Austin is much more than the charm of live music, rich history and fusion-inspired restaurants. This Live Music Capital of the World is also the capital city of Texas and gateway to Texas Hill Country.
The Texas Hill Country is where you will find historic towns, dozens of vineyards and authentic Texas cuisine. Take Travelmath’s 5 best road trips from Austin and discover why Austin is an extraordinary destination and centerpiece of Texas Hill Country’s history, culture and cuisine.
Take I-35 north towards Waco and Salado is just 51 miles away. Two must visit places in Salado are Robertson’s Hams & The Choppin’ Block and Johnny’s Steak & Bar-be-Que.
Get authentic real beef jerky, real turkey jerky and Robertson’s smoked sausages. Robertson’s is home of old-fashioned hickory smoked sugar-cured hams and real beef jerky for 50 years.
Johnny’s Steak is the place for genuine mesquite grilled steaks and Texas Pit BBQ Ribs. A 12-oz Ribeye is $18.75 and pork rib plate is $10.95. Or take advantage of Johnny’s daily specials. For example, Saturday special of mesquite grilled sirloin for two including choice of potato and green salad is just $29.95.
Two: Longhorn Cavern State Park
Longhorn Cavern State Park is 68 miles from Austin. The Longhorn Cavern has a rich natural history of the United States. Records show that the Comanche Indians were the first group of people living in the cavern.
Daily one and a half hour guided tours are available from 10 am to 4 pm. The tour will take you to the Indian Council Room, the mystery rock known as Queen’s Watch Dog, calcite crystals and much more.
The cavern also conducts a two and a half hour photography tour (by reservation only) where you will see more than the usual sites shown during the regular tour. On this tour your guide will take you to Crystal City, Queen’s Throne, Hall of Marble, Eagle’s Wing and a chance to photograph the bats in the cavern.
Information: Longhorn Cavern State Park
Three: Cedar Creek
Stop by for lunch at Benny’s Texas Bar-B-Que located at 1688 State Hwy 71W, along the same road as Berdoll Pecan Farm. Benny’s is not open on Mondays and is closed by 5 pm on Sundays.
Four: Texas Hill Country Wineries
According to Texas Wine Trail, the Texas Hill Country Wineries consists of 42 unique and visually stunning wineries scattered from Austin to Fredericksburg and Lampasas to New Braunfels. Texas is also the fifth biggest wine producing state in America.
Check out the 100% Texas grown and hand crafted wines at Perissos located 55 miles from Austin. Perissos farm is near the town of Burnet in Hoover’s Valley. It is the only vineyard in Texas Hill Country that grows their grapes in decomposed granite soils.
Tasting rooms are open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5 pm.
For a list of wineries please check out Texas Wine Trail website.
Drive 80 miles west from Austin to the city of Fredericksburg. The city is known for its scenic drives, vineyards and farmers market.
If you are visiting during the Wildflower Season from March to May, Fredericksburg Texas Online recommends taking the 13-mile Willow City Loop. Take 16N (Llano Street in Fredericksburg, turn right on RR1323, continue 2.79 miles to Willow City, turn left onto Willow City Loop and start your 13-mile journey through the Texas Hill Country. The road will reconnect with 16 and you turn right back to Fredericksburg.
You will drive through rolling hills and valleys filled with Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Phlox, Coreopsis, Mexican Poppies, Sunflowers, Firewheels, yellow and white daisies, Winecups, Horsemint and Verbena.
The area also offers stunning views of canyons, streams and landscape filled with mesquite, pecan and live oak trees. Read more here.