By Adam Smith
Senior Sales Consultant at Travel Nation
Posts (7) See Adams profile
Spring weather can be hit and miss in the UK, making it a brilliant time to hop over the pond to the Deep South USA. If you're a fan of country music, good wine, craft beer and every sort of tex-mex food under the sun, then Austin is the city for you.
In May 2018, we decided to take advantage of Norwegian Airlines’ new direct service to Austin Texas, and sample some true Southern American hospitality. If you ever get the chance to visit this unique and vibrant city, you should grab it with both hands.
Flights from Gatwick on Norwegian Airlines are exceedingly well-priced, and you can take a direct service straight into Austin all year round. Staying in America’s Capital of Live Music is incredibly easy, and transportation on the local tram service is fun and straightforward. It’s also a great place to kick off a larger road trip in the USA, heading across to New Orleans and down to Florida.
Austin is famed for its live music and food, so we made sure to make the most of these two temptations. The city is jam-packed with forward-thinking and quirky restaurants, bistros, wine bars and pubs, giving it a relaxed and cosmopolitan atmosphere normally associated with other cities such as San Francisco or Portland.
April and May are both ideal months to head over to Austin, as the weather is not unbearably hot, but will happily sit at a solid 27 degrees Celsius. If you visit in early April, you’re likely to catch the iconic Texan bluebonnets in full bloom, forming a beautiful floral carpet outside the city limits.
Once we had landed and found our accommodation, we decided to discover some of the quirky local restaurants. Being a progressive city compared to its Texan counterparts of Houston and Dallas, we were lucky enough to find a plethora of vegan and ethical options, as well as the usual BBQ and Tex-Mex joints.
Counter Culture Austin was one of our favourite spots – the range of vegan and vegetarian Texan food here was to die for. You’ll find frozen margaritas and burritos on the menu in most restaurants, all in super-sized, belt-busting portions. Everything is delicious, so if you’re heading to Austin, you’ll need to ditch the diet!
Texas is famed for going big, and everything in Austin is huge! At the time of construction, the Capitol building was declared the seventh biggest building in the world. It makes you feel tiny. The streets are super-wide, and there are plenty of giant parks to explore as you work your way through the city. Not only that, but you can also see the world’s largest pair of cowboy boots in Austin. It’s brilliant but bizarre.
We made sure to meander through the streets, taking in everything from traditional Stetson hat shops to the live music venues and eateries. In the evening, we headed to see some live music in a local Austin winery, which was fantastic! Austin is all about live music and the arts, so be sure to catch some gigs during your visit.
After watching the band, we headed out to a two-step western bar, The White Horse, and attempted to fit in by learning this traditional Texan dance. It was great raucous fun and a fantastic way to spend the later part of an evening. If you get the chance, be sure to try it.
As well as a thriving city culture, there are some wonderful spots for relaxation on the outskirts of Austin. You’ll find several natural springs and waterfalls just beyond the city limits, all perfect for a cooling dip after a morning of sightseeing.
The natural spring at Barton Creek is a brilliant place to spend a sunny afternoon. If you go on a weekend, you’ll find a real party atmosphere, and you can meet loads of friendly locals while you paddle. Another favourite spot is Hamilton Falls, but reservations are required, so you’ll need to go online to book your day out (there’s an $11 fee).
There are plenty of fun family activities in Austin too. We tried our hand at some crazy golf (made incredible by their excellent BYOB policy) and spent a few days wandering around the green spaces dotted across the city. If you’re travelling with kids, Austin is a great choice.
Next time you are thinking of popping over to the USA, try skipping the more commonly-visited cities and head for the Deep South. Take advantage of the new non-stop service to Austin and fly direct for a foot-stompin’ time in Austin! It's quirky, colourful and surrounded by natural beauty, with lip-smackin' BBQ to boot! What more could you possibly want?
We can put together USA road trip itineraries of all shapes and sizes, from Deep South adventures to city-hopping on the East or West Coast. All of our road trips can be tailor-made to suit your travel plans, and we love a challenge here, so get in touch. You can call us on 1273 320 580 or send us an email with your details.
at Travel Nation
at Travel Nation
Senior Travel Consultant
at Travel Nation
Senior Sales Consultant
Adam’s university days studying Geography set the scene for his early travel plans. Leaving the UK behind for three and a half years, he travelled through the Americas and spent a year living in Costa Rica before heading to the South Pacific islands. A passion for water sports including surfing and sailing encouraged him to undertake his greatest endeavour; a 2-man crossing of the Pacific Ocean which took 8 months and visited 6 countries including Fiji, French Polynesia and Tonga. He joined Travel Nation in 2012 as a round the world specialist and is now one of our Air Product Experts.