Budgeting for a vacation can be very tough and is something that stops a lot of people from planning their next trip. But I've found that if you incorporate a few free activities into your vacations, it can free up money for those bucket list travel opportunities. Eating at a fancy restaurant or trying a new activity are always fun, but you can have just as much fun enjoying the free things in Austin.
1. For the adventurer- Visit the Barton Creek Greenbelt.
- Austin is full of great hiking trails in an area called The Greenbelt. There a lot of hiking trails, some that lead to beautiful views and some that lead to watering holes. If you are just looking for views, take the quick hike up Mount Bonnell to see Austin from above.
2. For the exerciser- Spend some time on the hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake.
- Lady Bird Lake is a gorgeous lake that is right in the middle of the city of Austin. There is a walking and biking trail that goes around it and will give you the opportunity to explore the city. If you love to jog, this is also the place to be. Walk a couple of miles around the lake, stop on a nice bench to enjoy the views and make sure to see the statue of Stevie Ray Vaughn. If you end up visiting the trail during dusk, be sure to stop and see the bats underneath the Congress Bridge. While not free, you can always rent a kayak or stand up paddle board and enjoy some time out on the lake.
3. For the historian- Explore the capitol city.
- As the capitol city of Texas, you must visit the capitol! Entrance to the capitol is free and they also offer free tours every 20-30 minutes during the week and on weekends. After exploring the capitol, head over to the University of Texas to see all of the history of Texas' largest university. On campus, you can visit the LBJ Presidential Library. Library admission is $8, but there are a lot of free admission days:
- Martin Luther King Day
- Presidents Day
- Explore UT
- Memorial Day
- The Fourth of July
- August 27 (LBJ's birthday)
- Veterans Day
- Austin Museum Day
4. For the relaxer- Enjoy some time in a swimming hole.
- There are so many beautiful watering holes in Austin. From Twin Falls to Campbell's hole, you can take a quick walk from The Greenbelt and end up in a beautiful place to lay out a towel and relax. The best swimming area in Austin is Barton Springs, but it isn't entirely free. It is $3 for adults and $1 for kids. I'm considering it free since it is so cheap, but there are a lot of other great swimming hole options that are totally free as well.
5. For the artist- Visit the galleries and museums.
- South Congress has a ton of fantastic shops and galleries for the art lover. There is also a great art gallery called Austin Art Garage, which is a must visit.
If you love museums, the Blanton Museum of art is always free on Thursdays. This is a great museum on campus that includes some really nice exhibitions. If you are looking for more unique art, you can always visit the Graffiti Park.
Incorporating a few free activities into your Austin vacation can free up budget and make space for a few bucket list items during your next trip.