As the pages of the calendar begin to flip more rapidly, we begin to wish for a way to slow down the passing of time, and nothing quite does the job like a summer vacation. For a week out of our lives—or more if we are really lucky—we forget about responsibilities, we choose happiness, and we slow down the rapid-fire pace of life. Summer vacation days spread out before us long and seemingly unending as we stay up late, sleep in even later, and feel the rays of the sun loosen tight muscles. When your own personal summer journey brings you to the rolling hills of Dripping Springs, the opportunities to enjoy, to relax, and to play are as endless as the number of stars that twinkle in that big Texas sky you will stare up at every night of your stay in one of our fantastic I Love Dripping Springs summer sanctuaries. This guide to the beauty of a Dripping Springs summer escape and the joys, comfort, and luxuries found in our Hill Country abodes will help you fill the minutes of your getaway with Texas summer activities that will linger in your memories and in your heart for years to come.
Summers can get sultry in the summer, and although you may want to spend your afternoons exploring interior adventures, the mornings are meant for getting out there and playing in the summer sun! Hamilton Pool Preserve, 24300 Hamilton Pool Road, is a historic swimming hole that has been Texans’ play place for generations. It is no longer open for swimming at this time, sadly, but many trails in the preserve are open. Head over to the preserve and follow in the footsteps of our ancestors as you explore the beauty of the area and enjoy the quiet and peace that makes the pool a favorite of everyone who visits, whether they swim or not!
Early risers will appreciate the beauty of a summer morning when spent with rod in hand, seeking the catch of the day at McKinney Falls State Park, located in nearby Austin. Onion and Williamson Creeks run through this state park, and no fishing license is needed when fishing from the shore, so grab your bait, your cooler, and drop your line. The sounds of Onion Creek rushing over limestone rocks will lull you into a quiet state of contemplation and awareness of the beauty of the world, so even if you don’t catch anything, this will not be a wasted trip! Biking and hiking trails run through the park, leading intrepid explorers to the remains of the home of one of Austin’s earliest settlers, so if not everyone is an avid angler, there will be plenty of activities to keep them occupied while you do your thing!
Take a step back in time with a visit to Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead & Museum, located at 570 Founders Park Road, and lose yourself in the charm of another lifetime. The complex offers five acres of history, including two restored log cabins, and is destined to increase your appreciation of the struggles early settlers went through to make Dripping Springs the retreat town it is today!
Texas Hill Country also doubles as Texas Wine Country, and the best way to enjoy a lazy summer’s day, in our humble opinions, is with a cool glass of the grape in hand! The prohibition style décor at the Sidecar Tasting Room at 501 Old Fitzhugh Road adds interest to the delicious wines being offered, the Texas stone farmhouse and acres of mature oak trees will charm you when you visit Parmeson Wines, 5300 Bell Springs Road, and for a taste of California’s Napa Valley, Graveyard Vineyard at 5258 Bell Springs Road has brought their California taste to the Texas Hill Country with great aplomb! Slowpokes Wine Tours and Shuttles offer a safe way to complete your tour of wine country, as they do the driving; all you have to do is sit, sip, and smile!
Because not all travelers are fans of wine, Deep Eddy Vodka Tasting Room at 2250 US-290 offers sips of their wares, ensuring that EVERYONE of legal age has a beverage they will love! For all you beer drinkers out there, we can promise there are places that will add to the wonders of your Dripping Springs vacation; this IS Texas after all, and although we love our wines, there will always be a special place in our heights for the simple can of beer. Of course, beer has risen in the ranks to the point where it is not that simple anymore, and your beer may be best served in a chalice, a growler, or a bottle, but however you like it, Twisted X Brewing Company (23455 FM150 W), Acopon Brewing Company (211 W Mercer Street), and Ghost Note Brewing (23663 Ranch Road 12 @, Ghost Note Lane), are all destined to serve up your newest obsession. Seeking a good meal to go with your ice-cold craft beer? The Barber Shop, 207 W Mercer Street, doesn’t offer haircuts, styles, or shaves anymore, but they do serve the all-American food and beer you crave in a space that once was Dripping Springs local barber shop!
Summers aren’t always about exciting adventures that take your breath away. Sometimes the season we all look forward to every year is enhanced by the simpler activities of our youth. The taste of ice cream on a hot day has your tongue racing around the cone trying to get it all before it melts into a sticky mess on your hands and clothes, and Dripping Springs Delights, a relatively new shop in town, has exactly what you need to be transported back to the carefree days of your youth. Also offering a selection of artisan-created wares, the grown-up in you will appreciate the credit card you put aside specifically for vacation expenses!
Your road trip to Austin is sure to be filled with fun and excitement, but the simple pleasures of ice cream do not have to be ignored as you step in the doors of Lick Honest Ice Creams on Lamar Boulevard. Standing in line, contemplating the different flavors, thinking you want something exotic such as their Grapefruit with Champagne Marshmallows, but when you get to the counter, the words, “I’ll take two scoops of Texas Cheesesteak,” fall out of your mouth as they have a dozen times before! Choosing ice cream flavors is an important decision to make, but we can promise, every flavor offered by Lick Honest will make you happy!
Another time-honored summer activity for children of all ages is the capturing of fireflies as day turns to night, and although in many places of the world the fireflies (or lightning bugs!) have disappeared, in Dripping Springs you can teach your children the joys of watching them light up the night. Lying on your stomach in the soft grass outside your I Love Dripping Springs hideaway, watching the luminescent creatures flicker in the dusk sky, perhaps pretending to wear one on your ring finger (much to the delight of your young daughter) and listening to her peals of laughter ring through the night—these are the moments you can’t hurry along, and you definitely can’t buy them, but the memories they leave behind are destined to be precious ones.
Texas Summer heat encourages watery adventures, so plan on spending many hours splashing in the crystal-clear waters of your I Love Dripping Springs home with a pool, but if you didn’t get the home with the pool and your children are of the smaller variety, a visit to the Pease Splash Pad in Pease District Park promises to be a happy substitute! Located at 1600 Parkway in Austin, the park offers hiking trails and picnic areas, but the activity that promises to bring the most fun is the splash pad in the middle of it all! Moms, dads, and aunties and uncles can sit on the sidelines watching the littlest travelers try to catch the geysers streaming up from the ground, perhaps as they finish their own ice cream! Summer fun in Texas has no age limits, and these activities are all the proof you need.
The Dripping Springs Farmers Market, although it is a year-round event, shines even brighter in the summer months, offering fresh produce, sweet baked goods, and arts and crafts that make perfect gifts for your friends back home! Located at the triangle at Highway 290 and RR 12 in Dripping Springs and open from 3 PM until 6 PM, this activity is always a favorite! And because we can never have enough farmers markets in our lives, your road trip to Austin on a quiet Saturday morning promises to bring many fun options as you choose between SFC Farmer’s Market Downtown and SFC Farmers Market at Sunset Valley (open from 9 AM until 1 PM) or the Barton Creek Farmers Markets (there are two and they are also open from 9 AM until 1 PM on Saturdays) or any of the various other choices for your Saturday morning entertainment!
If your all-American summer vacation in Dripping Springs happens to coincide with the all-American holiday of the 4th of July, you and your family are in for a treat! Celebrations have been paler versions of the norm lately, due to the pandemic, and we are hoping that 2022 and beyond changes all that. In the past, however, Independence Day has offered one of the biggest parties of the year, with car shows, parades, and fireworks displays that bring about the largest oohs and ahhs! We have enjoyed classical music and fireworks shows over Lady Bird Johnson Lake with the H.E.B. Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks.
Picnics in the park accompanied by your favorite country music performances are another popular holiday activity, especially when the park is a racetrack (Circuit of the Americas) and the performers are big-name stars you have loved your entire life. And throughout all the fuss and fanfare, musicians will stake their claim on many street corners of town, the decorations will be red, white, blue, and WOW, and just like in your own hometown, dads will hold their tiny daughters on their shoulders while moms wrangle the little guys who have long since managed the art of disappearing when you turn your attention away for just two minutes. America has never been so beautiful as it is when you celebrate her birthday in the great state of Texas!
When you think of the food of Texas, chances are you imagine thick juicy steaks, spicy Tex-Mex meals accompanied by frothy margaritas, all the barbecue your stomach can handle. And although you are absolutely correct, the restaurants found in Dripping Springs offer all that and so much more! Sip on hand crafted cocktails made with Absinthe and say ooh la la to the French comfort foods offered at Péché, 208 W 4th Street in Austin. Partake in the catch of the day at Perla’s, 1400 S Congress Avenue, also in Austin, and savor the scent of your favorite surf and dishes. Closer to home, (your I Love Dripping Springs vacation home, that is) breakfast has never tasted as great as the ones served at the Oak Creek Café located at 660 US-290, especially when washed down with a refreshing mimosa! If you have your heart set on Tex-Mex, El Rey Mexican Bar & Grill at 2400 US-290-B will satisfy your craving. If you can’t live another minute without tasting a thick and juicy Texas steak, Homespun Kitchen & Bar, 131 E Mercer Street, will save your live! And finally, barbecue lovers will drool over the tasty dishes served at Railroad Bar-B-Que, located at 1111 US-290 #3818.