Social distancing in Texas Hill Country

You already know how COVID-19 screwed everyone’s travel plans (among other, more important things). Goodbye, trip-of-a-lifetime in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Hello, Texas Hill Country! Just a few hours drive from my home in Houston, and 45 minutes outside of Austin, is a charming town called Spicewood. Here’s how I spent 3 days social distancing and making the most of this Texas getaway.

Lake time
Spicewood is in the middle of the Highland Lake system, which gives you 6 beautiful lakes and the Colorado River to choose from. I spent a morning on a boat captained by Derek from Float On Adventures and it was so much fun! We cruised Lake Travis, went swimming and tapped into my uncharacteristically adventurous side by jumping off a 25-foot cliff (with the famous Oasis at the top!). If you’re looking to rent a boat in Austin, I recommend Derek and Float On.

Lake Travis Austin Cliff Jumping Oasis

Hiking
Texas summers are hot. As in, 100+ degrees heat index hot. But the hiking in Spicewood is too good to pass up, so I woke up early on a couple days to explore Muleshoe Bend and Grelle Recreation Areas. I didn’t see a single soul on either trail — a definite plus during a pandemic. Added bonus: there are bathrooms and shade at both parks. Always be extra careful hiking in the heat. Check out these hot weather hiking tips from the Modern Hiker.

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Feeding wild animals
The Exotic Resort Zoo is just 35 minutes from Spicewood and a unique experience for animal lovers! You buy a bag of food and then drive through the park for about an hour feeding animals who are very eager to see you. Camels, bison, deer, ostriches, zebra — there’s all kinds. You’ll want anti-bacterial wipes for your car and hand sanitizer afterwards — but it’s so worth it.

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Eating and drinking
There are lots of great restaurants, vineyards and music venues in and around Spicewood. Many were temporarily closed because of COVID-19, but there were still plenty of patio or to-go options. These were a few of my favorites:  

  • Yellow Dog Coffee for your morning pick-me-up. It’s a tiny trailer off the highway that offers every kind of caffeine you could want. Love their branding, too.
  • Angel’s Icehouse has a shaded patio with plenty of space for distancing. They took coronavirus safety precautions more seriously than any other restaurant I’ve seen.
  • ZZA Pizza is 20 minutes away in Bee Cave, but well worth the drive. Create-your-own pizza and salad has never been so good, and they don’t skimp on toppings.
  • Beto’s Tacos Y Mas: Sadly, I didn’t get to try these tacos because the truck was temporarily closed, but I hear Beto is a bit of a legend!


Where to stay
I LOVED where I stayed in Spicewood. So much, in fact, that I was ready to move in! Check out the casita at Firesong Ranch on AirBNB… you won’t be disappointed.
Social Distancing in Texas Hill Country

Tell me in the comments: where should I visit in Texas and why?

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About Stephanie @ Seeking Stephanie Travel Blog

Travel gives me an extra skip in my step to push through the workweek. Exploring new places through outdoor spaces, food, animals and music are just a few of my favorite things.