I love taking road trips. There is something about finding out of the way places and exploring, there is a sense of excitement in never knowing what your are going to discover or what interesting people you will meet along the way.
Central Texas has a special place in my heart, I lived in Pflugerville for several years, just outside of Round Rock, and took many road trips exploring many parts of the state.
My trip to Gruene, pronounced Green, was one of my favorites!
Austin to Gruene Texas
One of my favorite places is Austin. It is nestled in the hill country of Texas and is most famous for it's barbecue and music. It is home to the South by Southwest SxSW music, film and interactive festivals which run from March 17-22. Before leaving Austin you will want to stop by the Congress Avenue Bridge and check out the worlds largest urban colony of Mexican Free-tail Bats as they make their evening journey to consume approximately 10-20 thousand pounds of insects each summer night. If you happen to be in Austin during the summer months you'll want to stop by Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park to cool off in the year-round 70 degree spring fed waters.
There are several options available to get to Gruene, just outside of New Braunfels. You can take I35 South to New Braunfels and be there in about an hour, but what fun would that be? The best way to truly experience the Texas Hill Country is to take the back roads and enjoy the scenery! Take 290 West and head south on 1826 towards Driftwood. For some outstanding authentic Texas BBQ you'll want to stop by The Salt Lick in Driftwood , some of the best BBQ I've ever had!
Take 170 West to 12 and then head south to Wimberley. If you have kids they would enjoy taking a swim in the spring fed swimming hole at Jacob's Well just west of Woodcreek or Blue Hole Park in Wimberley. While your in Wimberley, you'll want to make time for Market Days, one of Texas's oldest outdoor markets, complete with art, food, and music. There are lots of wineries in the area and Texas Hill Country Wineries is a great website to help you decide which ones to visit on your road trip. At this point in your road trip you have a choice to travel west to Canyon Lake or east towards San Marcos. If you prefer a quite scenic drive, head out to Canyon lake and rent a pontoon boat or have a picnic lunch at Comal Park. If you prefer shopping and restaurants then you'll want to stop in San Marcos.
Gruene sits on the Guadalupe river just outside of New Braunfels and looks as if time has stood still since the turn of the century. This sleepy little town has grown over the years but still attracts tourists and history buffs alike. You'll want to explore all the shops on Hunter Road and then make your way to the Gristmill River Restaurant, a restored cotton gin from the 1870's. You can't miss it, it's right under the water tower. Hands down the most visited attraction in Gruene is Gruene Hall. Built in 1878, the 600 square foot dance hall is famous for hosting a long list of music legends to it's well worn dance floor and cold Spoetzl Shiner Bock Beer.
It doesn't get any better than enjoying good food and music on a warm summer evening with family and friends.
Readers – When was your last road trip? Have you made plans to make any other road trips?