Rolling hills and wide-open pastures full of grazing cows and blooming bluebonnets. Old-fashioned small-town restaurants with hardwood floors where the music never stops. The imposing walls of a castle reflecting off of a moat, and the very place where the “Father of Texas” founded his first colony. You’ll find all these things, and many more surprises, when you visit Austin County. Located just an hour west of Houston, the county includes the cities of Bellville, Sealy, San Felipe, Industry, and Wallis, each with something new and exciting to discover.
Austin County’s rich history and thriving farms and ranches represent the best of Texas. The county is home to the first colony in Texas, San Felipe de Austin, established by Stephen F. Austin in 1823. Although no longer the thriving center of commerce and politics it was at its peak, you can still see it for yourself when you stop by the San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site. That’s not the only piece of history to discover. Head to Bellville for the 1896 Austin County Jail Museum. See where the “World Famous Sealy Mattress” was first developed at the Haynes Mattress Factory in Sealy. Step inside the beautiful Guardian Angel Catholic Church, one of the last Painted Churches built in Texas. When you’re in Austin County, you’re never far from a significant piece of Texas history.
There is no shortage of other kinds of adventure in Austin County. Explore six miles of scenic hiking and biking trails at Stephen F. Austin State Park and cruise along winding two-lane roads past farms and fields of vibrant flowers. Go horseback riding at a working ranch or enjoy a glass of Texas wine while you listen to an Academy Award-winning pianist and composer perform at Yellow Brick Road Winery. Walk across the working drawbridge to explore Bellville’s Newman’s Castle, a medieval-style castle complete with exterior walls (to keep you safe from bandits, of course), a moat, and a central keep from where you can survey your domain.
Not only is Austin County a hotspot for history and one-of-a-kind experiences, it’s also a destination for live music fans. Old-fashioned venues like The Kenney Store and Saddleback Saloon crank out the tunes that’ll have your toes tapping, while major annual events like the Austin County Fair, Summer Music Fest, and Sealybration showcase the talents of chart-toppers and local musicians. Austin County is also home to an incredible range of one-of-a-kind restaurants that serve everything from American and Cajun to classic Southern fare. There’s even a craft brewery, Huff Brewing Co. in Bellville, which pours a variety of German-style ales and lagers.
Rodeos, drag races, and many other very Texan adventures await in Austin County. Located just an hour west of Houston, it offers a convenient escape and plenty of ways to enjoy both a family-friendly getaway and a romantic retreat. See all the possibilities here and start planning your trip today.