As the Barbecue Capital of Texas, there’s one important rule when planning to explore the best things to do in Lockhart, TX: come hungry.
As the home of the so-called Holy Trinity of Texas barbecue, no trip to Lockhart is complete without lots and lots of food!
Get beyond the barbecue, though, and you’ll find several other attractions in Lockhart worth exploring.
Located between Austin and San Antonio, Lockhart makes a fantastic day trip from either city.
Here’s what to do in Lockhart, Texas!
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Fun Things to Do in Lockhart, Texas
Eat all the barbecue you can get your hands on.
First things first: eating barbecue is an absolute must when visiting Lockhart, and every single one of the restaurants here boasts generations worth of raving reviews.
Note that visiting any of these joints during a peak mealtime or on the weekend means standing in a long line–but you won’t be sorry once you’re eating.
Many people try to eat at a few of these restaurants during a single day trip, but frankly, I’ve never been able to pull that off (it’s too difficult narrowing down what to order in each place when I want to try a bit of everything!), opting instead for repeat trips to Lockhart with a different barbecue lunch each time.
If you want to eat at 2-3 restaurants in a single day, I wish you luck, and recommend ordering as light as you can stand to.
A deep-dive of each of Lockhart’s famous barbecue joints should be (and eventually will be) a blog post in its own right, but here’s a quick rundown.
Known for its incredible sides (their potato salad is a delight) and giant beef ribs (also a delight).
The largest of the Holy Trinity barbecue joints in Lockhart, which famously doesn’t provide sauce or forks.
There’s a reason for it, though: the brisket and sausage are fantastic.
I’m going to be honest, and I know everyone won’t agree, but the brisket at Smitty’s wasn’t our favorite.
The turkey, though?
At Smitty’s, you’ll wait in line to order your meat right next to the barbecue pit, which is very atmospheric and–depending on whether you’re visiting Lockhart in the summer or winter–either cozy or sweltering.
The “other” famous Lockhart BBQ joint outside of the so-called Holy Trinity, Chisholm Trail BBQ is the new kid in town, by which I mean it opened in 1978.
Chisholm Trail also has a bit more expansive of a menu, offering fish and fajitas in addition to the standard barbecue staples.
Admire the gorgeous Caldwell County Courthouse.
Built in 1894, the Caldwell County Courthouse stands proudly in the center of town and is widely considered one of the most beautiful courthouses in Texas.
It’s an intricate, gorgeous building, and a must-see attraction in Lockhart.
Step inside the Southwest Museum of Clocks and Watches.
You know those unexpected, tiny museums that overwhelm you with their uniqueness and the fact that they’re hidden away in a small town?
That’s the charming Southwest Museum of Clocks and Watches!
This small-but-lovely museum has very limited hours (Saturdays 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM or by appointment), but its location right on the square makes it an easy addition to a Saturday day trip to Lockhart, Texas.
The museum is free to visit.
Pay a visit to the Dr. Eugene Clark Library.
Part historical attraction in Lockhart and part modern, functioning public library, the Dr. Eugene Clark Library is one of those places that reminds you just how charming small-town Texas can be.
The building, which is intricate and gorgeous inside and out, was built in the early 20th century with a $10,000 bequest from Dr. Eugene Clark, a doctor from New Orleans who had ties to the local community in Lockhart.
You can read about the library’s history in more detail here.
Explore Lockhart State Park.
Lockhart State Park is a bit unusual among Texas state parks, as it’s better known for its 9-hole golf course and swimming pool than for its hiking trails!
Built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) during the Great Depression, the park also offers several fishing holes.
And, though it’s not the main attraction of the park, there are several campgrounds and short hiking trails to enjoy as well.
Visit the Caldwell County Museum.
Housed in the former Caldwell County Jail, this museum is small but memorable!
While much of the museum covers the history of the jail (complete with a chance to see the abandoned cells that frankly don’t look like they’ve been altered much since they held prisoners), some exhibits also cover the history of Caldwell County more generally.
The museum is open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and by appointment.
Where is Lockhart, TX?
Lockhart, Texas is located in Central Texas, about 35 minutes (33 miles) south of Austin and 25 minutes (18 miles) east of San Marcos.
It’s about 1 hour and 10 minutes (70 miles) northeast of San Antonio.
Exploring the best things to do in Lockhart, Texas, is easily combined with a trip to any of those cities, as well other nearby destinations such as New Braunfels.
If you’re visiting Lockhart as a day trip from Austin, keep an eye out if you drive through the tiny town of Creedmoor!
Right off of FM 1327, you’ll pass the quirky, self-declared Largest Shovel in the World.