Austin has so much to offer when it comes to entertainment, but you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you don't head out on a road trip and explore the surrounding areas from time to time. Here are four unique places to visit in Central Texas the next time you feel like getting away for the weekend.
1. Calf Creek, Texas
Texas is known for its ghost towns, and this is one of the most unique ones within a reasonable driving distance from Austin. It's located about 2 hours and 40 minutes to the northwest of Austin off Route 29.
Calf Creek is famous for the battle that was fought there in 1831 between James Bowie and the Native Americans. Walk through the old town and you’ll see the old church, school, post office and cemetery, all of which have been abandoned for decades. When you're done exploring, consider getting lunch in nearby Brady where there's a Pizza Hut and a few locally owned restaurants.
2. Blanco State Park
Blanco State Park is located about 1.5 hours west of Austin in Blanco, Texas. There's definitely something to satisfy everyone here, from picnic areas, to fishing spots, to swimming holes. The park stretches along the banks of the Blanco River where you can drop in for some paddling or boating. There's a shallow wading pool next to the Fall Dam where you can swim safely and rent inflatable tubes for floating. Admission to Blanco State Park is $5 for adults and free for children ages 12 and under. If you want to stay overnight, you can book a campsite and stay in your tent.
3. Manor, Texas
If you've seen the film What's Eating Gilbert Grape starring Leonardo DiCaprio, then a visit to nearby Manor, Texas is in order. This is the town where the movie was filmed, including the famous scene where Leo's character climbs the water tower located in the center of town.
Manor is only about 30 minutes east of Austin, so this is a great day tip to make on your next day off. Walk through the town to see sights from the film, like the Manor Grocery located on West Parsons Street. There are also plenty of geocaches to find in the area! Bring a lunch, as this is a small town without a lot of dining options.
4. Pilot Point, Texas
Drive north of Austin along route 35, and in about 3.5 hours, you'll reach Pilot Point, the city where the film Bonnie & Clyde was filmed. The bank that the duo held up still stands in the center of town. In fact, Pilot Point hosts an annual festival, called Bonnie & Clyde Days, each October. While you're in town, stop by Whistle Post Brewing for a pint of craft beer.
Residents of Springs at Lakeline and Springs at Round Rock, are there any other nearby towns or attractions you'd recommend for a visit? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments section below.