One-Tank Day Trips Near Some of Texas’ Major Cities

by Maddie Rhodes on October 24, 2022 in Living Texas,

The weather in Texas is perfect this time of year! One way to enjoy it is to take a mini vacation or weekend retreat. Here are some places that are easy to get to on one tank of gas, and they offer lots of opportunities for outdoor entertainment. 

Dripping Springs: 43 minutes outside of Austin

The beautiful swimming hole, Hamilton Pool Preserve, is actually a collapsed grotto formed by thousands of years of water erosion. Photo Thomas Brushel on Unsplash.

Dripping Springs is home to many different Fall activities. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or a day filled with food and drinks, Dripping Springs is the spot for you. 

If you’re with your family, the hike to the local swimming hole at Hamilton Pool Preserve is only a quarter of a mile long. While the path can be steep, the view is worth it. With the cooler weather and autumn leaves, you will find a breathtaking cliff which overhangs the water at the beach. In the past, people were able to walk under the cliff but it is currently closed due to safety concerns. While you are still able to enjoy the water, check their website as swimming is sometimes closed.

If you’re not in the mood to hike but you’re still looking to hang outside, throughout the Fall Dripping Springs has plenty of festivals. The Pumpkin Festival is going on until October 31. The festival has games, live music and, as you can guess, pumpkins. If you’re looking for events after October, they have an updated calendar of events here.

Even without festivals, Dripping Springs is known for their food and drinks. Whether you’re looking to hop from brewery to brewery or try out their BBQ and other food hot spots, you won’t be disappointed. 

Canton: 1 hour and 4 minutes from Dallas

First Trade Mondays are always busy in Canton. Courtesy of Visit Canton TX.

Canton is home to the world’s largest flea market, known as First Monday. With over 5,000 vendors, you can find anything from antiques to homemade ice cream. While the trade days only come 12 times a year, people are drawn to this event.

If you aren’t close to the first Monday of the month, don’t worry, Canton has plenty of other fun things to do. Check out Yesterland Farm to complete your Fall experience. With a corn maze, pumpkin patch, and spooktacular nights, Yesterland can give you a full taste of Fall in just one day.

Looking for something on the more adventurous side? Canton is also home to Buffalo Creek MX, a national caliber motocross track. It accounts for all levels of riders with the Pee Wee Pit Bike Track to the Daytona Style Sand which is used by Pro riders on race days. 

Galveston Island: 1 hour and 4 minutes from Houston

The lush beaches at Galveston will perfect any weekend trip. Courtesy of Visit Galveston.

Galveston Island is a perfect beach spot with more than just a beach. If you’re looking for a relaxing day getaway, the Fall is the perfect time to go because there are plenty of beaches that aren’t flooded with people. You’ll be able to find chairs, beach volleyball and cafes . . . depending on which beach you choose.

If it’s too brisk for the beach, there’s still plenty to do. Located on the waterfront is the Pleasure Pier amusement park which has roller coasters that go over the water. You can explore this with much shorter lines, as it is most popular in the summer. 

There are also plenty of things to do at Moody Gardens on Galveston Island. Moody Gardens has an aquarium (which you can walk underneath!), a rainforest pyramid, golfing and even a zip line course. It is kid friendly and they provide hotels and meals if you’re looking to stay the weekend.

Galveston also has plenty of events throughout the Fall. The Lone Star Rally is a motorcycle rally that takes place on the weekend of November 3. This free event hosts motorcycle and car shows as well as over 40 musical performances. The weekend will also have vendors selling anything between jewelry to food. 

Wimberley: 1 hour and 10 mins from San Antonio

Go for a quick dip in Blue Hole after your day of adventures. Courtesy of Visit Wimberley.

Wimberley serves as the ultimate getaway whether it’s for the day or the weekend. If it’s for the day, be sure to check out the Fall foliage at Blue Hole Regional Park. The park has trails, amphitheater, basketball and volleyball courts as well as a swimming hole. It was even recognized by Tripadvisor as a 2022 Travelers’ Choice award winner. 

Wimberley is also known for the local artists, wineries, and cuisines in its small downtown.

If there’s too much to do in one day and you’re looking for a weekend stay, definitely go to The Good Morning Ranch in Wimberley or glamping at Montesino Ranch


Cover Photo Courtesy of Visit Canton TX.

Maddie Rhodes is a graduate student at Syracuse University. She aspires to work for a travel magazine when she graduates.