Categories: CampingDestinations

For The Thrill of It: A Weekend in Texas Hill Country

We asked Hipcamp Voyager, Sarah Vaughn, what camping near Austin for a weekend looks like. It turns out, it’s a helluva lot of fun, hitting three parks in 2 days, easy:I moved to Texas roughly three years ago from the Midwest in hopes of living in a place with warmer weather. I have always had a passion for travel and previously spent a lot of time abroad, but once landing in the south I wanted to explore all that it had to offer. So my boyfriend and I just started taking as many trips as we could make the time for…which turned out to be pretty often.

Neither of us are native to Texas, which is something I like because there is so much that is unique and versatile about this state that it leaves you wanting to see more. So naturally, on the weekends we set out to visit a new park, or hit up some new mountain bike trails that we haven’t been to yet. This has created a pretty good following by native Texans and out of towners alike that had no idea Texas had so many hidden gems. I’ve had people comment on my photos that they had no idea Texas could look so beautiful, or that they need to make there way to visit Texas now after seeing what’s out there. And that is what it’s all about is exploring the outdoors and motivating others to do the same!

To give you a better idea of what Texas has to offer, here is a glimpse into a typical weekend trip in Texas Hill Country:

We set out on Friday evenings usually, and fight to escape the urban jungle of Houston to make our way west. We have planned to visit several hill country destinations on this trip, and decided to make our home base Pace Bend, a park situated on Lake Travis outside of Austin.

Pace Bend is one of those parks that has done a good job of flying under the radar, perhaps because it is a Travis County Park and not an official Texas State Park, but don’t let that fool you, this park has lots to offer. It has over 400+ primitive campsites, and many of which are situated on the bluffs of Lake Travis. It isn’t difficult to secure a site with some amazing views. Not to mention on some of the cooler mornings you will see beautiful blankets of fog that roll over your campsite coupled with the ensuing sunrise.

Also at Pace Bend they have 15 miles of hike and bike trails that we sampled. For any mountain bikers out there- you don’t want to miss these trails! They are listed within the top 10 in the state!

Close by to Pace Bend is Pedernales Falls State Park. Here crystal blue waters spill over several waterfalls, limestone formations and a series of pools creating that in which is Pedernales Falls. Enjoy your time hanging around the pools as the water rushes by you, or venture off into other areas of the park where you can go tubing, swim, fish, mountain bike or horseback ride!

After visiting Pedernales and on our way back to our base camp at Pace Bend, we decided to make a quick stop at one of our favorite hill country locations, Hamilton Pool. This iconic swimming hole is just a little ways upstream from the Pedernales River and is truly a sight to see. Limestone outcroppings create a hill country grotto while a 50ft waterfall empties into the pool below. It is a popular destination for swimming in the summer, but should not be ignored in the winter. This is often when you will see the water at its brightest blue and green colors!

Another location that you can visit (we didn’t get to on this trip, but did this past summer) apart from Hamilton Pool, is a true Texas hidden gem called Jacob’s Well. Of all my native Texan friends, I think only a couple had ever heard of it. It is tucked away in the picturesque town of Wimberley, TX. I have to say this is my favorite place in Texas. I have never seen anything like it, and there is just this eeriness to it that draws you in closer.. The well is spring fed, and is one of the longest underwater cave systems in Texas. It is unknown just how long the caves actually are, as it is one of the most dangerous diving spots in the world- it still has yet to be discovered. Many cave divers have lost their lives in the depths of the well. Nonetheless a must see if you are in Texas!

Follow more of Sarah’s adventures on Instagram!

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