Fall Fun and Festivals in Central Texas


With fall in full swing in the Central Texas Hill Country, there are a number of fun fall activities happening in and around the city of Kyle. If you’re looking for a weekend day trip with the family or just an afternoon of fun, these fall festivities are Central Texas staples that delight both locals and visitors alike.

Renaissance Festival

Photo courtesy CBS Houston, ROBERT FRANCOIS/AFP/Getty Images

Texas Renaissance Festival

The Texas Renaissance Festival is a longstanding Central Texas fall tradition. Located between Houston and Kyle, the fair celebrates all things medieval, with food, games, rides and more. Known as the largest Renaissance theme park in the country, the Texas Renaissance Festival recreates the look and feel of a 16th century British village. From daring knights to fair maidens, kings and queens to Shakespeare himself, this festival invites the whole family to take a step into history. This year the festival will feature themed weekends, including Roman Bacchanal, Barbarian Invasion, Celtic Christmas, and more. The festival celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and is open Saturdays and Sundays until November 30th, 2014.

Wursfest

Photo courtesy USA Today

Wurstfest

Another iconic fall festival, Wurstfest in New Braunfels is a haven for German culture and food. For 10 days in November, the Wursfest Grounds in Landa Park will be filled with sausage, beer, music and more. Newly expanded for 2014, this year’s Wurstfest will be the biggest ever, with a marketplace, additional live music stages and a vast selection of local craft beers as well as German brews. Originally just a sausage-centric festival, Wursfest has expanded to attract tens of thousands of visitors each year. Located just 30 minutes south of Kyle, Wursfest opens on November 7th and goes until the 16th.

Chuy's Christmas Parade

Photo courtesy Chuy’s Christmas Parade

Chuys Christmas Parade

Christmas comes early in Austin with Chuy’s annual Christmas Parade. Held in the heart of downtown Austin on Congress Avenue, this parade features floats, giant balloons, and, of course, Santa Claus. Attendees of the parade are encouraged to bring a toy to donate to Operation Blue Santa to help bring Christmas gifts to kids throughout the area who otherwise would go without. It’s a fun way to celebrate the start of the holiday season, Texas style. The Chuy’s Christmas Parade takes place at 11 a.m. on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, November 29th, 2014.

Break out the Tents! Exploring the Great Outdoors in Central Texas


Break out the Tents! Exploring the Great Outdoors in Central Texas

As fall finally approaches and those scorching Texas temperatures finally cool off, it’s the perfect time to make plans to visit one of the many state parks right here in Central Texas. Whether you like to camp or spend the day exploring, these hidden gems offer the chance to appreciate the natural beauty of Central Texas without traveling far from home. Grab your hiking boots and get ready to roast some marshmallows.

Lower-McKinney-Falls

Photo courtesy of McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls is the closest State Park to Austin and has all the natural beauty you could wish for but still close to home. Campsites are large and have a picnic table and fire pit. Located at the confluence of Onion and Williamson creeks, the park is a great place for swimming and hiking, and the falls are especially scenic after a good rain. You can also pay a visit to “Old Baldy,” a 500+ year-old, 103 food tall cypress tree, one of the oldest bald cypress trees on public land in Texas. At only 25 minutes away from Plum Creek, this park offers a natural escape without a long-distance road trip beforehand.

texas parks

Photo courtesy of Bastrop State Park

Bastrop State Park

Bastrop State Park offers a magnificent bike trail through the Lost Pines of East Central Texas, in addition to swimming, hiking, and golf. The park has rebounded after the devastating 2011 wildfire, and nearly all of the trails, campsites, and facilities have reopened to the public. Cabins and facilities built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s are still standing and available for group rental, or for those wishing to experience a bit of history while enjoying the outdoors. You can also rent a canoe or a barbeque pit at the park and spend the day enjoying the natural wonder of the Lost Pines at Bastrop or neighboring Buescher State Park. The park also features scenic drives, if you’d prefer to experience the great outdoors from the comfort of your own vehicle.

PedernalesFalls1TXDOT

Photo courtesy of Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales Falls State Park is a favorite for family hikes, featuring an easy 7-mile trail that winds along small canyons created by the Mescal and Tobacco creeks. Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country west of Austin, Pedernales Falls is a great place for camping, mountain biking, fishing, bird watching, and more. The campground is spacious and well-kept, and offers campers a peaceful escape in a uniquely beautiful setting. The Pedernales River also offers some great swimming, tubing, and wading for cooling off after a day exploring the natural wonders. A quarter mile nature trail also leads to a scenic overlook of Twin Falls, perfect for capturing those postcard moments or just enjoying the breathtaking view. For equestrians, the park can also be explored on horseback on the rugged, 10 mile trail that winds up and down the hillsides.

Lockhart-2902

Photo courtesy of Lockhart State Park

Lockhart State Park

Southeast of Kyle, Lockhart State Park offers a variety of outdoor activities for the whole family, including picnicking, camping, fishing, hiking, and more.  With nice hiking trails and several dams and fishing holes, this park is a great place to make a day trip or to camp for the night. The park also features a nine-hole golf course, the only staff-kept course in the Texas State Parks System, and a park swimming pool. RV travelers are welcome as well as traditional campers, and there is a CCC built recreation hall that can be rented for group events. And if you get tired of roasted marshmallows, the famous BBQ joints in Lockhart are only minutes away.

Want more to explore? Check out the Texas State Parks map on their website and plan your own adventure.

Local Art and Flea Markets Near Plum Creek


The local art community in Central Texas is unique in that it has the funky flavor of Austin but also a whole heap of southern, Texas charm. There are numerous venues in and around Kyle at which local artists and craftspeople share their creations with the community. Whether you’re looking for jewelry, paintings, sculptures or antiques, these markets will offer you the chance to find the hidden treasure you’re looking for.

 san marcos

Photo courtesy of Art Squared Arts Market

Art Squared Arts Market

The Art Squared Arts Market in San Marcos happens every second Saturday. From humble beginnings in 2012, this market has grown and moved to the San Marcos Downtown Square, where it offers emerging and established artists a platform to exhibit and sell their handcrafted art. The market is open from 9am to 4pm and also features live music, so bring a lawn chair or blanket to enjoy a day of music and art. If you’re an artist looking for a place to sell your wares, applications for booths are open for future Art Squared events.

kyle flea market

Photo courtesy of Austin 360

Kyle Flea Market

Right here in Kyle the Kyle Flea Market is open on weekends from 9am to 5pm. Known for it’s weird, surprising, and sometimes messy shopping, this market certainly has a lot of character. Established in 1980, the Kyle Flea Market is a place for the people in the community to buy, sell, and trade virtually anything and everything. The market also features Open-Air Swap Meet tables in front of the facility, available on a first-come, first-serve basis. A variety of restaurants throughout the market also offer hungry shoppers a place to grab a bite while browsing the collection of dusty treasures.

austin art market

Photo courtesy of http://www.firstthursdayaustin.com/

First Thursday

On a daily basis, South Congress Avenue in Austin often features mini-bazaars of locally-made arts and crafts, but First Thursday is the time when the artists really come out and make a showing. Held on the first Thursday of every month, this market / festival gives Austin artists and small businesses a chance to showcase their creativity in the middle of the bustling South Congress Avenue. At this market you can find all manner of handmade goods, from finely crafted jewelry to unique screen-printed t-shirts and much more. As a bonus, many of the well-known businesses on South Congress stay open late so you can enjoy all the funky shopping and dining this iconic Austin street offers well into the night.

austin flea market

Photo courtesy of http://www.austincountry.citymax.com/page/page/2934940.htm

Austin Country Flea Market

The Austin Country Flea Market is one of the oldest and largest flea markets in Central Texas. Just North of Austin, this veteran flea market is listed as #8 on Travel Channel’s Top 10 World’s Best Flea Markets. With 300 vendor spaces, the variety of the market is both vast and eclectic. Besides the expected handicrafts, there is also furniture, clothing, garage sales, auto accessories, and just about everything else you might never have known you needed. With live music every weekend, you could lose hours browsing the huge selection. The Austin Country Flea Market is open Saturday and Sunday, 10:00am to 6:00pm all year round.

Austin Art Market

Photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/23rdstreetartistsmarket

23rd Street Artist’s Market

You might not even notice this little market tucked away between 23rd and 24th streets on the Drag, but the 23rd Street Artist’s Market is an Austin staple. Also called the Renaissance Market, this little outcropping of vendors is surrounded by murals and is located right across from UT’s campus. Open since the 1970s, this market showcases some of the most essential Austin flavor and some of the best local art finds. Open daily but busiest on weekends, this small market is a local institution and a great place to experience what the art community of Austin has to offer.

Tee Off at these Beautiful Golf Courses in Central Texas


What better way to spend the dwindling days of summer than with 18 holes on some of Central Texas’s scenic golf courses? The area around Plum Creek features a wide variety of courses to challenge and delight every player, whatever their skill level or taste. Whether it’s to talk business or just to relax and play, these nearby courses will allow you to enjoy the Texas Hill Country at its finest.

Central Texas Golf Course

Photo courtesy of Grey Rock Golf Club

Grey Rock Golf Club

Just South of Austin, The Grey Rock Golf Club offers world class amenities only 30 minutes away from Plum Creek. With a spacious clubhouse nestled in a grove of live oaks, it’s a picturesque venue, great for relaxing after a round on the course, or for holding an event. The club also boats extensive practice facilities, with a well maintained putting green and driving range. With a friendly staff and a great layout, this course promises a superb golfing experience surrounded by the gorgeous Central Texas scenery.

Central Texas Golf Course

Photo courtesy of Landa Park Golf Course

Landa Park Golf Course

Landa Park Golf Course in New Braunfels is located adjacent the serene Comal River. Known for being well manicured and maintained, this course also is often visited by local wildlife such as deer and wild turkeys. With a challenging layout and a beautiful setting, this course truly showcases the natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country. A great choice for golf outside of the immediate Austin area, the river setting is what truly makes this course stand out.

Central Texas Golf Course

Photo courtesy of Plum Creek Golf Club

Plum Creek Golf Club

Right here in Plum Creek, the Plum Creek Golf Course offers a high-caliber golf experience just minutes away from home. This Texas-sized course on over 200 acres offers challenging play with unique character in the heart of the Plum Creek community. Seeded to stay green all year round, this course is one of the best in the area and also home to the Texas State Men’s and Women’s golf teams. Designed so that no two fairways touch, and with black tees at a challenging 7100+ yards, Plum Creek offers a distinctive golf experience that all players will enjoy.

Central Texas Golf Course

Photo courtesy of Clay-Kizer Golf Course

Clay-Kizer Golf Course

As Austin’s largest municipal golf complex, the Clay-Kizer facility offers players 36 holes on two courses in South Austin. These small courses are known for being reasonably priced and well maintained, and suitable for players of all levels. With tree-lined fairways surrounded by Williamson Creek, these courses offer a variety of play at one convenient location. Five sets of tees make the course the right challenge every player. An Austin staple since 1974, these muni courses are a great golf experience at an affordable price.

Central Texas Golf Course

Photo courtesy of Fazio Foothills at Barton Creek

Fazio Foothills at Barton Creek

One of the most highly rated courses in all of Texas, the Fazio Foothills at Barton Creek offers a stunning experience in the heart of Austin. Known as the hardest of the four Barton Creek courses, nearly every hole of The Foothills boasts fabulous, postcard-worthy views. Though the Fazio Canyons is the signature course at Barton Creek, The Foothills is a local favorite as well. This premiere course features waterfalls and caves and takes advantage of the best of Central Texas’s natural features. It’s a little pricier, but the resort facilities and unforgettable layout are worth it. Ranked first in Golfweek’s 50 Best Resort Courses in the US and also named the Best Resort Course in Texas by Golf Digest, this course is one of Central Texas’s must-plays.

Popcorn & More: Central Texas Movie Theaters near Kyle, Texas


The movies are coming to Kyle! Construction on the city’s first movie theatre and entertainment complex – the EVO Family Entertainment Center – has begun. And by November of this year, residents of Kyle will be able to go to the movies, play bowling and laser tag just minutes away from home.  The complex will feature an 11-auditorium theatre, a 14-lane bowling center, a “casino style” arcade floor featuring video and redemption games, and a full-scale restaurant and bar.  In anticipation for the November opening, here are some other movie entertainment options available around Plum Creek for date nights, girls’ night out or for family-friendly entertainment.

Central Texas Movie Theaters

In South Austin at the intersection of Mopac and Slaughter Lane lies The Alamo Drafthouse, an Austin establishment that offers visitors movies, alcohol, delicious food, and themed/special events. The Drafthouse hosts special screenings, the latest blockbuster releases, as well as sing and quote-a-longs for adults and children to enjoy. Additionally, the Slaughter Lane Drafthouse is home to 400 Rabbits, a cocktail lounge adjacent to the movie theater that features Spanish-inspired bites and specializes in tequila and mescal based cocktails. The programming at Alamo Drafthouse changes every month and can be viewed on the theater’s website. This month they’ve been featuring the Bring it On Cheer-Along and special subtitled showings of Hayao Miyazaki’s newest movie, The Wind Rises.  The Alamo Drafthouse also offers convenient ticket purchasing via their official app available in the iTunes app store. And remember – events at the Drafthouse are popular, and unlike a traditional movie theater, the Alamo Drafthouse requires movie-goers to reserve seats online before attending a show.

Central Texas Movie Theaters

Photo courtesy of the Austin Chronicle

Deeper into Austin (downtown to be exact) Violet Crown Cinema is another food-and-movie establishment located in the 2nd Street District that offers moviegoers an upscale theater experience. The theater’s four screens are devoted to independent, documentary and international and the cinema bar and café offers a full cocktail bar and an appetizer menu with a wide range of options, too. Tickets for the cinema can be reserved and purchased online and the schedule of shows can also be found on the Violet Crown website.

Just south of Kyle, Texas Cinema Showplace in San Marcos offers a movie experience on the cheap – $1 to be exact. It’s a small theater, with only three auditoriums that show movies once they’ve left the big screen, but they’re a dollar or less and close to home – can’t beat that!

With these theaters and more around Kyle, there are plenty of entertainment options available for Kyle residents to  enjoy until November when EVO opens its doors!

Let’s Go Fly a Kite: The Zilker Kite Festival


Spring is in the air. Which means that in Austin this weekend, kites will be too! The Zilker Kite Festival is one of Austin’s favorite springtime events. Usually held the first Sunday in March, this year’s festival was postponed due to the unseasonably cold weather, and will take place this Sunday, March 9th. The event is free and open to the public and is a great springtime activity for the whole family. Because, honestly, who doesn’t love kites?

Zilker Kite Festival

Photo courtesy of the Austin American-Statesman

In its 85th year, the Zilker Kite Festival (originally called the “Kite Tournament”) was created by The Exchange Club of Austin in 1929 with the mission of encouraging creativity in children. In 1936, The Exchange Club partnered with the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department to bring the event to newly-opened Zilker Park, which is still the home for the annual event.

The festival continues to be presented by The Exchange Club of Austin, which is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. The group encourages good citizenship, community service, and uses the Zilker Kite Festival as a way to bring attention to the mission of the nonprofit. To find out more about The Exchange Club, visit The Exchange Club of Austin website.

Zilker Kite Festival

Photo courtesy of the Downtown Austin Alliance

The Kite Festival begins at 10 a.m., and at 11 the Kite Making workshop, registration for the kite contest and kite flying demonstrations by professional fliers begin. The afternoon of fun continues with the kite contest launching at 1 p.m., and hours of free-range flying. Categories for the kite contest include: highest angle kite, steadiest kite, strongest pulling kites, smallest kite, most unusual kite, largest kite and mass kite ascent.

The festival will host several booths for food, crafts and other services. Check out the entire list, which includes local Austin favorites such as Amy’s Ice Creams, Daily Juice, Hat Creek Burgers and more. The vendors will be open for the entirety of the Zilker Kite Festival, so when all that kite flying activity wipes you out, nutritious local Austin food can revive your energy levels for many more hours of kite-flying fun!

Prepare for the Zilker Kite Festival by buying or creating your own special kite and viewing the map of the park for the event.  More information can be found on the festival’s Facebook page and on their website. The festival accepts volunteers for the event and donations to continue the growth of the event and the associated nonprofit. So check it out – and let’s go fly a kite! Up to the highest heights!

You knew it was coming at some point, didn’t you?

Romance in Nature: Spending Valentine’s Day Outdoors in Central Texas


It’s that time of year again – Valentine’s Day is around the corner and as you’re researching fun, romantic things to do with that special someone, Plum Creek has compiled a list of ways to show your love for your honey and the beauty of nature in Central Texas.

Central Texas Valentines Day

Photo courtesy of the Adventure Journal

Botanical gardens are cheap and romantic date option, and Kyle is bounded by two beautiful botanical gardens to the north and the south. The Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin is a serene and peaceful date spot located in Central Austin in close proximity to other outdoor hot spots, like Barton Springs Pool and Zilker Park. The 30-acre facility features a number of theme gardens, with romantic nooks and crannies for intimate moments, tinkling waterfalls, ponds and other hidden gems, Of course, the best time for the garden is the spring, once it starts getting warmer, but there is still beauty to be found. The Garden’s proximity to many other date spots is an added bonus – Zilker Park, Barton Springs, great restaurants and bars along South Lamar, and more.

Austin Valentines Day

Photo courtesy of Austin Texas.gov

San Antonio also has a couple of flower gardens, including the San Antonio Botanical Gardens and the Japanese Tea Gardens. Both are located near each other, in Central San Antonio. The Tea Gardens is a quiet and lush area that contains a large open-air pagoda, as well as koi ponds and a waterfall. It is such a beautiful and romantic space that it is a San Antonio favorite for weddings and engagement photography, so you know it’ll facilitate flying sparks. Plus, it’s near the sprawling Brackenridge Park, the San Antonio Zoo and the Pearl Brewery.

Central Texas Valentines Day

Photo courtesy of Expedia.com

Elsewhere in Central Texas, there are scenic Hill Country drives, wine country and Valentine’s Day specials out in Fredericksburg, countless cute and interesting restaurants, breweries, day spas and more. Pick your location of choice – goodness knows pretty much every town in Central Texas and the Hill Country has something beautiful or something going on – and do a little research. There are plenty of ways to love your honey and love the beauty of nature. And if it turns out to be cold on Valentine’s Day weekend, there’s no short supply of indoor date ideas either!