The Ultimate Guide to Summer Weekend Getaways in TexasJuly 14, 2017
The best places to eat, sleep and be merry—all with four hours or less driving time
If you are like us, your summer wanderlust is hitting you pretty hard right about now. And it is no wonder! Summer is the perfect time to head out exploring: the sun is shining, the roads are clear and—though a Texas summer is no joke—the weather is perfect for outdoor adventures. And though many plan exciting getaways to different states or even countries, we firmly believe in exploring your own backyard. Each region boasts its share of quiet towns with natural wonders, small-town charm and, of course, to-die-for barbecue. So whether you are heading out of Austin, Dallas, Houston or San Antonio, there are destinations enough to fill an entire summer of Texas road trips—and they are less than two hours away. Check out our list below of some of the best places to visit in Texas this summer based on where you call home!
Day trips from Houston
Brenham & Chappell Hill
When you think day trips from Houston, you might immediately think of coastal Galveston. But about an hour Northwest of Houston, the town of Brenham and its surrounding areas—including Chappell Hill—offers small-town rural Texas charm, boutique and luxury digs, and some of the best beer and barbecue in the state.
On your way out of Houston, stop at Chappell Hill Bakery and Deli for steaming coffee, pastries and amazing kolaches. Chappell Hill also boasts a lavender farm and annual Scarecrow and Bluebonnet Festivals if you are looking for family-friendly activities.
Brenham, meanwhile, is a quaint, historic downtown district complete with plenty of antique and boutique shops to keep you busy. Instagrammers will die for the beauty of Ant Street Inn’s lush courtyard and brick exterior.
When it is time for a bite, head over to Truth Barbecue for some incredible brisket before it is available to Houstonians in our backyard—but get there sooner rather than later; the line is long and the meat goes fast! And if you find yourself missing those lazy afternoons at your local beer garden, visit some business-savvy Houstonians at Brazos Valley Brewing—this family and pet-friendly brewery might be small, but the live music, cold beer and giant Jenga game offers major relaxation.
If you are looking to treat yourself—and maybe someone special—to a romantic weekend, The Inn at Dos Brisas in nearby Washington offers luxury accommodations and the only Forbes five-star restaurant in the state!
Day trips from Dallas
Thanks to a little show on HGTV called Fixer Upper, Waco is more than a college town—it is a new, hot Texas road trip destination. And we are here to embrace that! Your first stop should definitely be Magnolia Market at the Silos; the location is gorgeous and kid-friendly—just imagine giant porch swings, an herb garden and a gorgeous spacious lawn—and offers tons of home decor to beautify your home. And the cupcakes are worth the admittedly long wait.
But Waco is also still a Texas town with Lone Star charm, and it offers plenty in the way of quirky activities. For example, join some Baylor students on the Waco Suspension Bridge for a true only-in-Texas local tradition: the tortilla toss. There is, of course, history and meaning wrapped up in this local tradition, but even if you are not the superstitious type, there are only so many places it is socially acceptable to chuck a tortilla off a bridge for fun! Speaking of, also check out the Dr. Pepper Museum and the Waco Mammoth National Monument for some very dissimilar, but equally unique cultural and historical exploration.
Once you muster some hunger, you will definitely want to visit Dubl-R Old Fashioned Burgers for a delicious meal. And whether you are thirsty for an adult beverage or a caffeinated pick-me-up, Dichotomy—a fairly new coffee and cocktail bar—is definitely the place to go.
Day trips from Austin
For many, Austin is a Texas weekend getaway spot in its own right: culture, quirk and Texas pride abound in our state capitol. But let us not forget that Austin sits in the heart of Texas Hill Country, and day trips from Austin are all about taking advantage of that fact.
Dripping Springs and the surrounding towns offer much of what Texas Hill Country is famous for: clear springs, hiking trails and barbecue. And, in this case, we have to talk about that last one first. In the nearby town of Driftwood, Salt Lick BBQ offers brisket so good it recently beat out much-lauded Austin staple Franklin Barbecue. You know you are going to check that out!
But first you will want to work up an appetite. And the best way to do that is with a swim in Hamilton Pool Preserve. You will want to make a reservation, as you will not be able to swim without one and the pool is becoming a summer destination spot for Austinites and beyond. It is worth it, however, to view the pool’s pristine water and 50-foot waterfall.
Day trips from San Antonio
You might think of San Marcos mainly as a college town, but the city and its surrounding areas offer everything a Texas road trip requires—beautiful scenery, shopping and, of course, beer. Possibly the most popular summer attraction in San Marcos is tubing on the San Marcos River. This spring-fed river is always temperate and 10 times cleaner than EPA standards for drinking water! You can rent a tube or bring your own, kick back and enjoy a leisurely float.
Pro-tip: do not forget an extra tube for beverages, including alcohol—it is legal, we promise!—and stuff the cooler in the tube when it is about three quarters of the way inflated before continuing for the tightest grip on your beverages.
If you are in the mood for a little—or a whole bunch—of shopping, the San Marcos area is a perfect getaway! San Marcos boasts some of the best outlet shopping around: both Tanger and Premium Outlets have locations in San Marcos.
And nearby Wimberley offers a mix of eclectic and antique shops for the casual window shopper—you will definitely want to check out The Boot Whisperer of Wimberley at Wild West Store.
On a more romantic getaway? A cozy and upscale (without the price) place to stay is Flora & Fauna. Take advantage of the pool and hot tub, or if it is raining, stay in your room and listen to vinyl on your in-room record player.
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