After months of staying home, why not create the ultimate vacation experience right in your own backyard? I’ve partnered with my friends at Travel Texas to compile an itinerary of adventures based on my own experiences in Central Texas that will transform your next backyard escape into an exotic vacation destination.

A Few Things to Note Before Your Backyard Escape

Before we get out and #TexasToDo, it’s still very important to practice safe travel in the midst of the current climate. We all have the responsibility of protecting not just ourselves, but the people around us by implementing these safe practices: 

  • Practice good hand-washing hygiene
  • Avoid touching your face 
  • Wear a mask
  • Practice social distancing

For more information on safe traveling, be sure to check out Safe Travel Around Texas and also check out local attraction websites for any current restrictions. 

Now let’s get this show on the road (literally)!

Step 1: Find the Perfect Staycation Location

Sometimes a break in your routine is the very thing you need, and what better way to achieve this than a staycation. I’m a firm believer that everyone should look into staycations. The goal of a staycation is to relax in a place that is close to home but still in a novel environment: for days, hours, whatever comforts you. Here are a few staycations in the Central Texas area that are my go-to’s:

Jennifer’s Gardens: This hidden villa in the heart of Austin is a beautiful treat. Jennifer’s Gardens is filled with the most gorgeous art pieces, a beautiful garden and more. 

Collective Hill Country: Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Collective Hill Country is where nature meets luxury. There is a wide range of activities to do, which includes horseback riding, wine tasting and everything in between. 

Lakeway Resort and Spa: Needing a world-class destination getaway? Lakeway Resort and Spa is just the staycation you need. It is the perfect Texas Hill Country getaway and has a beautiful rustic vibe.

Step 2: Discover Scenic Views

Exploring new spaces doesn’t have to mean visiting the Bali Swing or rafting in the Grand Canyon. Travel is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with existence or the exotic. It’s always an inner experience that can be found even if it’s in your own backyard! You don’t have to spend a lot of money to start exploring now. Even if you want to visit more exotic locations, there are plenty of ways to keep your costs low! Here are a few natural adventures:

Swimming in Hamilton Pool Preserve: One of my favorite experiences included driving an hour out of Austin with one of my closest friends in search of a natural spring adventure. We spent the day hiking and took in the most beautiful view. The total cost for the day was under $15.

Sunset at Mt. Bonnell: Austin and Mt. Bonnell go hand in hand with each other. It is an Austin staple with the most stunning view at sunset. It is a must-see location to add to your itinerary on any day. 

Hike on Austin’s Barton Creek Greenbelt: If you are an outdoor enthusiast, Austin’s Barton Creek Greenbelt is for you. It is a trail that features waterfalls, limestone cliffs and beautiful scenery. 

Step 3: Learn about Texas History

From the Alamo to the San Jacinto Battleground, Texas is a place full of rich history. Even if you’ve lived here for years, you can get a taste of what life was like through the state’s history. Dive into the history while exploring its past:

Exploring the Alamo: The Alamo is a pivotal location in Texas History. It was the site of a battle that took place during Texas’ bid for independence from Mexico. If you are visiting San Antonio, it is a must to really dive deep in the history of the city. 

Visiting Gruene: As a former German town, Gruene district is located in New Braunfels, Texas. It is a small, quaint area, but it is such a peaceful place to visit. It is known for its rustic feel and attracts a lot of tourists because of activities like a wine tasting room, tubing adventures and more. 

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site: What better way to learn Texas history than a museum dedicated to walking in the shoes of a soldier during the Texas independence? At the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, you are able to ride an elevator to the top of the monument to take in a bird’s-eye view of where Texas’ independence was won.