Nothing beats a family road trip in the summer. Visiting the country’s most popular cities and landmarks is a valuable experience for young kids and teenagers. Plus, the adventure creates fond memories for the whole family.
Austin, Texas, is becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Austin is home to a diverse food scene, historic sites, and outdoor adventures. Since Austin is centrally located in Texas, you can use it as a hub and plan day trips to surrounding areas. Offering the perfect combination of southern charm and big-city life, Austin is a road trip destination that has something for everyone in your family to enjoy.
No matter what type of adventure your family is craving, here are eight Austin hotspots that you can visit by car.
Like most of the south, Austin is hot and humid in the summer. Be sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen when planning for an outdoor excursion at one of these Austin hotspots.
Lady Bird Lake and Zilker Metropolitan Park
Austin is located along the Colorado River, so there is no shortage of water attractions near the city. Lady Bird Lake is a reservoir on the river in the middle of downtown Austin. Recreation opportunities include paddleboarding, canoeing, or just walking on the boardwalk.
Right off of Lady Bird Lake, your family can find Zilker Metropolitan Park. The park is an excellent location for an afternoon picnic. It is also home to a frisbee golf course, playground, and spring water pool.
It is easy to find a place to leave the car for your day in the park; Austin has plenty of affordable parking garages and street meters throughout downtown.
Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge Bats
Home to North America’s largest urban bat colony, the Congress Avenue Bridge is a popular stop in Austin. During the summer, tourists and locals surround the bridge to watch the 1.5 million bats fly out at sunset. The bats’ exit can take 45 minutes, so locals recommend bringing a blanket and chairs and enjoying the evening.
The bridge crosses over Lady Bird Lake, so it is easily accessible from downtown Austin. The Austin American-Statesman offers paid parking close to the bridge, so you can ditch the car for the night and enjoy the urban outdoors.
McKinney Falls State Park
Just a short 20-minute drive from downtown Austin, McKinney Falls State Park offers hiking trails, fishing locations, and campsites. An old homestead is also on the park grounds for your family to explore. The park can get busy during the summer, so the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recommends families make reservations before their visit. This is one of the best Austin hotspots if you have a large family because there is plenty of room for everyone!
History and Culture
Austin is full of rich history and vibrant culture. Taking the time to check out some of the Austin hotspots below will undoubtedly lead to an informative experience for your entire family.
The Texas State Capitol
The State Capitol was built in 1888; it is the sixth-tallest state capitol building and stands 308 feet tall. It is a must-see tourist attraction, as many historical events occurred in and around the building. Free guided and self-paced tours of the building offer your family a chance to learn about the history of Austin and the state of Texas. Parking while visiting the State Capitol is easy—the garage is located two blocks away from the grounds. Plus, the first two hours in the San Jacinto Street Garage are free.
The Mexic-Art Museum provides visitors with a unique cultural experience. The museum is dedicated to preserving and presenting traditional and contemporary art by Mexican and Latin American artists. The Mexic-Art Museum is a great excursion to immerse your family in some of Austin’s culture. It is open every day of the week, so you can easily fit it into your vacation plan. The museum is located in downtown Austin, and parking meters are available on the surrounding streets.
Austin is the world’s live music capital, so encountering live performances during your visit is inevitable. Central Market on North Lamar Boulevard hosts live music events throughout the year. With an outdoor patio and cafe, Central Market is a great place for the family to relax for the evening after exploring a few of the best Austin hotspots in the city.
You can easily reach other Texas cities like San Antonio, Waco, Houston, and Dallas from Austin by car. Even Forth Worth isn’t so far away that it’s out of the question. If you’re looking to avoid crowds, visit one of these outdoor Austin hotspots further from the Austin city limit.
Canyon Lake is an hour’s drive from downtown Austin and the perfect destination to enjoy the great outdoors. Your family can see wildlife like deer and foxes throughout the lake area. There is no shortage of water sports and outdoor recreation areas. Additionally, plenty of lodging options are available if your family wants to stay at Canyon Lake overnight.
Visiting the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels is a great way to cool off during Austin’s hot summer months. With 51 water attractions throughout the outdoor facility, the waterpark has something that everyone in the family can enjoy. It is just a 45-minute drive from Austin, so you can pack up the family in the morning and be back in the city by nightfall.
With so many hotspots to visit, it is easy to rack up miles when road tripping around Austin. It is a good idea to be prepared for the worst-case scenario while on a road trip, especially when traveling long distances. You should have a plan in case you have car problems or run out of gas. Also, be sure to have your insurance information available in case you get into a collision.
If you do get into an accident, you might wonder, Do car accident attorneys work for free? While exploring Austin, you can rest assured knowing that some local law firms offer free consultations. Knowing this option is available, you can enjoy Austin’s sites and spending time with your family.
If you are in the mood for a roadtrip, Austin Texas is a great travel destinations because there are so many Austin hotspots that are great for the whole family to enjoy! Have fun!!!