How I Spent My Time in Austin, Texas During TravelCon
This September, I went to TravelCon in Austin, Texas where Matt Kepnes from Nomadic Matt, brought together the Travel Blogging Community for a fun-filled few days of loaded lectures about how to be the best in our fields and passions.
Guys. I fangirled so hard.
Among the many wonderful speakers, which I wasn’t able to get to all of them, I was able to share short conversations with some of my favorite bloggers from around the globe and even some people I already know from the blogging world. I also made a few really cool friends along the way who I hope to see and collaborate with down the road.
My two fangirl moments, don’t worry I kept my cool, were Liz Carlson from Young Adventuress, and Kiersten Rich from The Blonde Abroad. I was able to share brief conversations with them and learned that they are even more spectacular in person than on social media.
For a while, I have been having trouble focusing on my topic and my niche and it wasn’t until this conference, that I finally heard their words of wisdom and gleaned what I wanted to do and focus on. More on that later.
This super educational blogging conference has been so eye-opening for me and I can’t wait to use what I’ve learned for the future months to really develop my vision.
But obviously, this trip hasn’t been all about visiting TravelCon and getting my learn on, although that was most of it. It was also about exploring Austin, Texas, which I have never been to.
So, as I continue to live out my short period of time here, I want to pass on the exciting things I did in Austin, Texas when I had the downtime. Check out some of my most memorable activities in Austin, Texas below!
Got a Sugar Rush at Hayley Cakes and Cookies
Hayley Cakes and Cookies has been getting a significant amount of traffic on Instagram for their incredible cookie and cake creations. They are getting most of their love for the home-made cookies with hand-piped memes on them. One of their recent posts included a cookie with the meme, “I know what you did for a Klondike Bar. Call me.” People have loved her stuff, so I made a point to visit. I was able to pick up my very own delicious cookies (and they truly are delicious) of a ghost kitty and a precious toy unicorn. They have two adorable locations in Austin, Texas, so make sure you get there before there is a line out the door – because I anticipate they will be a popular place in Austin very soon.
Got Wet With ATXcursions River Tubing
First and foremost try and get Kat and Karen as your river tubing tour guides when going with ATXcursions. They are incredibly chill and they will take the time to chat with you and get to know you if you’re a good and chill crowd too. The river tubing excursion takes place in San Marcos, TX just 35 miles from Austin. It departs from the Austin Visitor Center and from there you get several fun-filled hours of lazy river cruising to cool down during the hot weather. Also, they let you BYOB, so get on that Love Street Kolsch Style Blonde and Lone Star beer, my friends.
Rented a BCycle for Three Days
Because I didn’t want to suck my bank account dry with too many Uber trips, I decided to invest in the BCycle App’s 3-Day Weekender pass. It allows me unlimited bike trips for three days. Luckily, where I am staying is super close to where the TravelCon is taking place, so a 20-minute bike ride to downtown Austin is the most bang for your buck. Austin has made it very easy for people to take bike trails around the city, so each BCycle makes note of those trails on their map for your own convenience. I highly recommend this mode of transportation especially if you are busting out of your pants from indulging in too many breakfast tacos. It’s a great workout, I won’t lie. Also, it’s very hot and humid so please make sure to drink lots of water.
Took an Epic SUP Kayak Adventure on Lady Bird Lake
Probably at every turn, you can find a kayak or SUP rental. Lucky for me, right next to my hostel had the perfect location, and since I’m a sucker for kayaking, I, of course, went for it. The Kayak and SUP place is called Epic SUP and is conveniently placed behind the HI Austin Hostel, so you don’t have to travel very far. I recommend reading their rules on their site before going nay further. Lady Bird Lake isn’t really a lake but is part of the Colorado River, which runs through Austin. I’m glad I was able to take that little piece of my home with me on this trip. Kayaking trips are anywhere from $10-$15 per hour depending on where you go, but it’s definitely worth the trip.
Drove Via Car2go to Family Business Beer Company
This happened during the last leg of my trip when I had an extra day to visit the Austin and explore. I decided to rent a car2go and drove to Dripping Springs, Texas to visit the Family Business Beer Company. The drive is a beautiful winding trip through lush greenery and just a few miles from Hamilton Pool Preserve (the perfect place to stop post-swimming in my opinion). They opened up in January 2018 and are most known for being co-owned by Supernatural star, Jensen Ackles, his wife, Daneel Ackles his friends Gino Graul and Nate Seale.
Of course, there is a natural draw of visiting the place if you love Ackles, but I bet you wouldn’t guess they actually had good beer ranging from a wide variety of IPAs to whitbiers to Berliner weisses and more! Totally worth the visit and you can have a flight of beer for just $10-$12 and some delicious Cajun style food from their on-site food truck Jep’s Southern Roots.
Visited Hamilton Pool Preserve
It’s not far from the Family Business Beer Company, so you might as well make the trip. Hamilton Pool Preserve is about five miles away from FBB and only takes reservations so make sure you reserve a space now. Unfortunately, I was not able to go to Hamilton Pool because their water was contaminated. However, even if you can’t take a dive, you can still hike to the area and take a picnic with you and enjoy the gorgeous scenery Hamilton Pool has to offer. The cost of a reservation is a simple $10 and gets you several hours of play time.
Tried Something from Taco Joint’s “Secret Menu”
The taco game is strong in Austin. Taco Joint was recommended to me by a local of the Austin area. Many would agree that Torchy’s Tacos is the way to go if you’re in the mood for some delectable tacos, but Taco Joint isn’t too far off of being delicious either. They have a secret menu, which is clearly displayed on their register. On it, you’ll find a variety of items including grilled shrimp tacos. Ordering two of these will fill you up, as they’re about the size of burritos. Pair them with one of their delicious sauces and you are in taco heaven.
Started My Day With Breakfast Tacos
You can find a food truck or taco joint or restaurant selling breakfast tacos quite literally everywhere. My favorite place to get breakfast tacos was a taco truck on Riverside near Lakeshore Blvd. It’s across from the Church’s. You can get a delicious, bacon, sausage, or vegetarian taco with spicy salsa for about $1.75 per taco. But if that’s nowhere near you, hop in the car and take an adventure to find the perfect taco truck in your area.
Stayed at HI Austin Hostel
HI Austin is part of a large group of hostels from around the globe the bring people together. Of the many things I love about hostels, I love most how it brings people together and encourages making new friends. HI Austin has been around for a little more than a decade and from my understanding, it hasn’t changed too much.
The hostel offers complimentary breakfast, it is conveniently placed near a BCycle station and bike trails, it’s just a short walk to the Colorado River (and Epic SUPs), and you can get to downtown Austin in less than 10 minutes if you take an Uber or Lyft. The staff is super friendly and accommodating. I will definitely be back in the future.
Austin was definitely amazing and I can’t believe it took me my whole life just to get there, but I feel like I will be back in the future. Thank you to everyone I encountered on this trip who made this something memorable. I hope my readers try a few of these things and discover their own gems too.
See how I prepared for my Austin journey here! Or leave a comment below about some of your favorite places to visit in Austin, TX.