Texas Travel

City Spotlight: Bastrop

By Mitch Gruen 2.3.20

In the vibrant town of Bastrop, 40 minutes east of Austin and with a population of just 9,000, the past is alive and the future is bright. Take a trip to the town’s past and present with this guide.

Town History

The earliest known settlers of the region are the Tonkawa Native Americans, whose tools and arrowheads are on display at the Cardinal Point Interpretive Center in the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa (accessible by reservation). Modern use of the site began at the turn of the 19th century, when the leaders of New Spain established a fort in close proximity to a strategically important Colorado River crossing.

In 1820, a Dutch businessman named Philip Hendrik Nering Bögel, fictitiously calling himself the “Baron De Bastrop”, struck a land deal with the Spanish government and established a colony, which ultimately failed. Stephen F. Austin had better luck colonizing the area, and in 1832, he named his settlement Bastrop, to honor the baron. The site was briefly taken by the Spanish and given a different name, but by late 1837, it was incorporated under the laws of Texas and once again named Bastrop.

The city takes pride in its contributions to Texas history — many of Bastrop’s citizens fought at the Alamo and in the Battle of San Jacinto, and three Bastropians were among the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

Photography by Andrew Fisher

Main Street

Across the Colorado River, you’ll find Main Street lined with brick storefronts that showcase myriad offerings, including decorative wall art, glassware, linens, and vintage jewelry. Highlights on Main Street include Astro Record Store for rare vinyl LPs and vintage hi-fi gear, and Apothecary’s Hall Antiques for an artfully curated selection of vintage clothing, pottery, and furniture.

A long day of shopping may leave you with a rumbling belly, but Bastrop has you covered there too. Enjoy pizza with a river view at Neighbor’s Kitchen & Yard or check out Maxine’s Cafe for one of the best breakfasts in Texas.

With a vibrant music scene, Bastrop gives you many options for after-dinner entertainment. Local performers and a steady flow of Austin-based musicians shred their way through genres such as folk, country, bluegrass, and Americana. For a more immersive experience, the Bastrop Opera House features musicals and plays put on by talented Bastropians.

Photography by Andrew Fisher

The Great Outdoors

The fun doesn’t stop in downtown. Minutes outside of the Bastrop city center, you can choose your own adventure in Bastrop State Park, a 6,600-acre forest wonderland where the Loblolly pine flourishes. At Fisherman’s Park, take your pick of a kayak, a canoe, or a standup paddleboard and explore the El Camino Real paddle trail.

Tour companies provide all of the necessary gear and guidance for an unforgettable river adventure, allowing you to focus on the fun. If you’re not in the mood for physical exertion, rent a tube and float down the river in leisurely style. When the sun sets, camp in your own tent or put down a reservation for one of the historic cabins in the woods.

Photography by Andrew Fisher

Luxury Accommodations

For those who would prefer to pamper themselves instead of roughing it in the wilderness, the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa is your place. Spacious suites, crisp pine air, and a range of dining options make for a truly rejuvenating stay. At Spa Django, music and massage meet to melt away the stress and worry of the workweek.

Whether you’re shopping, hiking, or canoeing, you’ll find yourself spending much of your stay in Bastrop outdoors. So, for all of the A/C addicts (aka most Texans), the pleasantly mild spring is an ideal time to make Bastrop your weekend getaway.

Explore more Texas towns here.

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