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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Chow Down and Drink Up in Austin

5. Oddball Day

End a day in the outdoors back at Austin's Broken Spoke, a classic honky-tonk.  

After gorging yourself at Austin’s finest tables, get moving in the outdoors around the city. Start your day with Austin's most iconic bite, the breakfast taco, at the Spyglass outpost of Tacodeli; try the Vaquero, with scrambled eggs, grilled corn, roasted poblano and red peppers, and Monterey jack cheese on a choice of flour, whole wheat, or corn tortilla ($2.85). Across the street, enter the Barton Creek Greenbelt, a waterside trail popular with locals for runs and hikes; the whole trail is eight miles, so stroll a portion of it, then make the drive out to Spicewood, about 45 minutes from Austin, to visit one of the area's best swimming holes: Krause Springs ($7, cash only). On the way, grab some Texas barbecue to go at Opie's, along Highway 71 in Spicewood. Go for the tender brisket ($7.50 per half-pound) with all the included fixins: pickles, bread, beans, onions, peppers, and barbecue sauce. Just across the highway is an Exxon Station that marks the turnoff to the Krause Springs swimming hole. Head down road 191 to the springs (admission $7), where you can enjoy a wander around the private, relaxing grounds, which offer picnic facilities, a butterfly garden, and a man-made stone swimming pool with a waterfall trickling down into the natural springs below. Spread your towel on a sunny rock, then jump into the year-round-68-degree water for a swim (and a turn on the rope swing if you're feeling adventurous). It's easy to while away the whole afternoon in this manner swimming and baking in the sun, but if you’re craving more activity, head to Cypress Valley Canopy Tours, located back toward town off Highway 71, to go zip-lining in a forest of old-growth Cypress trees ($75), some up to 100 feet tall. The 90-minute to two-hour tour covers five zip lines, the longest of which stretches for 350 feet. After driving back to Austin, grab a quick dinner at Polvos, a Tex-Mex institution known for its house-made salsas and terrific enchilada plates ($9.99– $12.99); wash these down with a salt-rimmed frozen margarita in flavors like cantaloupe, strawberry, or piña colada ($5.99). Then grab your cowboy boots and head to the Broken Spoke, a true Texas honky-tonk that hosts live country-music shows most nights (usually $5). There's a two-step lesson at 8 p.m. ($8) if you need some guidance—or ask one of the genuine cowboy types that frequent this place to show you the ropes.

Published on Aug 21, 2014 as a web exclusive.