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This suburb is growing fast, but it still retains its small-town charm. Close to the Hill Country and the Highland Lakes but within 20 minutes of Austin, Cedar Park is a perfect spot. It's got golf, AHL hockey, the Austin Spurs basketball team, a commuter train, an antique steam train, and even a mini-train for the kids. There's ziplining for the more adventuresome and an aquarium for the peaceful. Cedar Park has a plethora of good restaurants when you don't feel like driving into Austin and lots of green space for walking and bike riding.
Round Rock is an old Texas town with lots of history and a picturesque downtown. Housing options are diverse, and there are great established neighborhoods. Austin is less than 10 minutes away. Round Rock is a wonderful place to start or raise a family, with awesome parks, including Play for All Abilities Park, which is designed for all age groups and special needs. Memorial Park is a historical wonderland with a waterfall and creek that were stops on the Chisholm Trail. Escapology, a live escape-game experience is fun for young and old. And of course, Round Rock has all of the eateries, breweries, and nifty shops that make Greater Austin weird and, well, great.
According to 'Money' magazine, Pflugerville is the twelfth-best place to live in the U.S. That's a nice score, and it's well deserved. It's so safe that kids still walk to downtown schools along tree-lined streets. They're also huge on festivals and even have a Bike Rodeo and a Yodel Blitz. The town is full of small-town charm and a lot of German heritage, which translates to great beer and delicious food. It has a lake and a swim park. It's like a miniature version of Austin, with all of the right amenities (including live music) and none of the traffic.
If you love nature and being away from it all but within driving distance of city amenities, Wyldwood is the place for you. Its location puts you in a sweet spot between Austin and Bastrop, with a triangle of traffic-free highways that get you quickly to Austin, New Braunfels, San Antonio, and the picturesque German towns in between. Wyldwood's commute is only four minutes longer than the average from Austin's suburbs, and it has not suffered from overdevelopment. Zipline, kayak, and hike to your heart's content. The topography is the best of all worlds, being at the beginning of the Hill Country and the tip of the Lost Pines. Added bonus: much lower taxes.
Buda is the Outdoor Capital of Texas, with over 29.6 miles of parks and trails in addition to outdoor pavilions, theaters, and a skate park. Bikers and walkers will love it here. Many events and festivals, like the Wiener Dog Races, Fajita Fest, and First Thursday downtown shopping night, will appeal to those who like to get involved in the community. There's also a farmers' market and tons of other events. It's also the closest suburb to Salt Lick BBQ. That's a HUGE deal for Austinites. Of course, Buda has other outstanding eateries and a lot of local flavor and history too.
Bee Cave is the most beloved suburb of Austinites. The gorgeous scenery, the long-standing 'weird,' and the green spaces and outdoor opportunities make this gem the place to be. From rock climbers to hippies to the fabulously wealthy, there's a place here for everyone. Bee Cave isn't just the gateway to the Hill Country; it is the Hill Country. It's been a part of Austin for decades, so you won't feel like you're apart. It's close to Zilker, Hamilton Pool, Pedernales, and all of the original mom-and-pop restaurants that have become nationally famous. You'll love it--if you can afford it! If not, try nearby Rollingwood, just minutes away.