10 Great Day Trips From Austin

Thanks to its central location, Austin is just a short drive from a number of unique Texas Hill Country towns and attractions. The small towns within easy driving distance of Austin provide a variety of activities and attractions such as live music halls, museums, quaint shops, art galleries, water sports venues, and more. Any of these towns or attractions make for a great day trip from the Capitol City for Austin-area visitors and residents alike.

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    Canyon Lake
    Edward Jackson

    Due to its location by its namesake lake and the Guadalupe River, the town of Canyon Lake proclaims to be the "Water Recreation Capital of Texas" and offers visitors numerous water and outdoor recreational opportunities as well as quick access to a number of Hill Country attractions, towns, and cities.

  • 02 of 10
    Enchanted Rock State Park
       Olga Melhiser Photography / Getty Images

    Rising 425 feet above the ground (1825 feet above sea level), Enchanted Rock is one of the largest natural rock formations in the nation. Having been designated a National Natural Landmark since 1970, Enchanted Rock also has a fascinating history with the native peoples of Texas and early Texas settlers. Hiking is hands down the most popular recreational activity at Enchanted Rock State Park, but camping, birdwatching, and rock climbing are also popular activities.

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    Keith Grauman / EyeEm

    One of the most popular small towns in Texas, Fredericksburg offers visitors quaint shopping and fine dining in a relaxing Hill Country atmosphere. Fredricksburg is also rich in history and is home to several events and festivals throughout the year.

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    DaveArnoldPhoto.com / Getty Images

    Located just outside of New Braunfels, the small village of Gruene is well known for being home to the oldest dance hall in Texas: Gruene Hall. The area also features a number of good restaurants, quaint shops, river recreation, and more.

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  • 05 of 10
    Lake Travis
    Anthony Quintano

    Stretching over 60 miles, Lake Travis offers fishermen, sailors, and water sports enthusiasts plenty of room to spread out. Impounded in 1941, Lake Travis is located on the Colorado River, approximately 20 miles above Austin. Since filling, Lake Travis has been one of the most popular water sports destinations in the Lone Star State. Scenic, hilly shorelines and deep, clear waters afford the perfect backdrop for sailing, diving, boating, canoeing, windsurfing, water skiing and more. Fishermen also have ample opportunities on Lake Travis, with black, white and striped bass being the primary target species.

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    Longhorn Caverns State Park
    Courtesy Texas Parks & Wildlife

    Located just outside Burnet, Longhorn Caverns State Park is home to one of the state's best-known caves (caverns). Through the centuries, this natural cavern has at times been home to Comanche Indians, Confederate Soldiers, and, most likely, a few outlaws.

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    Luckenbach Texas

    Made famous by a Willie Nelson tune, the tiny Hill Country town of Luckenbach continues to symbolize all that is Texas to many. On your next trip to the Lone Star State, don't miss your opportunity to go to the town where "Everybody's Somebody."

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    Schlitterbahn New Braunfels

    The very spot where "floating the Guad" was invented, New Braunfels offers excellent access to Texas's famed Guadalupe River. Float tubing, kayaking, swimming, and fishing are just a few of the recreational opportunities available on this stretch of the Guadalupe.

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  • 09 of 10
    Wonder World Park San Marcos
    Wonder World Park

    San Marcos is one of the most popular small towns in Texas. Located in the Texas Hill Country, San Marcos is a short drive from either Austin or San Antonio. Although San Marcos, is a popular tourist destination year ​round, it is summer when the city truly shines.

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    Wimberley, Texas

    Wimberley is a quaint little village in the Texas Hill Country, situated within an hour's drive to either Austin or San Antonio. Additionally, Wimberley is conveniently located to many Hill Country attractions and is home to a host of specialty shops and restaurants.