If you’ve had your fill of walking around downtown Austin and are looking for other hot spots to visit, don’t fret: there are tons of lovely towns just outside of the Austin city limits that are perfect for spending a day in. One of the most popular towns for visitors (and locals) is Dripping Springs, Texas located about 40 minutes west of Austin and home to just over 4,000 people - not to mention gorgeous scenery and the Hamilton Pool Preserve. And for aspiring sommeliers and cicerones out there, Dripping Springs is also a brewery, distillery and winery destination, making it the perfect day trip that includes a combination of family and adult fun!
Hamilton Pool. Credit Dave Mead.
THINGS TO DO IN DRIPPING SPRINGS
Dreamland is an outdoor entertainment and arts venue that is sure to create fun for the whole family. Challenge others to a round of extreme miniature golf or a game of pickleball, or take it easy exploring the art installations and listening to live music.
Hamilton Pool Preserve
Hamilton Pool Preserve is hands-down the most visited site in Dripping Springs. After a short and easy hike, you arrive at the stunning oasis surrounded by overhung maiden-hair ferns and the sounds of nature. It’s never too crowded, and the shade of the cliffs make hot summer days tolerable. While there’s no swimming at this time, the hiking trails and beauty of the pool are enough to make the trip well worth it. Reservations are required every day of the week and fill up fast! Reserve your time slot online.
Explore your outdoorsy side at Reimers Ranch. Spend a day in the Hill Country with equestrian trail riding, fishing, hiking, educational programs and more. Visiting in the warmer months? Dip your feet in (or full on swim) in the Pedernales River to cool off. Reservations aren’t required for access to the park, but they are required to use the Astronomical Observatory on site. There is also a nominal, cash only fee to use the park.
Dripping Springs Distilling. Credit HLK Photos.
WHERE TO GRAB A DRINK
The Barber Shop
Looking for a laid back atmosphere with dozens of microbrews on tap? Join the Barber Shop’s social and friendly local crowd while sipping on local favorites like the 512 Nitro Pecan Porter or a Thirsty Goat Amber or Mural Agua Fresca, while taking in the unique atmosphere of the garage-turned-barbershop-turned-bar.
Bell Springs Winery
Get a generous five glasses of excellent wines and enjoy their gorgeous view while snacking on a meat and cheese plate. Take a private tasting tour and learn the history of Bell Springs, how they make their wine and get an overview of the winemaking process.
Dripping Springs Distilling
This small batch distiller is home to award winning vodka and gin. Stop by their Distillers Bar for craft cocktails and southern bites. Take a distillery tour and visit the Bottle Shop for merch and bottles to take home with you!
Courtesy of Family Business Beer Company.
Family Business Beer Company
Owned by actors Jensen and Danneel Ackles (for those Supernatural & One Tree Hill lovers), Family Business Beer Co. is as advertised - great beer and family-friendly setting. Let the kids run wild while you enjoy hand-crafted brews and take in the Hill Country scenery. Getting hungry? The pizza food truck on site has options for everyone in your group.
Treaty Oak Distilling
There’s no denying you’re in Texas when you step into Treaty Oak Distilling. The ranch house style Alice’s Restaurant is perfect for enjoying a traditional Texas barbecue meal with a sweet tea vodka, and the large backspace is frequently filled with live music, families and delightfully stiff drinks.
Twisted X Brewing Company
Look no further than Twisted X Brewing Company for handcrafted, high quality craft beer and taste their new recipes Thursday through Friday in their tasting room. Sip on a McCOnaUhaze or Austin Lager while eating some food from local barbecue joint, Pig Pen BBQ.
A gem of central Texas is Westcave Cellars, where you can stroll through nine acres of 100% pure Texan grapes. Taste all the different varieties of wine in the vineyard, then take a couple of bottles home with you and enjoy their unique Texas wine all year long.
Courtesy of Abby Jane Bake Shop.
PLACES TO EAT IN DRIPPING SPRINGS
Abby Jane Bakeshop
You can’t get more local than Abby Jane Bake Shop. Not only does owner Abby Love use only Texas heritage grains, the shop is INSIDE the Dripping Springs grain mill - about as close to the source as you can get! Watch the grain millers do their thing as you sip on a latte and enjoy the fruit of their labor like one of the croissants.
This French-inspired farm to table restaurant brings traditional French cooking techniques and pairs it with Hill Country ingredients and hospitality. Stop in for lunch, dinner or weekend brunch and keep in mind that the menus are subject to change daily to ensure use of the freshest ingredients! Insider tip: get the pimento cheese croquettes if they’re on the menu - the a Texas favorite, with a French twist.
Courtesy of Mazama Coffee Co.
Mazama Coffee Co.
Mazama is no coffee chain - this local hang focuses on high quality roasts, brews and bakes all done in house. Coffee lovers go crazy for Mazama, right in the heart of the Texas Hill Country.
Rolling in Thyme and Dough
If you’re craving a local treat, head over to Thyme and Dough for some of their seasonal breakfast croissants, turkey and thyme sandwiches, or maybe a slice of one of their dozens of pies, guaranteed homemade.
Skull & Cakebones
Sick of the barbecue and looking to try some vegan food? Head over to Skull and Cakebones for the market and bakery's delicious (and animal product free) Avocado Smash, Chik’n Pot Pie, or grab n’ go chocolate puddings.
Take your tastebuds on an international trip at Camp Lucy’s Tillie’s. The restaurant was named after owner Whit Hank’s great grandmother - a world traveler who brought tokens of her journeys back to Austin. The menu focuses on cuisine with Texas roots and international flair (just like Great Grandma Tillie). Want to take the experience to the next level? Stay overnight at the idyllic ranch resort to extend your time in Dripping Springs.
With Austin as home-base, it's easy to explore the Texas Hill Country! See what other towns you can explore just outside of Austin on our Hill Country Day Trips page.