This trip had been a long time coming! We planned a trip to Waco a year and a half ago and Murphy was not on our side. We lost a tire due to a mechanical error on our part and we had to cut out our time in Waco. We didn’t plan to visit this trip, but due to another last-minute change we adjusted our route to include it. This once sleepy little town was a great addition to our plans.
Our course we wanted to see what all the hype of Magnolia Market was, but we knew the town had more to offer than that just one block and we wanted to explore. We wish we had more time to spend in the area and I’m certain when we are traveling full-time that we will spend at least a few more days here. There were antique shops all over and we will definitely put many of them on our list for our next trip. Below is our recap of most of the places we visited. We were pretty selective (with the exception of having to visit a laundry mat) as to how we spent our time. We want you to make the most of your trip too!
Common Grounds Coffee
This funky little coffee shop is wonderful. It’s right across from Baylor and has free wifi if you are looking for a place to work. Jordan had a pour over, I had a frozen snickers and the boys had a delicious blueberry and rosemary muffin that they didn’t eat so Jordan and I swooped in to keep it from going to waste. It’s eclectic in the furniture and décor and the couches inside remind me of visiting my great grandmothers house as a kid. The patio and stage make you feel like you picked the coolest barns to find these unique pieces. The stage even has amazing lights. After we made it to see my family, my cousin and I shared notes and she stops every time she goes through Waco too. They have a drive through if you are in a hurry, but you really need to go in to experience this great little shop!
Ninfa’s Mexican Food
This is a Tex-Mex chain, but it was fantastic. We are from the land of green chili and Tex-Mex is always questionable when we travel. We were not disappointed! Jordan had crawfish enchiladas and I had a burrito. I’m not a fan of enchilada sauce and so much of it tastes like it’s poured out of a can. A colleague of Jordan’s raved about it so we checked it out. It was another win. The whole meal was flavorful down to the rice. I know, who raves about rice? Visit Ninfa’s, and you will too! It’s just a couple block from the Silos and next to Spice Village. You can easily add it to a day that you spend time at either place.
There are Ninfa’s locations in Houston and College Station that my family all attests to being just as wonderful as the one we tried in Waco.
Magic Wash N Dry
When you have three little kids there will always be laundry to do. Going to the laundry mat is never a cheap venture, but reliable wifi and a clean place always make it just a little better. We stopped here after a long travel day so we didn’t use the time to work, but rather threw the laundry in and raced down to Whataburger and back to get the streets dry before they closed. I don’t use dryer sheets or fabric softener and I had no concern putting my dryer balls into their nice and clean machines! If you are looking for a clean and friendly laundry mat, this is your place.
You can’t beat this campground for the price. It’s a state park and you can reserve online or call. We had to call because the part of the park we planned to stay in was closed due to flooding. It’s right on the lake and just outside of Waco. This campground has a boat ramp so there is a fair amount of traffic, but the gate gets closed at night. The sites right near the lake accommodated smaller rigs and travel trailers and are quieter. We stayed in the area more catered to bigger rigs and it’s right off the highway and louder. The boys loved our site because we were at the back side of a loop with very minimal traffic and they had an enormous area to ride their bikes. Another bonus to being up top is that the cell phone reception is better. Remember that this is a state park so there is no wifi. We currently have Sprint with no booster and we had LTE service sporadically through the camper, but then randomly we were roaming. Our site had both 30 and 50 amp as well as water and sewer. I believe those lower only have 30 amp. It’s just a few minutes from downtown Waco and we would gladly stay here again. We like state parks because there are no kid or pet fees. With two dogs and three kids those add up quick and can make a reasonably priced campground very unreasonable. We paid right around $30 a night for this site. Everything else in the area was nearly double that with the kid and dog fees!
Waco Suspension Bridge & River Walk
The bridge is beautiful at night. Of course I don’t have a picture of it for you so I guess you’ll have to visit yourself. There is a trail that runs right along the side of the river below the bridge. We aren’t nervous Nellie’s, but the path is a little nerve wracking with young kids because there’s not wall or rail along the side by the water. It makes it more picturesque and is fine for adults or even older kids, but is a little worrisome with really young kids. Locals and visitors use the trail for walking or running and there was a great place to rent kayaks on the opposite side of where we took pictures. There are fun statues and a fountain in the park up top and even an observation tower on the opposite side. It’s not what we expected. There are half a dozen bridges over the river within a few blocks, but this is the only pedestrian bridge. It was fun to wander around and it would be a great place to bring a picnic lunch or walk the trail if you had down time!
This collection of shops is located above Ninfa’s Mexican restaurant and just a couple blocks from Magnolia Market. If you are a budget shopper this is a place for you. There is everything from farmhouse décor to cheesy touristy t-shirts to boutiques of clothing. If you are looking for local team gear, kids gifts or hair-bows they have those too. I did make a small purchase. I picked up a cute metal wall pocket for $10 almost just like the one below. This guy will go in our new rolling home. I love to decorate with pieces we’ve collected from all over. A really similar was $25 on clearance at the shop on Bosque. Don’t get me wrong, Magnolia has some really unique finds that are worth the money, but we live on a budget and I can’t just splurge on everything. If you love unique finds or a good deal, definitely visit the Shops at Spice Village.
Little Shop on Bosque (original Magnolia location)
If you are a bargain shopper, but you really want something with the “Magnolia” name on it you need to stop in here. Everything is 40-75% off PLUS they often add another 10-20% discount! We’re talking Magnolia product for Walmart prices!!! We visited this shop two different days and they put out TONS of new product the second day. It’s always changing and limited quantity. Some of it’s clearance and some of it’s slightly damaged. If you are any good with epoxy or E6000 glue you can find a steal. There are so many things that aren’t damaged or its so minor that you don’t notice. Plus… it’s farmhouse decor, it all looks distressed!
I found the most adorable grass door mats here. We don’t always have grass where we stay, but now we do. Even if it’s only a 2′ x 3′ patch. The dogs love it too. I have to constantly kick them off! I love the little grass in front of our steps so much that I bought my mom one for her camper too.
Waco Mammoth Nation Monument
We drove around town and found a couple other great spots that you might be interested in checking out too!
Vintage Gulf Station
We drove by this station and it was so adorable that we circled around and went back to explore. It’s set up just like it would have been in its day. The cars on the property and the display in the window match what you’d expect! It’s in incredible shape and you can tell it’s well cared for. It’s clean and the pumps shine! We did a quick photo shoot for another project we are working on and soaked up the nostalgia. It doesn’t take long to visit and it’s easy to find. It’s also easy to park a trailer if you have one so make the stop even if you have a trailer on!
Harp Design Co.
We drove by Harp Design Co. The boys were asleep so we didn’t go into the shop. Jordan wanted to see a house that Chip and Joanna had renovated and there’s one right next door. He had read an article previously that the Harp family had moved out of the house because people would knock on their door constantly. How crazy are people that they knock on a random persons door because someone specific renovated the home they live in!? I can’t fathom that! On a better note, it’s now an Air B and B and you can rent the house. Check out @harpedesignco stories on Instagram for details about staying. Hopefully people don’t knock on the door while you are trying to enjoy your dinner 😉
Things to Note
Waco is a great little town and Fixer Upper has put it back on the map.
- Plan ahead if you are visiting on a weekend. It will be busy and many places observe the Sabbath and are closed on Sunday.
- Ideally you want to avoid the weekend and any holidays and shoot for a Tuesday of Wednesday to explore town crowd free!
- Plan to spread you money around the community and visit some of these other great places we shared with you!
- We’d love to hear about your trip and any pointers you took from us or would like to share!
Be blessed and travel often!