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Erin's Travel Guide to Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas is renowned for being the Live Music Capital of the world, but what many don't know are the multitude of adventures Austin holds aside from its night scene.

While Austin is highly destined for its music scene and night life on Dirty Sixth and Rainey Street, the city has many other great things to do during the day. Being an Austin native, I've come to discover some of Austin's best adventures. Here is my list of my favorite things to do in and around Austin, Texas. Some of them are known tourist attractions while other are more under the radar.

1. Watch the Mexican-Free-Tailed Bats Emerge from the Congress Bridge


Photo by: Erin Newman-Mitchell

This is an absolute Austin MUST. Throughout the summer months, from around March to November, around sunset, around 1.5 million bats take flight into the evening sky from under the Congress street bridge. It's quite the sight to see!

2. Catch a Sunset at the 360 Bridge Overlook


Photo by: Erin Newman-Mitchell

It's a short, but semi-difficult hike. However the views are worth it. One side of the bridge you can catch the sunset, while on the other side you can catch the bridge with city in the background.

3. Visit the Texas State Capitol


Photo by: Erin Newman-Mitchell

Historic, beautiful, grand. When in Austin, you must take a tour of the Texas State Capitol- it is where the Texas laws are made after all!

4. Take a hike at McKinney Falls State Park


Photo by: Erin Newman-Mitchell

Located just 10 miles from downtown, McKinney Falls State Park is a gorgeous slice of nature with easy hikes and two beautiful waterfalls. Great for a day trip!

5. Go Standup Paddle Boarding/Canoeing/Kayaking on Lady Bird Lake


Photo by: Erin Newman-Mitchell

During the summer months, spending the day on Town Lake is a great way to pass time. You can rent a canoe/kayak at multiple stations around the lake.

6. Catch the Sunrise from the Zilker Park Clubhouse


Photo by: Erin Newman-Mitchell

A great overlook of the Austin skyline. Easy to access and free. Can't miss!

7. Take a Swim at Krause Springs


Photo by: Erin Newman-Mitchell

Located only about 35 miles from downtown and with a $5/person entrance free, Krause Springs is a great way to escape the crowds and bustling city life.

8. Hike to Crocket Garden Falls


Photo by: Erin Newman-Mitchell

If you're looking for a decent hike, you definitely need to hike out to Crocket Garden Falls. It's a 7.6 mile round trip, but with stunning views and a fabulous waterfall.

9. Take a Tour of Westcave Preserve

Photo by: Erin Newman-Mitchell

$60/household of 4 to experience a hidden gem of the Texas Hill Country that most people don't know about. And the hike isn't but half a mile. It's beautiful.

10. Hike Bull Creek


Photo by: Erin Newman-Mitchell

Everyone knows about the Barton Creek Greenbelt, but not as many are aware of the beautiful waterfalls of Bull Creek in Northwest Austin. The hikes are great and when its flowing, the waterfalls are spectacular!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Erin Newman-Mitchell

Texan. Explorer. Outdoor Enthusiast. Landscape photographer based in Austin, Texas.