Written by Nathaniel Torres
With the temperatures this week you’d never be able to tell but spring is coming! Bright, warm sun with just the slightest cool breeze is going to make for that beautiful, albeit short-lived Texas spring. We already had that spring fakeout week where even the foliage was fooled and started to bloom, so next time it should be here to stay. At least temperatures aren’t colder than the arctic-like they were in the Midwest this winter. While waiting out this final cold front you may find it helpful to start planning your spring break. Keep in mind that this year, for the first time in several years, SXSW and local spring break holiday will not be matching up. AISD’s spring break is after SXSW. There are some concerns being raised about traffic as the city will be bursting at the seams with the local students who usually try to escape the madness now being obligated to their class schedules. Surprisingly it is not mentioned that this will make for an interesting experiment on participation grades.
If you are looking for something different and exciting to do over break we compiled a list of events and places to visit that will provide adventure and rejuvenation, or at the very least, a unique story to tell. We have suggestions for the older souls, the crusaders, and the staycationers. Be sure to read through and see what fits you!
If your first instinct is to get out of town on what will probably be Austin’s busiest, most crowded weekend, then the first place we suggest you go is right down I-35 to San Antonio to enjoy their 13th annual Fest of Trails. You K-9 loving, outdoor, laze abouts will enjoy this. This event invites everybody to come out to McAllister Park with a kite, your dog, or just a blanket to spend the day petting 4-legged friends and watching a sky full of kites. Early on there will be doggie contests including best-dressed dog and owner-pet look alike duo. Then at noon the pooches will be putting on a parade! Sometimes it’s about the simple things. San Antonio also has many other big city attractions. The Pearl district is one of the newer parts of the River Walk that includes a variety of restaurants, local shops and the San Antonio Art Museum (SAMA) that has discount admission for students. Those who prefer a bigger rush can take advantage of the Six Flags that is also located down there.
However, if you were hoping for something a little more unconventional, then how about taking a hot balloon ride up in Georgetown? The Georgetown Hot Air Balloon Festival takes place March 22 and 23 and you can be a spectator for as little as 12 bucks plus parking. An extra 30 bucks will get you a ticket for a ride in the balloon. Different ticket packages can be purchased on the Eventbrite site https://www.eventbrite.com/e/georgetown-hot-air-balloon-festival-victory-cup-polo-match-tickets-51584776455. There will be food, wine, live music, and a polo match. This is definitely an experience that will stand out in spring break story swaps. You can hold your pinky on high while telling about how you took the opportunity to become more cultured.
Okay, so you’re young, you’re hip, and you want an adventure. No problem! If you really want to get away and become one with nature then we suggest hitting up one of Texas’ State Parks. If you have been in Austin for some time you have probably heard of Jacob’s Well and Hamilton Pool. These destinations have become popular and often close early due to hitting capacity quickly so we excluded them to make room for less ordinary parks around our state. Be sure to take a second look at the State Parks website to reserve your spot and know the elements you will be in and as always take water! https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/
If you could paddle up Lady Bird Lake and up our Colorado River, surprise! You would not end up in Colorado. You would eventually hit Gorman falls in Colorado Bend State Park. Again, not Colorado. The park is about a 2-hour drive from downtown Austin where you can camp, paddle, hike and bike. The trail up to the fall is not for the faint of heart but the falls is a rewarding sight to all who make it.
Enchanted Rock is also about 2 hours away. Campsites are available along with 11 miles of hiking trails (no biking). The “dome” was created by flowing magma about 7 miles beneath the surface and now sits 1,825 ft above sea level. Don’t worry if you want to make it to the summit that is 425 ft for you from its base. This park may not have a water way for you to swim or paddle, but in trade it offers bouldering and lead climbing routes for all you rock climbers out there.
If you are committed to a further destination that is not Big Bend, then check out Caddo Lake. Located five hours northeast, Caddo has 50 miles of waterway to canoe and kayak through. You can camp or you can take it up a notch and rent a cabin. If fishing is how you find your zen then this may be the spot for you, with 71 species living in the lake. Just be sure to keep an eye peeled for gators.
Then, there is the grand Canyon (of Texas). Palo Duro Canyon is the second biggest canyon in the nation – 120 miles long and 20 miles wide. This destination is for those serious about getting away or who enjoy long car rides, being that it is a 7-hour drive. You can take a horseback guided tour through the canyon, and both hiking and biking are allowed on designated trails. You can rent a cabin or reserve a campsite with water and electricity. For those fascinated by wide views of rugged nature, this one’s for you.
Now, don’t let us tell you that you need to drive hours away to have a worthy spring break. This is Austin, after all. Lady Bird Lake and the greenbelt running through the middle of our city is the envy of many. Pinballz has 3 locations across the city for adult gaming experience- at least you could say you got out. iFly located in north Austin offers indoor skydiving, eliminating the height and hefty price tag of ordinary skydiving. You can practice rock climbing indoors in the AC at ABP (Austin Bouldering Project) by Springdale and Airport. Then pick a board game and grab a frosty beverage at Friends and Allies right next door.
The important thing is that you enjoy spring because before you know it it will be summer and almost too hot to move. Grab your friends and make some memories. Let us know what you plan to do this spring break and tag us #ACCSL.