Hubby and I started an annual travel tradition six years ago. Every year we take a New Year trip, around New Year’s Day, to a fun location! We typically seek a domestic location that doesn’t require much travel time via car or air to reach. Usually, the trip lasts about 3 or 4 days and serves as an excellent kick off for the New Year! This year, as new parents, we had a 10 month old baby, Jaxon, to join us in our annual tradition. My mother tried to convince me that we should leave Jaxon with her while we went somewhere fun but Josh and I were both determined that we wanted this to become a family tradition.
The DestinationSo the planning began, where would we go, what would we do, how would Jaxon react?? The first objective was to choose a location. We needed to find somewhere that would be a short flight (less than 2 hours) or drive (less than 4 hours), was baby friendly, and offered plenty of indoor fun to protect us from the cold winter weather. We tossed around several ideas and eventually settled on Austin. Josh and I have visited Austin several times together but never visited as sightseeing tourists together. We thought there would be plenty of great opportunities to create memories.
The DriveJaxon has never been extremely fond of riding in his car seat but he will tolerate it when necessary. We chose to leave early in the day to take advantage of Jaxon’s pleasant morning attitude. It took us a little over 4 hours to make it to Austin and baby boy slept for about 3 hours of the drive! When he woke up, we promptly took a break to grab some lunch, stretch our legs and change his diaper. He started to get fidgety during the last 30 minutes of the drive, so I sang songs with him and made silly faces. Honestly, I must say that the drive was a piece of cake!
I was delighted to find a great deal on a very unique hotel, Habitat Suites. This all-suite hotel is a former apartment community that has been converted into a hotel! Each suite has a separate living area, bedroom, and kitchen. The absolute perfect setup for a family, especially with young kids. The service was good and they even provided a free hot breakfast each day that was delicious! After our stay here, we decided that in the future we will always stay in suites when Jaxon is traveling with us. It is so convenient to put him to bed in another room and then relax on the couch and watch TV as a couple. Not something we could have done, with our light sleeper, in a regular hotel room.
The AdventuresOur first stop was the Hope Outdoor Gallery. Parking was a challenge but well worth the effort. This place is constantly evolving and you can watch the artists work! Definitely take the time to stop by the next time you are in town and snap a few fun pictures.
The following morning, I had a walking tour of the Capitol area scheduled. It was quite chilly outside but we decided to bundle up and go anyway. The tour was a 90 minute walking tour that started right outside the capitol building. Well, Josh and I were willing to brave the cold but our little guy wasn’t having it! We made it about 2 blocks away from the capitol, less than 30 minutes into the tour and politely departed from the group to seek a warmer activity. We headed to the capitol and took a tour. The guided tour was quick and informative. However I must say the highlight of the capitol was taking an adorable picture of Jaxon in the main foyer area! Hopefully he will appreciate my forethought someday when he’s able to use it for a grade school Texas history project!
On day two Josh went to stand in line at Franklin’s BBQ at 8:30 in the morning! Jaxon and I stayed and played, ripped up paper, in the hotel room. Josh arrived with lunch around 12:30, that’s right he stood in line for 4 hours! Was it worth it? In my opinion, no but then again, I’m not a big BBQ fan to begin with. I’ll share this… The pulled pork was the best I have ever had, the ribs were peppery and delicious, and the sausage was absolutely disgusting!
After lunch we headed to the Lyndon B Johnson Presidential Library and the Bullock Texas History Museum. The Bullock museum was very child friendly and it is FREE on second Sundays! We stayed at the Bullock museum for a little over an hour and then headed to the LBJ Library. We really enjoyed how the exhibits made history come to life! My favorite part was the phone call recordings throughout the library. There were telephone’s dispersed around the museum that you simply picked up to hear the recorded calls of President Johnson speaking with celebrities, politicians, and family members. It was really neat!
On our last morning we got up early, had breakfast, and packed up to leave town. We stopped by the Texas State Cemetery. It is a beautiful, peaceful place. Unfortunately, it was just too cold to truly enjoy a stroll across the entire site with a baby. We were able to see a few headstones of very influential Texans including Stephen F Austin and Barbara Jordan, and took a stroll through the onsite exhibit center. I would like to go back perhaps in the spring when the weather is milder to explore a bit more.
After a brief visit to the Texas State Cemetery we headed home. Overall, it was a calm and fun first mini vacation as a family of three! We had the opportunity to explore our home-state capitol, laugh, relax, and create a few memories that will last a lifetime. Here's a few highlight pictures from the trip!
Have you visited Austin, Texas? What are your favorite places to visit while in town?