Take Your Spring Break Outside

An aerial view of Pease Park with the Austin skyline in the background
Photo by Lars Plougmann on Flickr

Pease Park

Starting close to home, Pease Park is a great option if you are looking to get outdoors without having to travel too far from campus. The park is home to hiking trails, picnic spaces, and several outdoor sports courts making it a great little escape from the hustle and bustle of city life even with its close proximity to the heart of the city.

Photo by Joshua Guenther

Barton Creek

As we get into spring and the weather begins to warm up, you might be looking for a break from the heat. Barton Creek is the spot for you. The creek offers a variety of swimming locations that may be of interest to anyone looking to cool off, including the Barton Springs Municipal Pool, Campbell’s Hole, and Gus Fruh. This set of four beautiful, natural-water springs is located in the heart of Zilker Park, only minutes from downtown Austin.

Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash

Barton Creek Greenbelt

The Barton Creek Greenbelt is also located near Zilker Park, and it boasts miles of beautiful hiking trails where you can get completely lost in the beauty of nature despite being only a few minutes from the bustling streets of downtown Austin. I’ve had the privilege of visiting this site personally, and as a UT student who does not have a car, I can safely say that the Greenbelt is one of the most accessible places that you can visit to immerse yourself in nature.

View of Bull Creek with water and trees
Photo by Jim Nix on Flickr

Bull Creek Park

This suggestion is especially for our rock climbing aficionados. Bull Creek offers a variety of awesome, easily accessible bouldering trails as well as an impressive array of sports climbing routes on limestone, primarily for intermediate and advanced climbers. These climbing spots combined with their proximity to a beautiful creek, as the name suggests, make it the ideal spot for climbing over the break.

Photo by Manuel Trevino

San Marcos, Texas

San Marcos, a city about a 40-minute drive from the UT campus, is probably best known for being the home to Texas State University. However, it is also home to some impressive outdoor sites that are worth visiting. In particular, Spring Lake, Purgatory Creek, and the San Marcos River are all beautiful bodies of water located in San Marcos that are perfect for a quick day trip for anyone looking to explore some of the locations Texas has to offer.

Photo by Visit Austin

McKinney Falls State Park

This location is a bit further from the university, but if you’re a fan of camping and hiking, it is worth considering. McKinney Falls State Park offers 81 campsites, all with water and electricity hook-ups. If you haven’t been camping before but have always wanted to give it a try before going all Bear Grylls and throwing yourself into the wilderness, then this beautiful state park is a great starting point.

Man hangs from rock formation
Photo by Merrick Ales ©

Pace Bend Park

Pace Bend Park is located about an hour from UT, which I understand for a lot of students, myself included, is a farther way to go to reconnect with nature. Nonetheless, Pace Bend offers a unique experience that might make it worth the drive. Pace Bend Park stands out from the other parks on our list because it’s home to some of the most beautiful cliffside trails in Travis County. Pace Bend also has new and improved camping sites that fill up quickly, so if you are interested, make sure to reserve a spot.

View while climbing Enchanted Rock
Photo by Matthew Peoples on Flickr

Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock is the furthest location on our list at over two hours away from UT, so it is certainly for those who feel ready to invest some time and effort into exploring the beauty that Texas has to offer. Enchanted Rock is a breathtaking pink granite mountain with over 17 miles of hiking trails. The hike to the top is 4.2 miles long and typically takes about 2–3 hours to complete, but after you reach the summit of Enchanted Rock, you will be greeted by a jaw-dropping view of the Texas Hill Country. I know that this trip sounds challenging, but when Abbey and Robert were asked about the one site they would recommend visiting over the break if they had to choose, they both said Enchanted Rock without any hesitation.

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Education through recreation. Est. 1916. | The University of Texas at Austin

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UT Recreational Sports

UT Recreational Sports

Education through recreation. Est. 1916. | The University of Texas at Austin