Contrary to what you might imagine for a Texas landscape, Austin is covered in lush forests and rolling hills. This is why the area to the west of Austin, the area in central Texas that’s best for camping, is known as “hill country.” The parks in Texas Hill Country are home to flowery meadows and flowing rivers. Going from the farthest from Austin inward, must see state parks include Guadalupe River, Colorado Bend, Inks Lake, and Pedernales Falls.
If you drive in close to Austin from these state parks, you’ll eventually reach Lake Travis. This “lake” is actually a reservoir built into the Colorado River to mitigate flooding risks. Several trails loop around Lake Travis, such as those within the Pace Bend Park, providing excellent views of the sunset at dusk. To give you an idea of the other amenities it offers, the lake’s official motto is “if it’s on a lake, it’s here!”
Moving in even closer to the city, Mckinney Falls State Park is located within 10 miles of downtown Austin. It’s too close to the city to stargaze or to feel like you’re out alone in nature, but it offers places to swim, fish, hike, bike, and picnic. Plus, electric hookups for RVs are only $20 a night.
Now that you’ve explored all of Austin’s surrounding areas, let’s look at what there is to do in the city itself. Still have energy for more outdoor activities? Visit Barton Springs and nearby Lady Bird Lake and Zilker Park. Between these attractions you can swim, kayak, paddle-board, hike, play sports, and more. For food, hit up a barbeque spot or a taco truck. Franklin is the most famous BBQ in Austin, but if you don’t want to wait in line all day, try Terry Black's or La Barbeque, but you'll find out that anything on Austin's culinary menu is bound to be a treat.