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