Note: Did you know that we’ve got 50+ city guides with 10 fun, free family friendly things to do in cities all over the world! Check out the complete list here.
For Father’s Day weekend, I partnered with Omni Hotels for a satiation in scenic west Austin! It’s a quick 15 minute road trip west to the Omni Barton Creek Resort from our house. It’s crazy what 15 minutes out of central Austin does for the view. We went from skyscrapers, trains, and highways to a charming, country getaway complete with rolling hills, lush greenery, and amazing sunsets.
West Austin is an all encompassing name for lots of geographic areas including Westlake Hills, Rollingwood, Barton Creek, and even Steiner Ranch out by Lake Travis. The Omni Barton Creek is only a 15 minute drive to downtown Austin which is why it was the perfect spot for a getaway with a 15 month old who hates the car. We choose to stay out of the hustle and bustle of Austin for this quick trip and explored the western most points of our city.
The Omni Barton Creek Resort
The picture below is from the nature trail we strolled both mornings of our stay, and although the picture doesn’t show the resorts size, it perfectly captures the vibe: peaceful, relaxing, and lush. The resort has 2 large pools, one indoors and one outside. I always appreciate an indoor pool in case of rain or for taking a break from the midday sun. There is also a separate baby pool outside and a separate hot tub outside, both big hits with my littles.
Traveling with 2 small kids can make hotel life tricky, so I was super thankful for the love seat that pulled out into a bed for Maxwell. We had a hillside view room with a king sized bed and a balcony with a gorgeous view. The balcony was small, but so nice to open the doors for fresh air and a breeze 6 stories up.
The food at the hotel is amazing. (Don’t miss the pork quessadials from the pool menu.) If you want to experience a little taste of west Austin the 4 restaurants on my list below are great options for yummy food and fun for kids and adults.
Kid Friendly Eateries in Westlake
1. Hat Creek
We love Hat Creek so much we had our kiddos joint birthday party there this year! Hat Creek opens at 7am for breakfast everyday plus burgers, milkshakes, local beers, and handcrafted milkshakes for lunch and dinner. The best part is the fenced-in outdoor play ground with covered seating and lots of fans. Amenities: Play ground, room to run, covered patio with fans
If you’re visiting Austin for the 1st time and staying at the Omni Barton Creek Resort, this is a must do! The Midway food park lives up to our city’s claim to fame, “Keep Austin Weird”. Antique carousel horses wrapped in lights hang from the large oak tree as you enter Midway. With multiple food trailers on site there is everything from tacos to lobster rolls to falafel. (We had all 3, ha!) There is a large grassy area for frisbee or soccer and a playground with plenty of shaded picnic tables. Amenities: Playground, room to run, a variety of food choices
BBQ is an Austin staple. I can’t let you leave without a taste of the legendary County Line Bar-B-Q. It’s fun to note that the County Line in Westlake is the original location. Housed in an old speakeasy, there is also 20 mile view of the Texas hill country. Don’t miss the sunset. Amenities: Hill country views, large patio
4. Lucy’s Fried Chicken (Closed)
Speaking of sunsets, the view from the giant patio at Lucy’s is amazing. A 25 minute drive from the Omni Barton Creek to Lucy’s on Lake, but the margaritas, fried chicken, play ground, and that view is worth the trek! Amenities: Playground, room to run, large patio, lake views
6 Free Things to do in Westlake Hills
If you’re only in town for the weekend, you might not even leave the Omni Barton Creek, it’s that fun! I recommend taking at least one dinner break to one of the fun, kid friendly eateries listed above. With multiple pools, nature hikes, and putt putt, the whole family was happily entertained at the resort. I also wanted to mention that there is a beautiful golf course for adults. Sadly, Andy did not get a chance to play the course on this trip, but we will be back!
5. Mini golf at the Omni Barton Creek
The mini golf course was a huge hit with 3 year old Maxwell who surprisingly loved the game of putting the golf ball into the hole. He liked the natural rock obstacles and how some of the holes went up hill. He loved that he got his own golf club and purple golf ball. One year old, Mila, also loved climbing around the natural obstacles and tossing rocks. She also worked on her golf game. I loved that it was shady most of the day and there were plenty of benches for relaxing.
6. Nature trail at the Omni Barton Creek
The manicures nature trail is only 1/2 mile long, but there are plenty of smaller trails off of the main one to explore. The nature trail is extra fun because there are multiple bridges, a tee-pee, and a fort hidden throughout the trail. Andy and I walked it in flip flops and the Mila and Max had no problem hiking the 1/2 mile.
Located in Dripping Springs, the natural pool is absolutely worth the 23 mile drive from the Omni Barton Creek. Hamilton Creek spill over the side of a limestone cave to create a 50 foot waterfall! Reservations are required in the summer and it costs $15 per car (credit cards not accepted). To make a reservation or check swimming conditions, call the public information line at 512-264-2740.
The preserve includes 227 acres of hill country habitat. With 2.5 miles of nature trails to choose from, you can walk as little as .5 miles on the Easy Access Loop, or take the time to explore more of the 227-acre preserve. For more details about the hiking this trail with kids check out this post.
Laura’s Library is clean, organized and even has a view! There is a large, spacious playroom for jumping, crawling or curling up with a book in the big tree. Laura’s Library hosts free percussion story times, Spanish classes, Robotics demos, and kid concretes. Check the calendar for days and times.
10. Mount Bonnell
Mt. Bonnell is 11 miles from the resort, but as the highest point in Austin it offers some beautiful views of the Colorado River and city skyline. There is a staircase leading to the top and plenty of picnic tables if you’d like to pick up some BBQ first! The Mayfield Nature Preserve is a quick trip from Mt. Bonnell and… peacocks! (Read more about Mayfield Park here.)
If you’re looking for more fun, free things to do in central Austin be sure to check out this post with 20 Fun, free things to do in Austin with kids