Your Guide To The Texas Hill Country

If you've always thought of Texas as a hot, dry, flat, prairie-like place, you'll forget all of this when you visit the Texas Hill Country. Located in the central part of the state, south and west of Austin, the Texas State Capital, Hill Country is a 14,000 square mile area featuring rolling hills, crystal clear springs, towering oak and cedar trees, plentiful wildlife, fruits and flowers, and more. To quote the hill-country-visitor web site, "it's like a whole other state." You'll find friendly people, beautiful sights to see, and a relaxing atmosphere. Plenty of lovely flowers, trees and other outdoor beauties, and plenty of wildlife like whitetail deer, mockingbirds, and armadillos. There are 51 cities in this region, including Bandera, Dripping Springs, Fredericksville, New Braunfels, San Marcos , Utopia, to name just a few. This article will be your guide to getting there, some of the many points of interest and beauty, places to dine and stay, things to see and do, outdoor and recreational activities, information on some of the towns in the area, and anything else we can think of that will make your visit to the Texas Hill Country an unforgetable experience.

Getting There And Where To Stay

With 51 cities in the Texas Hill Country, you'll need to plan a basic itinerary of where you want to go on your visit. If you are interested in flying, the closest cities with major airports are San Antonio and Austin. Plan on renting a car upon arrival though, so you can take in as much of the sights in the area as possible. If you want to start out in San Marcos, both Austin and San Antonio are about 30-40 miles away. New Braunfels is even closer to San Antonio. And with 51 cities to choose from, we don't have room in this article to cover them all. We'll summarize a few places, and point you to hill-country-visitor.com where you can find information on the others.

  • San Marcos
    Located on the eastern edge of Hill Country, San Marcos is one of the larger Hill Country cities. It's home to Texas State University, the Tanger Outlet Center, and several music festivals. For lodging choices, you'll find hotels and motels, cabins, bed & breakfasts, cabins and cottages, and resorts. If you're planning on camping, you'll find plenty of accomodations for you to choose from.
  • New Braunfels
    Settled by Germans in 1845, you'll still find the German influence in this city through culture, tradtion, and even language. This city is famous for its sausages and breads, as well as river resorts. Hotels and motels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, cabins and cottages all abound in the area. You'll also find RV and camping facilities, as well.
  • Fredericksburg
    Another city founded by Germans, if you love history, you'll love this city. Many historic buildings have been converted to bed and breakfasts and guest houses. The National Historic District has many old buildings which have retained the traditional German style. Fredericksburg is also well known for its peach orchards.
  • Kerrville
    Some 22 miles away from Fredericksburg, you'll find Kerrville. This city is one of the most popular health and recreation centers of Texas. Many believe that this is the most ideal climate in the nation, and many people make Kerrville their winter home because of this. For lodging choices, you'll find plenty of good hotels and motels, bed and breakfasts, cabins and cottages, RV and camping facilities.

Things To See And Do

About 5 million people visit the Texas Hill Country each year. There's something for everyone here, whether you are content to be a sighseer or shopper; or whether you are hungry for some recreational activities, and anything else in between. Here's just a few of the things you'll find to do.

Shop Till You Drop
Enjoy unique shopping experiences at Tangers Outlet Center in San Marcos. If antiques are an interest for you, you'll find antique shops in Wimberly, Blanco, Kerrville, and Fredericksburg, just to name a few. Into various arts and crafts? Try Stonehill Spinning, Wimberly Glassworks and Tea Rose Quilts and Gifts in Fredericksburg; Buck Pottery in New Braunfels. There are plenty more to choose from, this is just the tip of the iceburg.

Attractions, Festivals, Tours and the Like
If you're hoping to take in some of the attractions in the Hill Country, be sure to consult the calendar to see what's going to be happening during your visit. For example, at the time this article was written, here are a few of the coming festivals and attractions in various locations in the Hill Country: Arts and Crafts shows include a Quilt exhibit, painting exhibits, several exhibits featuring gourd art; hand-made jewelry, and more. There were several auto and motorcycle shows coming up. Most of the cities we checked had Farmers Markets, featuring foods and craft items. Lots of music events and plays. Johnson City was featuring an antique engine and tractor pull for down home fun. Rodeos and parades. The Boerne Adventure Fest, featuring outdoor events such as kayaking, horseback riding, a fishing tournament, and more. For history buffs, the Cave Creek School Open House shows what customs were like in 19th century Fredericksburg. The Living History Trolley Tour in San Marcos visits historic sites in the city and tells about the town in its early days.

Outdoor and Recreational Activities
You'll find plenty to do outdoors, as the Hill Country is home to many dude ranches and national and nature parks. For example, near Bandera is the Flying L Ranch. Near Pipe Creek is the BR Lightning Ranch. Near Vanderpool is the Lost Maples State Natural Area, where you can enjoy picnicking, hiking, photography, birdwatching, swimming, and more activities related to the outdoors. You'll find a multitude of lakes and rivers if you enjoy fishing. And one of the favorite outdoor activities is tubing down many of the Hill Country's rivers.

There are plenty of sights to see as you travel through the Hill Country. The Guadalupe River, a favorite for tubers, flows between Ingram and Hunt, and allows you to see the beauty of the river lined with cypress trees, and waterfalls. Bandera is noted as the "Cowboy Capital of the World." Come enjoy the rodeos and dude ranches. As you drive through Hill Country, be sure to stop at the roadside stands and enjoy the native peaches, apples, flowers, and other items for sale. You won't lack for things to see as you take your spin through the Texas Hill Country.

Dining in the Texas Hill Country
There won't be a lack of good places to eat while you are visiting the area. With the German influence in many cities, you'll find plenty of authentic German restaurants, such as the Auslander Biergarten & Restaurant or Der Lindenbaum German Restaurantin Fredericksburg; Mexican dining at places like Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant in Lakeway or Bejas Grill and Cantina in Fredericksburg. Looking for authentic western cooking such as barbecue's or steak houses? There are none finer than in Hill Country. Buzzie's Bar-B-Q or Cowboy Steakhouse, both in Fredericksburg; Branding Iron or Fuschak's Pit Bar-B-Q in San Marcos are just a few of your choices. You'll even find Chinese cuisine, seafood, hamburgers, deli sandwiches, and pizza.

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