Many businesses operate in restored buildings in downtown Bastrop.
The Bastrop County played an important role in Texas Independence, and its historic significance continues. The city of Bastrop is known as the "Most Historic Small Town in Texas," largely because there are 131 renovated historic homes and stores here. The area was the first to be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 by the Texas Historical Commission. A walking tour map is free from the Bastrop Chamber of Commerce.
- Bastrop State Park
Huge, looming pine trees envelop the park, which covers more than 3,500 acres. Amenities include picnic and camping facilities, as well as a swimming pool, a nine-hole golf course, cabins, a 10-acre lake, and hiking trails.
- Buescher State Park
Connected to Bastrop State Park, this park has 40 campsites, 65 picnic sites, screened shelters and a 25-acre lake for fishing or swimming. Use Texas 153 entrance or Texas 1C from Bastrop State Park for a scenic drive through more than 1,000 acres in the Lost Pines.
- Lake Bastrop South Shore Park
This lake offers some of the finest fishing in Texas. Striped bass, Florida large-mouth bass, crappie, perch and several species of catfish are found in abundance. Built by the LCRA in 1965 as a power plant cooling pond, the lake offers campsites, screened shelters, picnic sites and a boat ramp.
- McKinney Roughs Nature Park
Located eight miles west of Bastrop, this 1,100-acre preserve is where four types of unique ecosystems come together. Once slated for development as residential housing, LCRA purchased the site and developed it as a nature park and learning center. Equestrian trails, river trips and educational programs are offered here.
The Bastrop Opera House opened in 1889. The Bastrop Opera House Built in 1889, two Bastrop merchants built the Opera House for reportedly $15,000. Twenty-one touring companies performed at the opera house the first season, including Gilbert and Sullivan. Live performances continue today.
- The Bastrop County Historical Society Museum
This museum features a physician's antique examining table, clothing and furniture dating back to the 1800s. Located at 702 Main Street. From Texas 150, turn right on Main Street, go two blocks; the museum is on the right side of the street. Call (512) 303-0057 for more information.
- Smithville Historic District
A self-guided tour of 32 historic sites built in the late 1800's feature the roots of the town of Smithville. Maps are available at the Smithville Chamber of Commerce.
- Smithville Railroad Historical Park and Museum
This museum features Union Pacific and Missouri-Kansas-Texas cabooses. The Katy depot is built of materials salvaged from a station dating to the 1890s. Located at 102 West First Street, at the south end of Main Street at railroad tracks. The museum is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Call (512) 237-2313. Admission is free.
The town was created in 1872 and named for Robert Elgin, land commissioner of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad. Three brick manufacturing companies in the area give Elgin the title "Brick Capital of the Southwest." Elgin's revitalized downtown is bustling with specialty shops and eating establishments. A self-guided walking tour showcases Elgin's historic buildings in the downtown area.
- Elgin Depot Museum has rotating and permanent exhibits on the development of Elgin. The museum also has an extensive photograpy collection and archives area.