Texas State Parks
Spend a day exploring the beauty of Central Texas at one of more than a dozen state parks within an easy drive of Austin. From hiking and biking to swimming and spelunking there’s a park here to suit every interest: Bastrop SP, Blanco SP, Buescher SP, Colorado Bend SP, Guadalupe River SP, Inks Lake SP, Lake Somerville SP & Trailway, Lockhart SP, Longhorn Cavern SP, McKinney Falls SP, Mother Neff SP, Old Tunnel SP, Palmetto SP, Pedernales Falls SP.
There’s more to New Braunfels than Schlitterbahn. With two rivers to choose from–the Comal and the Guadalupe–there’s nothing better than floating in a tube on a toasty day. Load up the kiddos for good (dry) times at McKenna Children’s Museum, Animal World and Snake Farm, or the Railroad Museum. While the day away at beautiful Landa Park, where there is swimming, mini golf, a miniature train ride, an arboretum, and a public, 18-hole golf course. Catch a double-feature at Stars & Stripes Drive-In Theatre before heading home.
Marble Falls is a hub for outdoor recreation. Families can have a blast at Sweet Berry Farm, which offers seasonal berry picking and family fun spring through fall. Hikers at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge may be lucky enough to spy an endangered golden-cheeked warbler or black-capped vireo. Need a new spot to beat the heat? Try nearby Krause Springs or spend a day on the water at Lake LBJ or Lake Marble Falls. 4×4 enthusiasts and aspiring daredevils can get their fix at Hidden Falls Adventure Park where there are miles of off-road trails for all skill levels. If a more low-key outing suits your style, take a tour of local breweries and wineries and eat lunch at the Real New Orleans Style Restaurant, founded and operated by an entire church congregation that relocated to Marble Falls after Hurricane Katrina. Truth be told, pie happy hour at Blue Bonnet Cafe is reason alone to make the trip.
As Dripping Springs grows, it may be easy to forget that the small town on the edge of the Hill Country has been around since the 1850s. Spend a few hours wandering the Downtown Historic District, checking out shops, galleries, and historic architecture. Then head over to Texas Hill Country Olive Company for a tour and tasting. If you’re adventuring sans kiddos, consider touring the local breweries, wineries, and distilleries or cutting a rug at Mercer Street Dance Hall. Just a short drive north of Dripping Springs lie some of the most scenic gems of Central Texas — Hamilton Pool, Reimers Ranch Park, and Westcave Preserve. An entire day would be well spent there without ever venturing into town.