They say everything is bigger in Texas! Combined with the gorgeous skies, rolling hills, and cowboy hats; you can add adventures to that list too! Because these are no doubt as big and fun as they come! My visits to the lone star state are usually uneventful, but this one we made sure to make it extra special. This trip was certainly overflowing with adventurous amazing things to do in Austin, Texas!
Hiking in Austin with Waterfalls
We usually make a trip to Austin at least once a year to visit relatives; but this time we added a bit more exciting activity to our visit. Our escapades include exploring a new trail in Colorado Bend State Park, hiking in Austin, and kayaking at Lady Bird Lake (Lake Austin), and much more! Here is my round up of amazing things to do in Austin that you might want to add to your next trip!
Hiking Gorman Trail at Colorado Bend State Park
The best hiking in Austin doesn’t have to be difficult to find. We decide to head out to Hill Country and look to explore out in the Bend, Texas area. This imperfect trail is full of nature, flowers, and wildlife that any outdoor lover would appreciate. There are several loose rocks and cactus along this path so you must be careful.
Gorman Trail is a beautiful route that leads you down to amazing cascading waterfalls. These falls rise approximately 65 feet above the river and are a one of a kind geological formation that is alive and always changing.
The mineral rich spring water works to deposit layers of calcite which slowly then forms travertine. Meanwhile, it is also a very fragile Ecosystem and can be destroyed by simply walking on the soft rock, which is why these falls are blocked off to keep people from trampling over it.
Rated as moderate trail and is a 2.6 mile round trip distance. There is a significant steep drop to get to the falls area; a metal railing is connected to the rock steps as you descend to the lower part of the trail.
More Hiking Trails Near Austin
You will also find several other trails in the area that either intersect or lead to other enjoining trails. Go out and explore! These include the following:
- Name Distance
- Gorman Spring Trail .5 mi
- Tinaja Trail 2.8 mi
- Tie Slide Trail 2.2 mi
- Lively Loop 4.9 mi
- Windmill Trail 1.6 mi
- Cedar Chopper Loop 2.3 mi
- Dogleg Canyon Trail 1.3 mi
- River Trail 3.4 mi
- Lemons Ridge Pass 4.9 mi
- Spicewood Canyon Trail 3 mi
Camping and backpacking are also available in designated areas throughout the park. If you are looking to explore more of Texas parks, visit texasstateparks.org.
Hiking Trails Downtown Austin | Lake Austin (Lady Bird Lake)
It is not surprising that the trail at Lake Austin receives 4.4 million visits a year as hikers trek through its scenic green lush parks and peaceful shoreline. On the path you will also see an impressive city skyline, neighborhoods, ball fields, and cultural art.
This trail has it all. The choice to take a 2-mile stroll or a 10-mile excursion through urban Austin is all up to you!
Of course you may encounter a few turtles, squirrels, and bats along the way. Interestingly, Austin is home to a massive bat colony population. It is the largest urban Mexican free tail colony where the bats hide in the cracks and crevices under the Congress Avenue Bridge. They can emerge in massive groves during the spring and summer every night about 30 minutes after sundown. Check out more information at AustinBats.org.
Kayaking Lake Austin
Although I prefer a quiet, peaceful and serene setting with no people; we decided to get in the middle of it all and kayak at Lake Austin on a gorgeous late afternoon. The scene is exciting with so many kayaks, paddle boards, boats, and rough waves we crawled into our kayaks and joined in.
If you are looking for fun and amazing things to do in Austin, this is perfect! We rented our kayaks from the Texas Rowing Center located along the trail and the banks of the lake just south of the MoPac Expressway Bridge.
Covert Park at Mount Bonnell
My husband grew up in Austin and he tells me that Mount Bonnell was a place where kids in high school would go and hang out, make out, and enjoy the views. This historical park is one of Austin’s oldest tourist attractions and it is the highest point within Austin city limits. It played a significant role in the history of the military defense of Austin during 1839.
A staircase of approximately 106 steps to climb an elevation of 775 feet above sea level will take you to a view of the city skyline and Lake Austin. Mount Bonnell I would say is more of a tourist spot versus a hiking trail. It is free to park and no fee to visit here. Mount Bonnell is a great place to watch the sunset too! Location: 3800 Mount Bonnell Road, Austin, Texas 78731
Baseball at Dell Diamond
The triple A-minor league baseball team affiliate for the Houston Astros; the Round Rock Express, is the perfect thing to do with the family in the Austin area. Round Rock is the location of Dell Diamond ball field and seeing games here are just about as thrilling as they come. We enjoyed seeing the fireworks the night we were visiting this stadium to watch some baseball.
University of Texas
As an alumnus of UT, my hubby couldn’t resist returning to the school for a trip down memory lane. He gave me a private tour to some of his former classrooms and study areas of which he spent numerous hours of hard work and study time. The library was his favorite place to study here. There are several pieces of street art located throughout the campus of which I found very interesting.
In the Business School, the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) Post. 5 was purchased and preserved in the lower level of the building. The grounds surrounding parts of the campus are beautiful and inviting. I think visiting UT is a great way to spend the afternoon in Austin.
Dining Delights In Austin
You can’t visit Austin without tempting your taste buds at an enjoyable evening of delicious dining. Our days in Austin were full of fun adventure so we were hungry every day for something tasty and delectable. Here are a few eatery options of what Austin has to offer.
Matt’s El Rancho
Serving the area since 1952, Matt’s El Rancho has a parking lot plum full on a Monday evening as we arrive ready to indulge our palates. The Martinez family brings the highest quality of ingredients and top-notch service to the name. Matt Martinez is known as “The King of Mexican” The restaurant has had its share of politicians and celebrity visitors as well, including Dennis Quaid, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and many more.
A dining experience like no other, P. Terry’s. offers a more quality rich ingredient menu with impeccable service with a flare for the original burger joints from the 50s and 60s. The décor is amazing and the milk shakes will have you coming back for more!
Hat Creek Burger Company
Opening its doors in 2008, this company was founded by Drew Gressett with a goal to bring a simple menu of fresh, never frozen beef and vegetables for families to enjoy. We make a stop at Hat Creek whenever we visit Austin and I am so happy to know they offer fresh clean options on the menu. The Paleo Burger is especially mouth watering and so delicious! I recommend this fresh hot spot eatery if you live in Austin or are visiting!
This is the ultimate place to be to enjoy dinner with a sunset view! The Oasis offers spectacular views overlooking Lake Travis while dining! The menu includes a variety of options from Mexican cuisine to burgers and fries. You can also schedule a special event here since it offers such a fabulous location for views and sunsets! We actually held an informal 50 year wedding anniversary celebration for the folks here about 10 years ago.
The state of Texas is such a beautiful place that is rich in history and big in adventure! There are so many options to choose from to fulfill your day of fun! Our trips to Austin are usually quiet as we spend quality time with mom and dad or helping with chores and other various things around the house. It was a fantastic week to add a little bit of excitement this time. Making fond memories is what we desire to do. From hiking into the hills to see cascading waterfalls or fighting the rough waters in a kayak on Lake Austin, this is what life is all about. In fact, I am naming the subtitle of this post as Big Texas Big Memories!