Located just outside of Austin, Dripping Springs, Texas is known for its wineries, breweries, wedding venues, status as the self-proclaimed “Gateway to the Hill Country,” and–of course–being the home of the stunning Hamilton Pool, which is one of the most famous places to visit in both Dripping Springs and in Texas as a whole!
For a town with an estimated population of under 5,000, that’s quite the resume!
Unsurprisingly for a town so packed with beauty, there are plenty of fun things to do in Dripping Springs, TX, whether you’re looking for an outdoorsy adventure, an idyllic wine tasting, or a whimsical downtown shop to explore.
Here’s what to do in Dripping Springs, TX!
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The Best Things to Do in Dripping Springs, TX
Pay a visit to Hamilton Pool.
Without a doubt, visiting the stunning Hamilton Pool, with its gorgeous grotto and 50-foot waterfall, is the most popular thing to do in Dripping Springs.
As one of the most famous places in Texas, Hamilton Pool is quite crowded and definitely requires advance reservations to visit–but there’s nothing quite like laying eyes on it in person!
Unfortunately, due to safety concerns, swimming was forbidden during the summer of 2021.
Check the official website for reservations and updates on if/when swimming will be available again!
Browse Mercer Street.
As the unofficial main street of Dripping Springs, Texas, Mercer Street is a must-visit.
Here, you’ll find plenty of historic buildings–some of the oldest in town–that are thriving with modern storefronts, including some of the most popular places to visit in Dripping Springs, like the Barbershop.
Mercer Street is also where you can find the actual dripping springs that the town was named for!
Located just a block from US 290, Mercer Street is easy to find and fun to explore.
Transport yourself to Tuscany at Texas Hill Country Olive Company.
Looking for a taste of Italy in Texas?
Look no further than Texas Hill Country Olive Company, where you can not only shop for locally-produced olive oil, wine, spreads, and more, but also enjoy their on-site bistro (the muffuletta is delicious).
Their Terra Verde olive oil is one of my favorite olive oils, and I almost always have a bottle of it in the house.
If you’d like an even more up-close-and-personal experience with this local farm, you can also arrange to take a tour of the orchard!
Go for a hike at Reimers Ranch.
Located right down the road from the iconic Hamilton Pool, Reimers Ranch (technically called Milton Reimers Ranch Park) is a fantastic place to enjoy the Hill Country.
The park is very popular with rock climbers and mountain bikers, but hikers and visitors hoping to swim in the Pedernales River will also love it.
As a bonus, Reimers Ranch is dog-friendly–a fact that Ranger definitely appreciates.
Keep in mind that the park is cash-only and doesn’t take reservations.
If it reaches capacity, they will stop accepting visitors for the day.
If you’re headed down on a beautiful weekend, plan to arrive early in the morning if possible!
Enjoy a wine tasting or two.
Like most towns in the Hill Country, one of the best Dripping Springs activities is to enjoy a glass (or more) of wine.
Head outside of town, closer to Driftwood, and you’ll start running into gorgeous vineyards like the Italian-inspired Duchman Family Winery (their grounds are dog-friendly!), award-winning Fall Creek Vineyards, and the beautiful Driftwood Estate Winery.
Hang out with goats at Jester King Brewery.
A beloved local favorite, Jester King Brewery isn’t just known for their beer, food, and expansive property in the Hill Country–but also for their absolutely adorable Nigerian Dwarf goats!
Come to enjoy a goat experience, a brewery tour, a hike on one of their trails, or simply a pizza and a beer.
Walk-ins are welcome but reservations are recommended, especially on the weekend!
Dine in style at Tillie’s.
Delicious, American Nouveau food (per Tillie’s, “traditional American cuisine with an international flair”) isn’t the only unique and memorable aspect of Tillie’s: the very building that the restaurant is housed in is one of the most unique features of Dripping Springs, Texas!
The building itself began its life as a town hall in Vietnam, before being imported to Texas and finding a new home on the beautiful Camp Lucy Resort in Dripping Springs.
The unique atmosphere of Tillie’s combined with the sublime food make it an unforgettable dining experience!
Learn local history at the Dr. Pound Hitsorical Farmstead.
For more than 130 years, this local farmstead was home to the Pound family, starting with Dr. Pound and his wife Sarah in the mid-19th century.
Since the original two log cabins on the property were never modernized, the property provides a fascinating look into life in the Texas Hill Country in the 19th century.
The museum contains many artifacts from the Pound family, and a descendant of the original settlers even works with the museum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Unfortunately, the museum is currently closed for repairs, but check here for updates regarding reopening!
Pay a visit to a distillery.
It’s not all about wine in Dripping Springs!
Distilleries also play a huge role in town, and it’s definitely worth adding one (or more) to your list of what to do in Dripping Springs.
Some popular options include Dripping Springs Distilling (AKA Dripping Springs Vodka, the first distillery in town), Desert Door Distillery (the only Sotol distillery in the USA), and Deep Eddy Vodka (one of the most popular local vodka brands in Central Texas).
Relax at Rolling in Thyme and Dough.
You know those coffee shops where you pull up and just know that it’s somewhere you’d be happy to spend hours?
That’s Rolling in Thyme and Dough.
With a spacious interior, an even more spacious patio and outdoor dining area, and delicious coffee and baked goods, you can’t go wrong with an afternoon spent relaxing (or working) here.
Go to the Barbershop (but not for a haircut).
When you see a traditional barbershop sign as you’re wandering down Mercer Street, don’t be fooled: this isn’t a place to get your haircut!
The Barbershop is one of the most beloved bars in Dripping Springs, TX, popular with locals and visitors alike who are looking for a laid-back environment and a glass of wine or beer.
Grab breakfast tacos for the road.
Heading out on a longer Texas Hill Country road trip after visiting Dripping Springs?
We have the perfect breakfast stop before you go!
Right on Highway 290, you’ll find some of my favorite breakfast tacos in the region at Flores Breakfast and Lunch.
This small stall serves up no-fuss, absolutely classic breakfast tacos made perfectly, for lower prices than you’ll find in nearby Austin.
We have driven out of our way for these tacos more than once–and yes, they serve breakfast tacos during lunch hours as well.
What to Do Near Dripping Springs, Texas
When exploring the best things to do in Dripping Springs, it’s easy to let your travels bleed from town to the surrounding area to–quite quickly–other small towns and unincorporated communities.
Such is the nature of exploring the rural beauty of the Texas Hill Country!
Just outside of town, you’ll find these incredible attractions that are a great addition to any Dripping Springs getaway.
Tour the Westcave Preserve.
Located just up the road from the famous Hamilton Pool, Westcave Preserve is home to what is quite possibly the most beautiful waterfall in Texas.
A visit here is a bit of a commitment: it’s pricey, requires an advance reservation, and doesn’t include a chance to swim–but I promise, the views are absolutely worth it.
Standing in the Westcave grotto is one of my favorite Texas travel memories of all time!
Sample famous barbecue at The Salt Lick in Driftwood.
Central Texas is packed with magnificent barbecue, of course, but in fame alone, The Salt Lick is definitely up there in the rankings!
The barbecue is delicious, but the atmosphere is just as memorable, from the famous stone pits to the spacious picnic area shaded by gigantic Texas live oaks.
Explore Pedernales Falls State Park.
A 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.
Where to Stay in Dripping Springs
To make the most of your Hill Country getaway, you can’t beat staying in a cozy cottage like The Alexander at Creek Road (a bit west of town) or this gorgeous Hill Country Views Cabin (located practically in town and featuring a gorgeous pool).
For more of a traditional hotel, the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Dripping Springs gets great reviews and includes a pool as well!
Where is Dripping Springs, Texas?
Located about 35 minutes (or 24 miles) west of downtown Austin, Dripping Springs is located right off of popular Highway 290 and is the self-proclaimed “Gateway to the Hill Country”.