Within a two-hour drive of Austin, there are a handful of charming and fun destinations to plan a day trip with friends or family. Your summer will be full of adventure and excitement with charming historic towns, beautiful state parks, and local farmer’s markets to explore. We’ve put together a list of our favorite places to visit that offer fun day trips from Austin. So keep your calendar handy and let’s take a look!
Distance from Lakeside at Tessera – 89 miles
Distance from Downtown Austin – 49 miles
New Braunfels offers a charming look into a local Texas community with deep German roots. Within an hour’s day trip from Austin, you can explore the quaint Landa Park, tour the historic Gruene Hall, and enjoy a little antique shopping. The town also offers year-round festivals, live music, and outdoor recreation opportunities. So if you’re looking to get out of Austin for the day, we suggest putting New Braunfels at the top of the list.
Every Saturday, rain or shine, New Braunfels hosts a farmer’s market featuring goods and produce from local artisans, ranchers, and farmers. Plan a weekend day trip to the heart of New Braunfels and discover over 60 vendors from the surrounding Texas communities. Each week Castell Ave transforms into a lively neighborhood event filled with live music, comforting food, and welcoming familiar faces.
After stocking up on all of your fresh produce, continue the New Braunfels experience by walking to the nearby Downtown Antique Mall. Stroll through nostalgic aisles of antiques and look for a piece of decor or memorabilia to liven up a space in your home. In addition to the Antique Mall, you will find a handful of nearby antique shops, such as Red Rooster Antique and Design Center and That Once Was Old Vintage. What a great way to spend a weekend afternoon.
Pack the inner tubes, noodles, or even the kayaks, and get ready for a day in the sun with the family at Canyon Lake. The scenic lake is a popular destination for people looking to get outdoors and spend some time on the water. Located only a short, 30-minute drive outside New Braunfels, you can swing through town on your way to stock up on snacks or beverages for your day at the lake!
Natural Bridge Caverns
Are you looking for a bit of mystery and adventure? At Natural Bridge Caverns, just fifteen miles outside of New Braunfels, you can explore and revel in the mysterious formations of the underground caves with a knowledgeable guide. If you would like to continue your day of adventure, check out the Twisted Trails Adventure Course, which offers zip lining and a climbing tour. The kids will love it.
McKenna Children’s Museum
Surprise the kids with a trip to the McKenna Children’s Museum! The museum has over ten dynamic-themed exhibits designed to let a child’s creativity and imagination run wild. In addition to the interactive exhibits, they offer weekly events, birthday parties, and field trip opportunities that support a learning environment while having fun.
While New Braunfels offers a full event calendar for the residents and visitors throughout the summer, there is no other event like the annual fall Wurstfest. Held at the beginning of November each year, it is a ten-day festival celebrating the best of German and Texas culture. Initially started in 1961 as a small festival to honor sausage, it now sees over 230,000 people during the ten-day celebration stretch. So if you find yourself needing to take a day trip in November, make it a point to head over to New Braunfels to check out Wurstfest.
Distance from Lakeside at Tessera – 78 miles
Distance from Downtown Austin – 78 miles
When people think of Fredericksburg, they often think of wildflowers and wine. Not a bad way to spend a summer afternoon. The region of Fredericksburg is widely known as Texas wine country and is within a two-hour day trip from Austin. So if you enjoy sipping a glass of red or white, walking through wildflower fields, and soaking in the local culture, this place just might be for you.
With over 45 wineries in the Fredericksburg area, there are plenty of vineyards and fun winery tours to choose from! Some local favorites are Lost Draw Cellars, Grape Creek Vineyards, Becker Vineyards, Southold Farm & Cellar, and Pedernales Cellars. While you can visit year-round, the best time to experience Texas wine country is between March and October. If you want to take the worry out of driving, schedule a fun wine tour with one of the local tour companies in Fredericksburg. They offer full-day or half-day options to experience the best of the Texas wine country.
Hamilton Pool Preserve
On your drive to Fredericksburg, make a pit stop in Dripping Springs to see the breathtaking Hamilton Pool Preserve. With a short quarter-mile hike into the unique geological formation, you can experience views of the cliff and waterfall from the beach. The Travis County Parks recommends checking condition updates and making a reservation if you plan to visit, as it is a popular attraction in the Dripping Springs area.
Enjoy a relaxing day at one of the nation’s largest wildflower farms. Just a mere 15 minutes before you enter the town of Fredericksburg is the 200-acre Wildseed Farms. The blooming wildflower farm features walking trails, gardens, and a gift shop that offers a wide variety of wildflower seeds so you can continue the wildflower experience by planting them at your home. The best part? The farm also has a vineyard and tasting room, so you can sip on some wine with friends while enjoying the vibrant flower fields.
Distance from Lakeside at Tessera – 102 miles
Distance from Downtown Austin – 102 miles
Home to famed Baylor University, Dr. Pepper Museum, and Magnolia Market, the Waco area is undoubtedly a town to add to your summer trip list. Just shy of a two-hour drive, you can immerse yourself in the Texas community and experience all the best local highlights. With fun river cruise tours, national monuments, and local shopping, there are plenty of activities to explore on your day trip from Austin.
Waco Mammoth National Monument
Take a step back in history and learn about one of the largest species to grace the North American landscape at the Waco Mammoth National Monument. The whole family will enjoy exploring the exhibits and short hiking trails. But, before you leave, make sure to check out the gift shop to take home a fun and memorable souvenir!
Hamilton Pool Preserve
Right in downtown Waco is the beautiful 400-acre Cameron Park. After enjoying local attractions or shopping, head to the park to relax outdoors. The park encompasses hiking trails, playgrounds, a disc golf course, Emmons Cliff, and Cameron Park Zoo. With various activities to enjoy, Cameron Park is a treasured place for both locals and visitors of Waco.
Magnolia Market at the Silos
Waco and Magnolia Market tend to go hand in hand. Started by the HGTV duo Chip and Joana Gaines, the Magnolia Market is a must-stop attraction as you explore the lively city of Waco. The grounds have expanded to include a new wiffle ball field, artisan vendor booths, shopping, and even live music. So grab a cup of coffee or cold beverage from one of the shops and spend an afternoon strolling the market.
With so many places to explore within a short day trip from Austin, your summer calendar is bound to fill up quickly. So start planning your next trip from the comfort of your Lakeside home. Contact our office today to book a tour and kickstart a summer of exploration and adventure!