and a great culinary scene.
Here are the best cities near Austin, Texas.
San Antonio is the gem of Texas.
The city is home to several famous attractions including the Alamo and the San Antonio River Walk.
Visit The Alamo and learn about the famous Battle of Alamo that was fought there.
Admire the Spanish architecture on the San Antonio River Walk and stroll along the path enjoying the scenery.
Take a cruise down the San Antonio River and visit the many museums in the city.
San Antonio, with its urban attractions, makes the perfect day trip for families.
New Braunfels, with its unique German heritage, is one of our favorite day trips from Austin.
This charming city is especially great in the fall when you can enjoy Oktoberfest in the Lone Star State.
There is nothing like sipping on some German beer and eating pretzels while listening to traditional polka live music.
New Braunfels also puts on amazing Christmas celebrations and is our top pick for those looking for festive day trips from Austin, Texas.
Because of its many attractions such as Schlitterbahn Water Park, Railroad Museum, Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo, and Landa Park mini golf course, New Braunfels also makes a great weekend trip from downtown Austin.
Also Read: Best German Towns in Texas to Visit Now
Fredericksburg, the gem of Central Texas, is one of our favorite Austin day trips.
The city has a strong German heritage which is seen in its architecture, historic buildings, German cuisine, and Christmas traditions.
The charming Main Street with shops, eateries, and breweries is perfect for a stroll.
Visit attractions such as the National Museum of the Pacific War, Japanese Garden, and the Pioneer Museum.
Enjoy wine flights in the tasting rooms or drink craft beer at the many local breweries.
The city also makes a fun weekend getaway from Austin.
Also Read: Best Christmas destinations in Texas
College Station is home to Texas A&M University and one of the best day trips from Austin for families.
During spring, you can experience bluebonnet trails in Aggieland.
Other College Station attractions include George Bush Presidential Library, Aggieland Safari, and Texas World Speedway.
Short on time? Did you know that you can visit Houston on a day trip from Austin?
There’s a ton to do in the country’s 4th largest city.
Visit NASA Johnson Space Center, Kemah Boardwalk, The Galleria, and Downtown Aquarium.
Read our post on best things to do in Houston for more information.
Austin is a prime location for exploring the amazing scenery, natural attractions, and charming small towns of Central Texas.
Be sure to include some of these on your trip while visiting Austin.
Know of any other fun places within an hour’s drive from Austin? Let us know in the comments!