Before I got pregnant with Bryce, we traveled often. I can’t tell you how many random trips we would take throughout the year. Quinn and I would book flights and trips on a whim then just explore everything we could. The year I got pregnant was the big year of Zika and my OB suggested I didn’t travel to many of the places we had planned that year so our travels were put to a halt.
Once Bryce was born, we decided that our travels weren’t going to stop because we had a baby. While traveling with a child is much different than traveling with adults, I have discovered traveling in a whole new light. I’m constantly looking for small towns with charm to discover. The amount of hidden gems in small towns around Texas is astonishing. I’m quite bummed I didn’t start discovering them earlier with intention.
One town on our list of fun discoveries is Brownwood, Texas. This small town located in central Texas on the tip of Hill Country is only a few hours away from Dallas. Bryce and I packed up one afternoon and made the short trip to Brownwood to discover what it was all about. Ideally, I was looking for family friendly things to do in Brownwood, Texas.
I didn’t know how the weekend would go since Bryce is two years old and I was traveling alone with him. It’s a bit intimidating packing up going to a new town with a little one but we were welcomed with open arms everywhere we went.
Here’s a quick guide to Discovering Brownwood Texas and some of our favorite spots.
Where to eat in Brownwood, Texas
The Turtle Enoteca – We came across this gem while walking around Downtown trying to stretch our legs out from the short drive from Dallas. Bryce was being a typical two year old and our waitress was the sweetest. She had conversations with Bryce, offered him anything and everything he needed and made our visit so pleasant. To get started, we tried the corn queso. Admittedly, I had never had Corn Queso until trying it here. I love the idea of sneaking vegetables in something to delicious.
Bryce and I shared their Smash Burger that was so good and hit the spot but what we were even more impressed with was their homemade chips. These chips not only had the perfect crunch but were so big.
Turtle Enoteca offered us a great dessert menu but we were so full we had to pass. Next time we’re in town, we’ll definitely stop by for something sweet.
Runaway Train Cafe – Who wouldn’t love to dine in a real life train? Upon arriving, you’ll instantly be WOWed. Being able to be up close and inside a train car was such a fun experience. Runaway Train Cafe serves cafe food. I had one of the best BLTs ever with jalapeno bacon which gave the classic sandwich a good twist. I ordered Bryce chicken strips from the kids menu and was impressed with how big their portions were!
As much as I thought this place would be packed with kids, when we went there were families but just as many couples eating dinner without kids. It’s definitely a town favorite and I can see why.
Steve’s Market and Deli – I was a bit bummed we didn’t get to eat here and it was mainly my fault. We had intentions to but there was a sign on the door that said they do not accept debit or credit cards. Unfortunately, I had no cash on me so we had to skip out on it. This is at the top of my list of places to come back to. Steve’s Market and Deli is known for their quirky decor, great vibes and some of the best food in Brownwood.
Tres Leches Bakery – This is a hidden gem in Brownwood that people need to know about mainly because who doesn’t love a good taco? The name of the location can be deceiving but they offer a full menu, not just sweets.
Common Grounds Coffee House – If you’re like me, you’re always on the hunt for coffee to consume. As much as I love Starbucks, I always like to find local coffee houses especially when I’m out of town. Common Grounds is located in a house turned into coffee house that is perfect for meeting with friends, working on your laptop or grabbing a coffee on the go.
Now that we’ve established where to get the best food, let’s talk about things to do in Brownwood Texas. While this is small town Texas, there were still lots of great activities throughout the city.
The Martin & Frances Lehnis Railroad Museum – Since Bryce is only two, I wasn’t sure how he would interact in the museum but was pleasantly surprised by the setup. At the front of the museum, there are two large train cars that you can walk through and explore. They are setup exactly how they were originally used with beds, tables and more. It was so much fun to be inside of one and go back in time to when they were used.
Inside the museum there were so many great model trains to look at and admire. Exhibits include a variety of railroad memorabilia and equipment, photos and stories of early railroads while vividly interpreting the importance of the railroad to this area and American life. Also on display are running model trains of every size and Bryce loved watching them go round and round.
Admission to the museum is only $3 for adults and $2 for children 5 and over which is a steal. Towards the back of the museum, there was a small play area for kids that I would bring Bryce to every single week if we lived there. Just outside of the museum is a mini train that operates every Saturday from 10 to 3, weather permitting. Both adults and children can ride, only $2 per person.
Brown County Museum of History – The museum features exhibits from over 150 years of Brown County history – from the Native American band of Penateka Comanche and earliest Texan settlers to the WWII-era Camp Bowie military collection. Admission is only $3 for adults and children over 5.
Camp Bowie Family Aquatic Center – The Camp Bowie Aquatic Center is a public pool opened Tuesday – Sunday in Brownwood. We could have spent all day and night there because it was so much fun. There is a dedicated space for kids to play, a lazy river, slides and more.
I loved the dedicated area for toddlers and young children. At public pools it can be overwhelming with little kids but having a special area just for them makes things so much easier. Bryce was obsessed with the kids water slide and went down it a minimum of 100 times.
If you’re like me, after I figure out how I am going to get to a destination whether it be by plane or car, the next thing I tackle is where we are going to stay. Once you have those two things in place, the rest of the trip just falls together. There are many options when traveling to Brownwood, whether it be in a hotel, resort or bed and breakfast. Here are some places to stay in Brownwood, Texas
Air BnB – We stayed in the cutest cottage located next to Howard Payne University during our stay in Brownwood. It was located within miles of everything we were doing. The cottage was one bedroom, one bath and worked out perfect for me and Bryce.
There are many perks to staying in an Air BnB versus a hotel and one of my favorite ones is having so much extra space for Bryce to explore. Feeling trapped in a hotel room is a horrible feeling and since he is full of energy, I’m always worried he is being too loud or rambunctious and bothering other guests. Another reason I’m a big fan is because of the full size refrigerator! I know that sounds crazy but when you are constantly bringing food back from eating out and not having a place to store it is the pits. I’m also a big water drinker and not being able to store lots of water to keep cold drives me bonkers. Don’t get me wrong, I love hotels just as equally but they both have their perks.
The Hampton Inn and Suites – Newly renovated and a great option if you would like to stay in a hotel with lots of space. Renovations include new carpeting throughout all public areas and guest rooms, new mattresses and furniture as well as a refreshed breakfast area and fitness center improvements.
The Hideout Golf Club and Resort – If you’re looking for a place to hang your hat for the weekend and relax with no worries or qualms, check out Hideout Golf Club and Resort.
The Hideout features a variety of well-appointed accommodations to suit any size family or group, from romantic getaways and golf outings to Texas-sized family reunions.
Lodging includes six Lodge Rooms, 17 Cabins, Ranch Houses and 10 Bungalow-style RVs available for rental