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Thanks to its natural beauty, many festivals, robust entertainment scene, and general charm, Austin is a great vacation spot pretty much year-round. There’s plenty to delight locals and visitors in its inner neighborhoods as well as in the towns and outdoor pursuits available in Central Texas and the Hill Country.
Due to the general sunniness and warm climate of its home state, the Texas capital and surrounding area are also a big draw for their natural swimming areas, especially (though hardly only) during the summer—Barton Springs, for instance, was one of the region’s defining features long before Austin became a city.
As summer fades into fall (at least according to the calendar), the city’s festival season starts in earnest—meaning it continues to be a vacation spot long after the kids are back in school and the winter holidays are on the horizon. The Austin City Limits Festival (now officially called simply “ACL”), the Texas Book Festival, the Texas Tribune Festival, the Austin Film Festival, and scads of smaller events keep the city’s dance card (and hotels) full through most of September and October. Then there’s Halloween, the winter holidays, Valentine’s Day, and ... we’re back around to SXSW, then summer.
And there’s more to traveling than hotels, yes? Especially if you’re visiting with more than a few people—for whatever reason. From a high-design, fun-palace compound to a colorful neighborhood home where the owners invite you to enjoy their records and books, one of these home rentals should be perfect for your next Austin vacation.
Note: Starting prices are just that—some of these rentals will be priced higher (to much, much higher) during big festivals and events.
Gorgeous Villa in East Riverside
Once the family home of the owner of a popular downtown Mexican-food spot, this large, villa-style house was renovated in gorgeous fashion by local designers McCray & Co. It has luxury amenities, great poolside patios and overlooking balconies, and updates that reference its original style. There’s a five-bedroom main home with rates starting at $550 per night as well as a one-bedroom casita available on request.
Historic home in East Austin
A Victorian bungalow built around the turn of the century, tucked behind rosemary plants and olive trees with a sweet front porch for lounging, hanging out, and napping, this is the kind of flexible rental that’s great for low-key, relaxing stays or—since it’s centrally located in East Austin—a beautiful spot for rest and refuge when you have a busy itinerary. It’s blocks from great neighborhood restaurants and food trucks as well as downtown. It has two bedrooms and one bathroom as well as many lovely and charming historic details. Rates start at $220 per night.
“Bloomhouse” in West Lake Hills
Designed and built in the 1970s by Frank Lloyd Wright acolyte Charles Harker in the 1970s, Bloomhouse (named for original owner Dalton Bloom) pushed the edges of “organic modernism” and is one of the most unique residences you’ll find anywhere. It’s also nicely tucked in a woodsy valley of West Lake Hills, near downtown Austin but worlds away from city noise and bustle. It’s been restored and expertly styled but remains a perfect site for a magical adventure. Rates start at $550 per night.
Hillside Modern in Zilker
Yes, you can walk to Barton Springs (and the rest of Zilker Park as well as many of Austin’s other top attractions) from this four-bedroom South Austin house, but it also has its own pool, deck, and fenced backyard if you’re feeling shy—or it’s too hot to bother. In addition to its attractive, mod decor, it has flat-screen TVs with Netflix, a piano, and a pinball machine, so there’s little chance of getting bored, indoors or out. Rates start at $438 per night.
Tropical escape in Sunset Valley
A resort-like, Bali-inspired artist’s home, this two-story house was featured on the Austin edition of the ABC Living Well channel’s Sweet Retreats show, a credit that shows in its multiple design details. The four-bedroom house is on more than two wooded acres in Sunset Valley, a suburb south of Austin that is both deceptively central and its own thing, with close-by, locally based dining, entertainment, and shopping as well as a robust natural environment with hiking trails and wildlife all around. Rates start at $770 per night.
Vintage Victorian bungalow
This charming bungalow looks right out of the IKEA catalog—a good thing when you’re looking for serene simplicity, easy clean-up, and cozy but modern surroundings. It’s an apartment-style unit in a home built in 1915 in the historic, central Hyde Park neighborhood, so you get some nice vintage qualities in the mix as well. The neighborhood is seriously walkable and should be able to meet all your food and drink needs; it’s also on major bus routes, and its leafy streets are bicycle-friendly. Rates start at $122/night.
Located on the southern tip of the Zilker neighborhood, these very hip-looking digs are in a backyard of a home that sounds quintessentially eco-conscious South Austin, with a hammock, a picnic table, and chickens in the grassy yard. It’s quite reasonably priced, starting at $88 per night, but doesn’t skimp on conveniences and comfort, including a queen bed with an organic latex mattress, a full bathroom and shower, a dinette that converts into a twin bed, plenty of power outlets/USB ports, a full entertainment system, and its own hot water heater.
Midcentury house in Rosedale
Located in the north-central Rosedale neighborhood, which was built in the 1940s and ’50s and still has a bumper crop of midcentury family homes, this four-bedroom house starts at the relatively low price of $281 per night. It has been thoroughly updated in period style (without going overboard—though it does have a new butterfly roof) for modern comfort and convenience. It’s close to Downtown and walkable to great local restaurants, bars, shopping, and more activities. Rates average $406 per night.
Cool, capacious contemporary
This two-story, contemporary/industrial rental can easily sleep as many people as were usually on MTV’s legendary Real World series and shows the same high level of attention to decor and detail as the show’s designers did. Guest parties can enjoy its many amenities and mix of public and private spaces with or without the often-drunken dramatics of the show’s participants (your choice) and will definitely appreciate the top-notch restaurants, bars, and other amenities of its vibrant East Austin neighborhood. Rates average $792 per night.
Colorful home with a personal touch
While located off South Lamar Boulevard, near very a happening restaurant row (and the legendary Broken Spoke honky-tonk), this two-story home is tucked away in a leafy family neighborhood that offers some respite from social activities or a quiet refuge for an entire vacation. It appears to be a family home most of the year and has some welcome decorative personality as well as access to records and books and other time-honored portals to entertainment. Rates start at $267 per night.