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.

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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.

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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.

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.

Toons & Tunes


It’s Friday night.  You’re sitting around the house.  Bored.  No plans.  Wishing you could take advantage of balmy summer nights…

Sound like you?  Well, it just so happens that there’s a fun and easy solution!  Hop in the car and take a quick drive up to Buda for Toons & Tunes, an outdoor movie and concert series.  Every Friday night from June 3rd to August 5th you can come to Buda City Park and enjoy bands under the pavilion or family-friendly movies under the stars.  Bring your blankets, lawn chairs, snacks and the whole family!  The series kicks off June 3rd with Karate Kid.

Admission is free!  Movies begin at 9 pm and concerts begin at 8 pm.  Click here for schedule of events or call the Buda Parks & Recreation Department at (512) 312-0084 for more information.

Barton Creek Greenbelt


The Barton Creek Greenbelt is an approximately 8 mile stretch of land reaching from Zilker Park to the City of Westlake.  It is divided up into three sections: Lower Greenbelt, Upper Greenbelt, and Barton Creek Wilderness Park, and is characterized by large limestone cliffs, dense foliage, and shallow bodies of water.  The Greenbelt offers rock climbing and trails for walking, jogging, hiking, or mountain biking.  After periods of significant rainfall, the river fills up and offers swimming, cliff diving, kayaking and tubing.  Cavers can also enjoy Travis County’s longest cave, Airman’s Cave, which measures 2 miles long.

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