Driving from Austin to Fredericksburg is one of the best mini-road trips in the Texas Hill Country, packing in popular small towns, wineries, state parks, scenery, and even a castle along one efficient drive along Highway 290 (or, to use its more official Hill Country name, Wine Road 290).
Whether you’re taking a day trip to Fredericksburg and want to move fairly quickly to your destination or you hope to meander in the Hill Country for a while, the Austin to Fredericksburg drive (or Fredericksburg to Austin drive–these stops work for both travel directions) has plenty to offer.
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What’s the Austin to Fredericksburg drive like?
No matter how many times we drive from Austin to Fredericksburg and back (and we’ve long since lost track of how many times that is), it remains one of my favorite scenic drives in Texas, packing plenty of small towns, wineries, and Hill Country views into a short 90-minute road trip.
A few things that you’ll spot along the way include central Johnson City, the Johnson Settlement, the 290 Wine Castle, and the Hye Post Office–and that’s barely scratching the surface!
What’s the driving distance from Austin to Fredericksburg?
Driving from Austin to Fredericksburg takes about an hour and a half each way, and takes place entirely on US Highway 290.
There’s a 78-mile distance between the two cities when measuring from central Austin.
Where to Stop When Driving from Austin to Fredericksburg
For the purposes of this Austin to Fredericksburg road trip guide, we’ve stuck to destinations that are more or less right on the way–but venture 15-20 minutes out of your way, and even more of the Hill Country will open up to you.
Nicknamed the “Gateway to the Hill Country”, charming Dripping Springs is best known for being the home of the famous Hamilton Pool Preserve–but, it should be noted, Hamilton Pool is a bit out of your way when driving from Fredericksburg to Austin (which is not to say it isn’t worth the detour).
Head one block over from 290 and you’ll find charming Mercer Street, which makes for a fun, quick stop to explore.
On 290 itself, you may want to check out Rolling in Thyme and Dough (excellent coffee with indoor and outdoor seating), or Flores Breakfast and Lunch, a simple but delightful taco stand that serves up some of my favorite breakfast tacos in the area, offering classic flavors done right at affordable prices.
Pedernales Falls State Park
A Texas Hill Country favorite, Pedernales Falls State Park is home to a particularly scenic stretch of the Pedernales River, where visitors can enjoy the (typically) relaxed falls as they make their way over the enormous limestone riverbed.
Restrictions prohibit swimming in the falls themselves, but there is a beautiful swimming area in the park, as well as campgrounds, hiking trails, and plenty of beautiful views!
This area is very prone to flash flooding, so be sure to keep an eye on the weather when setting out.
One of the easiest stops on the Austin to Fredericksburg drive is charming Johnson City: the route will take you right through the center of town!
Whether you want to check out the courthouse square, browse the antique shops, stop by the Johnson Settlement (where President Johnson’s grandparents first settled in Texas) and safely say hello to the longhorns, or grab a drink at the 290 Wine Castle, you’ll almost certainly find something to tempt you into stopping in Johnson City.
Check out our guide to the best things to do in Johnson City!
Blink once during your drive and you might miss Hye, a delightfully tiny town (population: 564) that’s well worth a quick look!
Most notably, the charming and historic Hye Post Office building has been transformed into a restaurant and market and is a must-see during an Austin to Fredericksburg road trip.
Hye is also well known for having an incredible number of wineries and distilleries squeezed into its small footprint.
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
The Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park is made up of two unconnected parts: the Johnson Settlement in Johnson City, and the LBJ Ranch and assorted other buildings in Stonewall.
The LBJ Ranch is where you’ll find everything from a still-working ranch to President Johnson’s birthplace to the famous Texas White House and the quirky Air Force 1 1/2 plane, and it’s well worth exploring during your Austin to Fredericksburg drive.
Of all the things to do between Austin and Fredericksburg listed here, Luckenbach is the furthest of out the way–by which we mean, a mere 10 minutes or so.
Despite its minuscule population, Luckenbach is well-known as a country music hotspot and is home to a popular dance hall and far more live shows than one would expect from a town of merely 3 people.
Be sure to duck into the historic post-office-turned-shop during your visit, too!
Check out our guide to the best things to do in Luckenbach!
Don’t want to drive yourself?
Want to explore the fun things to do between Austin and Fredericksburg but don’t want to take an independent road trip?
This well-reviewed day trip will show you the LBJ Ranch, Fredericksburg, Luckenbach, and a winery or two, all in one day and without having to worry about bringing a designated driver along!
Tips for Driving from Austin to Fredericksburg
Keep an eye out for produce stands.
The road from Austin to Fredericksburg is littered with produce stands, offering–depending on the season–everything from fresh berries to homemade peach jam to pumpkins–and they’re well worth pulling over for!
Consider adding on a visit to Hamilton Pool or Westcave Preserve.
Hamilton Pool and Westcave Preserve are each home to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Texas, and they’re only a couple of miles apart!
You’ll need reservations to visit either, but if you have time for a short detour and want to experience one of the gems of the Texas Hill Country between Fredericksburg and Austin, it’s worth planning ahead for.
Don’t eat before your Austin to Fredericksburg drive.
… because there are too many opportunities to eat a delicious breakfast, lunch, or snack along the way!
The food scene is one of the biggest draws of the Hill Country, and any drive from Austin to Fredericksburg deserves at least one food stop.