Take A Break From Austin With These 10 Crazy-Cool Escapes

Photo: Courtesy of The Inn at Dos Brisas.
We live for the weekend. So, we're sharing the epic destinations that fill up our 48 hours of uninterrupted freedom in this new series, On The Loose. Get inspired, and then show us your own #Epic48 weekend snaps on Instagram.
Even though Texas can boast itself as the second largest state in the U.S., we'd like to think that most of its vitality and eccentricities actually lie within the magical region that is smack in the middle of the Lone Star state: Austin. It seems like the heat of the South has got nothing on its inhabitants — they're always up for eating smokehouse BBQ drenched in habanero sauce, or taking a cool dip in a tucked-away watering hole, or resting their head in a teepee way out by the Mexican border.
To get the scoop on exactly where Austinites venture when they need to get out of town, we've teamed up with Secret's Scent Expressions and Destinations Collections, which will keep you dry and smelling fresh during the 10 enchanting getaways ahead — all within driving distance from ATX. So, go on, sneak in that sun-soaked weekend — although, luckily for you, Texas always feels like an endless summer.
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Photo: Michael Connell/Getty.
Take A Dip In Dripping Springs
Distance from Austin: 24 miles

Since it's never an ideal situation to drive more than an hour for a swim (especially when it's scorching out), Dripping Springs is arguably one of the finer watering holes to put on your list. The serene, lifeguard-off-duty spot is an escape from Austin proper, yet it's close enough that the sweltering car heat is worth tolerating. An entry fee of $15 gives you access to the natural preserve all day, so you might as well get there early in the day and stick around until the sun sets.

Hamilton Pool Preserve, 24300 Hamilton Pool Road, Dripping Springs; 512-264-2740.
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Photo: Courtesy of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts.
Float Down The City Tube Chute
Distance from Austin: 48 miles

Who wants to wait in long lines at a water amusement park, just to be plopped into a crowded pool in a minute? Not us! One of the highlights of water parks is floating down the snake river, which is why the City Tube Chute is the perfect alternative. This so-called "chute" we're talking about is actually a waterslide that's carved right into the dam on the Cormal River. Though we're sure you're absolutely captivated by our beautiful prose, the actual rush of racing down the slide is one to be experienced firsthand.

Get to the river early — finding parking can be quite a challenge. But, at just an hour's drive away from Austin, we have faith that you'll manage to get in plenty of splash-happy tubing. Just be warned — this waterslide is not for the faintest of hearts!

City Tube Chute, 100 Liebscher Drive, New Braunfels; 830-608-2165.
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Photo: Courtesy of Visit Big Bend.
Hike The South Rim
Distance from Austin: 436 miles

There are a wide range of adventures we consider "hikes": from pleasant outdoor strolls to those that feel like a scene from Into The Wild. In Big Bend National Park at the southernmost part of Texas, the latter is what you'll be getting into. Apparently, the park is in one of the most remote places in all of the continental U.S., so be prepared for — and, excited about — the feeling of isolation and removal from city life. It is quite possibly the most "at one" feeling you can get with the majestic outdoors. From simpler interpretive day walks to week-long burly trails of rugged terrain, there's a hike for everybody.
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Photo: Courtesy of Nick Simonite.
Stay In A Marfa Teepee
Distance from Austin: 430 miles

With a name that is as far-out and wondrous-sounding as El Cosmico, you're bound to be in for a real treat when you visit this cattle ranch in Marfa. The getaway spot has a variety of lodging options with your pick of trailers, yurts, and tents. But, the way to truly experience this culturally rich artist community is to reserve a teepee and stay a few nights right on top of the rural desert land. And, during waking hours, set aside plenty of time to explore Marfa. With so many art exhibits and live music acts constantly breezing through, this zone is anything but just another sleepy town.

El Cosmico, 802 South Highland Avenue, Marfa; 432-729-1950.
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Photo: Courtesy of Matt Wayne.
Tour The BBQ Capital Of Texas
Distance from Austin: 35 miles

Aaand, here's the obligatory guide to the best BBQ in Texas! You didn't think we'd forget to include this, did you? When it comes to the finest smokey chunks of meats — the BBQ you can taste with your nose — Texans all agree that Lockhart is THE destination. The town, affectionately known as "The BBQ Capital of Texas," is home to four famous joints, all of which are worth getting very hungry for: Black's Barbeque, Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Que, Kreuz Market, and Smitty's Market. Don't be a rookie and get too stuffed at any one locale, though — "food coma" is only for the weak.

Black's Barbecue, 215 North Main Street, Lockhart; 512-398-2712.
Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Que, 1323 South Colorado Street, Lockhart; 512-398-6027.
Kreuz Market, 619 North Colorado Street, Lockhart; 512-398-2361.
Smitty's Market, 208 South Commerce Street, Lockhart; 512-398-9344.
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Photo: Jill Fromer/Getty.
Fly In Palo Duro Canyon Adventure Park
Distance from Austin: 476 miles

Ever wonder what it feels like to glide through the air like a bird? Well, wonder no more because that experience can become reality. For now, the closest you'll get to that aerial lift is by zipping down a quarter-mile-long wire, suspended almost 500 feet above the earth. And, when you've had enough of the bird's eye view, get grounded with a lesson in climbing and bouldering. Those will have to be done the human way, unfortunately.

Palo Duro Canyon Adventure Park, 11100 State Highway 217 East, Canyon; 806-488-2260.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jester King Brewery.
Go Beer Tasting At Jester King Brewery
Distance from Austin: 18 miles

Since Austin is never in want of insanely hot temps, it certainly is not sparing with the ice-cold brews. When a regular six-pack from the grocery store doesn't cut it, your best bet is to take a quick roll over to Jester King Brewery, still located within the city's limits. There, in Ceres Park, take a tasting tour where offerings include the likes of wine, cider, sake, and of course, beer. Since the urge to kick back a cold one is always best done impulsively with a pal, Jester King is ingeniously on point for making its tours free and available without reservation. We'll cheers to that.

Jester King Brewery, 13005 Fitzhugh Road, Austin; 512-537-5100.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Inn at Dos Brisas.
Ride Horses At The Inn At Dos Brisas
Distance from Austin: 104 miles

What is it about riding a horse that feels both adventurous and seemingly therapeutic? Perhaps it's about experiencing the power of a horse, or maybe it's the refreshing feeling of being transported without the help of machines. Whatever it is that resonates with your spirit, we highly recommend you trot atop one of these ranch beauties and let your horse fulfill your sense of wanderlust. The place to do that: The Inn at Dos Brisas resort, where both you and your ride have over 300 acres to roam free. Go on, let your inner cowgirl shine.

The Inn at Dos Brisas, 10000 Champion Drive, Washington; 979-277-7750.
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Photo: Courtesy of Travaasa.
Visit The Travaasa Austin Resort
Distance from Austin: 21 miles

Twenty-one miles from the center of Austin, you're probably thinking, "Aren't I still in the city?" Yes, technically, but you'll want to hear us out on how a quick drive from the heart of Austin can completely remove you from your daily grind. Think restorative breathing workshops, lessons in Texan culinary, and two-step dancing classes. Doesn't the buzz of the city seem so far away now?

Travaasa Austin, 13500 Farm to Market Road 2769, Austin; 877-261-7792.
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Photo: Dean Fikar/Getty.
Go Wine Tasting At Becker Vineyards
Distance from Austin: 70 miles

Who says all the best wines come from Napa Valley or Italy? The truth is, Texas' best-kept secret may be the winemakers of Becker Vineyards in Stonewall — and, you just gotta smell and sip the reds to, well, believe it. With 46 acres and eight varietals of your next refined drink housed in this unassuming plot of vino goodness, viticulture is the Hill Country's absolute specialty. Reserve a tasting tour, and let your senses do the judging for you.

Becker Vineyards, 464 Becker Farms Road, Stonewall; 830-644-2681.

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