It wasn’t too long ago when Austin was just a small town in the middle of Texas. Though Austin has kept the small town feel through it’s explosive growth, it is now a big city with a metro area that just surpassed 2 million residents. If you’re looking to move to the Austin area, but prefer a slower, small town to a big city, we’ve given you a list of 5 that are close enough to Austin to be able to take advantage of the big city, but far enough away to escape.
Small Towns Near Austin: Buda
- Distance to Downtown Austin: 20 minutes, 17 miles
- Distance to Austin Airport: 18 minutes, 17 miles
- Average & Median Price: $452,241 and $415,500
- Price Range: $200k – $5.5MM
- Average Size: 2,118 sqft, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
- School District: Hays CISD
Buda is Austin’s southern neighbor. Though just outside the city limits of Austin, Downtown Buda looks more like an old time Texas Hill Country town than a city that’s 19 miles from Austin. Buda has everything from a 50 year old ranch with livestock to a bungalow within walking distance Downtown to sprawling, suburban new construction. At the 2020 census, Buda’s population was just over 15,000, which was well over 2000’s figures and is expected to grow over the next decade. Most of the growth is on either side of Interstate 35. If you’re looking to keep the feel as small town as possible, focus your search on the area west of 35.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Buda Neighborhood Guide.
Popular Buda Neighborhoods
With a range of housing prices, lifestyle and age, Buda neighborhoods are just as varied. You’ll find large, master planned communities with thousands of homes, amenities and on-site schools. You’ll also find smaller, established neighborhoods with a few streets and gated, neighborhoods with acreage lots. Here are a few of the more popular Buda neighborhoods.
One of Buda’s most affordable neighborhoods, Shadow Creek offers residents a slower pace of life while still enjoying community amenities like a pool, hike and bike trail, sports courts and playground. Located just 3 miles east of 35, the neighborhood is surrounded by ranches, so you get more of a small town feel. Downtown Austin is about 25 minutes and San Marcos is about 20 minutes.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Shadow Creek Neighborhood Guide.
Garlic Creek is one of Buda’s west of 35 neighborhoods. At completion, the neighborhood will have 850 homes, so definitely a sizable neighborhood, but nothing like the 6,000 homes going in across the freeway in Sunfield. Residents pick Garlic Creek because of its highly rated schools, amenities and easy access to 35 and Downtown.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Garlic Creek Neighborhood Guide.
Elliott Ranch is an upscale, gated community with homes that sit on 1-2 acre lots. Technically located in the city of Hays, TX, Elliott Ranch has a Buda mailing address. The community is small, with only 213 homes. They do have a community park and pavilion, but no community pool. But, with a few acres of your own, you can easily put one in if you want. Elliott Ranch is the epitome of luxury living in Buda.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Elliott Ranch Neighborhood Guide.
Whispering Hollow is one of Buda’s most highly sought after communities. With a west side location, highly rated schools and easy access to 35, Downtown Buda and Kyle, residents can be anywhere around Austin within minutes. The HOA maintains a resort style community pool, pavilion and children’s playground. Build out was complete in 2017, so there is no new construction, but you’ll find many of the same finishes builders are putting in brand new construction for less.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Whispering Hollow Neighborhood Guide.
Buda Neighborhood Map
Buda Homes for Sale
Small Towns Near Austin: Driftwood
- Distance to Downtown Austin: 30 minutes, 25 miles
- Distance to Austin Airport: 30 minutes, 28 miles
- Average & Median Price: $1,184,116 and $1,008,780
- Price Range: $300k – $4.5MM
- Average Size: 3,372 sqft, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms
- School District: Dripping Springs ISD, Hays CISD, Wimberley ISD
Driftwood is Buda’s western neighbor with just under 2,500 people at the 2010 census. Driving around Driftwood, you would never guess you were just 25 miles southwest of Downtown Austin. Miles of open space, livestock and expansive Hill Country views are common, giving this area a genuine small town feeling. Driftwood doesn’t have a Downtown like Buda with restaurants and businesses, but is home to the very popular Salt Lick BBQ and Duchman’s winery and is only about 20 minutes from South Austin and Dripping Springs. Driftwood has a variety of housing options, but very few neighborhoods that look suburban. New construction is usually built on acre plus lots, so you’ll have a neighborhood feel but space and privacy as well.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Driftwood Neighborhood Guide.
Popular Driftwood Neighborhoods
Driftwood has a range of different neighborhoods. You’ll find neighborhoods that don’t really feel like neighborhoods, gentlemen’s ranches and more of a master planned community feel. Here are a few popular Driftwood neighborhoods.
La Ventana combines the best of the ranch and master planned community lifestyle. Luxury homes sit on 1-5 acre lots, some zoned to allow horses, and you also have community amenities like a community center with kitchen, pool, gym and pavilion. The community is gated, so there is very little traffic. Lots are wooded, which gives residents privacy for their outdoor living spaces, many of which have pools and guest houses.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our La Ventana Neighborhood Guide.
Rim Rock is a unique neighborhood that is very Driftwood. Built by production builders, homes sit on acre plus lots, which is not something you find too often. Typically larger lots mean custom builders, which does give residents more flexibility, but it also means more time and headache. At Rim Rock, you can go into the model, pick a floor plan and a few months later, move in.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Rim Rock Neighborhood Guide.
Howard Ranch is a very unique Driftwood neighborhood because of the architectural style of its homes. The developed opted to go with homes built in the Victorian era, so you’ll find Queen Anne’s, Folk, Colonial, Craftsman and Georgian inspired farm houses. Onion Creek meanders around the back of the neighborhood, so some of the parcels will have water. If you’re looking for something unique that’s not too far from town, Howard Ranch is ideal.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Howard Ranch Neighborhood Guide.
Driftwood Neighborhood Map
Driftwood Homes for Sale
Small Towns Near Austin: Dripping Springs
- Distance to Downtown Austin: 30 minutes, 24 miles
- Distance to Austin Airport: 30 minutes, 27 miles
- Average & Median Price: $845,596 and $720,000
- Price Range: $200k – $4MM
- Average Size: 2,717 sqft, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
- School District: Dripping Springs ISD, Lake Travis ISD, Johnson City ISD
Dripping Springs is Driftwood’s northern neighbor and is 25 miles due west of Austin. Population at the 2020 census was just over 8,300. Dripping Springs residents live on large parcels of land and enjoy Texas Hill Country living at it’s best. Downtown Dripping Springs has a few restaurants, local businesses, H-E-B grocery store and even a Home Depot, but still keeps a genuine small town feel. As Austin’s growth continues west, Dripping Springs will likely grow up a bit, but I believe that both Dripping Springs and Driftwood will preserve their country vibe.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Dripping Springs Neighborhood Guide.
Popular Dripping Springs Neighborhoods
Dripping Springs has added a variety of different types of neighborhoods in the last decade. As growth moved west and the demand for housing went up, Dripping Springs answered the need with new master planned communities, more densely populated than neighborhoods of a decade or two ago, but still more space than owners get in your traditional suburb. Here are some popular Dripping Springs neighborhoods.
Built on former ranch land, Headwaters is one of Dripping Springs most highly sought after neighborhoods. Built by high end production builders, exteriors of Headwaters homes are mostly in the modern farmhouse style architecture with some traditional sprinkled in. Inside, you can expect a high level finish out with open floor plans. Lots are large and many of them back to greenbelt.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Headwaters Neighborhood Guide.
Built in the early-mid 2000s, Sawyer Ranch is a good combination of more of a neighborhood feel with space. Spacious homes with a more luxury level finish out sit on acre lots, giving owners plenty of room for pools and outdoor living spaces while still keeping with a neighborhood feel. The neighborhood does have a community pool, so if you don’t want the upkeep of your own, you have that option. And, being one of the closer Dripping Springs neighborhoods to Austin, Sawyer Ranch is a good choice for someone who needs to get in and out of town quickly.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Sawyer Ranch Neighborhood Guide.
Sunset Canyon is a fairly large community acreage wise that spans on the north and south side of Highway 290 east of Downtown Dripping Springs. The majority of the homes were built in the 1980s, so you’ll find some that have been fully updated and others that are in more original condition. Sunset Canyon is popular because of its lax community restrictions, large lots and low property tax rate. If you’re looking for something a little more small town and less master planned, Sunset Canyon is ideal.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Sunset Canyon Neighborhood Guide.
Built along Onion Creek, Caliterra brings a genuine master planned community to Dripping Springs and also keeps the Hill Country feel. The 300 acres of green space allow residents to connect with nature by hiking, fishing, picnicking, bird watching or just exploring wildlife. Plus, the majority of the homesites are greenbelt lots, so you won’t feel boxed in between 20 homes.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Caliterra Neighborhood Guide.
Dripping Springs Neighborhood Map
Dripping Springs Homes for Sale
Small Towns Near Austin: Wimberley
- Distance to Downtown Austin: 45 minutes, 37 miles
- Distance to Austin Airport: 45 minutes, 42 miles
- Average & Median Price: $677,771 and $515,000
- Price Range: $150k – $5.7MM
- Average Size: 2,107 sqft, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
- School District: Wimberley ISD
Wimberley is the ultimate in Texas Hill Country living. With a population of just over 2,500 at the 2010 census and a friendly Downtown that caters to locals and tourists, Wimberley is the ideal choice if you want a small town with the most chance of staying small. Most of the homes sit on large lots and the luxury homes have spectacular Hill Country views. Wimberley is 38 miles from Downtown Austin and 15 miles from San Marcos.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Wimberley Neighborhood Guide.
Wimberley Homes for Sale
Small Towns Near Austin: Spicewood
- Distance to Downtown Austin: 40 minutes, 36 miles
- Distance to Austin Airport: 40 minutes, 40 miles
- Average & Median Price: $901,972 and $755,000
- Price Range: $100k – $3.7MM
- Average Size: 2,757 sqft, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
- School District: Lake Travis ISD and Marble Falls ISD
Spicewood had a population of just over 13,000 at the 2020 census and is 36 miles from Downtown Austin. Located on Lake Travis, Spicewood is the ideal choice for someone looking for small town and enjoys the outdoor activities Lake Travis has to offer. Spicewood has a mix or suburban master planned communities, waterfront, and established neighborhoods with more of a small town feel. The quality of the Lake Travis school district has sped up the growth of Spicewood and though growth is slower than we’re seeing in Lakeway, it might not be too long before Spicewood grows up.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Spicewood Neighborhood Guide.
Popular Spicewood Neighborhoods
Given its proximity to Lake Travis, Spicewood is more developed along the banks of Lake Travis than it is in other places. Therefore, the majority of the popular neighborhoods are lakefront neighborhoods. Because of where Highway 71 is in relation to the lake, Spicewood residents who want to live waterfront do drive about 10-15 minutes off the main road to get to their homes. That being said, if you’re looking for a true getaway lake house, Spicewood is a great place for that. Here are some popular Spicewood neighborhoods.
Reserve at Lake Travis
The Reserve at Lake Travis is the only neighborhood around Austin where you’ll find luxury, gated, equestrian and waterfront in one place. Red McCombs is the developer behind the neighborhood and if you know anything about Red McCombs, you know he is behind some of Austin’s most desired attractions. Residents who don’t own one of the 116 waterfront properties can store their boat (up to 80′) in one of 160 slips in the state of the art marina.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Reserve at Lake Travis Neighborhood Guide.
West Cypress Hills
West Cypress Hills is your traditional master planned community with amenities, on-site elementary and large homes on fairly small lots. Homes are finished out well, so it definitely has a more luxury feel. And, if you like the location but want a bigger yard, Sola Vista is located right next door and homes sit on acre lots.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our West Cypress Hills Neighborhood Guide.
Barton Creek Lakeside
Barton Creek Lakeside is the premier 24/7 guard gated, private country club and waterfront community in the Austin area. You can’t find these combined lifestyles anywhere else. Homes range from a basic starter home to a multi million dollar golf or waterfront estate, so there is something for everyone. Plus, the club provides residents with some opportunities to socialize with their neighbors without leaving their neighborhood.
For more info and to search homes for sale, visit our Barton Creek Lakeside Neighborhood Guide.
Spicewood Neighborhood Map
Spicewood Homes for Sale
Average and median price and size data is from ACTRIS closed sales 04/01/2021-03/31/2022.
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