It’s a challenge to write about the place you call home, especially when that city is as multifaceted as Austin, a bustling burg flavored by music, art, and the outdoors. In the end, our Austin story is a staff collaboration: Jill Lawless explores Austin’s kid-friendly enticements, Matt Joyce rediscovers Congress Avenue after returning to town from a nine-year hiatus, and Lori Moffatt embarks on the perfect grownup “staycation” day. We had to leave dozens of worthy experiences on the cutting-room floor, so see those here. Check the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau website for details on hotels and tours, as well as maps and other information.
1. Expect the unexpected
Whether traveling alone or with preschool companions, that’s one rule campers and parents alike ought to abide. After all, just as there’s no accounting for the weather, it’s tough to anticipate the moods and desires of a child far from home. Be flexible, but with a quality playbook, you can limit the shocks and squabbles that can turn a dream trip into a nightmare.
Living within minutes of Galveston gives our family easy beach access, so until recently I’ve neglected to show my children the rest of the Texas coast. I decide to remedy this shortcoming with a trip to Corpus Christi, where the kids—Caleb (8), Madi (5), and Esther (1)— and I find far more family fun than just playing on the beach.
We camped near a dry creek bed in Davis Mountains State Park, my daughter Ursula tucked into her junior-sized sleeping bag, pressed against my side for warmth in the cool night. Through the tent flap, I kept an eye on the spinning galaxies as she slept, listening to her sweet breath coming and going. Then, under those bright stars, a strange noise suddenly intruded, a snuffling near the picnic table. Good thing I put those rocks on the cooler, I thought, big suckers weighing five to six pounds apiece. Our food would be safe. Wrong.