The capital city of Texas, Austin is popular in the world for its eclectic live-music scene centered around country, blues, and rock. Its many parks and lakes are popular for hiking, biking, swimming, and boating. Despite being one of the fastest growing cities in North America, Austin allows ample space to connect with nature.
If you are vacationing in Austin and would like to explore its surroundings over a weekend, we have put together a list of the top 7 weekend getaways that you can enjoy with your friends and family.
Big Bend National Park
Considered one of the most fascinating attractions in Texas, Big Bend National Park offers an interesting combination of several natural features such as mountains, rivers, and deserts. Adventure enthusiasts can hike up and down the legendary 1.7-mile Santa Elena Canyon and then soak in the natural hot springs to soothe the sore muscles. And, if this is not enough, you could hop on a boat to Mexico for lunch.
Best Time to Visit: The seasons of spring and fall are the best time to visit the national park as the temperature is perfect for hiking as well as camping under the stars.
How to Reach: The fastest and the most convenient way to get to the National Park from Austin is by driving. A drive between the two locations takes slightly over eight hours and costs between $50 to $75 in fuel.
Caverns of Sonora
Recognized in the world as one of the most gorgeous show caves ever, the Caverns of Sonora is an award-winning, highly proclaimed attraction whose beauty can’t be exaggerated, even by Texans. Marking halfway between San Antonio and Big Bend National Park, the Caverns offer thousands of acres of limestone caves. Featuring a stunning array of calcite crystal formations, especially helictites, Caverns of Sonora is a National Natural Landmark. Some of the most popular sites to see here are the Cave Bacon and the Snake Pit.
Best Time to Visit: The Caves can be visited throughout the year as the weather remains constant no matter when you visit.
How to Reach: A drive between the two locations takes just around four hours. However, you could also take a bus to Junction via San Antonio and drive to the caves from there. This option takes around six hours and costs between $30 to $50.
Bald cypress trees covered with Spanish moss loom over the maze of bayous, sloughs, and ponds at Caddo Lake. At Caddo Lake State Park, you can fish, paddle, hike, picnic, camp, or stay in a cabin, look for a geocache, and go boating. Spread across 26,810-acre, Caddo Lake harbors more than 70 species of fish and doesn’t even require you to have a fishing license to fish here. You can also rent a canoe or a kayak to explore the twists and turns of the lake.
Best Time to Visit: High season at Caddo Lake is considered to the months from March to November, but you are best off coming at the beginning or end of those dates for the mildest weather.
How to Reach: Caddo Lake is a six hour drive from Austin. Alternatively, you can take a train to Marshall and drive to the Lake from here. The latter would take about 10 hours and $82 to $117.
If you are looking for culture, spectacular dining, shopping, amazing attractions, and fun experiences, you’ll have no dearth of things to do in Houston. The fourth-largest city in the United States, Houston is home to the famous Space Center Houston, celebrated chefs, stimulating museums, and picturesque green spaces, complete with a bayou running through the heart of the city. Depending on your travel dates, you could even be able to enjoy Houston’s signature event, the Livestock Show and Rodeo. Get the list of weekend destination from Houston.
Best Time to Visit: The months between February and April and the fall months of September to November are considered to be the best times to visit Houston. The weather is pleasant during these months and there are plenty of festivals to enjoy.
How to Reach: A direct bus from Austin to Houston takes approximately three hours and costs between $13 to $100 in bus fare.
New Orleans is one of America’s most unique cities, with a vibe you simply can’t resist. Globally recognized for its intoxicating jazz music, Cajun cuisine, and outrageous Mardi Gras celebrations, the city is a melting pot of cultures with a multiplicity that can be seen in every nook and corner. Most of the action in the city is found around the French Quarter, with the infamous Bourbon Street as its beating heart. Hop on a historic streetcar to explore the Garden District.
Best Time to Visit: The most recommended time to visit New Orleans is between February to May when the weather is comfortably pleasant, and the celebrations are in full swing. If you’re not interested in Mardi Gras, December or January are quieter and cheaper.
How to Reach: There are direct flights between the two destinations that take around four hours and cost $73 to $216. On the other hand, you can also take a bus to New Orleans via Houston.
The historic downtown of Galveston, along with its stunning beaches, is one of the most favorable weekend destinations for visitors. The town is home to astonishing beaches known for their turquoise waters such as Stewart Beach. If you prefer spending time amidst nature, enjoy kayaking through the bayou and bird watching at Galveston Island State Park. History lovers should miss the opportunity to stroll along the Strand Historic District which is dotted with Victorian-era buildings, most of which survived the Great Storm of 1900.
Best Time to Visit: The most favorable time to visit Galveston Island is either between October to November or March to May.
How to Reach: The most convenient way to get here from Austin is to drive. Expect to spend around four hours on the road and $21 to $31 on fuel.
An upcoming tourist destination, Corpus Christi is now one of the most famous spots for visiting seeking sometime in the sun. The landscape here is filled with miles and miles of sandy beaches, diverse flora and fauna, and so much more. Some of the most famous attractions to enjoy here include the Padres Island National Seashore which is known as the world’s longest undeveloped barrier island, the WWII famed gigantic aircraft carrier popularly known as The Blue Ghost, and the Texas State Aquarium that has displays of the rich marine life found in the Gulf of Mexico.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Corpus Christi is between September and October when the tourists have left and the temperatures are a bit more pleasant than the scorching summer season.
How to Reach: There are buses from Austin to San Antonio from where you can change over for Corpus Christi. The bus journey takes roughly under six hours and costs between $20 to $70. If you are not on a budget, you can also take a direct flight to the town for $200 to $400.