Summer’s almost over, folks! But if your family is like mine and you didn’t quite manage to make an actual summer vacation happen, never fear! We live in one of the most fun and gorgeous cities around—not to mention our amazing state of Texas, which happens to be home to cool, refreshing Ozarka water. That’s right—did you know Ozarka water has Texas roots? Anyone who drinks Ozarka or gets Ozarka water delivery at their home or office recognizes its uniquely Texan fresh taste. That’s because Ozarka water comes from three Texas springs!
As part of the Ozarka® Brand Natural Spring Water initiative, From Here, For Here (#FromHereForHere), which asks Texans to tell why they love where they live, I am here to reassure every Austin-area family: It’s not too late!
Free Fun In Austin continues to highlight Austin area locations and activities that may not be available at this time. We encourage you to take all safety measures to keep yourself and your neighbors safe. It is our hope that the stories and features on this site will help inform your plans in the future.
You can still fake a fun summer getaway, right here in our fair city!
Beautiful Austin offers so many different options for jaunts that really feel like you’re enjoying an actual trip, not just a few hours at a fun park or event. Best of all, none of them will break the bank! Here are a few of my favorites:
1) Dinner at the Salt Lick Barbecue, followed by a baseball game at Round Rock’s Dell Diamond
Austin is rich in world-famous BBQ places, but the Salt Lick is still my personal favorite. On a recent Tuesday evening, we had dinner at the Round Rock location before heading next door to Dell Diamond for a Round Rock Express game. Since we live in Southwest Austin, we’re used to going to the original Salt Lick in Driftwood, so we had no idea the Round Rock location takes credit cards—and has a full bar! We also learned that Tuesdays are half-price days at Dell Diamond, so the four of us got two rocking chairs along with two berm tickets at a discount. While we watched the game, the kids enjoyed ice cream and lemonade, and rolled again and again down the grassy berm. Rolling in the grass: a children’s classic. Hooray for fun summer evening delights!
2) Night swimming at Barton Springs Pool
This is one of my all-time favorite things to do in Austin! From 9–10 PM every night of the week, Barton Springs has a “free hour” where you can swim for one glorious, cool hour in the relative quiet and darkness of late evening, free of charge. There’s a morning free hour, too, but I’ve always loved going to the evening one, especially with a group of girlfriends. (9 PM is too late for my kids, who also aren’t quite old enough yet for nighttime swimming, or I would take the whole family!) I love sitting on the grassy hillside, listening to the lapping sounds of the water and imagining what the pool was like decades ago, before anyone had A/C and going to the Springs was the only way for central Austinites to keep cool. Barton Springs is also awesome for daytime visits, of course, but there’s something almost magical about night swimming there. One dip after an unbearably hot day makes you feel cool and refreshed from the inside out. After you swim, you can round out your night with a late meal or a drink at Chuy’s, Austin Java, or any of the other fun places along Barton Springs Road!
3) An afternoon of wading, swimming and picnicking at Hamilton Pool Preserve
Is there any more gorgeous natural wonder in the world than Hamilton Pool? Not in my book. I love bringing a few water bottles and snacks or a full picnic, and spending the afternoon here with my family. It’s well worth the short drive west of town to enjoy this stunning swimming hole! Note that reservations are required during the summertime peak season, through September.
4) Market Days in Wimberley, Texas
This is one of my favorite weekend mini-getaways, which you can complete in just a few hours—yet feel as if you really enjoyed a Hill Country escape. A quick, pretty drive southwest of town brings you to the small, charming town of Wimberley, which hosts its famous Market Days on the first Saturday of every month from March through December, rain or shine. The earlier you arrive, the better, especially during summer months. I always try to arrive around 8 or 9 AM to beat the heat as I stroll through the shady, tree-lined aisles of vendors selling all kinds of wonderful things—quilts and tools and antiques and yard art and plants and so, so much more. Lots of snacks and lunch options are available right there at Market Day, or you can opt for any number of great restaurants in Wimberley or along the road back home, which winds through Driftwood and Dripping Springs. (For more information about Wimberley Market Days, check out the write-up I did a while back for Free Fun in Austin.)
Wherever you go, don’t forget your Ozarka water bottle when you head out on the town!
Summer may be on its way out but it’s still about a thousand degrees out, and it’s important to stay well hydrated! Enjoy cool, refreshing Ozarka water as you enjoy this beautiful part of the country that we’re so lucky to live in.
Ozarka Natural Spring Water: From Here, For Here.