Headed to Austin for the South by Southwest music, film, and interactive festival (March 9 - 18)? On today's installment of the Weather Channel's Wake Up and Go segment, T+L's digital projects editor, Sarah Spagnolo, offers affordable escapes if you want to beat the crowds headed to the Lone Star State this weekend.
1. Family Fun: Montgomery, Texas
Drive 130 miles east of Austin to charming Montgomery, where the Lone Star flag was adopted in 1838. WHERE TO STAY La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa, a supersize resort on Lake Conroe with top-notch kids’ programs (miniature golf; water park; kids’ club stocked with remote-control race cars) as well as a 300-slip marina, jet skis, and deep soaking tubs in all 445 rooms. PRICE $178 a night. BOOK NOW
2. Dude Ranch: Graham, Texas
Get close to the land in North Texas Hill Country, a four-hour drive north of Austin, where you can horseback ride, go on ATV excursions, or unwind in a rocking chair on your cabin porch. WHERE TO STAY Wildcatter Ranch, on 1,500 acres, has 20 miles of trails plus longhorn steers—perfect for that photo opp. PRICE Doubles from $229. BOOK NOW
3. Chic Escape: San Antonio, Texas
An hour and 20 minutes south of Austin is another buzz-worthy city, San Antonio, which celebrated the 175th anniversary of the Alamo last year. WHERE TO STAY Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, a 2011 T+L 500 winner, for the 213 rooms with plantation-style shutters, 300-thread-count sheets, and Italian marble bathrooms. Set on the soon-to-expand Riverwalk, this property is right in the center of the action; it also has a popular restaurant, Citrus. Don’t miss the crab cakes, made with chili powder and roasted jalapenos. PRICE Doubles from $197. BOOK NOW