Planning the Ultimate Austin RV Road Trip

Published on September 7th, 2021

We love Austin. This weird yet cool city is the perfect destination for families, couples, and single people. It has options to amuse small children and attractions that will catch the attention of the older crowd. There are museums and theme parks, as well as plenty of shopping, dining, and nightlife.

Yes, Austin road trips are a great option for absolutely anyone looking to get away.

That said, planning a trip to a place with so much to offer can be a little bit overwhelming. That is where this article comes into play. Below, we’ve carefully chosen the best that the city has to offer and organized it neatly, making it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for and start planning the Austin RV road trip trip of a lifetime.

Austin, Texas

Where to Go in Austin

First, let’s talk about all the things to see and do in Austin. As mentioned before, there are an enormous number of amazing options. Why not try some of our favorites on for size to see if they might be for you?

Dining and Shopping 

Be sure to schedule at least one day of shopping while in Austin. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure you have plenty of opportunities to try the amazing local eateries around every corner of the city. Below are some of our favorite shopping and dining locations to get you started.

— Shopping —

South Congress Avenue

Looking for unique shopping? South Congress avenue is the perfect place! Here you’ll find eclectic gift shops, vintage clothing stores, used bookstores, and more. We especially love the costumes at Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds and the Mexican folk art at Tesoro’s Trading Company. 

2nd Street District

Those who prefer an upscale shopping experience should head to the 2nd Street District. The shopping here is also unique, but in a totally different way. Handcrafted jewelry and well-made clothing abound, and there are plenty of wonderful dining options available as well. 

East Austin

Artisan products and gorgeous home goods are the focus in the East Austin shopping district. Check out the small-batch bath and body products offered at E A / S T Co. before heading over to Texas Coffee Traders to get a cup of joe and everything you need to brew your own delicious pot of coffee at home.

— Dining —

Franklin Barbecue

Austin is known for its barbecue for a reason. The stuff is absolutely fantastic, and no Austin barbecue is better than what is served up at Franklin Barbecue. Yes, you will have to wait in line to get it, but you won’t regret doing so. 

Terry Black’s Barbecue

Prefer someplace with a slightly shorter wait? Terry Black’s Barbecue is well loved by locals and visitors alike. We especially love the tender brisket and ribs at this amazing barbecue joint. 

Torchy’s Tacos

Of course, you have to try some tacos while in Texas. For this we recommend Torchy’s Tacos. This local chain serves up some seriously delicious tacos at an excellent price. Be sure to order a few different kinds so you can decide which you like best. 

Houndstooth Coffee

No day is complete without a cup of coffee. Fortunately, Austin has tons of amazing coffee shops to choose from. One of our absolute favorites is Houndstooth Coffee. This coffee shop has a few different locations, and each one is as wonderful as the last. 

Amy’s Ice Cream

Finally, when it comes time for a sweet treat, you will definitely want to check out Amy’s Ice Cream. This is another local chain, and the ice cream here is simply scrumptious.

Nightlife 

Those who prefer nighttime activities are in luck. Austin has tons of great nightlife, meaning you can keep having fun long after the sun goes down. Check out these bars and clubs for some of the best nightlife in the city. 

The Butterfly Bar

The colorfully lit yard really adds something special to this upbeat and friendly bar. Be sure to bring some friends to enjoy it with, and once you get there, grab some pasta from the onsite food truck. 

Deep Eddy Cabaret

Austin is chock-full of imitation dive bars, but Deep Eddy Cabaret is the real deal. If a no-frills experience offering pitchers of beer at a super affordable price is your thing, this is the place for you. 

LoLo

LoLo is the first ever natural wine bar in Austin. It is a great place to hang out and sip a glass of delicious organic wine, but it’s also a wonderful place to shop for wine for home or even learn something you didn’t know about wine from the knowledgeable staff. 

Austin Beer Garden Brewery Co.

Beer gardens are always fun places to spend the evening, and Austin Beer Garden Brewery Co. is no exception. This spacious venue features communal seating that is perfect for making friends, and they serve up delicious pizza to go with their award-winning beer. 

The Far Out Lounge

The Far Out Lounge is a great place to enjoy a drink, grab some grub from a local food truck, and enjoy some good live music—something this city is famous for. This outdoor venue is great for adults but also welcomes kids, teens, and even pets, meaning the whole family can join in the fun. 

Elephant Room

Finally, there is the Elephant Room. This is an underground jazz club that offers live music performances to customers seven nights a week. Whether you prefer swing, blues, or New York or Kansas City style jazz, this venue has you covered. 

Family-Friendly Attractions

Visiting Austin with kids? Lucky for you, there are tons of amazing family-friendly activities in the city. Whether you want to check out a museum, a garden, or something else entirely, we’re betting you can find something great to enjoy with your little travelers. 

Bullock Texas State History Museum

Want to learn about the history of the Lone Star State? It’s actually a very interesting story, made even more interesting by the engaging exhibits at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. 

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

The state botanical garden and arboretum of Texas, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is an absolutely beautiful place to visit. The whole family is sure to be awed by the many gorgeous plants that call this amazing garden home. 

LBJ Presidential Library and Museum

36th US president Lyndon B. Johnson was born in Texas and even spent the majority of his life there. For this reason, it only makes sense that the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum is here, and it’s a wonderful place to learn about the man.

Congress Avenue Bridge Bats

Perhaps the most unique attraction in all of Austin, the Congress Avenue Bridge bats are a must-see. You see, the Congress Avenue Bridge is home to hundreds, sometimes even thousands of bats. These critters come out at night to hunt, and their mass exodus is an incredible sight to see. 

Thinkery

Have young children in tow? Thinkery is the place for you. This hands-on children’s museum is one of the best in the whole country and is a great place to get kids learning while they have a blast.

Austin Nature and Science Center

Looking for learning for the whole family? Look no further than the Austin Nature and Science Center. This awesome museum also features some hands-on activities, and the presentation of information is top-notch. 

Cathedral of Junk

Lastly, we must mention the Cathedral of Junk. This is an absolutely bizarre attraction that is actually located in someone’s yard. The cathedral was built by a single man over the course of many years using whatever junk he could get his hands on. The result was an enormous art installation that you really have to see to believe.

Hiking and Outdoor Adventures

If you love to explore outdoors, you’re going to love the outdoor recreation options in and around Austin. Below are some of our top picks. Add one or two of these to your itinerary and then branch out to see what other outdoor adventures you can find. 

Kayak on Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake is one of Austin’s gems. Be sure to take the time to fully appreciate this beautiful body of water by getting out on it. We recommend a kayak, but a canoe or paddle board will do just fine as well. 

Go Bird Watching in McKinney Falls State Park

Another gorgeous spot in Austin? McKinney Falls State Park. Surprisingly, you don’t even really have to leave the city to make your way into this magical wonderland of nature, and it’s the perfect spot for bird watching. 

Swim in Barton Springs Pool

Barton Springs Pool is a favorite hangout spot in the hot summer months. Here, you can swim in refreshingly chilly spring water right in the middle of the city. 

Canoe on the Lower Colorado River 

The Colorado River isn’t far from Austin, and simply must be seen. Our preferred method of checking out the river? Canoeing! Rent a canoe from Cook’s Canoes in Webberville and get ready for a grand time out on the water. 

Climb Mount Bonnell

Climbing Mount Bonnell is something that should be on every Austin bucket list. This is found just outside of the city, and hiking to the top is relatively easy. The reward for hiking the mountain? An absolutely incredible view of Austin. 

Hike Palmetto State Park

Another great place for a hike is Palmetto State Park, located about an hour south of Austin. This park is unique because it features the only tropical plants in the state and feels like a forest straight out of the time of the dinosaurs.

McKinney Falls State Park
Image source: Larry D. Moore

RV Campgrounds Near Austin

Clearly, you’re going to be worn out at the end of each long day spent exploring Austin. For this reason, we highly recommend traveling in comfort by choosing an RV rental Austin. An RV is a great option because it gives you all the comforts of home, including a full kitchen, comfortable beds for everyone in your group, and storage for all of your stuff. If you choose a luxury RV rental Austin, you may get even more than that.

Of course, you will need a place to park your RV rental Austin, TX. Luckily, the city has plenty of great RV parks to offer. Choose one of these and you’ll be camping in comfort with all the amenities you could possibly need. 

Austin Lone Star RV Resort

This RV park is owned by the popular Sun RV Resorts company. Several amenities make it a very comfortable place to stay. These include an onsite fitness center, a dog park, a store, and a playground for the little ones. Best of all, the resort is close to everything Austin has to offer visitors, meaning adventure is right outside your door.

Austin RV Park North

Head a little bit north of Austin and you’ll come to Austin RV Park North. It’s a smaller park, but it doesn’t skimp on site size, giving each guest plenty of space to spread out. The landscaping here is top-notch, and the owners are always looking for ways to improve the place. 

McKinney Falls State Park

We mentioned above that McKinney Falls is a great little escape into nature, and we really mean it. In fact, we even recommend parking your RV here during your stay. You’ll love that you’re tucked away amongst trees in a spacious RV site. The hiking here is wonderful, and there is a creek for fishing. 

Check out more awesome Austin area RV parks here!

Big Bend National Park

Road Trips from Austin

As you can see, Austin has a lot to offer. That said, sometimes you just want to get out of town. In those cases, the road trips from Austin we’ve listed below are the ideal solution. Pick one of these awesome places to visit and get ready for a day of fun adventure away from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Day Trips

There are a number of small towns surrounding Austin that are 100% worth checking out. Some of our favorites include the options listed below. All of these have enough to see and do that you could easily fill a day or more exploring them. 

Fredericksburg

A cute little town about 90 minutes away from Austin, Fredericksburg offers a number of awesome things to see and do. The National Museum of the Pacific War and the Pioneer Museum are both fantastic stops for history buffs, and those who enjoy a good glass of wine will love all the vineyards and wineries in the area. We highly recommend grabbing a meal at Nury’s on Main while you’re in town. 

Lockhart

Lockhart is another fabulous little town with a lot of options for visitors. We really love Lockhart State Park and could easily spend an entire day there hiking, playing golf, and picnicking. That said, you will also want to make time for the Southwest Museum of Clocks and Watches, an interesting little niche museum that couldn’t be cuter. Of course, since this town is considered the Barbecue Capital of Texas, you’ll also want to make sure you grab some delicious barbecue before you leave!

New Braunfels

Whether you choose to visit the Schlitterbahn Waterpark, tour the Natural Bridge Caverns, or explore Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo, you’re sure to have an exciting day in New Braunfels. When you’re finished adventuring, make sure you eat at Alpine Haus Restaurant so you can get a feel for the German heritage of this wonderful little town. 

National Parks

Of course, we mustn’t skip over the options of national parks. Unfortunately, there are no national parks that are super close to Austin, but one of the Texas national parks listed below could definitely make an awesome weekend trip if you’re willing to venture further away from the city. 

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is an awe-inspiring natural area you are sure to adore. This place is both home to the Chisos Mountains and is part of the Chihuahuan Desert, meaning there is tons of natural beauty to take in. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to see and do it all. 

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Of course, there’s also the option of heading to the spectacular Guadalupe Mountains National Park. This park features mountains, canyons, desert, and dunes, and is a place unlike any other. If you visit, be sure to stay late to take in the incredible night skies this park has to offer. 

Clearly, Austin is the ideal place for a Texas road trip. Want even more ideas for things to do in this awesome city? Check out this page. Once you’ve chosen the activities that sound the most fun, book your Austin RV rental and get ready for an incredible adventure in Texas’ weirdest city!

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