Weekend Getaway in Austin
When you’re looking for a fun place that has lots to do indoors and out, I think Austin comes close to the top of that chart. This city may not be the largest in Texas, but it is full of life and music. Even when you first get off the plane, you hear the live bands they have playing in the airport and see the guitar statues they have at baggage claim.
Outdoor fun is abundant here. The city is pedestrian friendly, although it’s pretty spread out so renting a car is definitely beneficial. If you would like to see some less than indigenous wildlife, head out to Mayfield Park and take a look at the peacocks! This is not some zoo where you gaze from afar. There are a couple dozen peacocks that live there and you may wander through and observe them on the grounds, strolling by or hanging out in the trees. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll come across one looking to strut his stuff and show off his tail feathers! There are a lot of great places to hike outdoors as well with amazing views. Take some time and do your research before you go. Trip Advisor and Yelp gives tons of great tips on the best trails and parks. Don’t forget Barton Springs Pool! This is a natural spring they have made into an outdoor pool that is open to the public. You would never expect to find something like this near downtown and will never know you’re near downtown once you’re there!
Are you an animal lover? Travel with your pet? Take the leash off Fido and head over to Red Bud Isle. This is a small island where you can stroll, fish, or launch a kayak into the Colorado River (this is not the same one that runs through the Grand Canyon). And yes, I said OFF-leash! The entire island is an off leash park where dogs can run and bark and play with each other. The parking lot is small and there is some street parking across the way. Keep your dog on the leash until you get past the parking lot to keep him safe.
Anyone enjoy the nighttime creatures as well? Take a bat tour! The Mexican bats migrate to Austin every spring and stay through the summer. The females give birth to their pups (yes, that’s what they’re called) and live under one of the bridges downtown. Take a river tour so you can see them fly about at sunset. At their high point there are approximately 1.5 million of them! Don’t worry, they don’t come near you. I am convinced they are why this city with so much water is mosquito-free, so I welcome their arrival.
Any chance that you’re a foodie? Austin has some of the best grub around! They have the requisite Texas barbecue, but what is not more commonly known is their big food truck scene! They line a number of the streets on different days and there are even lots where some are stationed permanently. And don’t forget the live music scene. There are tons of great live music spots with jazz and blues on a nightly basis.
You want to make sure you stay close to town because Texas is nothing if not long stretches of highway between cities. Otherwise, you’ll be driving quite a bit. It is well worth it, though, and a great way to spend a long weekend.