Photo courtesy of Nicolas Henderson
Looking for a place to get away for the weekend? Austin's convenient location in the heart of central Texas puts residents just an hour or two hour drive from charming cities perfect for a weekend or daytime getaway. From floating the river in San Marcos to browsing local shops in Salado or Fredericksburg, there's something for everyone to enjoy in the central Texas area. Check out our list of the top daycation cities in central Texas to discover your next weekend destination:
View of Lake LBJ. Photo courtesy of Mike Davis
Horseshoe Bay, TX
Situated on the shores of Lake LBJ, Horseshoe Bay is one of the most popular resort destinations in central Texas. There are plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy. Golfers have several exemplary courses to choose from, including two championship greens designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. Resort visitors can enjoy tennis facilities, spas and marinas with exclusive access to Lake LBJ. While the lake is the highlight of Horseshoe Bay, the surrounding hill country also offers beautiful wineries and state parks for visitors to explore.
Comal River in New Braunfels. Photo courtesy of Jeff Gun
New Braunfels, TX
Found just 40 miles south of Austin on I-35, New Braunfels is a charming city known for its German heritage. The city even hosts an annual festival (Wurstfest) to celebrate its German roots. The Comal and Guadalupe rivers run through New Braunfels, which makes it a popular destination for water activities in the summer. Schlitterbahn, the largest waterpark in Texas, lines the Comal River and offers thrilling water rides throughout the summer season. Visitors can even come in the winter for ice skating. Just outside of New Braunfels, residents can explore the underground caverns at Natural Bridge Caverns.
Glass-bottom boat tour in San Marcos. Photo courtesy of Michael Gras
San Marcos, TX
Home to Texas State University (or Southwest Texas State to some locals), San Marcos is a quiet town just 30 miles south of Austin. One of the most popular activities in the area is floating down the San Marcos River, which runs through the heart of the city. Floaters can bring their own tube or rent one from the local Lions Club. For a unique activity, take a glass-bottom boat tour on the San Marcos River. These are just some of the reasons why the city is often called “San Marvelous”.
Bed and breakfast in Salado. Photo courtesy of Camelia
If antiquing, shopping and bed and breakfasts are what you’re after, Salado is the perfect destination. Found just 50 miles north of Austin, this charming village is full of local shops, restaurants and galleries. Visitors can browse unique pottery, art, collectibles, jewelry, furniture, crafts and more at the local shops. Wine, food and craft festivals are often held on summer weekends. For an overnight stay, consider booking a room at one of the town’s charming bed and breakfasts.
Downtown Fredericksburg. Photo courtesy of Mike Fisher
Like New Braunfels, Fredericksburg was also founded by German immigrants. Oktoberfest and other German heritage festivals are held in Fredericksburg each year. Fredericksburg’s hill country location makes it the perfect location for local Texas wineries. For outdoor lovers, Enchanted Rock is the perfect park for hiking and camping. Historic downtown Fredericksburg offers amazing local shopping, restaurants and breweries. Don’t miss the trade days and farmers markets!
Blue Hole in Wimberley. Photo courtesy of Robert Thigpen
Located about 40 miles south of Austin, Wimberley is a small town tucked away in the hill country. Visitors can cool off at local swimming holes Jacob’s Well and Blue Hole. You’ll find numerous wineries and even an olive farm in the area surrounding Wimberley. Try ziplining through the hill country at Wimberley Zipline Adventures for a thrilling and unique view. For a more relaxed visit, take in a performance at the outdoor Emily Ann Theater.
View of Canyon Lake. Photo courtesy of Natalie D.
Canyon Lake, TX
Known as the Water Recreation Capital of Texas, Canyon Lake can be found just 50 miles south of Austin. Twenty-three ramps offer easy access to the lake for boats and other watercraft. Striped bass and rainbow trout are just some of the fish waiting in the water. Visitors can even tube down the Guadalupe River. Golfers can also find plenty of challenging courses in the area. For an overnight stay, Canyon Lake offers cabins, cottages, hotels and charming bed and breakfasts.
Historic Gruene Hall. Photo courtesy of Keith Ewing
Gruene, TXFound about 50 miles south of Austin, Gruene is a charming small town full of fun things to do. Take a spin around the dance floor at the historic Gruene Hall. Its doors opened in 1878, which makes it the state’s oldest and most famous dance hall. In historic downtown Gruene, visitors can find local restaurants and charming antique shops. Outdoor lovers will enjoy tubing or fly fishing on the Guadalupe River. Wine tastings, market days and farmers markets are commonly held on weekends in downtown Gruene.