Four weekend adventures outside Austin

Anna McCreary

If you’ve found yourself stuck in Austin this summer, don’t waste the weeks hiding from the unbearable heat. Get your keys and grab a friend — The Daily Texan has four suggestions for weekend excursions within a 100-mile radius of Austin.

Colorado Bend State Park

If you’re craving the fresh air, take advantage of a sunny weekend and head out to Colorado Bend State Park, located north of Austin in the Hill Country. Whether you simply want to take in the 60-foot waterfall, hike through Gorman Falls, swim in the river or go spelunking through some of the area’s many caves, this park offers the greatest of every outdoor experience.

Bend, Texas – 96 miles outside of Austin (2 hours)

$5 entrance fee 

The Painted Churches

If you want to see art in its natural habitat, four of Texas’ 20 historical painted churches are centered around the small town of Schulenberg. Built by Czech and German immigrants in the late 1800s, these churches are adorned with vibrant paintings and fine woodwork meant to emulate the European architectural styles of marble, stone and gold-leaf columns. The churches are all currently active and celebrate mass weekly, and both guided and self-guided tours of the area are available.

Schulenburg, Texas – 80 miles outside of Austin (1.5 hours)

Free self-guided tours

 Village of Salado

Main Street Salado is the ultimate small town experience, complete with old-fashioned shoppes, antique stores, art galleries and small country restaurants. The town is rich with history, and its marketplace is brimming with over 60 shops and galleries. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the deer and fireflies in the fields behind The Shed, one of the town’s country diners.

Salado, Texas – 50 miles outside of Austin (1 hour)

Free window shopping and parking

Waco Mammoth National Monument

Bring out your inner paleontologist at the Waco Mammoth National Monument. The prehistoric site is where 16 woolly mammoths were discovered between 1978 and 1990, and six of these fossilized creatures are still on display in their original discovery locations. Experience them for yourself on one of the museum’s guided tours and immerse yourself into the Ice Age.

Waco, Texas – 100 miles outside of Austin (2 hours)

$4 entrance fee for students