- By Kristin Finan American-Statesman Staff
Easter has arrived, and that means there are just two months left to embrace the sweetness of spring, when roadsides are blanketed in wildflowers, evenings are refreshingly cool and three-digit temperatures feel so far away.
If you’re looking for some things to do before the full summer swelter sets in, you’re in luck. Here are 10 ideas sure to put some spring in your step.
Pick some berries
It’s strawberry season, and there’s no better way to enjoy everyone’s favorite red fruit than by picking some yourself. You can do just that at Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls, where rows of strawberries await through mid-May. While you’re out there, don’t miss fun family activities such as sand art, barrel train rides and a bounce pillow. You’ll also discover sweet treats including fresh strawberry lemonade and homemade strawberry smoothies. The farm is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays-Saturdays and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, including Easter Sunday. Closed Wednesdays; cash and check only. Blackberries, new potatoes, peaches and onions are also currently in season. Get more details sweetberryfarm.com, and find more pick-your-own options at parenting.blog.mystatesman.com.
Check out the wildflowers
If you haven’t taken your wildflower photos yet, there’s still time! Even as certain varieties such as bluebonnets start to fade, others will remain strong into the summer months. One easy way to see a whole bunch of types and to safely snap some pictures is to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which is home to more than 800 species of Texas native plants. It’s open daily, including Easter Sunday. Get details at wildflower.org. There are lots more options in the Austin area, too, including the Willow City Loop, Wildseed Farms and Washington County.
Book a camping trip
Whether you set your sights on the Hill Country, head west to Big Bend or opt for a beachside jaunt, spring is ideal for pulling out that tent and sleeping under the stars. First-timers will find comfort at McKinney Falls State Park, located just 20 minutes from downtown Austin, while more experienced campers may enjoy the scenery at places like Mustang Island State Park, Pedernales Falls State Park or Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Find more state park options or make a reservation at tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks. The LCRA also has a host of camping options in its parks; check those out at lcra.org/parks.
Go for a hike
Since the heat and mosquitoes haven’t reached their peak yet, it’s a great time to enjoy one of Austin’s many parks. Take a hike, go fishing, play disc golf or check out a mountain-bike trail — the world is your oyster. And don’t forget to stop by Austin’s crown jewel, Zilker Park, which is celebrating 100 years in 2017 with a host of fun events. Need other park suggestions? Visit our interactive guide at mystatesman.com/interactive/features/parks-to-visit-this-spring.
Indulge in a sweet treat
Before the heat of summer begins transforming decadent chocolates into muddy pools, why not treat yourself to a delicious, Austin-made sweet? Delysia Chocolatier, run by owner/chocolatier Nicole Patel, specializes in artisan chocolate that comes in adorable seasonal shapes as well as Austin-centric themes such as bats, boots and guitars. For the spring season, Delysia is offering chocolate molded bunnies and an Easter truffle collection with flavors such as peanut butter, marshmallow and coconut. “The idea behind creating these seasonal products,” Patel said, “is to invoke those nostalgic childhood memories through lovingly handcrafted artisanal chocolates inspired by traditional flavors.” The shop is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Complimentary chocolate tastings are available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays (except Easter Sunday, when the shop is closed) — no reservations required. Visit delysia.com for details.
Get a spring makeover
Want to freshen up while expressing your love of spring? Why not use your nails? At Lacquer nail salon, artists are ready and waiting to help you reach your wildest nail dreams, from bright stripes and polka dots to intricate wildflower landscapes. A classic manicure with basic nail art starts at $35. Visit ilovelacquer.com for more information or to make an appointment. And if you’re looking to change up your look but not sure if you want to commit, Raven Row Salon is offering a complimentary splash of temporary hair color with any service through April. Go pink, then watch as it gently fades back to blonde after a few shampoos. Learn more or book at ravenrowsalon.com.
Eat on a patio
It won’t be long before eating enchiladas on a patio sounds like the worst idea ever. So while you still have the opportunity, make the most of Austin’s lovely 70- and 80-degree evenings with a meal on one of the many restaurant patios in the city. Need ideas? Check out Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam’s suggestions at apps.statesman.com/austin360/eats/lists/20/outdoor-dining.
Take a dip
We’ve reached that perfect time of year when it’s warm enough to go swimming but pools aren’t yet overcrowded. Options currently open to lap and recreational swimmers include Deep Eddy, Big Stacy and Bartholomew (lap pool only). Check austintexas.gov/pools for more details about opening dates, hours and fees. And don’t miss our interactive guide to the city’s pools at projects.statesman.com/features/swimming-pools.
Watch a drive-in movie
Those breezy spring nights are hard to beat, and they’re made even better when you enjoy them while taking in a drive-in movie at a place like Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In, which just opened in South Austin. Expect a mix of classics and new films, such as “La La Land,” “Trolls,” “Grease” and “Dial M for Murder.” Concessions include hot dogs, popcorn, candy and s’mores kits. For schedules and details, go to bluestarlitedrivein.com.
Enjoy some sips
Toast a perfect spring afternoon by savoring a cocktail or some suds at an outdoor picnic table on the outskirts of town. From the Deep Eddy Vodka tasting room in Dripping Springs to the nearby Jester King Brewery, there are a bevy of options. Find more ideas for great places to sip at spirits.blog.austin360.com.