It’s been years since I’ve spent ample time in my home state, so while visiting Texas for an extended spring stay, my cousin and I decided to take a spontaneous Texas Road Trip. We had a few destinations that we knew we wanted to hit and planned to round off the trip in Austin. To get the full experience and enjoy the journey along the way, we left enough room in our schedule to enjoy the scenery and several small town stops. Whether you’re Texas raised or looking for a little southern fix, here’s our Texas Road Trip Itinerary to experience the beauty of the Lone Star State.
While technically the journey began from Dallas, the first stop on our list was Waco, TX, home to Baylor University, just 1.5 hours from Dallas.
Oh my Juice: To fuel for our road trip we stopped at my cousin’s favorite local spot, Oh My Juice, and it did not disappoint! I recommend the tropical Acai bowl and green Hulk juice, but everything was so delicious I’m sure you can’t go wrong.
Magnolia Market: Acai in hand we headed over to Waco’s most popular destination, Magnolia Market. If you have time in your travels I HIGHLY recommend adding a stop to Chip & Johanna Gaines’ market at the Silos to you “must-experience” list. Everything was beyond my greatest expectations from the beautiful authentic silos at the head of the grass lawn to the adorable blossoming garden stocked with seasonal produce and it’s own seed and supply shop. Definitely, plan to spend a chunk of time admiring the farmhouse decor in the actual market itself. If you want to skip the Acai and go for something more substantial, there are plenty of food trucks on site + the famous Silos Bakery to get your food fix.
** Travel Tip: If the line to the Silos Baking Co. is EXTREMELY long like it was when we visited, head inside to the Silos Baking Co. airstream on the grounds for a quick on-the-go bite.
What started off as a road trip pit stop, ended up being one of my favorite small town stops! Known for it’s Poppy Festival (April 28-30) and filled with small town charm, Georgetown, TX was our next stop on the list.
Town Square: The town square itself is absolutely precious. If you find yourself here, take a quaint little stroll around the entire courthouse to experience the historical architecture and local restaurants and shops. Although we didn’t eat here, The Hollow was our top pick if you have time to stop and sit down to eat.
Antique Shops: In true Texas fashion we couldn’t resist taking a peek in some of the town’s local antique shops. Filled with furniture, jewelry, and an assortment of collectible objects, the antique shops were a complete hit or miss but after a few different stores, I scored the perfect picnic basket for only $16!
Georgetown Heritage Society: Just off the main street lies the most adorable historical building that resembles a church. We took a peek inside, signed the guest book registry, and rang the tower bell— it’s a quaint quick stop if you’re looking to learn a little more about Georgetown’s unique history.
Palace Theatre: Walking the entire town won’t take you too long, but if you follow the main road don’t miss the town’s musical and live performance theater.
We put off Austin for one more day to stay the night in the Fredericksburg, TX. Of course, I have the least amount of photos here because we arrived towards evening, but it’s definitely worth adding to the list if you’re looking for small-town charm in Texas’ beautiful hill country.
Drive: The drive coming towards Fredericksburg is worth a trip in itself. We saw fields and fields of wildflowers, stopped to take photos of Longhorns, and enjoyed the rolling hill country scenery while listening to our fair share of country music.
Wineries: As you approach the town of Fredericksburg you’ll pass winery after winery. We enjoyed the Waltstock & Barrel wine and music festival, but here’s a list of some additional picks and a calendar of wine/food events going on in the area.
Wild Flowers: To see wide open fields of the State Flower, Bluebonnets, and 200+ acres of additional wildflowers, add a stop at Wildseed Farms to your road trip to-do list.
First Friday Art Walk: Our timing worked out perfectly, as we made it into town just in time for Fredericksburg’s First Friday art walk. The town’s 13 galleries open their doors from 10am-8pm for locals and guests alike to enjoy the displays. Many tasting rooms in the area are open as well and have special offers during the first Friday of each month.
Fredericksburg Shopping: Fredericksburg is lined with adorable local shops. Dedicate an afternoon or morning to strolling down Main street, from the East to West district.
Hondo’s: For a true Texas experience head to Hondo’s for dinner. It’s first come first serve with an extensive casual American menu, but the outdoor setting, live band, and dancing really made this West Main Street stop worth it.
Hotels: I’m not gonna lie we struggled a bit with lodging. Because this was a spontaneous addition to our trip we didn’t book a hotel until last minute. If you want an Air BNB-esque feel, check with Fredericksburg Herb Farm Cottages, Absolute Charm Properties or Baron’s Creekside Cabins at least a few weekends in advance, as most quality places book up quickly on weekends. We booked a last minute room with 1st Class Lodging and had a horrible lodging experience so definitely don’t use them!
Enchanted Rock: The following morning we woke up bright and early to hike one of Texas’ must-visit natural sites, Enchanted Rock. The earlier you can make it here the better as cars quickly line up to fill the parking lot. But despite the wait to park, the steep Summit trail is worth it with a beautiful hill country view at the top. $9 per person. (25-minute drive from Fredericksburg)
German Bakery: On our way out of town, we grabbed a quick scone and coffee outside of Vaudeville on Main Street, but if you have time and want a sit down for a homestyle meal, The Old German Bakery is Frederickburg’s most popular local spot.
Known for having a famous population of 3, Luckenbach is Texas’s smallest town. Just 13 miles from Fredericksburg it’s worth a quick stop before heading out of town to fully experience a taste of Texas Country life.
General Store: 155 years old, the general store is full of Luckenbach memorabilia if you want a token to commemorate this small town experience.
Bar: Known for its bars and live music, grab a Shinerboch in Luckenbach, listen to a few songs and take a look inside the dance hall before heading out of town.
With our “country” fix under our belts, we set out for an hour and a half drive to our main destination, Austin. I’ve been here as a kid to tour the State Capitol and learn about Texas’ history but taking on Austin as an adult is a much different destination! I’ve rounded up our entire Austin Itinerary to cap off our Texas Road Trip, but stay tuned for a very detailed Austin Travel Guide for all the ins and outs of this beautiful capital city.
Hotel Ella: Upon making it into Austin, we headed straight to Hotel Ella to check in and freshen up! While next time we would have probably stayed at the Hotel Van Zandt to be more centrally located, we loved the charming historical boutique feel and got a great AAA rate for our room.
Irene’s: Absolutely starving we walked down West street to the local favorite and highly recommended brunch spot, Irene’s. If only this spot were in LA! The indoor/outdoor setting was everything you could want from a brunch destination and the classic comfort food was out of this world! I highly recommend ordering one of their famous toasts, the popcorn to start, a biscuit and booze combo, and the farro & mushroom salad, all to share of course. And If you’re feeling ambitious and want a sweet treat, definitely top it off with a slice of homemade strawberry cake!
Texas State Capital: Perfectly full and ready for a little tourism, we headed past the 6th street bar scene to see the inside of the beautiful Texas State Capitol on Congress Ave. Open 7am-10pm weekdays and 9am-8pm weekends.
Austin B-Cycle Bikes: Realizing the humidity had us beat, we ditched the walking and pretty much biked our way around Austin the remainder of the trip. If you’re in the area and up for a little active transportation you can rent a bike for 24 hours for just $12. Keep an eye on the clock, as you can only ride bikes for 60 minute increments or will be charged a few extra dollar fees, but the stations are docked all over town and its a great way to actively see the city.
Rainey Street: If you want to experience quintessential Austin, plan on visiting Rainey Street. Just a bit of a bike ride from the capitol, it’s lined with tons of Austin Food Trucks and several boozy brunch options.
Hotel Van Zandt Pool Deck: Actively partaking in Saturday’s leisure activities, we headed up to Hotel Van Zandt’s pool deck for a late afternoon cocktail by the pool.
South Congress Ave: After a little afternoon R&R we biked our way across the bridge down South Congress Avenue. Apparently, we were hitting all the towns at just the right time because we found ourselves right in the middle of a huge outdoor car show.
Greetings from Austin Sign: Still trekking on with excitement and adrenaline we made our way to Austin’s well know “Greeting’s from Austin” sign to snap a commemorative pic just before sunset. Located at 1720 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Bats on Congress Bridge: I’m serious when I say we biked our way all around this town! Heading back down South Congress, past all the shops, restaurants, and hydraulic-overloaded car show, we made our way back to the Congress Ave bridge to see the famous bats emerge in the evening. If you’re taking this activity seriously, I recommend showing up on the bridge early to beat pedestrian overload, or scheduling an evening boat ride to view them from the lake.
No Va on Rainey Street: After biking all the way back to our hotel, we took a second to chill out in our robes before taking the house car back to Rainey Street for dinner. My best friend who lives in Austin recommended No Va and the food was even better than we expected. We snagged a table at the patio outside– I recommend calling ahead in case to make a reservation, but definitely order the ceviche and Brussel sprouts. They’re both so so good!
Bars on Rainey Street: We kept the night going with a few drinks on Rainey Street. The Blackheart and Lucille are just a few options and there are also several bars on 6th street as another Saturday Night alternative. *Travel Tip: Austin does not have Uber or Lift, so if you need a ride home download Ride Austin as a similar transpo option.
Little Lucy’s Mini Donuts: If you need a late night bite before taking a cab or ride Austin home, Little Lucy’s food truck is right in the middle of all the action.
Goodall’s Kitchen @ Hotel Ella: Soaking in Sunday morning, we enjoyed a “balanced breakfast” on the front porch of our beautiful hotel before checking out for the day. Goodall’s also has seating inside, but if you can snag a table, the porch makes the perfect Sunday setting.
Lamar Street Shops: With our “tourist” kick behind us, we set out for Lamar street to hit a few local shops. I definitely recommend visiting the Outdoor Voices off of 6th street and By George on Lamar.
Lady Bird Lake: Clearly a fan of Austin’s B-Cycle system we took advantage and took them out again for a long leisure Sunday stroll around the entire Lady Bird Lake. Had we had more time (and energy) we would have rented paddle boats and gone out on the lake.
June’s All Day: Starving again from our active morning, we settled on June’s All Day for a delicious brunch. If the decor is any indication, it was the perfect spot on South Congress to eat. My top recommendation is the breakfast chalupa.
South Congress Shops: After refueling, we set out to explore a few more shops along South Congress. There’s a lot to see along this busy, vibrant street but my favorites stops were By George (again!), The Gypsy Wagon and Cove Boutique.
Whole Foods Austin: No road trip would be complete without a few on the road snacks! We stopped at the mother of all Whole Foods on Lamar Street in Austin and stocked up on water bottles and chocolate covered almonds before hitting the road and heading back out of town!
If you haven’t already, I hope you get the chance to explore your way through Texas and let me know if you do! There’s a lot to see and even more to do, one of the many reasons why I love my home state so much!