Great Day Trips from Austin

Top Austin Day Trip Destinations

Austin is not only one of the best cities to visit in Texas, but it is also located in the Texas Hill Country, so there are plenty of fantastic day trips from Austin. Do you want to sip wine at a vineyard? Exploring a massive cave? Why not go antiquing? Float down the river? Have you considered visiting another city? Hike through a state park? Do you want to eat some of the best barbq in the world?

Any of these can be reached within a couple of hours of Austin, so whatever your interests are, there are some Austin day trips for you. We’ve included the trip time from Austin for each of these day-trip ideas, but keep in mind that it’s based on the distance from downtown Austin with the least amount of traffic. The distance can vary greatly depending on the time of day you travel and where you leave from in the city.

Day Trips From Austin in Less Than an Hour

A strong German heritage can be found throughout the Hill Country. This is especially true in quaint towns like Fredericksburg and New Braunfels. Many of Austin’s best day trips also provide access to nearby outdoor attractions. Places like Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs and Pedernales Falls in Johnson City alone are worth the short drive.

Wimberley Day Trip

60 minutes from downtown Austin

Wimberly is a small town in Texas’ Hill Country. The city is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and inviting bodies of water, making it ideal for an Austin day trip. Wimberly Square, the town’s main thoroughfare, is filled with local eateries and colorful storefronts. This charming shopping district is home to modern ranch decor, first-rate cookware, and chic boutiques.

Lovely, colorful Wimberley is among the best day trips from Austin for those looking for a mix of small-town charm (look for the many decorated statues of boot to photograph and stop in the town’s numerous great boutiques) and outdoor adventure.

Wimberley is home to the Blue Hole and Jacob’s Well, a couple of the most famous natural swimming spots in the Hill Country, in addition to a charming downtown.

  • Get on TX-1 Loop S from W 6th St
  • Follow TX-1 Loop S to TX-45 W
  • Take Farm to Market Rd 1826 to Ranch Rd 12 S in Wimberley

Day Trip to Lockhart

35 minutes from downtown Austin

Lockhart is known as the barbecue capital of Texas and packed with fantastic flavors in every direction, with several restaurants vying for the title of the best barbecue in Texas (and, frankly, the world).

Kreuz Market, Smitty’s, Black’s, and Chisholm Trail BBQ are the most popular barbecue joints in town, but which one is the absolute best–a that’s matter of opinion, and the easiest way to find out is to try them all yourself.

  • Get on I-35 S from E 5th St and Red River St
  • Continue on I-35 S to TX-71 E/E Ben White Blvd
  • Get on TX-130 S/TX-130 Toll S
  • Follow TX-130 S/TX-130 Toll S to US-183 S in Lockhart. Take exit 470 from TX-130 S/TX-130 Toll S
  • Follow US-183 S to Lockhart

Spicewood, TX – Krause Springs Day Trip

55 minutes from downtown Austin

Krause Springs is not only a relaxing day trip from Austin, but it may also make you feel as if you’ve left Texas entirely. With beautiful gardens, turquoise water, and greenery where ever you look, and plenty of shade, this is a must-see

The land is privately owned and contains 32 natural springs that are the source of both man-made and natural swimming holes.

Come to lay back, chill, and swim in one of the most gorgeous destinations in the Texas Hill Country–but be warned, the water is a chilly 68 degrees all year round, so you’ll be a little chilled when you first dive in.

  • Get on TX-1 Loop S from W 6th St
  • Follow TX-1 Loop S to S Mopac Service Rd. Take the exit toward Frontage Rd from TX-1 Loop S
  • Follow Southwest Pkwy to TX-71 W
  • Turn right onto TX-71 W
  • Continue on Spur 191. Drive to Krause Spring Rd

Day Trip to Dripping Springs

39 minutes from downtown Austin

Dripping Springs, home to the famous Hamilton Pool Preserve, numerous wineries, and some of the most popular wedding venues in the Hill Country, is one of the simplest and most popular day trips from Austin.


Start your morning with a swim in the famous Hamilton Pool (remember, reservations are required!) and spend the afternoon sipping wine. Do you have some spare time? Before returning to Austin, stop in nearby Driftwood for dinner at The Salt Lick.

On their own, Hamilton Pool and the surrounding grotto are worth a day trip. The surrounding town of Dripping Springs, on the other hand, provides even more reason to visit. On weekends, live music is easy to find in Dripping Springs, and the historic city streets are lined with several unique eateries and local shops.

  • Get on I-35 S from E 5th St and Red River St
  • Drive from US-290 W to Dripping Springs

New Braunfels Day Trip

60 minutes from downtown Austin

New Braunfels, about an hour southwest of Austin, is a great place to get away from it all. The town, founded in 1845 by German settlers, maintains its heritage through cultural celebrations and local stores. Exploring this culture is simple because New Braunfels’ business district is very walkable with shaded sidewalks. The Texas Hill Country surrounding New Braunfels also provides numerous opportunities to get outside.

day trip New Braunfels

New Braunfels has a lot to offer for a small town, from the gorgeous Gruene Historic District (and the famous Gruene Hall) to floating the river, visiting Schlitterbahn, and touring the incredible Natural Bridge Caverns.

There is no way to list all of the fun things to do in New Braunfels on an Austin day trip, but you can definitely pick your interests and have a fantastic day out.

  • Get on I-35 S from Congress Ave and E Riverside Dr
  • Follow I-35 S to S IH 35 Frontage Rd. Take exit 229 from I-35 S
  • Get on I-35 S
  • Follow I-35 S to IH 35 S in Comal County. Take exit 195 from I-35 S
  • Take FM1102 N and E Common St to Main Plaza in New Braunfels

Day Trip to Georgetown

35 minutes from downtown Austin

Georgetown, located just north of Austin, has one of the most beautiful historic downtowns in Texas, with the main square that has been designated as the most beautiful in the state.

After you’ve finished exploring downtown, get a taste of nature in Georgetown: depending on your mood, you can either swim at the Blue Hole (not the same one as in Wimberley!) or go for a walk through the neighborhood. or go underground at the breathtaking Inner Space Cavern.

In 1963, the Texas Highway Department discovered Inner Space Cavern while building Interstate 35. Since then, the cave has offered guided tours. These underground tours, which take place on gravel walkways through lighted passageways, do not require any crawling.

  • Get on I-35 N/US-290 E from E 5th St and N Interstate 35 Frontage Rd
  • Follow I-35 N to N Interstate 35 Frontage Rd in Georgetown. Take exit 261 from I-35 N
  • Continue on N Interstate 35 Frontage Rd. Take TX-29 E/W University Ave to S Rock St

Round Rock Day Trip

25 minutes from downtown Austin

While Round Rock is now primarily a suburb of Austin, it has its own history dating back to 1848, as well as a plethora of fun things to see.

Visit the bat colony in Round Rock, stroll through its charming downtown, visit a park or two, seek out the city’s eponymous round rock, and–most importantly, in our opinion–taste some of the deliciously legendary Round Rock Donuts.

  • Get on I-35 N/US-290 E from E 7th St and N Interstate 35 Frontage Rd
  • Follow I-35 N to N Interstate 35 Frontage Rd in Round Rock. Take exit 251-252A from I-35 N
  • Drive to S Mays St

Day Trip to San Marcos

45 minutes from downtown Austin

When most people visit San Marcos for a day trip, they intend to do one of two things: float the river or shop at the largest outlet mall in the United States… But there’s no reason why you can’t do both!

However, there are tons of other things to see and do in & around San Marcos: there is snorkeling, hunting down some of the city’s colorful murals, or taking a tour in a glass-bottom boat as part of your Austin day trip.

Visitors can fish and swim in the San Marcos River, and canoeing and tubing are also popular activities. Tandem kayaks and stand-up paddleboards and are also available for rent at the state park. The park also includes an oxbow lake with a fishing pier. Hiking trails such as the Palmetto Interpretive Trail provide the best views of the park’s namesake flora for land-based activities.

  • Get on I-35 S
  • Follow I-35 S to IH 35 S/N Interstate 35 in San Marcos. Take exit 206 from I-35 S
  • Follow IH 35 S/N Interstate 35, Aquarena Springs Dr and University Dr to N Guadalupe St

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

45 minutes from downtown Austin

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge is a fantastic destination for those looking to get away from the city for a day, with plentiful hiking trails, tons of wildlife, and seriously some of the greatest sunset views in Texas from its observation decks.

  • Take TX-1 Loop N, US-183 N, Route 183A N and Ranch Rd 1431 W to Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

Getaways Within 2 Hours of Austin

Johnson City Day Trip

60 minutes from downtown Austin

On your Austin day trip, combine US history, memorable Central Texas countryside, and great swimming by visiting Johnson City, home of the LBJ Ranch, to tour the childhood home of the former president, functional ranch, and the Texas White House. After you’ve finished, head next door to Pedernales Falls State Park for some hiking and swimming in the beautiful falls.

Pedernales Falls is located just outside of Johnson City, on your way back to Austin. This series of limestone waterfalls is surrounded by its own state park, which includes hiking trails, campgrounds, and swimming areas. Main Street, also known as Highway 290, has a variety of community flavors, including local restaurants, to fuel up after an adventure in Johnson City.

  • Get on TX-71 W/US-290 W
  • Follow US-290 W to E Main St in Johnson City

Day Trip to Marble Falls

60 minutes from downtown Austin

Marble Falls is a charming Hill Country town perfect for travelers looking to enjoy the outdoors and those hoping to visit the small but lovely downtown. It is situated on the banks of Lake Marble Falls. Make a point of trying a slice of pie from the Bluebonnet Cafe, which serves some of the best pie in Texas.

  • Get on TX-1 Loop S
  • Follow TX-1 Loop S to S Mopac Service Rd. Take the exit toward Frontage Rd from TX-1 Loop S
  • Follow Southwest Pkwy to TX-71 W
  • Continue on TX-71 W. Drive to US-281 N in Marble Falls

Fredericksburg Day Trip

90 minutes from downtown Austin

Fredericksburg is a Hill Country favorite for a reason. It is known throughout Texas for its German heritage and prime location along the official Texas Wine Trail.

Stroll down Main Street, where you can find everything from home decor and art galleries to antique shops and local artists. Shops like Black chalk Home and Laundry and Farm Haus Antiques & Design are worth a look. Every first Friday in Fredericksburg, many downtown art galleries take part in the First Friday Art Walk, opening their doors to showcase the area’s and beyond’s a fine talent. Most galleries provide free wine and live entertainment in a fun, family-friendly environment.

day trip Fredericksburg

Whether you want to visit a half-dozen wineries (or more, who’s counting), go antiquing, hike to the top of Enchanted Rock, or pick your own peaches in the summer, Fredericksburg has something to offer visitors looking for a day trip from Austin.

  • Get on I-35 S from E 5th St and Red River St
  • Follow US-290 W to N Adams St into Fredericksburg

Day Trip to Shiner

90 minutes from downtown Austin

Most Texans are acquainted with Shiner, even if they’ve never thought of visiting this small Texas town of 2,000 people. And of course, this is the home of Shiner Beer, a staple of HEB and all Texas grocery stores.

Because of this claim to fame, the most popular thing to do in Shiner is touring the Spoetzl Brewery, which is the home of Shiner Beer–but it’s worth staying long enough to check out the adorable downtown after you’ve finished at the brewery.

  • Get on US-183 S/Ed Bluestein Blvd from E 7th St
  • Get on Bastrop Hwy
  • Follow TX-130 S/TX-130 Toll S, US-183 S, and US-90 ALT E to 5th St into Shiner

Waco Day Trip

95 minutes from downtown Austin

The quaint town of Waco is located deep in the heart of Texas, roughly halfway between Dallas and the capital city of Austin. While the largest cities in Texas have always been household names, many travelers likely first heard of Waco in 1993. For several weeks, a raid on the Branch Davidian compound dominated national headlines, culminating in a fiery blaze and fueling the phrase, “We don’t want another Waco.”

Waco, well known as the home of Baylor University, has recently become one of the famous day trips from Austin for a very different reason: the opening of Magnolia Market, opened by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV fame. Even beyond the hugely popular Silos, Waco has plenty to offer: stop by the Dr. Pepper Museum, admire Baylor’s beautiful campus, or visit the Wooly Mammoth National Monument while on your visit.

  • Get on I-35 N/US-290 E from E 5th St and N Interstate 35 Frontage Rd
  • Follow I-35 N to N Interstate 35 Frontage Rd/J H Kultgen Expy in Waco. Take exit 334A from I-35 N
  • Take S 17th St into Waco

Day Trip to San Antonio

75 minutes from downtown Austin

The vibrant streets of San Antonio, one of Texas’s few larger cities other than Austin, beckon for some great day trips. The San Antonio Riverwalk, a popular attraction, features stone walkways and numerous restaurants on the water. Visitors can take a boat tour down the San Antonio River to see the city’s cultural center.

San Antonio, one of Texas’ most popular tourist destinations, is jam-packed with exciting places to visit, including the famous Alamo, the rest of the UNESCO-recognized San Antonio Missions, the Riverwalk, the bustling Historic Market Square, and charming La Villita.

A day trip from Austin to San Antonio requires an early (very) start to avoid the generally terrible traffic that clogs the highway between the two cities–but it’s absolutely worth it if you time it right.

  • Get on I-35 S
  • Follow I-35 S to La Trinidad St/S Pecos St in San Antonio. Take exit 155c into San Antonio

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