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Hill Country Summer Bucket List

After months and months of homework, projects, sports commitments, volunteer work, and countless other school year requirements, I always look forward to summer and the idea of unscheduled, unstructured time with my kids. I dream of home projects we can all take part in. I can taste the homemade popsicles my kids and I will devour on the porch. I can see myself packing yummy picnics for a day of hiking. I beam from ear to ear imagining the littles splashing around in the sprinklers, and I reorganize our playroom so that we can spend hours playing board games. It seems so perfect in my mind. But somehow those summer ideals quickly turn into sibling fights, screentime marathons, pantry raids and snacking frenzies, and a lot of “Mommy, I’m bored” complaints. By late June, I’m pulling up February 1st of next year on my calendar and typing in, “ENROLL KIDS IN SUMMER CAMPS!”

So, I’ve decided to set one simple goal this summer … no more unrealistic daydreaming, no more summer ideals, no more high expectations … my only goal is to NOT start budgeting for multiple day camps for next summer before Summer of 2018 ends. Here’s how I’m going to reach that goal: MY SUMMER BUCKET LIST! Please join me in making the best of Summer in the Texas Hill Country. I hope to write more about these adventures as we check them off our list.

Dripping Springs/Driftwood –

1. Hamilton Pool: hiking, swimming, natural beauty (https://parks.traviscountytx.gov/find-a-park/hamilton-pool?)

2. Reimers Ranch Park: fishing, swimming, picnicking (https://parks.traviscountytx.gov/find-a-park/reimers-ranch)

3. Camp Ben McCullough and Salt Lick: floating, swimming, and Texas BBQ (http://campbenmcculloch.com/)

IMG_12884. Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza: delicious food, tasty beers, and a sandbox, grassy area for the kids (http://stanleysfarmhousepizza.com/)

5. Treaty Oak: start up a friendly kickball game and cool off with some drinks in the shade of the Oak trees (https://www.treatyoakdistilling.com/)

6. Duchman Family Winery: yummy wine and lawn games for the kids = win-win (http://duchmanwinery.com/winery/)

7. Local Farmer’s Markets:

– Downtown Dripping Springs: Wednesday afternoons (http://www.cityofdrippingsprings.com/page/fm.home)

– Headwaters: Saturday mornings (https://liveheadwaters.com/)

8. Almost Grown in Dripping Springs: indoor play for preschoolers and toddlers (https://almostgrownplaycafe.com/)

9. Dr. Pound Living History Museum and park play/swimming at Founder’s Park (http://www.drpoundhistoricalfarmstead.org/)

10. Happy Hour at Verde’s Mexican Parilla: large green space and playground for kids, plus a huge covered patio and delicious drinks and food (https://www.facebook.com/verdesmexican/)

Austin Area – 

11.  Hill Country Galleria: library, splash pad, shopping, events like Kindnesspalooza, and lunching (https://www.hillcountrygalleria.com/)

12. Austin Nature and Science Center: FREE fun! Dinosaur dig, indoor discovery room, outdoor trails (http://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-nature-and-science-center)

13. Stubb’s Graceland: live music, playground fun, BBQ, and shaved ice (https://www.facebook.com/Bar-B-Q-Graceland-456090484819544/)

14. Secret Beach in Austin: hiking and swimming (http://do512family.com/swimming-in-austin-2/)

15. Central Library, Austin Public Library  (https://library.austintexas.gov/events/calendar?loc=3939)

16. Bob Bullock History Museum: summer family days with crafts, hands-on experiences, and kids’ movies on the IMAX screen (https://www.thestoryoftexas.com/education/programs/summer-at-the-bullock-2018)

17. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Sprouts kids’ program on Wednesday and Friday mornings, included with admission, plus Nature Nights on Thursdays  (https://www.wildflower.org)

18.  Lakeway Swim Center and  lunch with a view at Lucy’s Fried Chicken (https://www.lakeway-tx.gov/84/Swim-Center)

19. Cabela’s: Indoor fun and silly photo ops (https://www.cabelas.com/stores/Texas/Buda/012.jsp)

San Antonio –

20. San Antonio Zoo (http://sazoo.org/)

21. San Antonio Doseum: children’s museum with tons of interactive exhibits  (h://www.thedoseum.org/)

22. Monster Mini-Golf: indoor, blacklit/glow-in-the-dark putt-putt golf, Halloween-themed (http://monsterminigolf.com/locations/san-antonio/)

Wimberley –

23. “Drive-in” Movie: Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy an outdoor movie.  (http://www.corraltheatre.com/)IMG_1287

24. The Shady Llama: Enjoy a drink and bar games like Jenga and cornhole or relax in a hammock while enjoying the hill country sunset. It’s kid- and dog-friendly, plus you might spot the llamas.  (http://theshadyllama.com/)

25. The Blue Hole:  Take a cold dip in the spring fed waters, hike, picnic, and enjoy playground fun. (https://www.cityofwimberley.com/index.asp?SEC=1CDE9473-341C-496E-BD68-CED18B923848&DE =73216981-2826-4903-ADED-090ADBF499A6)

Johnson City – 

26. LBJ State Park: hiking, fishing, swimming, and historic sites (https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/lyndon-b-Johnson)

IMG_128427.  Pedernales Falls State Park:  exploring, swimming, hiking, natural beauty (https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/pedernales-falls)

28. Johnson City Science Mill: indoor, educational fun (https://www.sciencemill.org/)

 

New Braunfels/Gruene –

29. Schlitterbahn: the hottest, coolest time in Texas! (https://www.schlitterbahn.com/new-braunfels)

30. Float the Comal or Guadalupe River: Kids must be at least 6 years old, and be prepared to answer “innocent” questions from your kids as you float among uncensored college students. The Comal is a bit more tame than the Guadalupe. (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g56350-d106304-Reviews-Comal_River-New_Braunfels_Texas.html)

IMG_128531. Lunch at McAdoo’s: set in an old post office, the restaurant is unique and the food delicious (https://www.mcadoos.com/)

32. Music at Gruene Hall (FREE shows almost daily) and lunch/dinner at the Gristmill (http://www.gruenetexas.com/)

Staying Close to Home –

33. Home Depot Classes: FREE crafts and building projects (https://www.homedepot.com/workshops/#store/8995)

34. Scrapbooking: make books with the kids to remember all the fun things they did throughout the school year

35. Backyard Obstacle Course/Treasure Hunt

36. Local library summer reading program and summer classes/activities (cooking classes, Lego club, robotics camps, story time, movies, etc)

37. Michael’s Kids’ Classes (https://www.michaels.com/classes)

38. Free/cheap summer movie programs at local theaters (https://drafthouse.com/series/alamo-kids-camp, https://skycinemas.com/movie/HO00001353/)

39. FREE events at local YMCA: dive in movies, pool parties (https://www.austinymca.org/news/dive-movies-springs-family-ymca)

 

 

By Heather D.

I’m a wife and a mom of 4 amazing kids in Dripping Springs, TX (west of Austin). I had always been a working mom (educator, school administrator)until my last little guy came along. Now, I stay home and find a million ways to keep busy, including planning trips for my family all over the state, doing home improvement projects with my husband, volunteering a ton, cooking/baking, and working out. I'm also a personal finance enthusiast, and I love to share tips on saving money for families!
I’m always looking for more ideas for family fun and frugal living! If you find something really great that you think other families would love, please use the hashtag #drippingwithkids. If you want to see more of what’s going on in the area, follow me on Instagram at dripping_with_kids and/or on Facebook @drippingwithkidsblog.

I'd love to hear from you! What's your favorite thing to do in the Texas Hill Country?