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Road Trip Dallas to Austin


Holds PhD in Packing
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Joined: December 8th, 2005

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  • Added on: August 11th, 2007
Hi all,

I've lived in Texas a few years and done the Dallas-Austin road trip a couple of times, but never really as a tourist. In late October, though, my Dutch friend is coming to visit me and I want to drive down to Austin/San Marcos and show him the sights, and really make his long trip from Europe worthwhile.

Bad thing is we've only got a few days to do it because I can only take a couple days off my job (Wed-Fri).

So here's kinda what we were talking about.

* Drive south on 35 from Dallas to Waco, stopping at that Czech bakery for some kolaches. (I think that's in West?)
* At Waco visit the Dr. Pepper museum (or is this stupid?)
* Drive on 35 from Waco to Temple, stop and get lunch. For some reason I have always liked Temple.
* Drive west on 190 from Temple/Belton to Lampasas, through Fort Hood (interesting to mention but I don't want to stop).
* Go south on 281 to Johnson City. Any worthwhile stops here? Marble Falls? Or just buzz through and enjoy the scenery?
* Johnson City to San Marcos, through Wimberly...I hear this is a nice town, any recommendations for things to stop and do?
* Stay in San Marcos that night (my brother lives there)

* Float the river, either in San Marcos or New Branfels
* Maybe some hiking somewhere? Any advice?
* Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch -- worth it?
* Drive north on 35 to Austin and enjoy the city -- 6th street, the bats, etc.

* More of Austin? Barton Creek maybe?
* Drive straight home to Dallas on 35

This is all pretty tentative but I would love some advice! I hope with it being late October the weather will be nice and the trees turning color. We are both pretty outdoorsy people and also enjoy nightlife.


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  • Added on: August 16th, 2007
Hey Jessica,

I haven't really done much as a tourist around here either, but can tell you about some places...

As for the hill country area, you might consider taking him to Enchanted Rock. Good hiking and camping. And all of the visitors I've brought there have loved it. But you may have to check if it's hunting season or not...

I love Wimberley. However, it's more lively on the weekends with the crowds coming in to shop the shops. Check out the glass blowing studio there, if you're into that kind of stuff. I love their work. If the weather is right, there's a swimming hole called the Blue Hole. I haven't been there myself, but have been to similar swimming holes, which are really nice.

If you want some to do something more adventurous than floating the river, you can check out Texas Ski Ranch for some wakeboarding behind a cable...I'm an addict Aagr

I haven't done any hikes around San Marcos/New Braunfels, but you can check out for some ideas. Just go to Hiking --> Find a Hike --> then put in your preferences. I've found some really nice hikes through that site.

Skip the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch...although I haven't been since 1996...I'm sure it hasn't changed much. Natural Bridge Caverns are pretty cool, though. Nowadays, they have one where you get to rappel into the caves. I'd do the caves over the ranch.

Austin doesn't have too much color change with trees. We've got a lot of evergreens here. If you want color change, I've heard to go to Lost Maples State Park. Again, haven't been myself, but have been meaning to go there. It's a bit out of the way of your route, but just thought I'd throw it in as a suggestion.

If you guys eat is well worth a trip to Driftwood to gorge on all you can eat BBQ at The Salt Lick...YUUUUMMMM!!!

For Austin, there's the capitol building, barton creek is nice, check out for some hiking, barton springs pool is nice as well, can rent canoes on Town Lake, or hang out at Lake Travis. Mt. Bonnell for a nice view over Lake Austin.

If your friend likes shopping, South Congress is one of my favorite areas for unique things. You can make him try on some fancy cowboy boots at Allen's boots and take pictures Wink There is also "the drag" (Guadelupe between 15th-ish to 24th-ish). Right by the UT campus, it's always a happening place to wander around when school is in session.

Let me know if you have any questions about the Austin area. Hope this helps!


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Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
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Joined: January 4th, 2007

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  • Added on: August 18th, 2007
For Austin..... barton creek is nice, check out for some hiking, barton springs pool is nice as well, can rent canoes on Town Lake, or hang out at Lake Travis. Mt. Bonnell for a nice view over Lake Austin.

You should prepare your Dutch friend for a Texas *friend* he will quickly come to fear if he attempts camping and picnicking around Austin: the imported South American fire ant. Nasty little fire ants will quickly ruin any trip to Town Lake or lovely Barton Springs pool. I think Town Lake has the worst case of fire ants I've ever seen anywhere in Texas....I battled the evil little devils for too many years....watched my children scream in pain and fear as the fire ants bit them 1,000 times per second, watched fire ants kill my livestock and torment my pets.

When I left Texas and said goodbye to fire ants it was the happiest f*cking day of my life. I remember when we bought the house in WA state--I went out and laid in the cool grass of the front yard and reveled in the sweet lack of fire ants.

We were in Lampasas 3 years ago visiting family and I no sooner stepped outside for a smoke than my feet were covered with hungry fire ants biting the hell out of me. I'd forgoten them. But not for long. Frown

Fire ants cover every square inch of Texas and they are pure evil misery.


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  • Added on: August 18th, 2007
Ah yes, fireants are a pain here!!! I haven't had any trouble with fireants while camping. Even on a lot of trails I've been on in and out of the city, I haven't had many problems ( that's a different story!). They don't cover every square inch of Texas, though -- that's a pretty gross overstatement. At my current house, I have 0 fireants. At my old house, they were everywhere. But at the new place, 0. It seems that there are places that they don't inhabit Smile

Just watch for mounds, don't step in them, and you should be fine. That's my general rule of thumb...have been in Texas for about 29 years now, and that seems to work for me...


Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 134
Joined: March 27th, 2003

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  • Added on: August 22nd, 2007
I have been to a couple places in Texas and honestly, SA / hill country / Austin are the best.

If I were you, I would drive straight down to San Antonio. Go downtown see the Alamo and party on the river walk.

The next day head up to New New Braunfels and go tubing down the comal ( and then hit at night. Maybe go to Gruene hall. (

The next day, I would hit Salt Lick for BBQ ( and then head to Austin and party down 6 and 4th street. Hit the state capital if you have time.

Then head home.

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