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Spring in Austin is completely unpredictable, of course. It’s seen plenty of brutal northers, torrential downpours, floods, and freak 100-degree days, not to mention stretches of nondescript mugginess and, believe it or not, lovely, actually spring-like whether
What is predictable in Austin is spring festival season. We just call it SXSW, but whatever the case, it means hordes of out-of-towers—and a healthy number of locals—descending on the central city. For many Austinites, it’s the perfect time to get out of town and experience the smaller, quieter places nearby.
Whether you’re an indoor cat or an avid enjoyer of the outdoors, getting out of town and closer to nature, wine, or just a different, much smaller town with its own charms sounds awfully appealing right now—especially if you have a cozy, quiet, low-key place to land at the end of the day (or curl up inside for the entirety—it’s your vacation, after all).
Central Texas has no shortage of such places, whether they’re in the countryside or the woods, on lakes or streams, or in one of the many adorable small towns around the area. Here are just a few ideas to get you started on planning your getaway.
Yes, you get a treehouse that is also a yurt if you book this glamping spot near Dripping Springs. While it sounds like it’s immersed in the natural countryside—with a deck for enjoying sunsets and birdwatching—it also looks to have all the modern conveniences— including Wi-Fi, a TV, free parking, heating, a microwave, and a refrigerator—as well as a whole separate bar/spread thing happening for coffee fetishists. Rates start at $246 per night.
With its dark gray exterior and midcentury interior vibe, this place near Helotes, outside San Antonio, could be mistaken for an appealing city home rather than a serviceable cabin. The vintage wood paneling and (mostly) the abundant hiking/biking trails and state parks and natural areas surrounding it brings the rustic, though. It’s also in wine country and in fact has its own vineyard, orchards, and gardens, so you don’t have to go far to explore the area’s natural beauty—or its wines. There’s also a bocce court and access to a shared pool. Rates start at $125 per night.
Not every rental cabin near Waco, Texas—home of Fixer Upper and the mammoth Magnolia Market—is all barnwood and exposed shiplap (and a surprising number are modern tiny houses). But if old wood is what you’re looking for, you can certainly find it in this deceptively rustic-looking cabin a few miles outside of town. While the exterior looks like it could be a facade on a movie set, it has a country-chic interior with all you need in the way of citified comfort, including Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, heating, and fully equipped kitchen. There’s also a barbecue and a fire pit outside. Nightly rental starts at $108
These 240-square-foot lodgings near look perfect for the tiny-house-curious—or for experienced fans. It has a loft bed, a full kitchen, all the wireless, and refreshing, 1970s-inspired decor. In contrast to the cottage, the large, oak-covered yard is private and completely fenced—especially nice, since dogs are allowed. There are two decks, a grill a meal, a fire pit, and a hammock as well. It’s near but not in Wimberley, the classic Hill Country town on the Blanco River, and surrounded by natural beauty, including two legendary swimming holes. Prices start at $145 per night.
A cabin on 52 acres of land near Garfield, east of Austin, will surely get you the big skies and quietude you might crave for creative inspiration (the place is billed as a “writer’s retreat”) or just because. The interior is less rustic-looking than the outside, where breezes usually blow across the front porch, but it is just the basics—no phone, TV or internet. Prices start at $150 per night.
If you like your country cabins resort-style and extremely glampy, with a side of adjacent winery, you’ll want to check out Lucky Arrow Retreat. Located near Dripping Springs, the 15-acre hospitality compound features a variety of cabins and yurts, including the dogtrot-style breezeway cabin pictured above. It also has a beer garden, heated pools, and “kid-menities.” The capper, though, might be the tours it conducts in its vintage Land Cruiser, which can include wineries, breweries, the area’s famous barbecue stops, and other themed destinations. Prices for their yurts start at $159.
This homey-looking place should fulfill all your fantasies of living in a little cabin on Lake Travis. It’s convenient to amenities in the area but private, with rural surroundings. It’s on a hilltop overlooking the lake and has water access, including an area for boat and jet ski parking, boat rentals nearby, and a guest pass for a boat launch at ramp in Lago Vista. There’s dining and golfing nearby as well as quieter activities such as wildlife-watching from the front porch. Nightly rates average $175.
Hanging out in a treehouse sounds kind of rustic, if romantic, but this Spicewood number elevates the elegance. It has heating, air-conditioning, a kitchenette, a living area, and a king-sized bed as well as a loft for additional guests. Across a suspended bridge is a full bathroom and bathhouse, including a soaking tub. Of course, guests will probably want to hang out in the tree itself, or perhaps under it, which is why there’s both a deck and an area with chairs along the creek underneath. Rates start at $728 per night.
A Mongolian-style yurt near the crystal streams and woods of Wimberley is sometimes just the thing for your glamping needs. This one has a queen-size bed, a private bathroom with an outdoor shower, and a covered kitchenette with a refrigerator and a barbecue. It also has wifi, a television, air conditioning, a hammock, and on-site parking. It’s located on a “glamping site” (a glampground?) with shared amenities such as a hot tub, sweeping views, and and 10 acres of trails.