The best locations in or around Texas for those who don’t want to relive a Harmony Korine film
For some, spring break is a time for booze, dancing and making new mistakes to ignore the ones made during the school year. For others, including me, it’s an opportunity to get away from those people.
Unfortunately, the most popular places to visit for spring break are usually litter-filled beaches and party cities. Have no fear; there are some peaceful places out there. Here are some options for a tasteful spring break:
Distance from Austin: 81.5 miles (approx. 1.5 hr drive)
Located in the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is home to tons of activities to do with family and friends. This little German town features winery tours and tastings, an array of shops, history museums, and several art galleries to admire. It’s usually full of middle-aged people and families so it’s a quiet escape during one of the noisiest breaks of the school year.
Distance from Austin: 440 miles (approx. 7 hr drive)
Big Bend is one of the most beloved national parks in Texas. Although it is a bit of a grueling drive, the sights and hikes are well worth the miles. There are all kinds of scenic drives, hiking trails and a Fossil Discovering Exhibit. It’s a perfect opportunity to see the natural wonders of Texas while avoiding the unnatural horrors of drunk college students.
Distance from Austin: 95 miles (approx. 2 hr drive)
The oldest living cave attraction in Texas is perfect for those who want to camp but don’t want to drive too far to get away. Located near San Antonio, this campsite features lots of spots for tents and RVs alike. During your stay, you can get a tour of the ancient caverns, participate in a flashlight evening tour, visit the “rock shop,” or dig up some fun at the Gem and Rock Quarry.
Distance from Austin: 162 miles (approx. 2 hr 45 min drive)
For every child who loved “Land Before Time” or “Dinosaur,” this is a dream come true. At this cherished yet lesser-known state park, you can walk in dinosaur tracks left millions of years ago, hike on the numerous trails, swim or fish in the lake, and, of course, buy lots of souvenirs at the gift shop. Be forewarned; it might be full of children but at least they’re not obnoxiously partying.
Distance from Austin: 240 miles (approx. 3 hr 40 min drive)
Spanning over five miles of beachfront, Mustang Island is a state park akin to a quieter South Padre Island. Swim and surf on the Gulf of Mexico, build a sandcastle, camp along the shore, go fishing, watch the birds, or dare to tread the Mustang Island paddling trail. Regardless of what you do, it’ll be a wonderful day down by the sea.
Distance from Austin: 175 miles (approx. 3 hr 15 min drive)
Even though it’s not “technically” a city (it’s an “unincorporated community”), Port O’Connor is one of the more peaceful coasts in Texas. Be sure to visit the Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area for some tranquil beach camping, go fishing on any coastline you choose, kayak on the ocean, or visit one of the many quaint shops dotted around the area, including The Treasure Chest. If you’ve never been to a cozy beachfront, now’s your chance.
For those that can afford to spend a little more for the break, here are some places a little farther from home:
Distance from Austin: 1,066 miles (approx. 16 hr drive/2.5 hr flight)
“One enchanted island”; or, at least, that’s what their website claims. Amelia Island has proudly won numerous accolades and awards, proving that they are a favored spot for travel critics and tourists alike. Located on the northeast coast of Florida, Amelia Island is home to pristine beaches, delicious cuisine, boatloads of history, incredible nature sights and even features a ghost tour! They’ll be the classiest damn ghosts you’ve ever seen.
Distance from Austin: 1,162 miles (approx. 18 hr drive/2.5 hr flight)
This island seems exceedingly fancy but it’s nice to dream, isn’t it? Like previous beaches, explore this island by swimming in the open ocean, biking along the shores, visiting the boutiques, or, if you’re brave enough, complete the Aerial Adventure ziplining course. While on the beach, keep an eye out for the endangered loggerhead sea turtles!
Distance from Austin: 1,822 miles (approx. 27 hr drive/3.5 hr flight)
Finding an idyllic small-town feel in California may feel like a daunting task but Healdsburg has got you covered. Only about an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Healdsburg offers an abundance of wineries, an array of wonderful food and lots of natural wonders that lay far from the smog of Los Angeles.
Distance from Austin: 856 miles (approx. 12 hr 45 min drive/1 hr 40 min flight)
Nashville: a city that has been called home by stars such as Dolly Parton, Keith Urban and Evan Rachel Wood. There are countless things to do in the Music City, including a number of live shows and events, restaurants filled with mouth-watering food, museums, art galleries, and so much more. Hopefully, you’ll run into a celebrity or two while you’re there…