enchanted rock beautyscenic picture of texas hill country

10 Must See Destinations in the Texas Hill Country

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By Johnny Bevers

Just between Coastal Plains and the Edwards Plateau in Texas, you’ll find Texas Hill Country.  Overall, Hill Country is over 200 miles wide.  Known for its box canyons and bustling rivers, Hill Country is home to some of the most beautiful sights in Texas.  People from all over the world come to the area for the atmosphere, beautiful landscape, and of course, the attractions.  There is a lot more to Texas Hill Country than smooth plains and nature-carved plateaus.  Whether you’re traveling here to get the real cowboy experience or you’re venturing out on a honeymoon, Texas Hill Country has a little something for everyone.

Texas Hill Country is the perfect place for a true Texas experience.  From the wine trails to wildflowers and the great outdoors, there is a reason it is becoming one of the hottest destinations in the world.  You’ll always get the lone star treatment, delightful meals and even make some new friendships when you visit Texas Hill Country.  The attractions alone could take weeks, but there are 10 must see destinations every visitor should hit while in the Hill Country.

 

Visit The Cowboy Capital Of The World!

old saloon in bandera texas

Bandera, located just 30 miles south of Kerrville, is literally the Cowboy Capital of the World.  There are over 20 different Dude Ranches and Resorts ready to give travelers a real cowboy experience.  You can walk the classic wooden sidewalks through the city, dress in jeans and Stetsons, and hit the hills on horseback.  Fall is usually the best time to head to this area, because the temperatures have cooled down and the Cypress trees along the Medina River are in full bloom.

While you’re in Bandera, don’t forget to check out the Frontier Times Museum.  Here you’ll find prehistoric arrowheads, bells, shrunken human heads, and mounted animals.

Check Out The Orchards

Georgia might be the official Peach State, but Texas has plenty of peach orchards that are equally lush and tasty.  Texas Hill Country is full of peach orchards that let you grab a basket and pick out your own fresh, juicy peaches right from the tree. Marburger Orchard is one of the better orchards for tourists and picking times run from May to August.  Even if you aren’t visiting during peach season, the orchard has plenty of strawberries and blackberries for you to enjoy year-round.

Picnic At Enchanted Rock

enchanted rock picnic and camping areaEnchanted Rock is one of the most charming and romantic locations in Texas Hill Country.  Located just outside of Fredericksburg you’ll find this glistening mound of real granite.  It does take quite a hike, so make sure you’re in shape for the journey.  But, once you get to the top, you’ll immediately see why Enchanted Rock is the place to picnic.  There are soft plateaus of grass and you can watch the sunset over a bottle of wine and a good meal.

The state park at Enchanted Rock offers camping sites, rock-climbing lessons and sites, and plenty of spots for stargazing.  You’re far enough away from the city so you can see the stars. It has been said that a Spanish Conquistador had cast a spell on the 425-foot Enchanted Rock site, which is why it appears to be glowing at night.

Eat At Rose Hill Manor

rose hill manor at duskCouples visiting Texas Hill Country can’t forget about eating at Rose Hill Manor.  Labeled as one of the most romantic spots in Hill Country, this lavish restaurant features a Georgian-inspired cuisine, plush décor and a backdrop of open fields.  It is truly a fine dining experience that features traditional Southern cuisine, including pork belly and mud pie.  The menu changes almost weekly, but rest assured they stick to their Southern roots.

Stay At A Bed And Breakfast

Hill Country has bed and breakfasts sprinkled throughout the region.  Almost every town has at least one bed and breakfast to choose from.  O’Casey’s in San Antonio, for example, features true southern hospitality in their friendly B&B.  It’s quaint, plantation-inspired exterior instantly reels you in, while the interior is decorated in rich browns, warm reds and lavish golds.

For luxury and romance, stay at the Cat’s Meow in Fredericksburg.  It features upscale, luxury private cabins, whirlpools, fireplaces and even an on-site spa to deliver as many massages as you need to relax.

Go On A Wine Tour

hill country vineyardsOne thing Texas Hill Country is known for is their wineries.  While it might not be as big of a hotspot as Napa Valley, Hill Country is littered with local, quaint wineries.  If you’re into Tuscan-styled wines, visit the Grape Creek Vineyards.  They have an Italian-inspired tasting room complete with a red-tile roof and stucco exterior.  There are over 42 separate unique wineries in Texas Hill Country, ranging from Austin to Fredericksburg.  Each vineyard has its own personality, quality and taste.

Enjoy a trip on a wine trail.  These trails are self-guided, but loads of fun.  They’re open year-round and tickets are on sale through TexasWineTrail.com.

Visit The Hill Country Caves

If you’re the hiking type, visit one of the many caves located throughout Hill Country.  By Kingsland you’ll find the Longhorn Cavern.  It features beautiful, crystal-like formations on the walls and floors.  If you’re looking for something a little spooky, head over to Devils’ Sink Hole.  It’s over 200 feet deep and it’s customary to toss a rock into the deep abyss.  Experienced spelunkers can also head down the sinkhole, if they dare.

The Inner Space Caverns located in Georgetown as well as the Cascade Caverns in Boerne offer guided tours year-round.  If you want to see where William Travis hid his king’s ransom over 175 years ago, don’t forget to try your hand at the treasure maps.  No one has found that ransom, but there are plenty of vendors out there willing to sell you a map as to where they think it might be.

Lastly, there is the Cave Without a Name.  It is a living cave comprised of limestone and has over six distinct caverns.  It was discovered in the 20th Century and is something pictures just won’t do justice.  It doesn’t matter what time of the year you visit it; it is always warm.  There’s plenty of lighting to look around and the walkways have been reinforced for safety.

Don’t Forget About German Cuisine

While Texas Hill Country is predominantly Tex-Mex, there is a large presence for German cuisine.  Because European immigrants settled in the area in the mid-1830s, there are still plenty of German descendants left behind.  The Old German Bakery and Restaurant, for example, features German-inspired baked goods, apple strudel and traditional potato pancakes.

Hunt Down Your Own Topaz.

large topaz found in hill countryThere’s no point in buying topaz in Texas Hill Country; you can just find your own.  In Mason County, it’s hard to not stumble over topaz lying on the ground.  Texas’s state gem is the topaz and for good reason: it’s everywhere.  You can find it in abundance in the granite rocks of Mason County as well as in creek beds and ditches.  Lindsay Ranch has been known to provide a large crop of topaz — as long as you’re willing to spend a day hunting it down.

Stay At A Luxury Resort

Texas Hill Country might be all about the cowboy experience, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t luxury resorts to rest after a long day on the range.  From Austin to San Antonio, there are plenty of luxury resorts to choose from.  Log Country Cove, located in Burnet, Texas features oak trees and a stunning lakefront view.  There are over 35 different waterfront cabins to stay in — each with their own stove, kitchen and even dishes.

Lake Austin Spa Resort offers a world-class experience with spa treatments, luxury rooms, stonewall gardens, saunas, and an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Don’t forget to visit the Travaasa in Austin.  This new, luxury resort is surrounded by the lush hills of Balcones Canyonlands Preserve.  Recently the Travaasa was labeled as one of the hottest luxury destinations in all of Texas Hill Country.

It doesn’t matter what your reasons are for coming to Texas Hill Country.  You’ll have plenty of attractions, sights and things to do during your stay.  Who knows, it may even grow on you so much that you find it too difficult to leave.

If you’re looking for some more romantic locations in Texas, check out our companion article at:  http://tex.org/romantic-getaways-in-texas/

Below is a review video of Lake Austin Spa Resort.

Like always, we hope you’ve enjoyed your time here at tex.org. Please be sure to like on Facebook.

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