Less than an hour outside of Austin lies a town that has, for decades, delighted Hollywood producers and local tourists alike. Welcome to Smithville, TX!
From movie filming locations (the billboard you pass on the way into town declares Smithville the “proud home of Hope Floats”) to a quirky claim to a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, here are the best things to do in Smithville.
Fun Things to Do in Smithville, TX
Snap a photo with the world’s largest gingerbread man.
In 2006, the people of Smithville baked a 20-foot tall gingerbread cookie… and promptly ate him, of course.
In 2009, the feat was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest gingerbread man, and the town turned the baking sheet used to create him into an art installation.
He’s now named Smitty, and stands happily next to Smithville’s railroad depot!
Explore the James H. Long Railroad Park & Museum.
Trains still pass through Smithville daily, but at this small park, you’ll be able to climb up onto some historic train cars and get an up-close look!
Beyond the train cars, there’s also a small playground, a gazebo, and public restrooms at this easily-accessible park located next door to downtown.
Spend the afternoon at Buescher State Park.
With 6 miles of trails and a 30-acre lake open to both fishers and paddlers, visiting Buescher State Park is one of the best things to do in Smithville, Texas.
Check out Rocky Hill Ranch.
Known as one of the best mountain biking ranches in the state, bikers will love the chance to explore the trails at Rocky Hill Ranch.
Hikers are also welcome!
Stroll the streets of downtown Smithville.
No list of what to do in Smithville could leave off spending time in its charming downtown!
Featuring all the Texas small town essentials–antique shops, coffee shops, cafes, boutiques, restaurants, and historic buildings–Smithville’s downtown is downright idyllic.
Visit the Vernon L. Richards Riverbend Park.
Located on the banks of the Colorado River, this beautiful park makes a great stop in Smithville.
Check out Smithville’s historic homes.
The famous Hope Floats house–more on that below–is far from the only historic home in Smithville.
The neighborhood immediately surrounding downtown is packed with beautiful, well-maintained 19th and 20th-century homes that are worth taking a peek at.
Hunt down filming locations from Hope Floats.
Downtown Smithville is so small that a series of short walks are enough to deliver you to several key Hope Floats filming locations!
Be sure to keep an eye out for these spots.
Located at 201 E. Eighth & Olive Street, this beautiful Neoclassical home (also known as the Hope Floats house) is where Birdee stayed with her mother after returning home.
It’s not open for tours, but it’s worth the quick drive to admire the beautiful facade (it helps that the surrounding neighborhood is also stunning).
Now a cute pizza place complete with an outdoor garden, Honey’s Pizza played the fictional Honey’s Diner in the filming of Hope Floats.
Star Biscuit Co. Mural
At the corner of 2nd & Main Street in Smithville, Texas, you’ll find the Star Biscuit Co. mural that was painted specifically for filming Hope Floats!
Back Door Cafe
This cute cafe was also featured in the movie.
Smithville General Store (AKA Employment Agency)
At 108 NE 2nd Street, you’ll find the building that played the employment agency in Hope Floats, now a charming general store!
Movies Filmed in Smithville
In addition to Hope Floats, the movies Tree of Life, Bernie, and Artois the Goat were filmed in Smithville, TX.
You can find the full list of movies filmed in Smithville here (not all of the movies made it past post-production, but it’s still fun to flip through them!).
Where is Smithville, Texas?
Located in Bastrop County, Smithville is located about 45 minutes (45 miles) southeast of Austin and 1 hour, 45 minutes (105 miles) northeast of San Antonio.
If you’re planning a getaway, it’s easy to combine the fun things to do in Smithville with a visit to another nearby Texas town like La Grange (20 minutes away), Round Top (35 minutes away), or Brenham (1 hour away).