City Guide

48-Hour Guide to Exploring Outside Austin10 min read

Discover the Best Places to Visit Near Austin in 48 Hours

If you only have 48 hours to explore the outdoor attractions near Austin, we’ve got you covered. Surrounded by the vast and beautiful Texas Hill Country, Austin is a mere 40-60 minutes away from a handful of beautiful campgrounds and parks.

Most of Austin’s popular attractions and campgrounds are West of the city, which makes planning a 48-hour trip much easier. There are several state parks worth visiting on your way out of the city, like McKinney Falls State Park, Pedernales Falls State Park and Hamilton Pool. These destinations are perfect for a quick day-trip during the summer, because they each have a river, waterfall or pool that you can swim in! You can find a full list of state parks at the end of the article and see their locations in our 48 Hours in Austin Map.

While state parks are plentiful and worth exploring, they’re not the only places you can camp at while exploring around the Austin area. There are also local, privately owned campgrounds and RV parks outside of Austin that are well hidden, less populated, and just as beautiful. Like hidden gems, these campgrounds are often overlooked because they neighbor larger state parks, but they are home to some of Austin’s best kept secrets—and serve as great basecamps for your weekend outings. For this reason, you’ll notice that our 48 Hours in Austin itinerary also suggests these campgrounds in addition to the Texas state parks.

If you enjoy glamping, or bringing a little luxury with you, most of these locally owned campgrounds offer that home-away-from-home experience just like a hotel would. For instance, the Austin Lone Star RV Resort  (located on the outskirts of South Austin) offers cabins with wifi, cable, and full hook-ups for RVs. They even have an onsite store, a heated pool, and a laundry facility. This would be the perfect place to stop on your way back into Austin to clean up and relax after an exciting weekend of traveling. If you want to make sure that the campground you visit offers these amenities, check out the full list of them and their websites at the end of the article.


Hitting the Road!

With only 48 hours (or one weekend) to spare, you’ve got a lot of ground to cover! Just outside of Austin lies a melting pot of history, natural wonders, wildlife, wineries, breweries, and Texas culture.  

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Fredericksburg Peach Shop, Photo by Nan Palmero

Route Suggestion #1

One of the top vacation destinations outside of Austin is Fredericksburg. This cozy German-style town is famous for its peaches, wineries, history, and Enchanted Rock—a state park located outside of town with an “enchanted” massive pink rock in it. On the main street you’ll find the National Museum of the Pacific War, a host of local shops, a few breweries, and some beautiful gardens. Outside of the city lies the wineries, organic peaches and park.

The drive into Fredericksburg from Austin already winds through the Texas Hill Country (on Highway 290), however you can plan an even more scenic route by driving through northwest of Austin and making your way south. It will be a longer drive, but you will see more of the Texas Hill Country and wildlife. This is a great scenic route to take during wildflower season. During spring, the fields leading into Fredericksburg will be full of colorful beauties to brighten up your drive.

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Texas wildflowers, Photo by Theodore Scott

Start your journey Friday afternoon, heading Northwest towards Krause Springs or Pace Bend State Park. There are two privately owned campgrounds that you can stay at in the area: La Hacienda RV Resort and Cottages and Sunset RV Resort. You can rent a cabin, park your RV, or camp at these parks and spend the evening swimming, hiking, and exploring.

Hit the road early the next morning for Fredericksburg. You can take Highway 290 for a straight shot into town (it’s still a scenic drive), or if you want to get off the beaten path, take FM 165 for a detour into Blanco, Texas. Blanco is home to the Real Ale Brewery. Spend an hour exploring this fine country town, try a local brew, then head back towards Fredericksburg when you’re ready.

Once you’re in Fredericksburg there are two private parks you can stay at. The first is the Fredericksburg RV Park (aka “The” Hill Country RV Park). This park is exclusively for RV campers. It’s quiet, private, accommodating, scenic, and is located only a few blocks away from downtown Fredericksburg. The second is Fredericksburg KOA, a campground for primitive campers, cabin glamping, and RVers alike. This campground, which is also very close to downtown, may feel like a ranch with all the cattle and old oak trees on the land. It has a park, a creek bed on the property, and even a stage for musicians to perform live music shows. So, if you decide to stay here check out the event calendar and head over to the stage for a live show!

The next morning, after you’ve experienced the best of Fredericksburg, try to wake up early to watch the sunrise on Enchanted Rock before heading back to Austin. If you’re not a morning person, simply grab a pastry from one of the many local bakeries, buy some of the famous local peaches, and head out when you’re ready. On the way back try to take a few country backroads for a few final scenic views.


Route Suggestion #2

This route is for all the history buffs and educational tourists who might enjoy learning about the history of Texas and/or native wildlife and vegetation. Bastrop, located approximately 30 miles east of Austin, is home to several state parks, the famous “Lost Pines” of Texas, and the Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Site. You can spend a full two days exploring Monument Hill, swimming and relaxing by Lake Bastrop, and biking or driving along the 12-mile scenic trail that runs between Bastrop and Buescher state parks.

Kreische brewery ruins, Photo by mlhradio

Leave Austin and head straight to Bastrop. When you get to Bastrop you can park or camp at the Bastrop / SE Austin / Colorado River KOA. This private campground offers primitive camping, cabin rentals, and RV camping. It also borders the Colorado River, so you can explore and picnic on the beautiful riverfront park in the morning or evening.

During the day take time to explore Monument Hill and learn about the history of Texas and the brave men who fought to keep Texas free from Santa Anna in 1842-1845. Also visit the Kreische Brewery (one of the top three state producers in the 1870s) and the Kreische house which were both built in the late 1850s by a German settler, Heinrich Kreische. The Monument Hill park also has a variety of trails, and a scenic bluff that overlooks La Grange and the Colorado River. While you’re there you can pick up or print a native plant identification brochure to notate which plants, trees, and wildflowers you find while exploring.

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Kreische House, Photo by Frank Jaquier

On your way back to your campsite, drive or mountain bike down a 12-mile scenic drive on Park Road 1C. This scenic drive will take you right through the beautiful Lost Pines of East Texas.

Before heading back to Austin, stop by McKinney Falls State Park. It’s not too far out of the way if you’re driving back to Austin. You can also choose to spend your second night at the Austin Lone Star RV Resort right beside the state park. You can enjoy your last evening of the weekend in nature, knowing you can sleep in the next morning because Austin is only a short five-mile drive away!


Map it Out!

On our 48 Hours in Austin Map you’ll find the state parks and locally owned campgrounds. We marked their locations on a map to help you visualize and prepare your route. The red markers are state parks and the teal are the local campgrounds. Click on the markers to show the name of the parks. You can print these maps for your convenience or simply use them to estimate travel time and scenic driving routes.

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Austin Local Campgrounds (Teal)

State Parks (Red)



roverpass camping and RV booking

When you visit the parks and campgrounds, take a picture and tag #RovingTx on Instagram or Twitter to enter your name into a drawing to win camping goodies from the RoverPass team!

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