The Explorer's Guide to Central Texas

February 16, 2023

From Austin to Waco, you’ll discover a world of adventure and unique attractions. And don’t forget the famous barbeque! If you’re new to town and don’t know where to explore yet, this guide is a great starting point. We want you to love where you live! So whether you need weekend plans or a spot to take your family and friends, check out our ideas below. 

Welcome to Central Texas!


Fixer Upper fans will love shopping pieces from the show at Magnolia Market in Waco. Stroll around the stunning seasonal collections and get inspired by the curated showrooms. Find beautiful furniture and decor for your new home that Chip and Joanna Gaines approve. 

If you’re in the market for a quality pair of cowboy boots, Allens Boots, a family-owned business in Austin since 1977, is a top-rated shopping experience enjoyed by Texans, tourists, and celebrities alike. If you see the big red boot sign, you’re in the right place. The shelves are filled with with specialized fits and looks for line dancing, work, the rodeo, or just everyday fashion. 


Check out Waco Mammoth National Monument for a remarkable look back in time.  Fossils are preserved in a climate controlled Dig Shelter that's home to a herd of Columbian Mammoths and other extinct species from the ice age, all in the exact place and position of discovery. And they're still being studied today. In fact, this is considered one of the most important paleontological sites in the world. 

Museum of Ice Cream in Austin is a fun interactive experience with 12 themed ice cream installations. You’ll get to walk through the banana forest, jump in the sprinkle pool, and so much more. Plus, your ticket includes ice cream and cotton candy treats along the way (of course!). 

Brush up on your history of the Lone Star State at Bullock Texas State History Museum. Admire hundreds of artifacts in the galleries and watch educational short films in their wonderful IMAX theater. They have a variety of educational programs for both kids and adults. Once you’ve explored more of Texas, consider submitting your photographs to their Texas Through Your Lens photo project.


Two-step into a traditional Texas dance hall, Bo’s Barn Dancehall in Temple, for a night of karaoke, pool, live music, and  country line dancing. Grab a bite or drink and then show off your moves on the huge dance floor. This is an awesome place to meet new people in the area. 

Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater (ACL Live) is a modern 2,750 seat music venue that plays host to beloved artists year round. Get an all-access pass to see where they film the PBS television series Austin City Limits, and take the tour of the Jack & Jim Gallery to view the iconic music photography of Jim Marshall. 


In the summer, escape the heat at Jacob’s Well outside Wimberley, Texas, a popular swimming hole where the water is always 68°F. When you hike to this natural spring, you’ll get to see an incredible underwater cave that plunges 140 feet deep. Note that reservations to swim are required. 

If you’re into rock climbing and interesting legends, head to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Hiking to the summit of the ancient pink granite dome is rite of passage for Texans. After dark, this is the perfect place to stargaze and see the Milky Way or a shooting star. 

Pet and feed giraffes and rhinos at Longneck Manor, a 100-acre farm in Fredericksburg. Here you’ll have endless photo opportunities with these incredible animals and learn from an animal care specialist about how to protect them from extinction. For an even more immersive experience, you can even stay a night in the luxurious giraffe suite.

Texas Barbecue

Texas reigns supreme when it comes to BBQ (don't tell KC and NC we said so), and Central Texas is lucky enough to have several award-winning spots. Come hungry to Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton, Rudy’s in Killeen, and Helberg Barbecue in Waco for brisket, ribs, sides and Southern desserts.

Whether you're here for a weekend or a lifetime, you won't run out of things to explore in this very special region of the Lone Star State.