FAMILY VACATION: ROAD TRIP – BASTROP
TOP TWELVE TRAVEL TIPSHEET
Lost Pines Region: Bastrop, Cedar Creek and Smithville
by Amanda Fier, Rose Marie Eash and Bernadette Verzosa
Editor’s Note: Top Twelve Travel Tipsheet is a ParentsPost.com series on favorite FAMILY-FRIENDLY places and activities outside Houston. Bastrop is about 130 miles from Houston and 30 miles from Austin. The area is a wonderful destination for families. The state parks and the Colorado River offer many opportunities for adventures in nature.
#1 DINOSAUR PARK OUTDOOR MUSEUM ADVENTURE
893 Union Chapel Road, Cedar Creek, 512-321-6262
This outdoor dinosaur museum is home to captivating life-size “dinos”, making for an impressive display and distraction for the little ones.
#2 BASTROP FISHERMAN’S PARK & SPLASH PAD
1200 Willow Street, Bastrop
In addition to a splash pad where kiddos can cool off, this park features swings for all ages, playscapes, e-slides, climbing features, a balance beam and a four-way see-saw with animal seats. The park is fenced to keep children safe and equipped with picnic tables and public restrooms. There’s also a soccer field, a basketball court and a volleyball court. There are several porch-style swings and iron benches where you can rest and simply enjoy the scenery or feed the ducks. Or for more active endeavors, a boat dock offers a place where you can fish, boat, canoe, kayak or go tubing.
#3 BASTROP RIVER COMPANY
601 Chestnut Street, Bastrop, 512-988-1154
Sign up for a half-day or full-day adventure paddling the Colorado River in kayaks or canoes. The staff makes sure excursions are safe whether families choose a leisurely Tube Float or active Stand Up Paddleboarding.
#4 RISING PHOENIX ADVENTURES
306 Industrial Boulevard, Bastrop, 512-677-2305
Rising Phoenix Adventures provides canoe and kayak rentals as well as camping and fishing equipment. Families can choose from a wide variety of guided tours lasting anywhere from 2 hours to 24 hours.
#5 HYATT REGENCY LOST PINES RESORT AND SPA
575 Hyatt Lost Pines Road, Lost Pines, 512-308-1234
Kids love this family-friendly resort with plenty of outdoor activities scattered around its 405 acres. Families can meander throughout the day from the swimming pool with slides and the 1,000-foot long Crooked River to the disc golf course, basketball court and nature trails along the Colorado River. Children can register with Camp Hyatt to participate in nature hikes, water sports and crafts with other kids. Friendly and energetic staff organizes daily games of kickball, soccer and flag football. Other fun activities include Horseshoe Tournaments, Popsicle Taste Tests, Sac Races, Water Balloon Wars and Family Olympics. In the evenings, kids look forward to S’mores around the fire pits, Stargazing and family movies outdoor on the lawn.
#6 BASTROP STATE PARK
3001 Highway 21 East, Bastrop, 512-321-2101
This park is great for fishing, canoeing, enjoying the great outdoors as well as camping facilities, not to mention the newly remodeled YMCA swimming pools. Golf is also an option – and a non-intimidating one for newbies looking for friendly play.
#7 BUESCHER STATE PARK
187 FM 153, Smithville, 512-237-2241
Just a hop, skip and jump or bike ride from Bastrop State Park, Buescher State Park offers fishing in a stocked lake, nature study, hiking, biking, geo-caching and interpretive tours. Please call the park for the calendar of events.
#8 MCKINNEY ROUGH NATURE PARK
1884 Highway 71, Cedar Creek, 512-303-5073
There’s no better place to walk on the wild side with interpretive hikes, stargazing at the roughs with Dobsonian telescopes, moonlight floats and kayaking on the Lower Colorado River and more. Summer programs abound, too, so check the schedule, sign up and mark your calendars for your next adventure.
#9 THE PAPER DOLL MAN
216 Main Street, Smithville, 512-237-1256
“Paper Doll King” Tom Tierney’s studio nestles in Smithville, a short drive from Hyatt Lost Pines and downtown Bastrop. The Tierney paper doll portfolio includes contemporary models like characters from the Twilight series, Michael Jackson and countless historical figures, namely presidents. And if Tom is in the studio, visitors are in for a treat! CLICK HERE for more information on PAPER DOLL KING TOM TIERNEY courtesy of NPR
#10 BASTROP BREWHOUSE
601 Chestnut Street, Bastrop, 512-321-1144
Yes, it’s a brewhouse but the fun factor isn’t limited to those of age. This dining spot has a great deck, riverside dining and a playground for kids along the Lower Colorado River. A waterside path offers a scenic spot for a stroll before or after your meal.
#11 THE ROADHOUSE
2804 Highway 21 E, Bastrop, 512-321-1803
Located across from Bastrop State Park, The Roadhouse is home to a tasty kids’ menu, handmade shakes and laid-back celebrations for special occasions. A great place to park after a day at the park.
SUGAR SHACK – 114 Loop 150 W, 512-321-3777
While you don’t want to make a stop here before naptime, this destination offers novelty treats that will delight the kid in everyone.
LOCK DRUGS SODA FOUNTAIN
1003 Main Street, 512-321-2422
A true old-timey drug store, Lock Drugs proudly lays claim to an old-fashioned soda fountain counter as well as your regular pharmacy staples. Here, you can take a moment to remember it’s a wonderful life.
SIMPLY SWEET CUPCAKES – 1010 Main Street, 512-921-2781
Trendy yet timeless, these compact desserts are still a thrill – and this little café gives a style nod to Europe with sweet bistro tables and chairs and a mini boutique.