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Things to Do Near Austin This Weekend: Ride the Hill Country Flyer

All aboard the Hill Country Flyer! With depots in Cedar Park, Bertram, and Burnet, the Austin Steam Train Association (ASTA), a non-profit, offers a variety of experiences on their vintage train cars that date back to the era of steam-run locomotives. Check out all of the special versions of the Hill Country Flyer, including their upcoming North Pole Flyer, the springtime Wildflower Express, and so many more! When you’re looking for things to do near Austin this weekend or you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway, a ride on the Hill Country Flyer is a family-friendly, affordable option that you can do over and over again all year long!

@mycurlyadventures The private compartments are so cool! And each car is different #texas ♬ Zou Bisou Bisou – Gillian Hills

Ride the Classic Hill Country Flyer

Take a ride on the ASTA’s most popular train: the Hill Country Flyer. Passengers of the Hill Country Flyer will board in Cedar Park, Texas around 9am and, with its marvelous backdrops, coast through the Texas Hill Country. The Hill Country Flyer then makes a stop in Burnet, Texas, for a two-hour layover. You’re encouraged to explore Burnet and grab a bite to eat. We recommend making reservations prior to arriving in Burnet, as it can become very busy once the train arrives. The Hill Country Flyer will return to Cedar Park in the afternoon at 3:30pm. If you’re visiting from out of town, add some of the many things to do in Austin to your itinerary and make a whole weekend out of your trip!

Ticket prices range from $30 to $62. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, visit the ASTA’s website. Keep in mind that the last Hill Country Flyer of each year is typically towards the end of November. You can ride the Hill Country Flyer on most Saturdays.

Exterior of building in downtown Bertram

The Hill Country Flyer: The North Pole Flyer 

This Holiday season, bring the movie The Polar Express to life with tickets aboard the North Pole Flyer. If you purchase a ticket for a Silver Weekend, you’ll get to meet Mrs. Clause, take pictures with Santa, write Christmas letters, and enjoy homemade cookies, hot chocolate, and a special gift from Santa himself. On Gold Weekends, there will also be a singalong and live balloon art on board.

The train will depart from the depot in Bertram, Texas with various dates and times between November 26th to December 18th. Tickets for the North Pole Flyer range depending on what type of train car you’d like to be seated on, as well as what weekend you’ll be in attendance. However, children 2 years old and under can attend for free if they will be sitting in the lap of an adult. Get yours before they’re sold out!

The Hill Country Flyer: A Summer Wine Train 

Want to explore more of Burnet? Passengers can also reserve a seat aboard the Hill Country Flyer to Wedding Oak Winery. With departure at 11am, the Wedding Oak Wine Train (21+) will take you on a two-hour ride from Cedar Park to Burnet where you’ll receive a complimentary flight of five wine tastings.

When you arrive in Burnet, you’re encouraged to dine and drink inside the Wedding Oak Winery’s tasting room, perhaps on their rooftop terrace or patio overlooking the downtown square. Enjoy quality time with your family, your favorite travel companion, friends, or perhaps make new ones and buy a bottle of wine to take home with you to remind you of all the fun you had! Tickets for the Wedding Oak Wine Train are just $74.

The Hill Country Flyer: The Wildflower Express

Plant seeds from aboard the Wildflower Express and return in the spring to see how they’ve bloomed. During a two and a half-hour round trip with departure from Cedar Park at 2pm, you’ll hear from Texas Master Naturalist volunteers about the flora, geography, and even dinosaur tracks featured along the route. Along the way, you’ll be able to toss complimentary wildflower seed balls, doing your part in contributing to the beauty of the Texas Hill Country during wildflower season. You’ll also make a quick 15-minute stop at the 1912 Bertram Depot for some quick pictures before returning to Cedar Park by 5:30pm.

Your ticket for the 2023 Wildflower Express includes a second ticket to ride the 2023 Earth Day Express. Keep eyes on the ASTA’s website for tickets and specific dates as we near the spring.

Texas Hill Country's rolling hills

The Hill Country Flyer: The Pumpkin Express

Get into the fall spirit with a ride on the Pumpkin Express. This experience aboard the Hill Country Flyer departs from the Cedar Park Depot at 2:30pm before taking passengers to the town of Bertram, Texas. Beer, wine, and Bloody Mary’s will also be available. Upon arrival in Bertram, passengers will then exit the train for 30 minutes to pick a pumpkin from the Depot Pumpkin Patch, visit with a real farmer, tour the 1912 train depot, and sip on apple cider. Costumes are encouraged, making this a great, family-friendly activity aboard the Hill Country Flyer where adults will have equally as much fun.

Tickets for the Pumpkin Express range from $23 to $39.

Exterior of Bertram Train Depot

The Hill Country Flyer: The Speakeasy Train

Experience a 1920’s Prohibition Party and Murder Mystery aboard a speakeasy train. Come party with the ASTA on the depot platform at 5pm. At 7pm, you’ll board the Hill Country Flyer and enjoy champagne, live entertainment, and even an auction! Basic tickets are $100 and include the platform party, along with the two and a half-hour train ride. Spoil yourself with lounge tickets for $250, which also include a Murder Mystery, three-course dinner, and a champagne toast.

Unlike the other rides aboard the Hill Country Flyer, this specific experience does not include any stops or layovers. You’ll return to Cedar Park by 9:30pm.

Get the VIP Treatment 

Ride at the very front of the Hill Country Flyer alongside the locomotive engineer on the ride into Bertram with this cool VIP experience! You’ll receive a swag bag, a cab tour for you and a companion, as well as plenty of opportunities for photos.

Tickets start at $500 and includes a second ticket for your chosen travel buddy, although, they will remain in the lounge the entirety of the trip. Don’t worry though because you’ll be joining them on the ride back. Visit the ASTA website to reserve yours today!

The Hill Country Flyer: Final Thoughts

Next time you are looking for something to do this weekend near Austin, or you’re wanting to celebrate a special occasion, book a train ticket for a ride aboard the Hill Country Flyer. With their variety of events for every season and holiday, you’ll experience the magic of the railroad with the best views of the Texas Hill Country. On top of all of that, you’ll get to experience the small Texas towns of Burnet, Bertram, and even Austin if you’re just visiting!

Bertram Train Depot
Texas Hill Country

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