Bastrop is one of the oldest towns in Texas.
It was christened in 1837. Since then, this friendly town has been an exemplary example of authentic Texan culture.
Don’t let the town’s small population fool you.
Bastrop is a great place for a holiday or vacation.
The place is brimming with activities and opportunities to enjoy.
As a visitor to this town, you can explore outdoor adventures, such as hiking.
Or, experience the town’s rich heritage through festivals, celebrations, museums, and family-owned restaurants.
Now let's look at the best things to do in Bastrop, Texas:
Swim in Lake Bastrop
This lake is a 900-acre reservoir in the Colorado River Basin, and it is the perfect place for a picnic or just hanging out.
There are many water and land activities to enjoy, such as swimming in the lake.
The area is famous for largemouth bass, and you have permission to catch some yourself.
If you don’t want to get wet, there is a mini-golf on the shore.
You can even hop into a paddle cart and drive around the lake, taking in the surrounding vista.
For bird watchers, there are plenty of rare and endemic finds waiting for you to explore.
If you want a more physical engagement, the place has mountain biking, hiking, and a volleyball court.
You can also spend the night in one of the lake’s cabins, tents, or RVs.
Grab a Beer at Copper Shot Distillery
Continuing the subject of alcohol, Bastrop offers a variety of spirits.
Enter the Copper Shot Distillery and tour the tasting room.
They brew magic in there.
Creative concoctions of spirits will leave your palettes tingling.
The owners will also explain the crafting process to those interested in brewing.
All ingredients that go into the spirits are locally produced.
The distillery also uses its own rainwater.
You can even witness the brewing process on a distillery tour.
Every Friday and Saturday evening the place plays live music.
The distillery also gives out some tasty fusion drink recipes to make using their products.
Treat Yourself at the Sugar Shack
If you have a sweet tooth, you have to visit the Sugar Shack.
This is a family-owned candy shop that has been in operation since 1995.
It doesn’t matter if you are traveling with kids or adults, because this candy shop has something for everybody.
The Sugar Shack caters to your nostalgia.
You can taste some of the classic and old-fashioned treats, such as floats, candies, fudge, blue bell ice cream, and more.
The shop has a mixture of packaged and handmade items.
Pretzels, Nutter Butter, Rice Crispy Treats, and Nut Clusters are some of the crowd favorites.
Explore Other Food Joints
Main Street in Downtown Bastrop is home to great restaurants and eateries.
They will cater to your breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Drop by Anita’s Café for authentic Mexican food.
Established in 1998, this café serves delicious pancakes, tortillas, and burritos for breakfast.
Another good place for your first meal of the day is Coffee Dog at the Colorado Crossing Shopping Center.
Their breakfast menu includes muffins, granola, kolaches, scones, pastries, and, of course, coffee.
To experience original Texas hospitality, visit Southside Market & BBQ.
This joint started selling barbecue from a wagon in 1882.
Definitely try their Texas-style barbecue, fresh sides, and smoked sausages.
Walk Down Bastrop’s Main Street
The historic charm of Main Street Bastrop is a sight to behold.
Family restaurants, local artists, diners, and a neighborhood of more than 100 restored historic homes.
The restoration was necessary after a devastating fire hit the town in 1862.
This is why Bastrop was named a Texas Cultural Arts District by the Texas Commission on the Arts in 2012.
People here are very sociable and friendly.
Talk to some locals to hear their regaling stories.
The diners and restaurants here serve authentic Texan delicacies to fill your tummies with hospitality and love.
Revisit History at Bastrop County Museum
The County Museum of Bastrop was a police station in the 1930s.
Though it does not curb crime anymore, the place is still devoted to serving the people.
You must visit here on Main Street to collect brochures, maps, and other useful information that will help you navigate your way through the town.
This museum will also introduce you to Bastrop’s history through its artifacts, exhibits, and videos.
Culturally, they also include antiques from the Native Americans and the old European Settlers.
There are also some interesting exhibits on cotton farming, coal mining, cows, cattlemen, and everybody’s favorite, the cowboys.
To experience a place in its full glory, get to know it better through its history first.
Get Inspired at Lost Pines Art Center
Consisting of fine art exhibits from Texas and worldwide, Lost Pines Art Center should definitely be on your itinerary.
This gallery has beautiful and thought-provoking art in various mediums – watercolors, acrylics, oil paintings, ceramics, pottery, sculptures, metal, glass, woodwork, etc.
The art center also includes contemporary forms of art like photography and mixed media pieces.
You may also catch some of the artists in action as this art center has live studios for creating art.
In case you want to hone your own artistic skills, check out their list of programs.
Both children and adults can benefit from the classes on painting, drawing, sculpturing, and many more.
Wind Down in Barton Hills Farms
15-acres of ranch land at Barton Hills Farms invites you to experience the simple rural life.
These farms celebrate a Spring Festival and an Autumn Fall Festival.
And what a celebration it is!
You can make a bouquet of flowers by picking from the flower patch yourself.
The Colorado River flows by, adding to the picturesque charm of the farms.
The Autumn Festival brings fun activities like face painting, train rides, duck racing, and slides.
You can even participate in the Autumn Pumpkin Patch and pick your own pumpkins.
After all, that action, settle down to enjoy some farm-fresh food.
Try their fresh hand-dipped chicken tenders and Burgers from all-natural 100% beef patties.
They also serve locally crafted beer and ciders.
Stroll Around in Bastrop State Park
The State Park of Bastrop is home to gigantic juniper, oak, and loblolly pine trees.
Visitors have been coming to this park for more than 80 years to revitalize themselves amidst nature.
In recent years, natural calamities like floods and fires have spoiled the park’s beauty.
But now it is recovering well.
Visit the park with your friends and family and enjoy a ton of activities.
Even solo explorers will like it here.
The park has 7 miles (11.27 km) of hike trail, a swimming pool, a fishing lake, and a road for biking.
If you wish to stay longer in the park, you are in luck.
The park offers accommodations at the campsite or in one of its historic cabins.
Traveling in a large group?
Your entire group can stay together in the park’s group barracks.
Have a Blast at Pine Forest Golf Club
Everyone can benefit from relaxing golf.
The experience is further exalted when an expansive pine forest surrounds the golf course.
Visit the Pine Forest Golf Club for a time spent well.
Golf enthusiasts will be delighted by the course’s blend of elevation changes, sand bunkers, rolling fairways, and water hazards.
You can even drive around the property to enjoy the pine forest.
After an exhilarating game, drop by their Bar Grill for some delicious Tacos, Hot Dogs, and Burgers.
This Golf Club has been named one of the “Best Places to Play” by Golf Digest magazine and “Top 25 Best Municipal Courses” by The Dallas Morning News.
Bastrop is among the four Bird Cities in Texas, the other three being Port Aransas, Dallas, and Houston.
This certification comes from Audubon Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Bastrop’s contribution to community action and bird conservation has made the town one of the best places to watch birds.
The Bastrop Public Library even offers a class in Introduction to Birding for Adults.
The many restoration efforts of the town include controlling the town’s light pollution so that migratory birds do not go astray.
Thanks to all this, you can observe some amazing birds in the area.
Bald Eagle, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Red-winged Blackbird, Purple Finch, and the Greater Roadrunner are some of the beautiful birds to watch in Bastrop.
Picnic at Fisherman’s Park and Bob Bryant Park
Both the Fisherman and Bob Bryant parks are situated in the Colorado River.
These places are ideal for a family picnic under the warm Texas sun.
You can also explore walking trails, visit fishing docks, and go boating or canoeing.
The Fisherman’s Park has an open-air area with many water features called the 'Splash Pad.'
Kids and adults alike will have a blast here.
Water sprinkles out of everywhere in the Splash Pad.
It’s perfect for cooling down in the summers.
Be Entertained at the Bastrop Opera House
The Bastrop Opera House's building is rich and historic in its architecture.
No wonder it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The theater can accommodate a huge audience, similar to many large-scale productions.
Set up all the way back in 1889, this Opera House hosts musicals and organizes plays.
It invites actors of all statures, from local talents to worldwide thespians of the craft.
The theater is also wholeheartedly dedicated to the youth and the community.
One of the specialties of the place is dinner theater.
You can witness the drama unfold on stage while enjoying the delicious meal at your table.
Make a Toast at the Colorado River Winery
Adding to the downtown Bastrop district’s heritage, the Colorado River Winery is the place to stop by for a drink.
The winery organizes wine-tasting events in a Tuscan-style room.
You will get to sip and enjoy many varieties of wine in small glasses.
To taste newer versions of red and white wine, become a winery’s Wine Club member.
The owners and servers will also tell you the story behind each bottle of wine.
They will reveal how the perfect blend is achieved in the wine-making process.
Whitewater Canyon, Merlot, Texas Tempranillo, and Rushing River Sweet White are some amazing wines served here.
Discover the Texas Reptile Zoo
Are you intrigued by snakes, lizards, and crocodiles?
Texas Reptile Zoo will keep you entertained for hours.
This zoo used to be an ornamental plant nursery.
But a decision was made to convert it into a site for educating the public about the beautiful creatures known as reptiles.
Some of the eye-catching exhibits include snakes, geckos, salamanders, turtles, rock iguanas, crocodiles, and the water monitor.
There is a gift shop too to take home cool souvenirs.
Here’s an interesting fact about the zoo: The sun that the reptiles use to heat their bodies now runs the cooling fans in the zoo corridors.
The zoo AC is solar-powered.