Celebrate Staycation Month with Commute Solutions

Looking for some adventure this summer?  You don’t have to travel far or spend a lot of money to discover all that Central Texas has to offer.  Just grab a bike, some good walking shoes, or a transit map and you’ll be on your way.  I challenge you this summer to get creative and find ways to map out your day by exploring new bus, bicycling or walking routes.  Before you know it, and by the end of the summer, you will be a Commute Solutions guru!

As I started looking around at ideas for day trips, I realized the number of transportation options that are available to our region, as well as connect with each other.  With a little bit of planning you can catch a bus to Austin, San Marcos, San Antonio, Bastrop and more!  Suddenly, soaking up the sun and swimming in the San Marcos River isn’t so farfetched.  Did you know that the Texas State BT Interurban bus travels between Austin and San Antonio with stops in Kyle, San Marcos and New Braunfels?  This service also has several stops that connect to Capital Metro and VIA bus routes.  In addition, they have bike racks and the routes are open to the public.

Why stop there?  The Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) offers a number of ways to explore our region.   You can hop on the Elgin, Georgetown and Bastrop Metro Connectors and travel to and from Austin.  These weekday commuter routes link up to Capital Metro buses and MetroRail to give you even more staycation options.   If you are out and about in Bastrop, check out the “Stay Cool at the Pool” bus route.  CARTS, in partnership with the YMCA, is providing a weekday summer bus route to the Bastrop State Park Pool.  If you want to beat the heat this summer, ride the CARTS route to the San Marcos Factory Outlet Mall and use that money you saved on gas to buy that oh so perfect pair of jeans.  To keep you moving, CARTS also offers regional routes that serve a number of Central Texas cities.

Destination Austin.  Capital Metro has you covered.  With routes that serve museums, parks and pools you can discover something new each day.  You can cool off by catching the #30 bus route to Barton Springs Pool and then head over to Zilker Park for a game a Frisbee.  Need more zen in your life?  Walk over to Umlauf Sculpture Garden or the Zilker Botanical Gardens to become one with nature.  But wait, you are just getting started!  This route will also take you to the State Capitol and Barton Creek Square Mall.  If riding the rails is more your speed, then try out MetroRail to expand your horizon. Take the train downtown and visit the Austin Children’s Museum, take a stroll down Town Lake or join friends for a dinner at one of the many restaurants or bars.  Having a staycation has never been so easy, plus all the buses and trains are bike friendly too!

Speaking of bikes, do you want to get off the beaten path and enjoy some fresh air?  It’s as easy as grabbing your bike, a helmet and a map.  Luckily, Central Texas has an abundant of local and regional bike routes that can take you from your neighborhood to your next big summertime adventure.   A good place to start is the CAMPO regional bike map, which highlights level of riding comfort, hilliness and off-road options for bicycle travel.  It’s plain and simple.  Riding a bike gives you freedom, is good for you, and puts a smile on your face!  Want to tour the town on foot?  Throw on some good walking shoes and you’ll be on your way.

With so many options, it is up to you to create your own adventure and I hope these ideas will get you started.  Think outside your neighborhood, your bus route, or bike path and navigate your way to a new destination.  This summer explore Central Texas and leave the car at home.

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