There is no shortage of fun things to do in Austin. It’s kind of a problem, actually. There are an infinite number of enticing possibilities—hiking and biking trails, intriguing restaurants and coffee shops and breweries, music and art and museums, interesting shops and galleries and events—it’s not easy to choose. I finally had to stop reading Trip Advisor and Yelp reviews, because I was driving myself crazy.
The last week of April, we spent four nights at Pecan Grove RV Park, in the heart of Austin. We had a great time, even though I had the worst attack of hay fever I’ve ever had in my life (apparently I’m allergic to pecan tree pollen).
This was our second trip to Austin, and we enjoyed it just as much as our first visit a couple of years ago. It would undoubtedly be more peaceful staying outside of town, but it wouldn’t be anywhere near as convenient. Plus, we enjoy the laid-back, old-school Austin vibe of Pecan Grove.
This unassuming little retro trailer park was established in the 40’s, and miraculously, it’s hanging on, right in the big middle of everything. This was our second time staying at Pecan Grove, and we find it to be ideal for our needs. Despite my sneezing fits, we biked for hours every day through beautiful Zilker Park and on the miles of multi-use trails along the shores of Lady Bird Lake (both are within easy biking distance of the RV park).
To give myself a break from the deluge of pollen outdoors, we visited the Texas State Capitol Building just a few blocks away, where we enjoyed a free and interesting tour of the biggest state capitol building in the United States. The symbolic “Lone Star” is found everywhere, from the Texas state flag, to the dome, terrazzo floor, and chandeliers of the capitol (plus everywhere else in Texas, when you look around).
Texas is the only state that was once an independent republic, and this is a point of pride for Texans—some of whom insist that they can secede if they don’t like the way things are going in Washington (according to our tour guide, they can’t really get away with it). To learn more about Texas history, we spent several hours in the nearby Bullock Museum, an excellent venue with a cowboy flair and a gigantic Texas star out front (of course, what else would you expect?).
To round out our three days in Austin, we spent an evening at the South Congress Bridge to watch the nightly emergence of Mexican free-tailed bats. Beneath the bridge resides the largest urban bat colony in North America, and it’s quite a sight at dusk to see hundreds of thousands of bats emerging in a spiraling tornado, heading out for their evening meal of mosquitoes and moths.
As for us, we generally cook at home, but we always enjoy a meal or two out if we’re in a place where the options are interesting. We finally settled on Launderette, located in a renovated Laundromat/gas station. It was a great choice—our meal was delicious (green curry mussels and tandoori grilled prawns), the ambiance is cool retro Austin, and the service gracious.
One more thing—if you find yourself in Austin, don’t miss Lick Honest Ice Creams. They work their magic from the finest ingredients, starting with milk and cream from local grass-fed dairy cows. Eric had espresso (no surprise) and I had goat cheese-thyme-honey. Definitely a top contender for best ice cream ever.
There’s always more to explore in Austin. We’ll be back.
About the RV Park:
We love Pecan Grove RV Park. Although the park is peaceful, we use our blackout shades and sound machine—after all, we’re in the middle of the city. The residents are friendly and the manager, who has been there for years, is great. There are (very funky) restrooms/showers and a laundry on site, but we didn’t use the facilities. All sites have full hookups, and there’s good Wi-Fi; $40/night. With only 12 spaces for overnight travelers, make your reservations early.
Next Up: Wending Our Way Through West Texas