So you've just moved to Austin, in the heart of Central Texas, and you can't get out of the state without driving eight hours in any given direction. Are your road trips ruined?
Absolutely not. In fact, they're just getting started.
This week, you'll see stories useful for someone new to Austin in anticipation of Austonia's "How to Austin" event. To attend, sign up here.
You know what they say about Texas, everything is bigger here. In fact, one of the best things about living in Texas is its size—you never have to leave to find a good time. Here are some of the Lone Star State's humble sights and scenes, both near and far. The drive time estimate is measured from downtown Austin.
San Marcos - 45 minute drive
Ask any local San Martians and they will tell you there's no place they'd rather spend the weekend than sun-bathing at Sewell Park or on the Blanco River, floating to their heart's content. It may look like just an ordinary body of water but the river naturally stays 70 degrees year-round, is kept very clean with the help of the community and is brimming with local plant life and creatures.
However, nature isn't the only thing this college town has to offer. Home to Texas State University and a widely-renowned set of outlet malls, San Marcos also has a quaint downtown with dozens of shops, restaurants and bars. Stay for Gil's Manske rolls and Rhea's world-famous artisan ice cream—it is worth the trip.
Wimberley - 55 minute drive
With its homemade boutiques, locally-sourced restaurants and even Tiki bars, Wimberley's cute and colorful town is enough to make anyone stop in. The town is a quintessential example of the Hill Country with its sprawling mounds and luscious atmosphere. Stop by on a Saturday for its famous Market Days, which features almost 500 vendors, before chowing down at The Leaning Pear.
Although the town is picturesque, it isn't even the main attraction. Wimberley is the home to Jacob's Well and the Blue Hole, one of the most popular swimming holes in Central Texas. Feel your inner daredevil come to life when you jump off a 15-foot cliff into Jacob's Well and then go for a peaceful swim in crystal clear waters at Blue Hole.
Johnson City - 1 hour drive
The former home of the 36th president of the U.S., Lyndon B. Johnson, Johnson City is appropriately named. There, you'll find the LBJ Ranch, where you can tour the former president's childhood home, ranch and the Texas Whitehouse.
After you've wrapped up in Johnson City, Pedernales Falls State Park is just a quick drive away and is an excellent place to spend the day hiking, swimming and enjoying the Texas view. The park was immortalized in Richard Linklater's film "Boyhood," so it has a special connection to Austin.
Marble Falls - 1 hour 10 minute drive
Fitting the same vibe as many other small towns on the list, Marble Falls has a charming downtown with a bevy of local eateries. However, the real attraction to Marble Falls is the beautiful nature that surrounds it. With rock formations galore, Longhorn Cavern State Park will bring out your inner adventurer while you tour, hike and picnic in the Cave of Legends.
If you would rather spend your day in the sunshine, Sweet Berry Farm is a great way to spend an afternoon and get your berry fix at the same time. Just remember to go in-season and share your goodies with your loved ones.
San Antonio - 1 hour 15 minute drive
As one of the bigger cities in Texas, San Antonio is packed to the brim with things to do. You're not a true Texan until you've walked the halls of the Alamo. And if that isn't enough history for you, check out the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
While in SA, you simply can't miss the famous Riverwalk. San Antonio's Riverwalk is home to delicious Mexican food that you can eat riverside, levels upon levels of shops and attractions, a pavilion for live bands and dancers, all complete with beautiful scenery to follow you as you walk.
Fredericksburg - 1 hour 20 minute drive
This small town is not just known for its peaches, though make sure you don't leave until you get some. With more than 30 wineries and tasting rooms to visit while you're in town, you'll practically be swimming in local wine— there is even a road, Wine Road 290, dedicated to the nectar.
If drinking isn't your bag, roam the 200 Instagram-worthy acres of Wildseed Farms to pick a lush wildflower bouquet or take a hike up to Enchanted Rock for the view of a lifetime.
Houston - 2 hour 45 minute drive
It may be the furthest drive on the list but a well-versed Texan is one who is familiar with their sister cities. Houston is a cultural mecca and one of the most international cities in the U.S. All that to say, Houston has great food, fabulous museum culture and plenty of monuments to visit.
While you're there, make sure to visit the second-most populated Chinatown in the U.S., NASA's Space Center and the San Jacinto Monument and Museum. For a truly unique experience, visit the Rothko Chapel, which houses several original Mark Rothko paintings. The exhibit is free but you must follow one rule: complete silence once you enter.
There are so many sights to see in Texas so if you finish all these, don't worry, Texas is always going to be interesting.
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