Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World. But it’s also come to be known as the least affordable city in Texas. Thankfully, I found a way to take in some of that live music magic and squeeze in some exploring time for really cheap!
When the pandemic started and events started getting cancelled, the ones I missed the most were concerts. My husband and I have an agreement that I get to go to all the concerts I want to go to if he gets to go to all the hunting trips he wants to go on. It’s a deal that works well in our relationship. But as 2020 rolled on into 2021 and we approached the year mark since my last show, I started to really miss live music. I decided that if the Austin City Limits Music Festival took place in 2021, I was going to be there.
As soon as it was confirmed that ACL was happening, I started trying to figure out where we would stay so I could have that lined out as soon as tickets went on sale. Since I wanted to get tickets for a full weekend, which weren’t going to be cheap, I knew I needed to find ways to save money on the trip to Austin. Luckily there’s a fantastic state park only 25 minutes from Zilker Park, where ACL takes place. Camping and music festivals go hand in hand, right? And since we’re RV owners, it seemed to make the most sense for our pocket books.
McKinney Falls State Park
Known for its swimming holes and easy hiking trails, McKinney Falls State Park is just outside of Austin. Only 13 miles from the state capitol building near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. This park has 81 campsites with water and electric hookups that accommodate tent or RV camping. The price per night for campsites are $20 to $24. For $86 per night you can rent one of 6 limited use cabins. When you consider that the average nightly rate to rent an RV is around $75-150, you can see that this could be a really affordable option when planning a group trip to Austin.
Inside the park you will find several miles of easy to moderate hiking and biking trails that are perfect for any skill level. It wasn’t hard to squeeze in some time for a little exploring here. The Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail is an easy 2.8 mile loop with a nice even walking surface. We didn’t head to Zilker Park for ACL until after 2pm each day, so that gave us all morning to take it slow and enjoy the park.
McKinney Falls State Park holds a spot on the Tribe’s Favorite Swimming Holes. And if it would have been warmer the weekend we were there we would have definitely made time for a quick dip in one of the park’s two natural pools. Instead we just sat and rested a little after our hike while we enjoyed the sound of the small waterfalls that give this park its name.
What We Ate at Camp
Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to eat like it. My two girlfriends who were with us on this trip are my favorite concert companions and we regularly tailgate before shows with a charcuterie spread. Since that’s our tradition, we made sure to have that for our lunch one day. It was nice to graze on as we got ready for the festival.
If charcuterie is not your style… or if you’re short on cooler space, I have a great meal option for you that easy to prepare and delicious! I discovered Comal Fajita House this summer and I fell in love with their simple and tasty fajita kits. Comal fajitas are precooked and ready to reheat. They’re perfect for traveling!
All you have to do to prepare Comal fajitas is drop the vacuumed sealed bags of grilled meat into boiling water to reheat. You could even heat them over an open campfire. They also carry all the things you’ll need for your fajita dinner. Comal Fajita House is located in Austin, but you can have their fajita kits shipped anywhere in Texas. Thank you to Comal owner, Breck, for getting us set up with these delicious fajitas for our ACL weekend!
What We Wore to ACL?
I know you’re probably wondering how it was possible for us to get ready for a music festival while camping. Well, thankfully McKinney Falls State Park has restrooms in the camping areas that have showers and are cleaned daily. It was easy to dress for the festival and look no different than everyone else staying in high priced hotels & Airbnbs. What do you think about our ACL looks?
You Can Save Even More Money on This Trip
Invest in a Texas State Parks Pass and you will save even more when you come here to visit the Live Music Capital of the World! For only $70 you and everyone with you in the same vehicle get free daily entrance in all state parks and you receive a discount on overnight camping or lodging accommodations. We stayed here 4 nights for ACL weekend and our grand total was only $72! Even if you rented an RV to camp in, you’re not going to find a better rate than that for ACL weekend.
CHEERS TO SAVING MONEY!!
So there’s my Austin travel hack. Perfect for a music festival, or any other time you want to visit the Live Music Capital of the World. Would you take a trip here like this? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Did you like any of the Texas shirts or hats you saw above?
I want to give a special thanks to Tumbleweed TexStyles for getting us all set up with Texas shirts for this weekend. Their motto is “Drift and Explore” and that’s exactly what their designs inspire me to do. It was a honor to partner with them on this trip to show you how we drifted and explored down to Austin for ACL while saving a ton of money.
If you liked any of the designs you saw in this blog, click on the image below to get one for yourself. Use code TRIBE20 for 20% off your order online! It’ll work in their retail store too if you’re local to Frisco.