Texas is a huge state with so much to do. Most people tend to flock toward the main cities such as Dallas, Austin, Houston, etc. However, I HIGHLY recommend getting away from the cities to see beautiful places in nature (ok I always recommend doing that, no matter where you are)… but here are 5 beautiful places in Texas! 🙂
- 1. Hamilton Pool – Cost: $15/person, CASH only
By far the most stunning on this list is Hamilton Pool. It is located about 40 minutes outside of Austin, in Dripping Springs. However, it is also the most popular on this list. It is open year round from 9a-6p. From May to September a reservation is required to visit to prevent overcrowding (Click here). In October-April, no reservation needed. Swimming is allowed at certain times and prohibited at others. Refer to their website for updated conditions.
I went in April and got there the second they opened. This allowed me to literally HAVE THE PLACE TO MYSELF for a solid 20 minutes before anybody else showed up. 100% recommend going early to fully enjoy the nature aspect of it, and also for people-free photography. From the parking lot to the waterfall it is a brief but rocky walk, maybe 1/4 mile.
There is also another 1.4 mile roundtrip trail here to see a view of the Pedernales River. It was not anything to write home about compared to the Pool, but it follows a beautiful creek until it meets the river. Burned some cals while taking in great views, can’t beat that 🙂
Website: Hamilton Pool Preserve
- 2. Perdernales Falls – Cost: $6/day for adults, kids free
Pedernales Falls is located about an hour outside of Austin, in Johnson City. The falls are located in Pedernales State Park, in which camping is available. The drive to get there is beautiful (if you like the country). I passed nothing but farms, wildflowers, and about 5 other cars total. If there has been a lot of rain, be careful as the roads can flood. Pictured below is one of the roads I had to drive on to get out there.
Once in the park, you drive about 2 more miles before reaching the falls parking lot. The falls are a quick walk from the parking lot. You can then walk as far as you wish on the rocks along the river/falls. There are multiple hiking trails in this park, depending upon your interests and preferences. There is a view point of Twin Falls in this park.
Website: Pedernales State Park
- 3. Wildflowers in the Texas Hill Countryside – free 🙂
This isn’t so much a specific place, but more “just make sure you enjoy them somewhere” type of thing. Of course wildflower season is in the spring, usually March and April.. bluebonnets come and go rather quickly, but the yellows and reds and others last much longer. They will be all over the place, even in the middle of busy interstates in big cities… but I did some research of some of the best places to see the big fields of flowers and the Texas Hill Countryside was the most highly recommended.
I drove all through Texas Hill Countryside towns (Llano, Marble Falls, Kingsland, Lampasas, Fredericksburg, etc). By far my favorite place was along abandoned railroad tracks just outside of Kingsland.
It was really hard to find directions to this bridge (because you have to park in private property and walk along the tracks), and I re-parked my car and walked 3 times before finally finding it. So I will try my best to describe the location in detail: Just NORTH of Kingsland, follow 1431 North. The railroad tracks will be on your right hand side at this point. The tracks will eventually cross over 1431.. just AFTER the tracks cross 1431, there will be a dirt road on the left hand side of the street (I think its called County Road 321, but no sign that says that). Turn left there, and then shortly after you can park on the right hand side of the road by the sign pictured below.
The bridge will only be about 1/2 mile walk from there. Hope this helps all you photographers out there because I know it’s a good photography spot when wildflowers are in their prime days 🙂
- 4. Enchanted Rock – Cost: $7/day for adults, kids free
Enchanted Rock is located pretty much in the dead center of Texas, in Llano County. The closest “big city” is San Antonio. I personally stayed in the Texas Hill Countryside while exploring the area (I recommend staying the small towns such as the ones listed above in number 3).
The park has multiple trails in which you can walk, bike, or even rock climb. Camping is available. The main “attraction” here is of course Enchanted Rock itself. You walk to the summit of the huge rock to take in some amazing views of Texas. The walk itself isn’t too challenging, bur it is entirely uphill and has no shade. Bring good walking shoes, sunscreen, and water. It is literally the biggest rock I’ve ever seen. Anything that makes man look small is amazing in my book!
Website: Enchanted Rock Natural Area
- 5. Gorman Falls – Cost: $5/daily, children free
Gorman Falls is GORGEOUS. I was so surprised to see this was in the middle of the desert-like countryside of Texas. It is located in Colorado Bend State Park, which is about 45 minutes outside of Lampasas. It is definitely considered one of the more “primitive” state parks. The drive to get there was 100% beautiful countryside. When cows are literally crossing the street in front of your car and you don’t have cell service, you know you are in a nature lovers area!
The park gate is open 6a-10p, with camping available. Once in the park, there are many trails to hike, bike, fish, camp, swim, etc. The Gorman Falls hike specifically is about 3 miles long. Most of the trail is flat land surrounded with small cacti and large rocks. I heard nothing but birds chirping and the wind blowing, and saw a few small snakes and a scorpion.
The end of the trail is VERY steep and goes down quickly to the falls. There are railings though, so you will be fine. It quickly turns from rocky flatland to a beautiful, green, luscious, amazing (is that enough adjectives?) 70 foot high waterfall. It looks more like the rainforest than Texas. The road less traveled is ALWAYS worth it 🙂
Website: Gorman Falls
There ya have it. Don’t forget to always take the road less traveled and explore the natural side of this beautiful Earth. Any questions feel free to email me @ TheWrightWays113@gmail.com 🙂