Must-do Fall Activities

Top 7 ways to celebrate fall in the Texas Hill Country

Top 7 ways to celebrate fall in the Texas Hill Country

Austin Sailboat Rentals
Cruise Lake Austin on a sailboat. Just don't forget the wine. Austin Sailboat Rentals/Facebook
Austin Steam Train Cedar Park
Jump on an Austin Steam Train and enjoy the ride. Austin Stream Train/Facebook
Texas Trail Rides
Tour the Texas Hill Country on horseback with Texas Trail Rides. Texas Trail Rides/Facebook
UT football game
Enjoy a UT football game and revel in the gloriousness of college football. Courtesy photo
Revelers wearing mustaches at Wurstfest in New Braunfels
Grab a fake mustache, a stein of beer and your favorite pair of lederhosen for Wurstfest. Photo by Bailey Radley
Austin Sailboat Rentals
Austin Steam Train Cedar Park
Texas Trail Rides
UT football game
Revelers wearing mustaches at Wurstfest in New Braunfels

By most people's standards, triple-digit temperatures, charred grass and ozone action days don't necessarily conjure a Rockwellian vision of autumn. Even so, September is the official start of fall, and there are plenty of uniquely Austin ways to exploit the season.

From sailboat rentals to vintage steam trains, music festivals and winery tours, here are the top ways to celebrate autumn in the Texas Hill Country. 

Austin Steam Train
Various dates and times 
There is no better time to comfortably enjoy the vintage Austin Steam Train than during the temperate autumn months. The Hill Country and Bertram Flyers run nearly every weekend of the year and offer scenic, thematic journeys throughout the fall. Trains leave from Cedar Park and, depending on the ride, visit sites in Bertram and Burnet. Visit the Austin Steam Train website for ticket and schedule information.

Texas Trail Rides
Various dates and times
If cowboy culture is sewn into the fabric of Texan identity, then Texas Trail Rides is a steadfast needleworker. The "posse" of ranchers offers guided excursions to suit every skill level and a broad range of tastes. Excursions include ranch trail rides, sunset and romantic rides, a vineyard ride, and special occasion expeditions. For more information, visit the Texas Trail Rides website.

Austin Sailboat Rentals
Various dates and times
When it comes to sailing, Austin isn't anywhere close to Nantucket. In the temperate months of autumn and early winter, however, it may even be a bit better. Austin Sailboat Rentals offers affordable rentals of centerboard dinghy sailboats, a Catalina Capri 14.2, Chrysler Man-O-War, and Glastron Alpha for use on Lady Bird Lake or Lake Austin. Just add wine, wind and a few close friends.

UT Football Game
Various dates and times
Plain and simple, catching a game at Darrell K. Royal Stadium is an Austin rite of passage. After all, college football is about the experience. The rabid fanaticism, team rivalry, all the grandiosity — it's a spectacle. Add in the actual game and competition atop that? Heads might explode. 

Lost Maples Natural Area
This tiny State Natural Area in Vanderpool —located about three hours southwest of Austin — is perched on the banks of the Sabinal River. Lost Maples boasts a rich population of Uvalde Bigtooth Maples, which annually yield a kaleidoscopic display of burnt oranges, reds and yellows. These leaves are best seen along the East Trail of the Natural Area in the late autumn months. Be sure to check foliage reports before heading out.

ACL Music Festival
October 4-6 and 11-13
Anyone with two ears and a heartbeat has heard of the ACL Music Festival. This year, big-name acts such as Depeche Mode, The National, Neko Case, Wilco, Lionel Ritchie, and many more join the roster of performing artists taking over Zilker Park for two weekends. Tickets for the first weekend are sold out; prices for the latter dates, at $225, are hefty but totally worth it.

Wurstfest
November 1-10
Nothing says autumn in the Hill Country like 10 ten-day celebration of sausage, beer, rickety carnival rides and old men in tiny lederhosen in New Braunfels. Events include daily (and nightly) dances, marathon eating, children's activities and more. For admission information and directions, visit the official Wurstfest website.