Bastrop is an easy day trip from Austin, San Antonio and most of Central Texas, but it’s really worthy of a weekend visit. I love the relaxed feel of the town. It’s easy to park, easy to get a table at a restaurant, easy to get around. and easy to be charmed. Bastrop people are super friendly, and you can count on that when you shop and dine. Bastrop offers history, beauty, nature, art, music, and activities.
Things I Love about Bastrop
Bastrop occupied by Spanish soldiers as early as 1804, and established as a city 6 years before Austin. Bastrop is home to 131 registered historical buildings. The walkable Main Street area and the adjacent historical neighborhood offer beautiful examples of 19th century architecture with a Texas vernacular. The Bastrop Historical Society Museum and Visitor Center tells the story of Bastrop with very nice exhibit. Read this article by the Austin-American Statesman for more about the history of Bastrop.
The Colorado River:
The river is wide and beautiful. Right downtown at the Bastrop River Company you can rent a canoe or kayak and take off exploring. Have dinner on the river at Neighbors Kitchen and Yard where you will most likely find an excellent local band, really good pizza and salads, and amazing pepperoni rolls.
Speaking of restaurants and music:
Restaurants and music are a popular combo in Bastrop. Grace Miller’s, Maxine’s, Viejo’s, and Baxter’s all offer free live music from local musicians with your dinner. Try the fried okra at Gracie’s, the chicken fried steak at Maxine’s, the avocado or pear margarita at Viejo’s, and enjoy the local art hanging at Baxter’s.
Bastrop supports its artists! The Lost Pines Fine Arts Guild Gallery is offers a wide range of work by talented local artists. Across the street is Art Connections Gallery featuring area favorites Enid Wood and Bruce Bingham as well as many other artists from near and far. Donna’s By Design is one of the newer gallery/gift shops. Stop by her bead bar to create your own work of art to wear home.
As you stroll around town, you’ll notice that Bastrop is rich in public art. The Transformer Project features murals by local artists painted on electrical transformer boxes with fun subjects likes boots and butterflies. You can see my mural of the Lost Pines behind Grace Miller’s. And here’s a link to the Sculpture Map which takes you on a tour of all the outdoor sculptures in Bastrop.
First Friday Art Walk:
On the first Friday of every month, most of the shops and all the galleries stay open until 8:30. You’ll find free snacks and wine, music, and lots of art. It’s a casual and friendly event. After checking out the art, it’s still easy to get a table for some Texas cuisine and live music.
Fourth of July:
Imagine a fireworks display and symphony that you can easily park and walk to! No shuttles, no camping out for hours just to get close. It reminds me of the good old days in Austin. We’ll be there! Text me and we’ll meet up!
Parks and Lakes:
Bastrop State Park, Buescher State Park, Fisherman’s Park, North Shore Park, South Shore Park…Something outdoors for everyone . Here’s a link to a list of all the parks and all the information about hours and attractions. Bastrop State Park schedules nature hikes and family activities most weekends. Here’s the calendar of events.
Bastrop is a rich habitat for birds and a popular spot for birders. I am just a beginner at bird identification, and I spotted 83 species of birds just at Little Piney! The website Ebird lists 342 species for Bastrop County, and expert birder and author, Brush Freeman, has recorded observation of 353 species.
I’ve listed my favorite attractions, but it’s these moments, often repeated, that capture the essence of what I love about Bastrop:
- Seeing three or four generations of a family dining at a large table at Maxine’s.
- Watching the sunset on the Colorado from the deck at Neighbors.
- Listening to seasoned musicians perform oldies at Gracie’s mostly because they love to play.
- Deciding where to have dinner at the last minute and not having to wait for a table.
- Asking for help or advice and being responded to generously..
- Exchanging warm smiles and small talk with warm and friendly people.
- Observing the cohesive, supportive community response to floods and fires.
Places to stay: