Let me start by saying though we ended up having a blast in Austin and our day trip to Waco—we actually did the trip with minimal planning because we originally set to attend and camp out at Bonnaroo. We (my brother, G., and his girlfriend, M.) made the call on Monday night (flipped a coin) before the whole thing was officially canceled. It was definitely the right decision by the organization with the weather—and official cancellation 24 hours later—and I was definitely lucky that the only impact the horrendous hurricane had on me was a change in travel plans.
On to the fun stuff.
We picked Austin because we were planning to camp and so were driving. Austin was the same distance away (10 hours from the starting destination in Kansas) and we had camping gear in the back. 90 degrees in August was maybe not the smartest choice, but live and learn (my deodorant melted when I left it in the tent one day).
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Since we were doing everything night of a lot of the camp sites were already reserved. We got a spot at McKinley Falls Campground from Tuesday night through Friday and then did a hotel through actual Labor day weekend. The campground was the best of both worlds. Very close to Austin, easy drive in, while still getting that nature in. We did a hike one morning (where there may have been a misreading of a map) and we swam at the Lower Falls both days. Swimming by the falls has its inherent dangers, so know yourself etc., but we watched the locals before any jumping off rocks was done. Swimming was great as it gave us a chance to cool off and then also see turtles.
We stayed at a Hilton right off the highway close to the district. This was nice because it meant we were in walking distance to some really good food and where we ended up seeing a stand-up comedy show. The hotel itself was lovely because it had air conditioning and also a shallow rooftop pool.
We also checked out the art museum (free admission Thursday!) which worked out well because we could park in the garage and wander around a bit. The museum is on the University of Texas, Austin and it was fun to see all the buildings. In addition to the art museum, we checked out the sculpture garden. This was fine (alittle pricey for the amount of sculpture), but G. really enjoyed it—so each their own
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Most people were surprised when they heard we went to Waco—it’s a couple hours from Austin. But M. and I are both Joanna and Chip fans and we had time between packing up the campsite and the hotel reservation. We did the Silos and grounds and got some good gifts and it was fun to see the aesthetic, the care, and attention to detail. But it did not take us long, and I did walk away feeling similarly to how I feel at Disney world or a theme park. It’s nice, but it’s not organic.