The Best Things To Do in Dripping Springs, TX
February 6, 2021
Nestled in the east side of Hill Country (Texas’ premier region known for its wineries, distilleries, caves, springs and rocky trails) is the small town of Dripping Springs. Dripping Springs is roughly a half hour from Austin and known as the ‘Gateway to Texas Hill Country’ for its proximity to the capital city. The town has a population of 4,000 people and was founded in 1881. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the hilly countryside while remaining nearby to a variety of shops and restaurants in the small downtown area.
The beautiful scenery makes for a popular place to get married. Dripping Springs is considered the wedding capital of Texas with over 35 wedding venues in just a 15-mile radius. Whether you are on a couples getaway or a girls trip, Dripping Springs should not be missed when visiting Texas Hill Country.
Havenwald is a dreamy 6-acre property where you’ll find an assortment of charming cottages with themes like ‘Robin Hood’s Hideout.’ I stayed in the Robin Hood cottage and fell in love; there are whimsical details like stained glass windows, a spiral staircase and giant royal mugs.
The cottages are located just 12 minutes from downtown Dripping Springs and typically cost around $150/night on Airbnb. They are perfect for couples or solo travelers.
Learn more about Havenwald in my review of the cottage!
If you have a bigger group, check out Wanderin’ Star Farms for a variety of cute cabins or even an entire ‘barndominium.’ The cabins are located on 10 acres of land with farm animals, a creek and great outdoor spaces to relax. The ranch offers a beautiful and peaceful escape just 8 minutes from downtown Dripping Springs. Prices tend to range from $130/night and up depending on chosen dates and cabin.
- Mazama Coffee: Mazama is located on historic Mercer Street and serves a variety of coffees, pastries and breakfast tacos. They also have a large outdoor patio space where you can enjoy your coffee.
- Rolling in Thyme and Dough: For an incredible brunch, check out the gem Rolling in Thyme and Dough. This restaurant serves a variety of breakfast items along with an assortment of sandwiches for lunch. I had the croissant sandwich with pesto, provolone and eggs; it was not only incredible but also very large and filling! They also have a spacious outdoor seating area with a food truck that you can order from.
- Crepe Crazy: Crepe Crazy serves both sweet and savory crepes, along with salads. The restaurant is deaf owned and makes an effort to hire deaf employees, so point to what you’d like when you order when you visit. I enjoyed my savory caprese crepe.
- Tillie’s: Tillie’s a great choice for a fancy dinner. The restaurant is housed in a former Vietnamese town hall that feels as if you entered a beautiful chapel. The food is just as elegant as the architecture; they serve brunch and dinner with an extensive cocktail menu.
- Sidecar Tasting Room: Sidecar is a prohibition era wine bar located in downtown Dripping Springs. The bar is located in an old house and also has a large patio space. On certain nights, you can partake in live music or trivia here.
- Barber Shop Bar: The Barber Shop Bar is a local spot in the heart of Dripping Springs that serves no-frills beer and wine. The bar is inside of a former barber shop and is a favorite among locals.
- Treaty Oak Distillery: Treaty Oak is located just outside of town on 28 acres of Hill Country. The distillery offers tours of their production facilities along with serving BBQ, cocktails and craft beer. The yard has a lot of space to spread out and you’ll often hear live music here as well.
- Twisted X Brewing: If you enjoy craft beer, check out Twisted X Brewing, located 5 minutes outside of Dripping Springs. The brewery has an outdoor lawn and offers tours of their brewery.
- Fall Creek Vineyards: Visit the first Texas Hill Country winery at Fall Creek Vineyards. The winery is about 15 minutes from Dripping Springs and has a beautiful vineyard and house for wine tasting. You can also visit the popular BBQ restaurant, Salt Lick BBQ, across the street.
If you're looking for more romantic destinations near North Texas, check out my blog on the best romantic getaways from Dallas, Texas.
Texas Hill Country Olive Co is a working olive vineyard and olive oil mill. The farm is located about 15 minutes from downtown Dripping Springs and offers a variety of tours and tastings.
There are several different ways to experience the vineyard. I recommend going on a guided tour of the olive orchard, where you are welcome to taste an olive right off of a tree! You’ll get to see their chicken coop and learn all about the olive trees in the orchard. If you don't want to go on a tour, you are free to walk the vineyard grounds on your own without a guide. There is also a mill tour where you can dive into the production process and see how the olives become oil.
After a tour, enjoy a tasting of a few of the numerous oils and balsamics that are made there. The tasting includes unique flavors like harissa, blood orange and peach. I personally loved the harissa oil, it was a perfect amount of spice.
The property also offers a restaurant and a gift shop. Buy a bottle of a wine and a cheese plate and bring it out into the orchard to devour under the shady oak trees. The Texas Hill Country Olive Co is definitely a gem and a nice change of pace from the countless wineries in the area.
I learned so much about olive oil during my visit and it gave me a new appreciation for the oil that I cook with everyday. You can also buy their high quality oils online.
Hamilton Pool Preserve is located about 25 minutes from downtown Dripping Springs and features a cave and waterfall with a large swimming hole underneath. The scenery is stunning and truly feels like an oasis. Reservations must be made in advance and they fill up quickly, so book early!
As of 2022, swimming is currently not allowed at Hamilton Pool due to falling rocks. Be sure to check current conditions before your visit. While swimming isn’t available, you can still walk around inside of the cave surrounding the pool and hike a trail along the Hamilton Creek.
Hamilton Pool Preserve is definitely worth visiting while in Texas Hill Country. It was the first bit of Hill Country nature I experienced and such a beautiful place to discover.
Right down the road from Hamilton Pool Preserve is West Cave, another oasis that is smaller but overflowing with mossy greenery. At West Cave you must go on a guided tour and swimming is not allowed. During the tour, you will descend down towards a fascinating grotto covered in green moss with water dripping into a turquoise pool. You will also find a cave next to the grotto that you can explore. Visiting West Cave is a bit pricey, typically $60/ household. It was worth it in my opinion and the money goes towards protecting the land. It’s a magical place to visit.
Interested in more natural gems in Texas? Check out my Texas nature bucket list!
Historic Mercer Street is a historic road in downtown Dripping Springs where you’ll find cute shops with home decor and clothing, great coffee and vintage gas pumps. Check out Vintage Soul for a unique selection of clothing and gifts and Sacred Moon Herbs for herbs, essences and essential oils. While on Mercer Street, be sure to check out the vintage gas pumps at The Station. The Station is an events venue that was formerly a gas station in the 40’s. It still has the beautiful gas pumps and the service station canopy outside, making it perfect for a photo op!
Pedernales Falls State Park is an incredible state park 30 minutes from Dripping Springs. The focal point of the park is a 300 million year old limestone ‘waterfall’. The limestone rocks in this portion of the river slope downward and collect pools of water. You can walk across this rocky area and climb all over to explore. Also in the park, there are miles of hiking trails and swimming spots. One of the best trails include the 5.5 Mile Loop Trail for a scenic overlook followed by a river crossing. On the Wolf Mountain Trail, partake on the adventure of finding your own private swimming holes to enjoy. You also tube, canoe or kayak on the river in certain areas.
If you are looking for more ideas for Texas Hill Country trips, check out my list of over 40 things to do in Texas Hill Country!
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