Attractions Nearby Austin, Day Trips and Excursions
(Austin, Texas - TX, USA)
Austin has some incredibly beautiful surroundings, due to the creation of several lakes through the damming of the Texas Colorado River. The nearby Texas Hill Country to the west of the city contains many quaint towns and much history, while the lakes provide ample opportunities for water-based recreational activities.
Much closer to Austin city centre are the popular Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary and the much lauded Jourdan Bachman Pioneer Farms Living History Park, and cosmopolitan San Antonio
is also within reach via the convenient I-35.
Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary
Address: 10808 Rawhide Trail, Austin, Texas TX, 78736, USA
Tel: +1 512 288 1490
Located to the southwest of downtown, Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary is smaller than its other Texan counterparts yet it is just as enticing. Visitors are able to get right up close to the animals, many of which were mistreated or illegally imported prior to being adopted by the zoo and attractions include pot-bellied pigs, marmosets and tigers. The miniature train tours the zoo and allows you to see more of the animals as well as some beautiful scenery.
Open hours: February to October, daily - 09:30 to 18:00; November to January - daily - 09:30 to 17:30
Admission: charge, discount for seniors, students and children, children two years old and under are free
The chain of lakes to the northeast of Austin was created during the 1950s to 1970s by the building of six dams on the Texas Colorado River to curb flooding in the region. Today the lakes also provide excellent opportunities for recreation and the nearest to town, Town Lake, has a shoreline park, the Fiesta Gardens, which offer good biking and hiking. Farther down the river is Lake Austin, with the well-equipped Emma Long Metropolitan Park which abuts the city, while Lake Travis, Lake Lyndon Baines Johnson and Lake Buchanan stretch out into the country and form a massive aquatic habitat.
Open hours: daily
Jourdan Bachman Pioneer Farms Living History Park
Address: 10621 Pioneer Farms Drive, Austin, Texas TX, 78754, USA
Tel: +1 512 837 1215
Jourdan Bachman Pioneer Farms Living History Park gives an insight into life in 19th-century Texas, with its recreation of a typical rural American scene. Three fictional families have been formed here to provide visitors with an authentic experience including wealthy cotton farmers, freed slaves turned tenant farmers and Appalachian homesteaders. The best time to visit for families with kids is on a Sunday afternoon when children can have the chance to milk a cow or make sausages, among other hands-on activities.
Open hours: Friday to Sunday - 10:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discount for children, children two years old and under are free
San Antonio is easily reachable from Austin via I-35 and although it is one of the largest cities in Texas, it retains its small town feel; the downtown area and main attractions can be explored in a day. The city of five original Spanish Colonial missions has a distinct Hispanic and cosmopolitan air owing to the influences of the German, Mexican, Native American and Deep South peoples and is a friendly city. The Alamo and a riverboat tour are highly recommended.
Texas Hill Country
Lying to the west and southwest of Austin is the Texas Hill Country, where the great outdoors is the main highlight with plentiful rock climbing and hiking opportunities, and quaint towns offer specialist shopping and a change from the big city bustle. Towns and attractions worth seeing in this lofty region include Fredericksburg, well-known for its history and collection of antique shops; Kerrville, south of Fredericksburg and boasting the Cowboy Artists of America Museum; and nearby Bandera, also worth a look.