As you enter Bastrop, Texas over the iconic old iron bridge, you’ll find a main street bustling with modern day restaurants, shops and Texas two-stepping bars. Surrounding the city center is the Lost Pines region, a paradise for outdoor recreation enthusiasts or the casual explorer. Although there’s plenty to do year-round, annual festivals include Spring’s Sherwood Forest Faire, the Bastrop Music Festival in May, and November’s Veteran’s Day Cruise-In and Car Show.
1.Bastrop State Park
Bastrop State Park offers over 2,000 acres of pine woodland in central Texas. Hiking trails include an 8.5 mile trail which circles through the park’s undeveloped woodlands. An 18 hole golf course is spread through the forest and a swimming pool is open during the summer months. The park is home to the endangered Houston Toad’s largest mating site, and as such, some areas are closed to the public during the spring mating season. Other park wildlife includes white-tailed deer, squirrels, rabbits and armadillo. The park has been designated a National Landmark for the facilities, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s.
100 Park Road 1A, Bastrop, TX 78602, Phone: 512-321-2101
2.Bastrop County Museum and Visitor Center
© Bastrop County Museum and Visitor Center
The Bastrop County Museum and Visitor Center are run by the non-profit Bastrop Historical Society with the mission of preserving the local history. The society was founded in 1952, and as the collection of local historic artifacts grew, so did the museum. The museum is now located in the renovated historic city hall, its home since 2012. Exhibits at the museum span over 200 years of history, from Native American artifacts to documents and artifacts from early European settlers up through the 1960’s. History is told through chronological dioramas and special exhibits on cotton farming, coal mining and the newest exhibit, “Cowboys, Cows and Cattlemen.”
904 Main Street, Bastrop, Texas 78602, Phone: 512-303-0057
3.Texas Reptile Zoo
Bastrop’s Texas Reptile Zoo is housed in what once was a plant nursery, now repurposed as a home for over 200 reptiles. Rooms at the Reptile Zoo are divided into two main geographical regions. A tropical climate room is home to monitor lizards and rock iguanas who enjoy the open air environment and the natural sunlight. A desert room is home to several snakes and Uromastyx lizards. Outdoor exhibits include a turtle pond, Texas waterways exhibit and crocodile enclosure. Public feedings take place daily, while shows vary depending on the climate and season. Tours are available for groups, schools and birthday parties.
FM 20, Bastrop, TX 78602, Phone: 512-766-6030
4.Lost Pines Art Center
© Lost Pines Art Center
The Lost Pines Art Center in central Bastrop occupies over 12,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space at the 100 year old Powell Cotton Seed Mill and silos. The center exhibits fine art from Texas and all over the world. Many artists who exhibit at the center work from studios located on site. Artist’s studios are frequently open to the public, as are several commercial galleries and a bakery. Programs include art classes for adults and children offering everything from glass blowing to painting and drawing. The Lost Pines Arts Center is the home of the 150 member Lost Pines Arts League, which has grown considerably from its beginnings as the Bastrop Fine Arts Guild in 1998.
1204 Chestnut Street, Bastrop, TX 78602, Phone: 512-321-8055
5.Barton Hill Farms
© Barton Hill Farms
Barton Hill Farms is a 15-acre ranch in Bastrop, Texas offering family friendly fun and recreation on autumn weekends only. The Farm is open for private events year round. Voted the most scenic pumpkin patch in Texas, Barton Hill Farms is best known for its autumn Fall Festival. The seasonal attraction offers a corn maze and pumpkin patch along the scenic Colorado River. Activities include face painting, duck races, train rides and slides, as well as play time on several of the farm’s recreational play zones. Families can spend a full day listening to live music, enjoying pulled pork sandwiches, or burgers along with homemade lemonade, sangria or cold Texas beer.
1115 Farm to Market 969, Bastrop, TX 78602, Phone: 855-969-1115
© Barselona Dreams/stock.adobe.com
Fitties BBQ in Bastrop, Texas serves classic Texas barbeque, wood smoked with homemade sauces and sides. Known as King of the Highway BBQ,” Fitties serves its slow-smoked meats along highway 71 at a walk-up window. Guests dining in can eat at shade covered picnic tables behind the historic roadside stand. While Fitties opened in 1981, the family recipes can be traced back to the 1800’s. The family-owned and operated restaurant has long been a community fixture in Bastrop, proudly serving breakfast tacos, lunch and dinner to both locals and tourists alike. Try them for ribs, brisket or sausage as a sandwich, or a BBQ platter plate.
1376 Hwy 71 W, Bastrop, TX 78602, Phone: 512-303-6808
7.Southside Market & Barbeque
© Southside Market & Barbeque
The Southside Market was founded in the 1880’s, when then owner William Moon began slaughtering meat and selling it by wagon door-to-door in Elgin, Texas. Moon soon began smoking his meats to preserve its freshness, and then and there Southside BBQ was born. After more than 100 years in business, Southside Market opened a second location in Bastrop on Highway 71. The Bastrop market and restaurant incorporates materials from the original Elgin location, along with local Bastrop wood. Celebrated as Texas’ oldest BBQ joint, Southside is known for the brisket, sausage and hand-dipped ice cream pie.
534 Highway 71, Bastrop, TX 78602, Phone: 512-575-9037
8.Morelia Mexican Grill
Bastrop’s Morelia Mexican Grill is the fourth location for Mr. Arreola’s family-owned restaurant. The popular Mexican eatery, specializing in food from Morelia, Mexico first opened in Elgin in 2005 then expanded to Round Rock and Pflugerville. The Morelia Mexican Grill is known for plates such as Pollo conquistador and Fajitas Romanas as well as classic TexMex items like enchiladas, tacos and careen asada. The bar menu offers unique drinks such as the “Charro Negro” and Paloma Coco. Morelia offers indoor or outdoor casual dining as well as catering for special events. Guests may order online for quick pick up service.
696 Hwy 71 West Building #1, Bastrop, TX 78602, Phone: 512-985-5870
9.The 602 on Main
© The 602 on Main
The 602 on Main is a Bastrop, Texas restaurant named for the small town’s zip code, which ends in 602. The restaurant, which opened in 2017, occupies a newly renovated historic building along Bastrop’s eclectic Main Street. Lunch and dinner menus promise fresh, farm-to-table vegetables and meats inspired by Low Country Southern style cooking. The bar menu includes unique handcrafted cocktails alongside local craft brews and domestic wines. The community minded business partners with a local farm to send off their organic waste and compost to be used in their gardens. Special menus are available for those attending shows at the nearby Bastrop Opera House. Happy Hour menus are available daily.
919 Main Street, Bastrop, TX 78602, Phone: 512-321-3577
© Johnson’s Bakery
Johnson’s Bakery has been owned and operated by Jennifer Johnson since 2014. The Bastrop bakery was long in the making for Jennifer, who had long been baking for friends and family. Cases are stocked daily with homemade bakery items for breakfast, lunch or dessert. Johnson’s cakes are among the most popular items. Flavors include German chocolate, Italian cream and cherry chip. Custom cakes may be ordered for special events and weddings. Johnson’s offers cake and cookie decorating classes for both kids and adults, perfect for birthday parties and events. In addition to the baked goods, lunch items include soups, salads and quiche.
715 Old Austin Hwy, Suite 300, Bastrop, TX 78602, Phone: 512-12-6221
10 Best Things to Do in Bastrop, Texas
- Bastrop State Park, Photo: sutichak/stock.adobe.com
- Bastrop County Museum and Visitor Center, Photo: Bastrop County Museum and Visitor Center
- Texas Reptile Zoo, Photo: Guntherize/stock.adobe.com
- Lost Pines Art Center, Photo: Lost Pines Art Center
- Barton Hill Farms, Photo: Barton Hill Farms
- Fitties BBQ, Photo: Barselona Dreams/stock.adobe.com
- Southside Market & Barbeque, Photo: Southside Market & Barbeque
- Morelia Mexican Grill, Photo: zsuriel/stock.adobe.com
- The 602 on Main, Photo: The 602 on Main
- Johnson’s Bakery, Photo: Johnson’s Bakery
- Cover Photo: Reagan/stock.adobe.com