With the curtain closing on the spring semester and the treacherous, black heart of finals week looming, student’s minds, bodies and souls could most likely benefit from a much needed getaway. Luckily, central Texas has a selection of nearby trips conquerable in a day, just far enough out of town that students momentarily forget how they’re going to explain their grades to their parents but just close enough that no hotel accommodations are necessary.
Magnolia Market is a popular destination by UT students and HGTV aficionados alike. Located in Waco, Texas, and created by HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia provides an assortment of spots to swing by from food trucks to a garden center to a bakery to home decor.
Just a short drive from Magnolia Market sits Cameron Park Zoo on the bank of the Brazos River. With a vast array of critters to check out, the zoo is a great stop to make for those not quite ready to head home.
San Antonio River Walk
San Antonio boasts an unforgettable River Walk that might just make you forget the Alamo. With restaurants and shops lining the narrow river and ferries to give guests the full tour, the River Walk is a great day trip and only around two hours from the UT campus. Government junior Mia Floyd said she first visited the River Walk when she was young.
“My parents used to go there all the time,” Floyd said. “We used to walk up and down the River Walk, but sometimes we would get on the boat that goes through the river. It would be dark and so everything would be lit up at night.”
For a laid back afternoon where no shoes are required, students head to the New Braunfels, Texas, where for around $20, individuals can rent tubes and float along the Comal River. Undergraduate studies freshman Autumn Jarrett spent her past few summers with friends and family visiting the river and said she has plans to return this summer.
“I’ve been going every year since probably my freshman year of high school,” Jarrett said. “You can just relax, talk to friends and get a tan. And sometimes there are rapids which is fun.”
In addition to floating down the Comal River, New Braunfels also offers a water park with 51 different attractions. Biology freshman Madelyn Jackson has a tradition of going to Schlitterbahn every summer and said she’s seen how it’s changed in recent years.
“My entire family goes there together, and it’s a fun day,” Jackson said. “They’ve built a lot over the years, and now they have the old park and the new park.”
In addition to these attractions, central Texas also offers a wide variety of natural parks and watering holes such as Enchanted Rock, Hamilton Pool and even Austin’s very own Barton Springs, supplying students the opportunity to get out there and momentarily forget their post-finals woes.