Austin Explorations: Your Ultimate Handbook for a Texan Adventure

Discover Austin

Traveling to Austin is a vibrant and immersive experience that captures the essence of Texas’ eclectic culture. As you arrive in the Live Music Capital of the World, the soulful tunes of live music spill onto the streets, welcoming you to a city that pulses with creativity. Austin’s skyline, adorned with the iconic State Capitol and the University of Texas Tower, sets the stage for a blend of urban sophistication and laid-back charm. The city’s commitment to “Keeping Austin Weird” is evident in its unique neighborhoods, from the trendy SoCo district with its vintage shops and food trucks to the upscale boutiques and tech hubs in the Domain. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the scenic Barton Creek Greenbelt, paddleboard on Lady Bird Lake, or witness the enchanting emergence of bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge.

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Three Fun Facts about Austin

01

Live Music Capital of the World

Austin is often referred to as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” The city hosts numerous live music venues, festivals, and events, making it a haven for music lovers.

02

Bat City

The Congress Avenue Bridge is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. Over 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats roost under the bridge from March to November, creating a spectacular nightly emergence.

03

Keep Austin Weird

“Keep Austin Weird” is a slogan adopted by the city to celebrate its unique and eclectic culture. The phrase encourages supporting local businesses and maintaining the city’s quirky charm.

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Must See Attractions

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Texas State Capitol

Attraction

As grand as Texas itself, this historic building boasts a stunning dome that’s taller than the U.S. Capitol’s. Take a stroll through its vast grounds and embrace the architectural marvel.

Lady Bird Lake

Nature & parks

For the water enthusiast in you, paddle along Lady Bird Lake. Don’t forget to try the hike-and-bike trail for some fitness with a view.

Zilker Metropolitan Park

Nature & parks

Fancy a picnic? This park is a green oasis perfect for a family outing. Slip off your shoes and feel the grass under your feet!

The Domain

Shopping

Shop ‘til you drop! This upscale area offers plenty of retail therapy.

Circuit of the Americas

Attraction

Craving some speed? Visit the home of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.

McKinney Falls State Park

Nature & parks

Nature’s calling! Just a short drive and you’re amidst serene waterfalls and hiking trails.

Lakes Near Austin

So you’re planning a vacation to Austin and crave some lakeside vibes, right? Well, you’re in for a treat with lakes like Lake Austin and Lake Travis just a stone’s throw away! Let’s dive right in, shall we? Don’t forget to pack your swim gear and a camera—’cause you’ll want to capture every splash and sunset! Alright, now that you’ve got the download on the lakes to lounge by, which one will you hit up first?

Lake Austin

12611 Riverbend Road Austin, Texas, 78732

This isn’t your everyday lake; it’s a reservoir on the mighty Colorado River. It’s long and narrow, stretching out like a river itself. You could rent a lake house here—even via Lake—for that home-away-from-home feeling (plus a dash of luxe with hot tubs and scenic views to boot). Imagine waking up with the sun, coffee in hand, gazing over the tranquil waters. Cool, right?

Distance from Austin: 13 miles
Activities: Boating, fishing, waterparks

Lake Travis

4370 Mansfield Dam Park Rd., Austin, Texas 78732

If you’re after ‘big’ and ‘boisterous’, Lake Travis won’t disappoint. It’s bigger than Lake Austin and just as popular, boasting a bounty of vacation rentals worth scoping out. Looking for something to post on your Instagram? The Oasis on Lake Travis is your go-to for a legendary sunset snap. This iconic spot serves up panoramic lake views with a side of tasty eats.

Distance from Austin: 20 miles
Activities: Boating, fishing, kayaking, swimming

Lake Buchanan

4200 Smith School Rd. Austin, Texas 78744

Located northwest of Austin, Lake Buchanan is the second-largest of the Highland Lakes chain. It’s known for its clear waters and is a great destination for boating, fishing, and camping.

Distance from Austin: 77 miles
Activities:
Boating, fishing, swimming, jet-skiing

Secret Fishing Destinations Near Austin, Texas

Have you been dreaming of a fishing getaway near Austin? Look no further, as we’ve got the inside scoop on the best spots for you to cast a line and relax by the water. Are you ready to bait your hook and enjoy some tranquil time by the water? These spots near Austin are sure to make your vacation rental stay a memorable one. So, why wait? Grab your gear, and let’s fish!

Lake Austin

12611 Riverbend Road Austin, Texas, 78732

Just a stone’s throw from the city hustle, Lake Austin is a premier destination for bass fishing. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just getting started, this lake offers a serene setting and the excitement of catching a big one.

Fishing: Dock, shoreline, kayak
Species: Bass, catfish, carp, gar, sunfish
Noteworthy: Night fishing is a hit here!

Lake Travis

4370 Mansfield Dam Park Rd., Austin, Texas 78732

Your fishing adventure isn’t complete without visiting Lake Travis. The clear waters make for a beautiful day on the boat or the shore, reeling in various fish.

Fishing: Boating, kayak, shoreline
Species: Sunfish, catfish, Guadalupe bass
Tip: Don’t forget your sunscreen!

Canyon Lake

752 Canyon Park Rd, Canyon Lake, Texas

About an hour’s drive from Austin, this spot is famed for its gorgeous turquoise waters. The fishing here can be quite rewarding, with trout stocking in the winter adding to its allure.

Fishing: Kayak, shoreline, boating
Species: Rainbow trout, largemouth bass
Extra: Boat rentals available to enhance your fishing experience

Top Hiking Trails Within 1 Hour of Austin

So you’re in Austin, and the great outdoors is calling your name, isn’t it? Lucky for you, incredible hiking trails are just a stone’s throw away! Let’s lace up those boots and explore some of the best trails in the vicinity of this vibrant city. Remember, whether you’re looking for an intense workout or a leisurely walk, these trails deliver scenery, accessibility, and that Austin charm. Don’t forget your water bottle, and happy hiking!

Onion Creek and Homestead Trail Loop

5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, Texas 78744

Just a hop, skip, and a jump from downtown, McKinney Falls is your go-to for a nature escape. With trails that range from easy to moderate, you’ll find the perfect path regardless of your hiking level. Look forward to limestone pools and Onion Creek’s soothing sounds. Just remember, pets are welcome but keep them leashed!

Distance: 6 miles
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 118 m
Time to Complete: 2.5 hours

Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls Via Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail

Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail, Austin, Texas 78746

This beloved hiking trail offers outdoor enthusiasts a delightful escape into the heart of nature, weaving through limestone cliffs, lush greenery, and the soothing sounds of Barton Creek. Twin Falls, the first captivating destination along the trail, unveils a picturesque waterfall cascading into a serene pool, inviting visitors to cool off and revel in the tranquility of the surroundings. Characterized by its sculpted rock formations and a gentle cascade, Sculpture Falls provides a serene backdrop for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Distance: 3.2 miles
Type: Out & back
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 38 m
Time to Complete: 1 hour

River Place Canyon Trail

Jeranos, 4998 River Pl Blvd, Austin, Texas 78730

This trail, renowned for its challenging yet rewarding terrain, winds through the River Place neighborhood, providing hikers with breathtaking views of the Texas Hill Country. As adventurers traverse the undulating path, they are treated to expansive vistas, lush vegetation, and the soothing sounds of flowing water from the meandering creek that accompanies the trail. One of the highlights of the River Place Canyon Trail is the series of cascading waterfalls, adding a touch of natural beauty and tranquility to the hiking experience.

Distance: 5.4 miles
Type: Out & back
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 249 m
Time to Complete: 2 hours

Best Golf Courses Near Austin

Ever swung a club in the heart of Texas? Austin’s got a fairway for every golfer, whether you’re the next big thing or just looking to hit a few balls in good company. Remember, golf in Austin is much more than a game. It’s a way to soak in that Texas sun, make memories, and maybe, just maybe, improve your handicap. Grab your clubs and see what the buzz is all about!

Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa

8212 Barton Club Dr, Austin, Texas 78735

Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa takes the cake with four distinct 18 hole courses. Just 25 minutes from downtown Austin, it’s a slice of golfer’s heaven. Championship layouts designed by some of the greats like Ben Crenshaw? Check. Make sure your game is up to par—Barton Creek is as challenging as it is beautiful.

Holes: 18
Designer: Ben Crenshaw

Visit their website for more information

Horseshoe Bay Resort

200 Hi Cir N, Horseshoe Bay, Texas 78657

Next up, have you heard of Horseshoe Bay Resort? It’s a must for anyone serious about their swing. An hour’s drive from Austin, this resort presents breathtaking Hill Country views alongside its memorable courses. Cap Rock Clubhouse invites you to relax after a long day on the green. Don’t forget to check out their members-only events if you’re into exclusivity.

Holes: 18
Designer: Robert Trent Jones, Sr.

Visit their website for more information

Wolfdancer Golf Club at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines

575 Hyatt Lost Pines Rd, Cedar Creek, Texas 78612

Nestled amidst the rustic beauty of the Texas countryside, Wolfdancer Golf Club at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa stands as a premier golfing destination near Austin. This 18 hole championship course seamlessly integrates into the rolling hills, dense forests, and the scenic banks of the Colorado River. Golfers at Wolfdancer experience a harmonious blend of challenging play and serene natural surroundings, with strategic bunkering, water features, and undulating fairways providing a test of skill for players of all levels.

Holes: 18
Designer: Arthur Hills

Visit their website for more information

Tips on Renting a Vacation Property in Austin

Transportation Considerations

Consider the proximity of your vacation rental to public transportation or the attractions you plan to visit. If renting a car, inquire about parking options.

Read Reviews

Utilize online platforms to read reviews from previous renters. Insights from others can provide valuable information about the property’s condition, amenities, and the responsiveness of the property owner or management.

Define Your Budget

Determine your budget for accommodation, keeping in mind additional costs like cleaning fees and taxes. This will help narrow down your options and avoid any financial surprises.

Book in Advance

Austin is a popular destination, especially during events like festivals and major conferences. Secure your preferred vacation property by booking well in advance to ensure availability and potentially benefit from early booking discounts.

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Jet Skiing

Heading to Austin for a vacation, eh? Let’s snag you the perfect getaway pad! Austin’s packed with options – from chic condos with city views to cozy cottages nestled (oops, let’s avoid that word) in the heart of Bouldin Creek.

Location, Location, Location

Urban Explorer? Find a downtown loft or condo. They’re close to the buzz and walkable spots.
Nature Lover? A guesthouse by Lake Travis could be your peaceful haven.

Amenities You’ll Love

Austin lives for comfort and so should your rental.

Essential: WiFi and air conditioning.
Bonus points for: A heated pool, on-site gym, or a spacious kitchen to whip up some Texas-size meals.
Got pets? Pet-friendly spots are plentiful but always check the details.

Getting Around

Parking: Free parking? Big win! Make sure your rental has a spot for your ride.
Public Transit: No car? Check rentals close to bus routes or rent a bike.

The Home-y Feel

You’re looking for a home away from home, right? Single-family homes offer that private slice of Austin, often with yards and multiple bedrooms.

Rental Types

Solo or Duo Retreat? A studio with a queen bed might do.
Family or Group? Consider a vacation home rental with ample space to spread out.

Prep Work Pays Off

Always scrutinize those reviews. Past guests dish out the nitty-gritty, from the softness of the bed to the strength of the shower pressure. And a well-put-together house manual? It’s like a cheat sheet to living like a local.

Booking Time

Sites like Lake, Airbnb, and Vrbo® are bursting with options. Just keep an eye out for those high-demand dates – book early to avoid disappointment.

There you go! With these tips, your Austin adventure’s looking better already. Happy hunting!

Frequently Asked Questions about Austin

Certainly, no need to break the bank for a comfortable stay. Affordable rentals in Austin provide amenities like WiFi, convenient locations, and cozy atmospheres—ensuring a budget-friendly trip without sacrificing comfort.

Your pets deserve a vacation too! Austin is known for its pet-friendly attitude, with many vacation rentals ready to welcome your entire family. Look for listings that specify pet accommodations to ensure a hassle-free stay.

Direct owner rentals can often provide a more personal experience. Resources like Lake, Airbnb and Rent By Owner™ can connect you to Austin homes where you can liaise directly with the owner for that local feel.

Yes, your oasis awaits! Many Austin vacation rentals feature private pools—ideal for cooling off on a sizzling Texas day. Some properties even boast waterfall pools for that special touch of paradise.

Absolutely! Austin offers rentals that are perfect for extended stays, with all the comforts of home. Think spacious living areas, fully-equipped kitchens, and personal touches that embody a true Austin vibe.

Imagine returning from a day exploring Austin to a vacation rental overflowing with indulgences. Look for features like curated artwork, high-end appliances, plush furnishings, and perhaps a saltwater pool for that added touch of luxury highlighted by destinations like The Retreat.

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