Austin is a great place to visit because it has great outdoor activities, food, and live music. There is literally something for everyone! The best part? There are excellent day trips that are easy to get to and so unique! Below are our favorite short one day trips from Austin!
We visited downtown Austin a few years ago and fell in love with the people and the “weirdness” of it! In 2021, we planned a 3-day weekend in Austin to see the city one day with day trips to Waco and San Antonio the other days. Both were fun places and super unique. We also passed through the Gruene historic district in New Braunfels, Texas on our way to San Antonio’s riverwalk!
We flew from Nashville into Austin, and it was such an easy, direct flight with Southwest. We paid less than $100 for each plane ticket too!
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Austin. It was walkable to South Congress (if you were fit, ha!).
Our 3 Day Plan
- Day 1: Fly into Austin, go to Waco, dinner back in Austin at Gourdough’s
- Day 2: Shop on South Congress and then go to San Antonio riverwalk (we stayed the night, but you could drive back).
- Day 3: Back to Austin for lunch at home slice in Austin, TX
When we arrived, we picked up our rental car, put all of our luggage in the trunk, and headed to Waco, TX!
#1 Short One Day Trips from Austin — Waco, TX
A short day trip from Austin to Waco, TX is the perfect idea for a girls’ weekend!
It took about 2 hours to get to Waco from the Austin airport.
As a Fixer Upper fan, I had to go to Magnolia Market and see the Silos!
Once we got there, we enjoyed one of the best cupcakes of my life at the Silo’s Baking Co.
After walking around the shops and taking in all the sites, we ate at Magnolia Table. It’s Chip & Joanna Gaines’ restaurant just down an exit or two from the Silos.
The food was okay, but trying to get a reservation was a pain! (I booked it at midnight 2 weeks before the trip. Reservations open at midnight CST on their website).
I don’t know if I would do it again — especially since Waco has an In-N-Out, and we don’t have them in Tennessee.
You may also like to see Harp Design Co and the Little Shop on Bosque if you’re a Fixer Upper fan.
After lunch, we drove back to Austin and enjoyed Gourdoughs’ Public House’s burgers and (amazing) doughnuts!
We also are not opposed to Home Slice Pizza before going on another short day trip either!
#2 Short One Day Trips from Austin — Gruene (New Braunfels, TX)
History buffs definitely would enjoy Gruene, TX.
It’s also only 45 minutes from Austin!
It could be great for a family, but I’d also say couples would enjoy it because of Gruene Hall. It’s the oldest dance hall in Texas.
The historic site is still an operating dance floor with live music! It was built in 1978!
#3 Short One Day Trips from Austin – San Antonio, TX
After passing through Gruene, we went to San Antonio!
San Antonio is about 80 miles from Austin.
We really wanted great Mexican food and amazing views, so we stayed at the Hotel Contessa with a river view. But you could also do this trip in a day!
We absolutely loved walking the river walk! There were so many great places to stop and get a drink or a bite to eat.
If you’re traveling with kids, you may also like San Antonio’s museum or the San Antonio zoo.
I wish we had another day to go back to the San Antonio Pearl District!
It would be a great short on day trip from Austin for a group of girlfriends!
I worried San Antonio would feel a bit very touristy and almost cheap, but it was a really great stay! Whether you’re traveling with nature lovers or a group that prefers art galleries and spas over a RV campsite, San Antonio has options!
Other Short One Day Trips from Austin
Round Rock is great for families!
We love that it’s only about 20 minutes from Austin, too!
When visiting, you have to go to The Salt Lick for BBQ! It’s a famous BBQ joint that’s been around since the 60s!
You may also like Old Settlers Park, Rock’N River Water Park, or Twin Lakes Park in Cedar Park.
We specifically like Brushy Creek’s Trail. It’s is a paved trail that is just short of being 8 miles long. It’s perfect for walkers, joggers and bikers, and some gorgeous views. You can choose from a couple picnic areas well.
Georgetown is a short drive and easy day trip for families or couples.
It’s about 30 minutes away from Austin.
The town is known the million year old cave, Inner Space Cavern. You can sign up for cave tours throughout the day.
Other great spots in Georgetown are Cedar Breaks Park, Lake Georgetown, and Blue Hole Park
Lockhart State Park
If you are looking for hiking trails, camping spots, fishing, or swimming — check out this gorgeous state park!
It’s about 40 minutes from Austin.
The Lockhart State Park offers over 250 acres of outdoor activities for nature lovers!
If you’re looking for a small, town vibe – check out Dripping Springs!
Dripping Springs is a little town just 30 minutes from Austin. There are only 4,000 people there!
We love the laid-back, small town vibes in this area! You can do a little shopping before discovering Charro Ranch Park or going to the natural pool, Hamilton Pool Reserve.
Tip: If you do the Hamilton Pool Reserve, you need to reserve tickets ahead of time.
Also – if you’re on a couple’s trip or girls’ getaway, you may also love an afternoon at Deep Eddy’s Vodka Tasting Rooms!
If you’re into history, Lyndon B Johnson’s National Park is here!
It’s only about an hour from Austin.
The area is a super small town (about 2000 people!). You may like the Science Mill, Pedernales River Nature Park, or visiting Lyndon B. Johnson’s childhood home.
Love water sports? Lake Travis is the perfect spot for all things water!
It’s about 30 minutes from Austin.
Along with swimming, boating, and skiing, Lake Travis also hosts events year-round!
So make sure to see about any concerts or festivals happening before you make the trip!
Love Willie Nelson? Check out his hometown for a fun couples trip or girls getaway!
While you could go with family, we like Spicewood Spring’s wineries and natural swimming pool at Krause Springs. It’s a great spot for adults, as well as, boating on Lake Travis.
These short one day trips from Austin are great for a girls trip or a fun getaway for couples! Which of the road trip ideas do you like best?
Need more short one day trips from Austin? You may also like:
- Marble Falls – About 1 Hour from Austin – Great for Couples or Empty Nesters
- San Macros – About 1 Hour from Austin – Great for Couples
- Wimberley – 45 Minutes from Austin – Great for Couples or a Girls Getaway
We hope you love each one of these short one day trips from Austin! There are always more places to visit, and we’d love to know your favorite spots in the central Texas! Let us know in the comments!