Just a quick 24-mile drive southwest of downtown Austin sits the charming little town of Dripping Springs. The locals refer to their town simply as Drippin’. Make sure you drop that g, or you’ll be a dead giveaway for outsider. The scenic drive is worth the day trip, but there’s so much more waiting for you in and around Dripping Springs.
1. They make your adult beverage of choice
No matter what your hard drink of choice happens to be, someone in Dripping Springs makes it. Breweries, wineries and distilleries are peppered all over the countryside surrounding Dripping Springs.
For beer, try The Barber Shop or Twisted X Brewing Company. If you prefer wine, visit Bell Springs Winery or Solaro Estate Winery. If you’re into hard liquor, make your way to Deep Eddy Vodka Distillery, Treaty Oak Distilling or San Luis Spirits.
2. An iconic Texas swimming hole
Hamilton Pool Preserve is a true Texas treasure. It sits just a 14-mile drive north of Dripping Springs. If you’ve seen more than a handful of Texas swimming hole photos in your life, you’ve seen Hamilton Pool. The circular pool is partially surrounded by a limestone overhang. The waters of Hamilton Creek come down over the limestone waterfall into the pool.
Archaeological evidence suggests this pool has been used recreationally for centuries. The land was purchased by Travis County in 1985 and has been aggressively managed to bring back the environment Native Americans enjoyed before cattle ranchers settled on the land in the late 1800s.
This swimming hole has become so popular that Travis County has started requiring reservations during the busy summer season. If you want to visit this year, you should book as quickly as possible. Reservations are often booked solid for weeks at a time.
3. The breakfast croissant at Rolling in Thyme and Dough
Nothing says breakfast like bacon, eggs … and pesto!? After you have the breakfast meat croissant at Rolling in Thyme and Dough, you may rethink which foods go with which time of day. This croissant have eggs, pesto, provolone and your choice of breakfast meat.
They’re open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday. They stay open for dinner on Thursday nights. But your first experience with Rolling in Thyme and Dough needs to be breakfast.
4. Hiking trails through Hill Country terrain
Dripping Springs calls itself The Gateway to the Hill Country, so it makes sense that Dripping Springs provides a great jumping off point for several nature trails. If you go to Hamilton Pool, you’ll take a short trek on some steep terrain from the parking lot to the swimming hole. But if you want more of a hike, you have plenty of options.
Milton Reimers Ranch Park is a day use park operated by Travis County. In addition to swimming in the Pedernales River, park visitors can mountain bike, hike and rock climb to their hearts’ content. Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center offers trail access and guided tours of their canyon. And if you want to visit a state park, Pedernales Falls State Park is less than 20 miles away.
5. The Salt Lick is just down the road
The Salt Lick is a well-known barbecue joint between Dripping Springs and Austin. Their vinegar-based sauce is unique to the area, but one taste of it, and you’ll wonder why they’re just about the only ones who serve it around here. You can try to save room for their blackberry or peach cobbler, but you’ll probably fill up on brisket, ribs and sausage before you can even think about something sweet.
They don’t take credit cards, so make sure you bring cash. There’s an ATM at the front in case you forget.