Favorite Day Trip From Austin?
Exciting San Marcos, TX
Content and Photos Provided by San Marcos CVB 2010
Unique blend of old and new, charming and hip, natural and spectacular, San Marcos boasts a unique multicultural heritage and history where cultural influences are a part of everyday life.
Conveniently located between Austin and San Antonio, San Marcos is known not only for its natural beauty and the crystal clear, spring-fed San Marcos River, but also for some of the best shopping you could ask for. The crystal clear San Marcos River, see left, is a refreshing 72 degrees year-round. Rent a tube or kayak and navigate its length, snorkel, scuba dive, or just float about in the deep-water pools.
Featuring more than 240 shops and amazing discounts up to 65% off retail, the prices and selection at Tanger Outlet Center and San Marcos Premium Outlets are hard to resist. Together they make San Marcos home to the largest outlet shopping center in the Unites States!
Looking for something a little different? The San Marcos Downtown Historic District offers a unique alternative to the mainstream. Nestled around the restored 1909 Hays County Courthouse, it’s just a short walk to trendy boutiques, gift shops, restaurants, and more all in the heart of the city.
When you’re ready for a break from shopping, why not take in our historic homes and architecture? San Marcos is fortunate to have preserved its past and is home to many neighborhoods designated as Historic Districts. The areas contain a variety of Victorian, Classical Revival, and Craftsman architecture built between 1880 and the 1940’s.
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy the many flavors of San Marcos. From home- cooked treats to international cuisine, we have a variety of restaurants that is sure to delight every palette. Get a taste of what you’ve been missing and dine at one of our local establishments.
If it’s museums or art you are hoping to find, San Marcos has choices that are sure to please. The LBJ Museum of San Marcos preserves the legacy of Lyndon Baines Johnson by focusing on his formative years when he honed his political skills and developed a strong commitment to education and civil rights. The 36th President of the United States attended what is now Texas State University, the only Texas college to graduate a future President.
Dick’s Classic Garage contains three decades of the finest cars ever made in the United States. With pristine models dating back as far as 1929, the collection is a tribute to the American passion with the automobile.
The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University is a literary/photographic center that inspires visitors with changing exhibitions related to Southwestern writers and photography of the Southwest and Mexico. Seven large gallery spaces include a permanent display of costumes, props, set pieces, and other memorabilia from Lonesome Dove.
San Marcos also has many ways to enjoy the natural beauty of our area. Start at the beginning where 1,000 springs bubble to the surface and form the headwaters of the San Marcos River at Aquarena Center. Walk the Wetlands Boardwalk on a self-guided tour or take an historic glass-bottom boat ride. Feeling a little more adventurous? Paddle out on a Glass-bottom Kayak Tour and see that there’s more to the river than meets the eye. These one or three hour guided tours are an intimate way to learn more about this native habitat.
Enjoy the crystal clear San Marcos River at Rio Vista Falls Park. Shaded by giant Cypress trees and a refreshing 72 degrees year-round, the crystal clear San Marcos River is the perfect place to jump in and cool off. Rio Vista Falls is three amazingly fun drop-offs of easy, whitewater rapids. Rent a tube or kayak to take a run through it or just float about in the deep-water pools that precede it.
Bring your bike. Bring your backpack. Bring your binoculars. Explore expanded hiking and biking trails along our scenic parks and natural areas. Choose from half-mile ADA accessible trails with information kiosks and benches that are perfect for beginners, to miles-long natural trails to satisfy those looking for a little more adventure. The in-town trail locations make them a perfect greenspace when you need your nature fix.
Go deep underground and see up close the devastation of a major quake at Wonder World Park. Unlike most caves, Wonder World is a dry-formed cave where touching the walls is not only allowed but encouraged. Exit by the “Stratavator” and ride high into the sky to the Tejas Observation Tower. Be amazed by the topsy-turvy world of the Anti-Gravity House where everything is backwards, even water flows up hill! Board the train and splash through the waterfalls of Mystery Mountain on your way to the Texas Wildlife Petting Park.Wonder World Park (seen in the cave shot here)– Known as the first commercial cave in Texas, Wonder World Park has been offering guided tours of the nation’s only true example of an earthquake-formed cave for more than 105 years. Go deep underground and see up close the devastation of a major quake. Unlike most caves, Wonder World is a dry-formed cave where touching is not only allowed but encouraged. Exit by the “Stratavator” and ride high into the sky to the Tejas Observation Tower. Be amazed by the topsy-turvy world of the Anti-Gravity House where everything is backwards, even water flows up hill! Board the train and splash through the waterfalls of Mystery Mountain on your way to the Texas Wildlife Petting Park.
Marble Falls: A Hill Country Treasure, Just Minutes from Austin
Edit and Photo Courtesy of the Marble Falls Chamber of Commerce
Founded in 1887 by General Adam R. Johnson, Marble Falls is located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country on the Colorado River. Before the dam was built to form Lake Marble Falls, water cascaded over 20-foot ledges which resembled marble, providing a name for the new city. The falls are now underwater and only visible on those rare occasions when the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) lowers the lake for repairs to the dam and boat docks.
The first city officials were elected in 1907 when a mayor-alderman form of government was instituted. In 1917, Ophelia “Birdie” Crosby Harwood was elected mayor - thus becoming the first woman mayor in the United States to be elected by an all male electorate.
However, it was the 866-foot stone monolith called Granite Mountain looming on the town’s western edge that secured Marble Falls’ place in Texas history. It was here that the famed “Texas Pink” granite was quarried to construct the Texas State Capitol Building in Austin. The stone was a donation from progressive area citizens in exchange for a rail connection with Austin. The Austin and Northwestern Railroad built an extension to Marble Falls from Granite Mountain in 1889, and a post office was also established that year. Granite Mountain is still actively quarried, and a variety of granite products are shipped all over the world.
Today, it is the natural setting of lakes and hills that makes the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ area one of the most attractive and popular tourist and retirement destinations in all of Texas. When exploring Marble Falls, do not miss these amazing sites: The Marble Falls Depot, Granite Mountain, Governor O.M. Roberts home, Hills of Home Memorial, Otto Ebeling House, Christian-Matern House, The Roper House, the old Post Office Building, Liberty Hall, Hardin-Ussery House, Brandt Badger House, the Marble Falls Alliance University, the Marble Falls Factory Site and Dead Man’s Hole.
Be Sure to See:
HARDIN-USSERY HOUSE: 700 Main Street. This grand two-story house was constructed in 1892, and served as a private residence until 1993. It has undergone restoration and now houses a shop offering gifts and collectibles.
BRANDT BADGER HOUSE: South Fourth Street, between Avenue M and N Streets. Built in 1888 with stones from Granite Mountain that were cut from the quarry rubble remaining after the shaping of the blocks used in the state capitol.
LIBERTY HALL: 119 Avenue G. Adam G. Johnson’s home, an elegant, three-story 1887 mansion.The 7,000-square-foot house faces south, which provided the Johnsons with a spectacular view of the waterfalls that gave the town its name.
MARBLE FALLS ALLIANCE UNIVERSITY: 2001 Broadway. Part of Adam Johnson’s master plan for Marble Falls included a university.
MARBLE FALLS FACTORY SITE: This site is on US 281, just north of the Colorado River Bridge on Lake Marble Falls.
POST OFFICE BUILDING: 115 Main Street. The original Marble Falls Post Office was established in 1884, and was located on the south side of the Colorado River. This building was constructed in 1910.
THE ROPER HOUSE: 707 Third Street at US 281. George C. and Elizabeth Roper constructed this double galleried hotel building around 1888.
Don't Stop There!
The Texas Hill Country is so full of treasures, nooks and niches the Texas Hill Country is famous for historical towns, breathtaking vistas, charming bed & breakfasts, and amazing and rare food, shopping and fun. From nearby Dripping Springs just ten minutes away, to the artistic town of Wimberley to our South, or to the quaint town of Brenham, you’ll find endless enjoyment. Grab a map, get a friend, and get out and explore the rolling hills full of unforgettable memories and delights.
An amazing hill country day trip is the charming, artistic town of Wimberley, TX. Leave your city worries behind and take a hill country drive for a relaxing weekend in Wimberley. Wimberley is located approximately 45 minutes south of Austin. The drive to Wimberley from Austin is scenic and lovely. The Texas Hill Country is unique and special, and the Wimberley Valley is nestled right in the heart of it all. Visitors come to our beautiful valley to enjoy the cool shaded quietness of our cypress-lined streams or the splendor of our Hill Country vistas or just the relaxed, laid back atmosphere of our slower pace. After arriving, however, they find that there is so much more to Wimberley beyond the charming friendliness they encounter. There are activities for the whole family there.
(Photo courtesy of Wimberley.org)