I love a good road trip. When I was in high school, I would often just get in my car and drive. The distance I drove was dependent upon where in my high school career I was… the first car I had access to was a 1972 Toyota Corona, which pretty much limited me to trips less than five or ten miles. Next I had a Geo Storm (don’t be jealous), which afforded me the ability to drive around my region without worry. My BFF and I planned a huge cross-country road trip after high school, that was to be completely outfitted by the L.L. Bean catalog, complete with one of their green canoes tied to the roof of her Isuzu Trooper. It was going to be epic, but alas, it never happened.
Now that I am older and have a reliable car, children to drag along with me and a huge new state to explore, my thirst for adventure is reawakened. Last Summer, we had just arrived here from California, so exploring Austin was sufficient for me. We traipsed all over the place looking for a new puddle in which to cool off. Cooling off was really our main goal. Now that I’ve been here for a year (on May 27th!), I am ready to set my sights on destinations outside of Travis and Williamson counties. There are a few road trip destinations that I plan to take my kicking and screaming perfectly willing and excited children on this Summer. To start off, I am going to focus on places we can get to within “about” an hour. I say “about,” because, honestly, sometimes it takes an hour just to get to the airport from my house.
The first place I’d like to visit is WildSeed Farms in Fredericksburg. My son, James, is currently obsessed with butterflies. If you see us out at NE Metro Park, he is the little guy out in the middle of the field, intently stalking the beautiful little creatures. WildSeed Farms has a butterfly habitat that is open from March to October. Did you know that the state of Texas is home to more than 400 species of butterflies? Neither did I, until I visit the WildSeed Farms website. In addition to being a beautiful home for butterflies, the farm boasts a beer garden (biergarten, for the Deutsch-friendly), a farm store and a nursery in which you can purchase seeds of plants that are known to attract butterflies. WildSeed Farms is about 1.5 hours away from Austin. If you make a well-timed stop for lunch or potty break, your kids might not notice you slipped in that extra thirty minutes. At least that is what I am hoping!
This next road trip requires an overnight stay! I want, want, want to visit the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa. This place looks like the perfect balance between relaxing luxury and, “hey, my GPS says there’s a geocache near here!” You can explore around the nearby McKinney Roughs Nature Park by day, and get a posh spa treatment by night in the hotel’s Spa Django. The hotel also has a pretty rockin’ pool area, complete with a water slide and lazy river. There are plenty of packages available, which include something for everybody, including your spouse who might rather be playing golf. (There are apparently 54 golf courses within an hour of the hotel.) Clocking in at about 50 minutes from Austin, this road trip makes up for the fact that WildSeed Farms is 1.5 hours away. The Hyatt isn’t all that cheap, so maybe save up for this one!
I’m a pepper, he’s a pepper, wouldn’t you like to be a pepper, too? Next on my list is the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco. Another destination where the “about” an hour away from Austin applies. Google maps says the museum is about 1.5 hours from my house in Pflugerville. Ever since I heard of it, I have this hankering for an ice cold Dr Pepper from their fountain. Adult admission is $7 and child admission is $3. (There is nothing about age on the site, so you may end up paying for the bambino in the stroller, but hopefully not.) Viewing the website, I’d say the museum is probably a little “quaint,” and won’t actually take up a ton of time, which is why I am also planning on paying a visit to the Cameron Park Zoo, also in Waco. Admission will set you back a mere $9 for adults (13+) and $6 for children 4-12. The zoo is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday, 11am to 5pm on Sunday. I read a few reviews that stated that they were able to see the animals fairly up-close and personal, which is awesome. Upon perusing their site, I learned about Zoo Snoozes, an overnight program, which sounds awesome. It’s $35 per person, plus a $150 non-refundable deposit (Which I don’t really get. Why don’t they just say it’s $185 per person? Probably because no one would ever read beyond that price, right? Still, it looks like fun.)
I suppose I could go on all day, thinking up the places I’d like to visit. But since I am not a Lonestar state native, there are countless awesome destinations I don’t know about. So, friends, share with me! Where are you going this Summer? What are the destinations you think I simply must visit, or my whole life will have a gaping hole in it?