Living in Central Texas offers many opportunities for Small Town Road Trips. This is the perfect time to take a scenic wildflower drive and visit some nearby small towns in Central Texas.
There are many cute and historic Texas towns to discover on your Small Town Road Trips, all within a one or two hour ride from Cedar Park, making for the perfect day trip.
Since my family’s life basically revolves around our next meal, our usual start of the planning process for a road trip involves finding a good restaurant. Once we have scouted a pit stop for lunch, we then look for things to do in the area. From the random road side find to the well know tourist attraction, we have pretty much seen it all. The pre-planning stage usually gets us there, but what we have discovered along the way and what we just happen upon through luck are usually the best parts about the trip.
When we first moved here, I would scour Trip Advisor, Yelp and City-Data to find things to do and get local tips. In the first year we lived here, we must have covered every square mile of the Hill Country and surrounding areas. We discovered some favorites that we visit often. Here are some of our favorite day trips to Texas small towns.
When the weather is nice, Fredericksburg is the best place to visit as it’s a walking town with plenty of unique shops to browse. We enjoy eating at Fredericksburg Herb Farm, Auslander, Otto’s and Vaudeville but there are tons more. Visit during Trade Days, 3rd Saturday of the month, for more shopping fun. And of course, it’s the wine capital of TX so book a wine tour and a B&B for a weekend getaway. On the way back, stop at Wildseed Farms to pick up a few nice plants or some garden art.
Just outside our back door, Georgetown will take you back in time. The central square, the Williamson County Courthouse, is one of the prettiest in TX. The old town square is surrounded by many local shops and restaurants. Enjoy breakfast at Monument Cafe, shop the square and stroll through the pretty historic neighborhoods around downtown for a fun day out. Stop at Sweet Lemon Kitchen for an afternoon treat. Visit Inner Space Caverns for a fun filled day trip. Make it a staycation and book an AirBnB downtown for the weekend.
This picturesque small town is an easy drive and there is plenty to do. Dine along the Guadalupe River while listening to live music at The Grist Mill. Visit the oldest dance all in TX to enjoy more live music. Take a stroll and visit a wide variety of boutiques and specialty shops. If you make a weekend of it, there are plenty of B&B’s and you can also start your tubing adventure right downtown.
Johnson City is a great place for a day trip, but there is so much to do that you can even make a weekend of it. For kids, the Hill Country Science Mill and the Exotic Zoo Resort are sure to please. For adults, there are many amazing wineries between Johnson City and Fredericksburg including William Chris, Lewis, Ron Yates, and Kuhlman. Our favorite local restaurants are Pecan Street Brewing and Bryan’s on 290. Also, try Hye Market just down the road for a delicious sandwich. Some wineries also offer small bistros or cheese plates. You could also order a charcuterie box from one of many local artisans and take it with you. One of my local favorites is Miller’s Table. For outdoor activities visit Pedernales Falls State Park, the LBJ Ranch and Historic Park or stroll around the downtown antique stores and galleries.
Take a scenic drive through the Hill Country to Llano. His hidden gem of a town of off the beaten path and not on the way to anywhere really. But once you get there, you will be pleasantly surprised. The downtown area is separated by the Llano River. You can walk across the bridge and get a stunning view of the river below. If you explore a little you will come across a museum, some cafes and restaurants, antique stores and boutiques. Badu 1891 is a surprising find you won’t want to miss. On the way to or from Llano, stop at Torr Na Lochs Winery for a spectacular view of the TX Hill Country while sipping on a glass of wine. Sometimes there are even Longhorns wandering by.
You can’t pass through Marble Falls without stopping at the Blue Bonnet Cafe for a home cooked meal and a giant slice of pie. Find a spot to sit a while at Lakeside Park and watch the boats go by. Nearby is also a kid favorite Sweet Berry Farm where you can pick seasonal produce and flowers and enjoy fun activities. On the way to or from, take Cow Creek Rd off 1431 to drive through the scenic Balcones Canyonlands Wildlife Refuge. Between Cedar Park and Marble Falls is a beautiful winery and bistro open Thursday to Sunday, Flat Creek Estate Winery.
Round Top is best known for their Spring and Summer antique fairs, one of the largest in the country spreading to the neighboring town Warrenton. There are also year round stores such as Junk Gypsy, the fun junkin’ duo make famous on HGTV. A must stop for food is Royers Round Top Cafe, but there are plenty of great local restaurants. Check the websites as some may be seasonal during show times. Spring is the perfect time to make the drive when wild flowers are in full bloom.
If you are a Joanna Gaines fan, Waco is a must for a day trip. Her signature store, Magnolia, is now a sprawling attraction with more shopping and dining options. The success of her empire is attracting other businesses and creating a revival in downtown Waco. It can get crowded, so try to go on a weekday if possible. Take a stroll at the riverfront walk for some scenic photo ops. Also in Waco is Cameron Park Zoo.
This quaint little scenic town along the Blanco River makes for a great day trip. Eat lunch at The Leaning Pear, enjoy fun little shops and boutiques, have an ice-cream while watching the river flow by and view a glass blowing demo at Wimberley Glass Works. You can also visit several great wineries in the area and a few breweries too. Pack a swim suit for Jacobs Well and Blue Hole.
If you are traveling with kids check out MomsMinivan for 101 ideas to keep your kids occupied during the trips!
I hope you enjoy this list and it inspires you to get out on your own adventure. I’d love to hear about your journey!
Note: Please call ahead to confirm restaurants are open and to make reservations for swimming holes, state parks, tourist attractions, dining and tours.