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Best of Fall in the Texas Hill Country, 2021

Your Fall Bucket List is Here!

School is in, sports have started, and all the festival promotions are hitting your Facebook feeds. It must mean that Fall is almost here! Although we don’t have changing leaves or sweater weather just yet, there’s so much to love about Fall in the Texas Hill Country.

This week, I tried a pumpkin cream cold brew at Starbucks, I pulled the Halloween shirts to the front of my kids’ drawers, and I made a list of new Fall decor I’m hoping to create. Despite the fact that I could still happily spend every afternoon in a pool or river to cool off, we’re forging ahead toward Fall!

In keeping with tradition, it’s also time to create our family’s Fall Bucket List of all the places we want to go and things we want to do during this beautiful season of pumpkin patches, cute costumes, cooler temps, colorful leaves, and outdoor adventures. Feel free to join us!

Texas Hill Country Fall Bucket List (2021)

1. Visit a local farm and pumpkin patch.

PumpkinFest at The Pound House in Dripping Springs:

Visit the homestead of the founding family of Dripping Springs, and enjoy lawn games, a pumpkin patch, food trucks, live music, animal visits, photo opps, and beautiful picnic spots under the oaks. Also, the Founder’s Park playground is right next door. Admission prices vary. Check link above.

Sweet Eats Fruit Farm:
About to enter the corn maze at the fall festival
Maze at the Sweet Eats Fruit Farm

Located in Georgetown, TX, this farm is loaded with the typical fall festival activities, such as a corn maze, pumpkin patch, and petting zoo, but it also has a few unique options. We can’t wait to take a spin on a pedal cart; shoot an apple from a slingshot; climb up a tire hill, then slide down; watch pig-racing; wade in the San Gabriel River; play corn hole, gaga ball, kickball, or tug o’ war; and challenge ourselves on the obstacle course, plus so much more.

Barton Hills Farm:

You can find this farm and pumpkin patch along the scenic banks of the Colorado River in Bastrop, TX. Fall festival activities include a very complex corn maze, baseball and football toss, fall photo opps, train rides, tree fort, super slides, jumping pillow, fishing, face painting, and more. There will also be live music and a biergarten this year.

Sweet Berry Farm:

The short drive to Marble Falls is worth it to spend the day on this cute farm with hayrides, two mazes, a huge pumpkin patch with adorable photo opps, face painting, goat-feeding, barrel train rides, scarecrow-stuffing, and horseback riding. Admission is free, but activities are charged individually.

2. Check out a local festival!

Celebrate Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg:

Polka music, kids’ games, delicious German food and beer… it’s the best of all kid and adult worlds. The weekend-long celebration begins on the evening of October 1st with OkTUBAfest for the marching band enthusiast in all of us! (Let me know if you want to meet us there.)

Dance in the streets at the Songwriters’ Festival in Dripping Springs:

It’s a 3-day small-town music festival with 3 stages of local talent. Enjoy music, food, friendly people, and adorable downtown shops on the weekend of Oct 15th-17th. You can attend the showcases for free (registration to open soon at link above) or you can purchase a Dripping with Taste passport for $25 to try out the wine, beer, and snacks offered at the venues.

Support a Local School at another type of Octoberfest:

Enjoy Fall fair festivities, such as Trunk or Treat, rock wall, cake walk, concessions, and games while supporting a local elementary school. Bring the kids to Dripping Springs Elementary School from 3 – 6 pm on Oct 23rd.

3. Get creative!

Find beautiful flowers and Fall decor at Wildseed Farms:

Enjoy the beautiful drive past vineyards and state parks to Fredericksburg, where you will find this fun stop with shopping, wine tasting, lunch options, wildflower trails, and butterfly gardens. Save the date for the Fall Festival on September 25th.

Attend a Free Crafting Class at Michael’s:

In-store making is back!! My kids and I love these free classes, and we’re excited to start our fall decorating with the Fall Ribbon Class on Sept 26th. Check out the offerings at your local store (link above).

Make Fall signs at local Board and Brush:

Most likely, there’s a Board and Brush near you with dozens of adorable signs to make for the Fall season. You can join an established workshop or book a private party. All signs can be personalized with name, color choices, and texture. It’s such a fun activity, especially with the kids! (Prices start at $35)

Pick up a kids’ project to-go at Home Depot:

Head to your local Home Depot before noon on the first Saturday of the month to pick up unique woodworking projects for kids. You can also collect the patch, certificate, and token orange apron if you don’t have one yet. Upcoming projects include Fire Chief Car on Oct 2nd, Amphibious Vehicle on Nov 6th, and Christmas Car on Dec 4th.

4. Peruse a farmer’s market.

New Braunfels Farmer’s Market:

Enjoy this food festival every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm. Then, spend the rest of the day at the super cool parks along the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers in the area. Or travel a few minutes to the next town for …

Old Gruene Market Days:

Find artisan crafts, beer and wine, tasty food, and nearby shops with sales on the third full weekend of the month and first weekend of December. Stick around for lunch at the Gristmill and free live music (fingers crossed!) at Gruene Hall.

Dripping Springs Farmer’s Market:

While this may be one of the smaller farmer’s markets, there are many local delicacies worth stopping by for on Wednesday afternoons. Also, you can spend your evening at a family friendly brewery in the area.

Wimberley Market Days:

Travel south on RR12 for a scenic drive and the 2nd largest flea market in Texas, held the first Saturday of every month (Mar – Dec) from 9 am to 4 pm. Grab a glass of wine, browse the shops, pop in the candy store or Scoops Frozen Yogurt for a treat for the kiddos, and then walk the trail along the creek behind downtown to skip rocks, play on the playground, or wade in the water. If it’s a particularly hot day, check out Cypress Falls Swimming Hole.

5. Go back in time!

Texas Renaissance Festival:
Texas Renaissance Festival near Houston, TX

My kids beg to return to this festival every year. They love the costumes, the accents, the shows, the rides, the games, and the feeling of time travel. It’s a bit of a drive from the Hill Country, but camping sites are available next to the festival grounds. Groupon is offering discounted tickets, and children 12 and under are FREE on Sundays. Advanced tickets required.

Pioneer Farms:

This living history farm offers guided tours and classes, such as blacksmithing and Texas swing dancing. Visit a Tonkawa Indian Encampment, a German Emigrant Farm, a Texian Farm, a Cotton Planter’s Farm and a rural village called Sprinkle Corner all in one day.

The Dinosaur Park
The Dinosaur Park in austin, TX

Go prehistoric and make your kids’ day by walking a trail to find large dinosaurs and dino clues in the woods. Then, play on the playground, dig for fossils, take hilarious photos, and guard your wallet (from your children) in the expansive gift shop. Drive a little further south and use your dino park wristband to enjoy 10% off lunch along the Colorado River at Neighbors Kitchen and Yard.

My family and I can’t wait to start checking things off this bucket list! There’s so much to do in a short amount of time, but hopefully, the cooler temps will add to our endurance. Hope to see you around my hometown!

Categories
Bucket list Things to Do Dripping Springs

2020 Holiday Bucket List (Texas Hill Country)

Christmas doesn’t have a cancel button, so don’t give up on your favorite holiday events just yet. The 2020 Holiday Bucket List is just as full as the lists in previous years. Make the most of this season with these amazing events in our beloved Texas Hill Country.

This year, it seems that most families want to go BIG with their holidays … BIG on giving, BIG on decorating, BIG on family time, and BIG on celebrating the reason for the season. 2020 is the perfect year to start some new holiday traditions or to revive a few that got lost in Christmases past.

One of our favorite traditions is our Family Advent Calendar:

Starting on December 1st, I write down one holiday experience to do for each of the days leading up to Christmas. These daily activities can be must-do tasks, like addressing and sending Christmas cards, or fun nights out, like meandering through a trail of lights after dinner. I love this tradition because we get to participate in all of our favorite events, activities, tasks, and traditions while waiting in joyful anticipation of celebrating the birth of Jesus. In addition to the daily activity, I also include a slip of paper with scripture that tells part of the Christmas story so that each day, a little more of the story is being recited. (Luke 1:26-35; Luke 2:1-20)

Our Family Advent Calendar

Below I’ve included a list of some of the activities I’ve hidden in our advent calendar pockets in years past, followed by the 2020 Holiday Bucket List.

TRADITIONS/FUN AT HOME – 

  • Bake sugar cookies
  • Make cards/gifts for teachers
  • Holiday movie night
  • Read the story of St. Nicholas and put shoes outside your door for a little surprise (Dec 6th)
  • Deliver treats to neighbors
  • Caroling at home and holiday charades
  • Trim/Decorate the tree(s)
  • Make homemade paper snowflakes and tape them in the windows
  • Tell stories of our family’s holidays past, as well as dreams for the future (reminisce over photos, plan vacations, etc)
  • Make gingerbread houses

HILL COUNTRY HOLIDAY BUCKET LIST –

Santa’s Wonderland at Cabela’s (Buda)

Santa's Wonderland

Nov 7th – Dec 24th

Make a reservation for a socially-distanced photo with Santa and a stroll through the store’s holiday decorations. Your kids can also mail a letter to Santa and take home a holiday craft kit. Plus, no visit to Cabela’s is complete without a visit to the dead zoo.

Luminations at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (Austin) 

Nov. 27th – Jan 3rd

Enjoy the natural wonder of a Hill Country winter on a strollable, illuminated trail walk featuring the forts of Fortlandia. Purchase tickets in advance.

Christmas in Marble Falls

Walkway 1 thumbnail

 Nov 20th – Jan 2nd

Walkway of Lights with a variety of themes, weekend events including breakfast with Santa, ice skating, shopping, and “No Room at the Inn” gallery exhibit… With this many holiday-inspired activities, you could spend every weekend in Marble Falls!

Lost Pines Christmas

Nov 27th – Dec 27th

Take a short drive to Bastrop for some spectacular holiday events, including a wassail fest, river of lights, a drive-in movie and virtual tree lighting, holiday sidewalk stroll and scavenger hunt, and Elf the Musical.

Johnson City Lights Spectacular

Johnson City Light Spectacular

Nightly November 27th  – Jan 3rd

The courthouse and downtown area are aglow with thousands of lights. Local vendors set up tables inside and outside the courthouse. The town of Johnson City is still deciding which events will occur this year. Check website for details.

Holidays in Fredericksburg

Nov 12th – Jan 6th

Show up on any day of the week for a spectacular holiday light show and events-a-plenty. Fredericksburg is so full of holiday cheer that you may need a few days to take it all in. Check the website for specific activities and lodging options.

Christmas on Mercer (Dripping Springs)

December 5th, 10 am – 5 pm

This fun hometown festival isn’t giving up on 2020. Enjoy shopping with local vendors, a trackless train, pony rides, a festive atmosphere, and an opportunity to write a letter to Santa and mail it on-site.

Holidays in Gruene

Weekends in December

Photos with Cowboy Kringle (appointment required), free afternoon shows at historic Gruene Hall, gorgeous Christmas lights and decorations throughout the town, and unique shops to complete your Christmas lists. Traditional events, such as the town lighting and the gospel brunch, are postponed until 2021. Check website for events still taking place.

Home Depot December Kids’ Take-Home Workshop

Dec 5th, 9 am and noon

Take a kit home so your kids can to create their own Treat Tray for Santa. Kids develop hands-on skills with sanding, nailing and applying stickers. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron and a commemorative pin while supplies last.

Christmas in the Parks

Enchanted Rock

Texas State Parks have several holiday events, from scavenger hunts to Santa sightings to s’mores and ornament-making. Find a park near you and enjoy the great outdoors this season!

Bee Cave Buzz Fest

Dec, 17th -19th, 7:00PM & 8:30PM

FREE light and sound show each night created and performed by nationally-acclaimed artists.

Mozart’s Light Show (Lake Austin)

Now through Jan 6th

Make a reservation online for this special Austin tradition. Grab a hot cocoa or coffee and enjoy the “dancing lights”.

Maywald Lights Display (W. Austin)

Nov 21st – Jan 3rd

Over 120,000 lights are on display at a family’s home in Austin for a good cause: the Make-a-Wish foundation! Check out their “Believe” theme this year and leave a donation.

Find more Dripping with Kids at https://www.instagram.com/dripping_with_kids/ or on Facebook at https://m.facebook.com/drippingwithkidsblog/.

Categories
Bucket list Things to Do Dripping Springs

Hill Country Summer Bucket List (2019)

Best Hot Spots and Kid’s Activities in the Austin, Dripping Springs Area

I like big buts, and I cannot lie. You other parents can’t deny. When a kid walks in with itty bitty complaints and whining in your face, you get sprung, want to pull up tough, ’cause you know you’re ’bout to issue a but.

“Honey, I know it’s hard to go pee pee on the potty, but Mama literally cannot change one more diaper.”

“Yes, I hear that you’re starving and want a snack, but we just ate lunch!”

“Kids, I understand that summer can get boring, but I refuse to take you to Altitude yet again.”

Almost all of the sentences I spew are straddled with a “but”, and my response to 95% of my kids’ requests is “no”.  I know this to be a fact because when I actually say “yes” to something, my kids act like the Red Sea has parted or that adorable little puppies are falling from the sky. It’s true that my family does A LOT. We get out there, we see, we do, we explore, we play… but summer is inundated with so many ridiculous kid requests that I am still hitting them with “but” constantly.

This kind of negativity can only be overcome by being proactive and intentional. As parents, we have to be on the offensive. This is where a summer bucket list comes in. It’s definitely great to have go-to spots to hit up during summer, like your local park or splash pad, but I challenge you to have a secret bucket list of “new” or slightly more exciting places to surprise your kids with when your “buts” are out of control.  I’m sharing my family’s bucket list, which includes the best hot spots and kids’ activities in the Austin and Dripping Springs area. I invite you to check it off along with us. Summer can be insane, but every year, it flies by, so we have to make the memories count!

HILL COUNTRY SUMMER BUCKET LIST (2019)

Dripping Springs/Driftwood –

best family brewery with playground in Austin area

1. Vista Brewing Co: amazing food, yummy beer, shaded playground, indoor board games, brewery and property tours, and special events including Driftwood nights and morning yoga (https://vistabrewingtx.com)

2. Dripping Springs Rodeo: rodeo events, petting zoo, kids’ activities, mechanical bull and vendors on July 27 & 28th (http://www.drippingspringsfairandrodeo.com/page/schedule)

3. Route 12 Filling Station: multiple porches, splash pad, playground, casual food menu, full bar, and a super sweet staff (https://route12fillingstation.com/)

4. Roadrunners: burgers and salad, putt putt golf, ping pong, swings, craft cocktails, and a friendly atmosphere (https://www.facebook.com/RoadRunners-423914471754295/)

Cool down after putt putt with a trip to Voodoo Ice for tasty and creative snoballs in the Pig Pen Food Court, which has picnic tables and a playground. (https://pigpenstation.com)

Jester King brewery and restaurant with sandbox, family friendly brewery

5. Jester King Tasting Room and Kitchen: restaurant, brewery, covered pavilion, sandbox and grassy field for kids to play (https://jesterkingbrewery.com/tasting-room-kitchen)

Bee Cave/Lakeway – 

6.  *Hill Country Galleria: library, splash pad, shopping, movie theater, events like Concerts on the Lawn, and lunching (https://www.hillcountrygalleria.com/)

7. Wild Kitchen & Bar: restaurant, playground, and mini golf – $20/family of four (https://www.wildkitchenandbar.com/)

Lakeway swim center

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

Lake Travis library

9. *Lake Travis Library: summer reading program, fun events, children’s area, and free tutoring (https://laketravislibrary.org/calendar/)

10. High Five: bowling, arcade, VR, laser tag, and a full food and drink menu; Kids can bowl free all summer with registration. (https://www.bowlhighfive.com/)

Austin –

11. *Central Library, Austin Public Library: kids’ play area and events (https://library.austintexas.gov/events/calendar?loc=3939)

12. *Movies in the Park: free outdoor movies at select parks around Austin (https://austinparks.org/movies-in-the-park/)

13. *Laguna Gloria: Check out a backpack of activities for kids to explore and practice art on FREE Tuesdays or attend on the second Saturday of the month for art-making workshops and performances. (https://www.thecontemporaryaustin.org/explore/for-families/#second-saturdays)

Circle C Park, top 10 playground inAustin area

14. *Circle C Metropolitan Park and Shaved Ice: shaded playground, walking trails, volleyball courts, and soccer fields, then follow up playtime with the best shaved ice at Sweet Caroline’s Snow Shack (https://www.facebook.com/sweetcarolinessnowshack/)

San Antonio –

15. Legoland Discovery Center: new to San Antonio; free kids’ admission at www.legoland.com/honestkids

16. *Guadalupe River State Park: swimming, fishing (rent gear from the park), tubing (bring your own), camping, hiking, and a discovery center  (Make reservations at https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/guadalupe-river)

Wimberley –

Shady Llama fun for the family, best sunset in Wimberley, TX

17. Community Pizza and Beer Garden: live music, full bar, house made pizza, and a pirate ship playground (https://communitybeergarden.com/)

18. The Shady Llama: hammocks, sandbox, play area, lawn games, food trucks, beer, wine, an amazing sunset, and llamas (http://theshadyllama.com/)

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

Staying Close to Home –

20. *Home Depot Classes: FREE crafts and building projects on the first Saturday of each month (https://www.homedepot.com/workshops/#store/8995)

21. *Michael’s Kids’ Classes: extremely affordable home décor or kids’ craft projects, usually on Saturdays (https://www.michaels.com/classes)

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

23. *Events at local YMCA: dive in movies, pool parties (Dripping Springs YMCA)

*free or cheap

For more bucket list ideas in the Texas Hill Country, check out my bucket list from 2018  or if you’ve had enough of entertaining the kids and want to find a great option to drop them off for a few hours each day, read about amazing VBS options in the area.

Also, subscribe to my blog for upcoming posts with reviews on the best hot spots and kids’ activities in the Austin and Drippings Springs area as we check off our list, as well as ideas for indoor fun and how to keep kids’ minds stimulated during the summer months. Thank you for reading!