Must-Visit Attractions and Things to Do in Dripping Springs

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Must-Visit Attractions and Things to Do in Dripping Springs

Hays County is one of the fastest-growing areas in the state, and while the Dripping Springs area has grown in visibility, Dripping Springs has still maintained its small-town charm and hospitality.

From pristine natural springs and waterways to the largest dance hall in Hays County, we’ve rounded up the must-visit attractions that make Dripping Springs what it is. Whether you’re playing tourist in your own city or visiting and looking for things to do during one of Dripping Springs' many festivals, here are 9 things you won’t want to miss.

There’s no shortage of natural beauty in the Dripping Springs area but parks like Hamilton Pool, Westcave Preserve, and Pedernales Falls State Park really take the cake.

Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center grotto and cypress trees.
Photo: Rob Greebon 

WESTCAVE OUTDOOR DISCOVERY CENTER

Westcave Preserve is a natural treasure of the Texas Hill Country, possessing unique and majestic beauty and ecological diversity. Located adjacent to the Pedernales River in southwestern Travis County about 14 miles and 20 minutes from downtown Dripping Springs, this 76-acre gem is a non-profit organization devoted to inspiring people to develop a lifelong practice of enjoying and protecting nature through education, collaboration, and conservation.

Two distinct ecosystems meet on the Preserve, forming a unique opportunity for students of nature and an unexpected experience for visitors exploring the Hill Country. The Preserve's grasslands are scattered with wildflower meadows, ash junipers, oaks, and cactus bordering a sheltered limestone canyon punctuated with rare plants and cypress trees. The highlight of the site is its 40-foot waterfall backed by caves, tumbling over fern-covered travertine columns into an emerald pool. Hikes down to the emerald pool are guided and reservations must be made online beforehand.

Hamilton Pool

HAMILTON POOL

Hamilton Pool Preserve is a historic swimming hole that was designated a preserve by the Travis County Commissioner's Court in 1990. Located 3/4 mile upstream from its confluence with the Pedernales River, Hamilton Creek spills out over limestone outcroppings to create a 50-foot waterfall as it plunges into the head of a steep box canyon. The waterfall never completely dries up, but in dry times it does slow to a trickle.

However, the pool's water level stays constant, even during periods of drought. The preserve is also home to a variety of native birds, fish, animals, and plants. Reservations are required to enter Hamilton Pool Preserve and must be made online beforehand.
A holy slab of rock with water in the background
Slow Fuse Photography 

PEDERNALES FALLS STATE PARK

The county roads that lead to each of these destinations are remarkable in their beauty and ecological variety, but the road to Pedernales Falls State Park offers views of the Pedernales River valley, and the perfect backdrop for a Hill Country sunset if you’re lucky enough to catch one.

Once you’ve entered the park, a must-see attraction is the overlook of the falls. Flowing over and around huge slabs of limestone, the Pedernales River can be turbulent. But most often it is tranquil, and a great place to relax and recharge. Located just 18 miles and a little over 20 minutes from downtown Dripping Springs, the park offers swimming, hiking, birding, equestrian trails, camping, and endless outdoor adventure. On the river, you can swim, wade, tube or fish. Look for local wildlife and plants at the bird blind and butterfly garden, or head to the overlook for miles and miles of scenic Hill Country vistas. Reservations are required and must be made online beforehand.

TX Hill Country Olive Co.

The number-one Dripping Springs destination on Trip Advisor, Texas Hill Country Olive Company continues to be a must-visit favorite. As you ride down W. Fitzhugh from Ranch Road 12, curves, hills and valleys are with you for about 5 miles, then you see the showroom, a reddish stone with a clay tile roof, next to 17 acres of olive trees. This is the Texas Hill Country Olive Company, an award-winning, certified organic olive orchard that looks like it’s right out of an Italian picture postcard. The building and olive orchard, situated on a hill, all add to the Mediterranean feel of the surroundings.

For visitors, their bistro is a great place to eat lunch with a menu that includes paninis, flatbread pizzetta, salads, and gelato desserts. We recommend pairing lunch with their delicious Orchard Sangria featuring their Wild Cherry Balsamic Vinegar simple syrup. If you’re shopping for your own kitchen, they have a wonderful and varied selection of olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and kitchen accoutrements that are sure to please. The Olive Company also offers great tours Tuesday-Sunday that showcase the growing, pressing, and bottling process. Reservations for the tours must be made online.



An old wooden clad general and ranch store.

DOWNTOWN MERCER STREET

Located in the heart of Dripping Springs is historic downtown Mercer Street. A must-visit for architecture, shopping, history, and more! The best way to take in the several blocks of the city street is on foot. A Mercer Street favorite is Rippy Ranch Supply, a locally owned and family operated feed and supply business with an authentic, purely Texas vibe. Originally Crow Wool and Mohair, the Rippy Ranch Supply building has been a hub and anchor on the street since the late 1940s.

Also located along Mercer Street are historic limestone buildings and revitalized wool and mohair storage facilities that date back from the late 1800s to the 1940s that now house stylish boutiques, antique stores, a cocktail lounge, and even an art gallery.

An old stone bridge.

The dripping springs

Tucked within bustling downtown is THE dripping springs. The original “dripping springs” are located on the west side of Mercer Street, noticeable by a granite marker. The springs are located on private property, but the owners graciously allow folks to visit the springs located just above the limestone cliff on the grounds of the Homestead Bed and Breakfast. The creek in which the springs flow can also be accessed by a stone staircase by the mailboxes at 509 Mercer Street. Follow the winding stairs to a quiet, natural cathedral where cold spring water bubbles from the limestone and trickles into the creek.


DR. POUND HISTORICAL FARMSTEAD

Another must-see historical site is the Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead. Nestled on five beautifully shaded, oak-filled acres, the 1854 farmstead offers a fascinating and informative glimpse into our community’s historic past.

Originally built as two log pens (cabins) with a center “dog trot” breezeway, the Pound farmstead has been meticulously restored to its composition and appearance from the period when Dr. Pound lived here. Tours of the Farmstead are available but are by appointment only.



MERCER DANCEHALL

For those interested in experiencing a little bit of the nightlife in the Dripping Springs area, a must-visit is the Mercer Dancehall. Originally located on historic Mercer Street, the dance hall is now located just a few miles south on RR12. The hall is the best place in Hays County to two-step the night away and they even offer dance lessons on Saturday nights. Famed musician Jimmie Vaughan called it the “best Honky Tonk in Central Texas” and Kevin Fowler said it is an “authentic Texas dance hall” that is exactly what Dripping Springs needs. The facility may be newly built, but it has a feel of an old-time dance hall that is perfect for live music.

Creek Road & CAMP LUCY

If you’re nostalgic for days gone by, Sunday drives through the country, hit the gas, and cruise down one of the most scenic drives in the Dripping Springs area, Creek Road. The bucolic road follows Onion Creek, winds among the rolling hills, past pastures with longhorns lazily munching grass dotted with wildflowers, and eventually leads you to Camp Lucy.

Camp Lucy is a wine country destination – it’s home to a handful of different unique and gorgeous wedding venues, beyond beautiful lodging, an upscale but approachable restaurant, a vineyard and soon to be a spa! Not to mention the views from the expansive property are stunning! During the past 10 years, Camp Lucy has transformed into a luxury resort destination with venues that host some of the most breathtaking weddings in the United States. With a diverse collection of happenings and guest activity programs, there is always something going on at Camp Lucy for guests of any age and interest.



A ferris wheel lit up at night.
Jerry Moreno Photography 

Festivals

Founders Day

Founders Day is an annual three-day festival that celebrates the founding of the Dripping Springs community, and the largest event of the year. Every April, locals, and visitors look forward to the wide variety of festivities that are offered including the Mighty Thomas Carnival, delicious food, cook-off competitions, live music, and the more than 150 arts and craft booths and vendors that line-up along Mercer and other adjacent streets. The first day of the festival kicks-off on a Friday evening with a parade made up of the small businesses, organizations, and schools of Dripping Springs as they ride through downtown. Afterward, the Mighty Thomas Carnival is ready for the kids and the young at heart to enjoy and the booths and vendors are ready for the parents to stroll by and shop. On Saturday and Sunday, spend the day at the carnival, listen to live music, and try all the different food options.

The festival is hosted by the City of Dripping Springs, as well as the Founders Day Commission, which includes representatives from different local organizations. The proceeds collected from the three-day event are contributed back to the community and benefit local non-profit organizations, parks, churches, schools, youth groups, and charities.


Musicians on an outdoor stage cheering and smiling.

DRIPPING SPRINGS SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL

The Dripping Springs Songwriters Festival takes place each October in downtown Dripping Springs and includes an incredible roster of local, national, and international songwriting talent. The annual event presents more than 35 showcases a day, featuring a wide variety of finely crafted songs and the people and stories behind them. Over 40 extremely talented songwriters play “in-the-round”, Nashville-style, on intimate stages located at The Barber Shop, Mazama Coffee Co., Acopon Brewing, Sidecar Tasting Room, Hudson’s on Mercer, and Milton’s Cottage - all of which are within safe, easy walking distance of each other in the quaint Historic Districts of downtown Dripping Springs. Performances run continuously on Friday and Saturday, from afternoon to evening. Sunday’s festivities include a spirited Gospel Showcase at Hudson’s on Mercer, followed by the ever-popular Festival Wrap-Party on Mercer Street in front of the Barber Shop Bar. Parking is plentiful, food and drinks are available at each venue.



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