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    Texas Hill Country: A trip to rural Texas between Austin and San Antonio

    Who I am
    Lluis Enric Mayans
    @lluisenricmayans
    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    Although little known by foreign tourists, the Texas hill country it is the most picturesque region in Texas. Among its rolling hills there are small towns of Germanic origin, ranches, wineries, and natural parks to be explored. It also offers countless events: live music most evenings, weekly rodeo, historical reenactments, fairs and music festivals.

    In short, Texas Hill Country has something for everyone, whether you are a sportsman, a history buff, a country dancer or a wine connoisseur. Give it the right time, explore it calmly, and try not only to visit it, but to live it as much as possible. Its authentic country western atmosphere will win you over!



    Index

    • What is Texas Hill Country and where is it located
    • When to go
    • How much time to spend
    • What to see in the Texas Hill Country
      • Boerne and Comfort
      • flag
      • Hill Country State Natural Area
      • Lost Maples State Nature Park
      • Kerrville
      • Fredericksburg
      • Luckenbach
      • Enchanted Rock
      • Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site
      • Lakes Region
      • Hamilton Pool e Dripping Springs
      • Lockhart
      • New Braunfels and Gruene
      • Canyon lake
      • Bulverde
    • Where to sleep to visit the Texas Hill Country
    • Where to eat in the Texas Hill Country

    What is Texas Hill Country and where is it located

    Texas Hill Country is located in Central Texas. To identify it, draw an imaginary triangle between Austin, San Antonio and Fredericksburg.

    The main connecting roads are I-10, between San Antonio and Kerrville; US-290, between Fredericksburg and Austin; and I-35, between Austin and San Antonio.

    It is called this because it is a territory of limestone hills, rich in rivers and lakes, and particularly fertile. In fact, a strong wine tradition has developed here, which has earned the region the nickname of "Tuscany of Texas".



    When to go

    This region has a rather peculiar climate, a cross between the tropical climate of the south of the state and the semi-arid climate of the north. Precipitation is distributed fairly evenly over all months of the year, often in the form of heavy showers. Let's see in detail the climate season by season:

    • the winter is mild, with temperatures that always remain above freezing, and exceed 15 ° during the day. It is a great season for those who suffer from the heat, but outdoor events and parties are more limited, and museums have reduced hours.
    • spring is already a hot season, temperatures reach 25 °, and it is the flowering period of bluebonnets, the purple flowers that symbolize Texas.
    • summer is very hot and humid, with peaks of 35 ° -40 °, and afternoon thunderstorms can occur.
    • autumn is very similar to spring, temperatures drop and humidity decreases. Foliage lovers will have to wait until November to see the trees take on warm orange shades.

    Il best time to visit the Texas Hill Country it is half seasons, from April to June, and from September to November.

    Most of the events, such as concerts and rodeo, are concentrated in weekend, which unfortunately is also the moment of greatest tourist influx. If you want to avoid the crowds, know that in many places, like in Luckenbach, there are events almost every day during the summer. We recommend that you check the programs on the official websites, so that we can better organize you.


    How much time to spend

    A stay of 2/3 nights it is enough to see the main attractions of the Texas Hill Country, but you can extend it at will according to your passions. For example, if you decide to do the experience in the ranch, you will have to allow for an additional 2/3 nights.


    Include Texas Hill Country on a Texas tour before or after visiting San Antonio and Austin. From there, you can then set off to the west of the state to see other attractions such as Big Bend National Park.

    What to see in the Texas Hill Country


    Deciding how to explore such a rich region can be daunting. Where to start?

    To help you set up your Texas Hill Country tour, I suggest a clockwise tour, assuming you visit the region starting in San Antonio. Of course, you can select the things you prefer, and set the tour according to your interests.

    Boerne and Comfort

    Let's start with these two small towns of German origin, founded in the second half of the 800th century. Both are located along I-10 at exits 540 and 524 respectively when coming from San Antonio.

    Boerne runs along Main Street, which is called Hauptstrasse in German. In the northern stretch of the river there are most of the shops, restaurants and bars, located in wooden and brick buildings with colorful signs, with beautiful arcades where you can shelter from the sun. Main Plaza Park is the town's main square, and is held here every second weekend of the month Market Days, the handicraft market, with dozens of stalls.


    The city is crossed by the Guadalupe River, which offers suggestive views thanks to the peaceful promenade Cibolo Creek Trail, a pedestrian path of 5 km that you can take from the square, arriving at River Road Park. A little further south, perched on a hill, you can visit the characteristic catholic church of San Pietro, which has dominated the city since 1866.

    Boerne center
    Boerne center
    Boerne Main Market Plaza

    We continue for about 27 km northwards to arrive at Comfort, a tiny village of 2300 inhabitants, full of historic buildings. Most of them are located in the original core of the city, between Seventh Street and High Street. The most significant is the Comfort Theatre, at 521 Seventh Street, the old 1930s art deco cinema. Further on, at 640, we find a stone and red brick building: it was built in 1907 as the headquarters of the Comfort State Bank, while from 1961 to 1982 it housed the municipal library.


    Other historic structures have been converted into b & b and commercial activities, an example is theHotel Faust. You can see them all with a short walk, stopping to browse the cafes and shops, places where time seems to have stopped. If you fancy a snack, stop by at Lani’s Cheesecakes, a colorful and welcoming patisserie, serving top-notch tarts, cookies, and cheesecakes.

    Boerne panorama on the Guadalupe river
    Comfort
    Comfort
    Comfort
    Comfort
    Comfort

    Comfort's most symbolic monument is loyalty to the Union, also on the High Street. This simple marble column commemorates the 65 men loyal to the Union, who waged a gruesome battle with Confederate forces during the Civil War, losing 28 men.

    In the countryside around Comfort you can visit and buy wine in several cellars, for example at the Bending Branch Winery, 7km from the city.

    flag

    From Comfort we now go south to Bandera, the "world capital of cowboys". A title due to the fact that it was the nerve center of the Great Western Cattle Trail, famous for the transhumance of herds of cattle from farms in Texas to markets in Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska. It was founded in 1852 as a base camp for the production of timber from the nearby cypress forests, and was later colonized by a Polish community, the oldest in the United States.

    Among the significant buildings of the center we mention the Bandera County Courthouse, the old courthouse, and the county jail. To discover the history of the city, visit the Frontier Time Museum, which includes a collection of 11000 pieces including saddles, boots, clothing, everyday objects and crafts, as well as bizarre and curious objects. You can also visit the Hall of Fame for the greatest cowboys and rodeo champions in the area. The museum is open from 10 to 16.30, admission costs $ 6 for adults and $ 2 for children between 6 and 17 years old.

    But the best reason to visit Bandera is yours western atmosphere, accentuated by the presence of country-themed boots, hats and leather goods shops.

    Come on a Saturday when the Cowboys on Main, a fun historical reenactment with costumed actors and mock shootings. Between 10am and 14pm, Main Street fills with extras, cowboys on horseback leading the parade of longhorn cattle, stagecoach races and country music. The shooting takes place instead at 11 and 13, but in another structure, for safety reasons. To assist, visit Rattle Snake Ridge, 126 State Hwy South behind the Visitor Center.

    Around the city there are several ranch, some of which also offer overnight accommodation, and a variety of daily activities. I will talk about it in more detail in the paragraph dedicated to accommodation, but I advise you to consider this possibility. Although expensive, it is a unique experience.

    Hill Country State Natural Area

    Photo on lamoix

    About 18km from Bandera is the Hill Country State Natural Area, a state park with vast green areas, tranquil streams and narrow canyons. The most popular activities are the trekking, mountain biking and horseback riding; many places come here equipped with tents and grills, to spend a weekend in nature.

    There are 10 trekking paths, below we list the most representative ones:

    • Heritage Loop, a loop route about 1,5 km long, with a difference in height of 50 meters. A walk suitable for the whole family that passes near a ranch now uninhabited, and starts from the Visitor Center.
    • West Peak Overlook Trail, a linear path of 2 km, rather steep given the difference in altitude of 150 meters. To pick it up, from the Visitor Center you will first need to take the Merrick Mile Trail for 650 meters, and at the fork keep left. The route climbs up to a panoramic point, with a 360 ° view of the prairie.

    If you want to go on a horse ride, you can contact one of these companies, which offer tours of different lengths and difficulties.

    The park is open every day from 8.15am to 16.45pm. Entrance costs 6$ per person for adults, free for children up to 12 years. There are no services, so you will need to come with food, drinks and petrol.

    Lost Maples State Nature Park

    We now travel 63km west to the western end of the Texas Hil Country. From TX-470 we continue to the village of Utopia, then we take the RM 187 and, following the course of the Sabinal River among forests of cypresses, oaks and pecan trees, we pass Vanderpool to the Lost Maples State Natural Area.

    This state park is a small one maple forest, of a particular species typical of the south of the USA and north of Mexico. They grow in hilly regions with moderate temperatures and humidity, and love shade. The park, pleasant even in summer, is particularly suggestive in November, when the temperature range gives the leaves the characteristic colors of the foliage.

    The main activities are fishing, bird watching, and trekking. Maples have very delicate superficial roots, so we recommend that you always stay on marked paths.

    The trails intersect each other, creating a 16km long network along the Sabinal and Can Creek rivers, small caves, and the chance to spot birds and fawns.

    If you are undecided on which path to take, I suggest the most complete one, the West Trail. To take it, from the park entrance, follow the road to the crossroads, then keep left, where there are toilets. It is 6 km long, with a difference in altitude of 150 meters, and offers a pleasant walk in the cool, especially in the area of Mystic Canyon.

    If you feel like it, about halfway there is a chance to continue on to the West Loop Trail. In this case, allow for another 4 km and 100 meters in altitude, through a juniper forest and up to an elevated vantage point.

    The park is open every day from 8 to 16.30. Admission costs $ 6 per person for adults, free for children 12 and under.

    Kerrville

    Let's go back to the central area of ​​the Texas Hill Country and go to visit one of the largest cities in the region, Kerrville, which is along TX-39 coming from Lost Maples, and TX-173 coming from Bandera instead.

    Before starting the exploration, however, stop in the nearby Ingram, about 10 km, always on the TX-39. In a small park since 2010 stands the copy of Stonehenge, a concrete structure about 2/3 larger than the original. A nice roadside attraction that also includes some Maoi, similar to those of Easter Island.

    James Kerr, a veteran of the Texan revolution, founded the settlement that bears his name in 1856, and today Kerrville is a young and vibrant city, thanks to the presence of Schreiner University.

    It is in fact home to numerous musical events, the most famous of which is the Kerrville Folk Festival. Every spring, as many as 30.000 people flock here to take part in the folk and country music event, which lasts a full 18 days.

    Guadalupe River

    Kerrville is also crossed by the Guadalupe River, in fact its main attractions are the parks and walks along the river. The Louise Hays Park, it is connected both with the island Tranquility Island, and the larger Kerrville-Schreiner Park, where you can have a picnic, play volleyball, and sail the river in a kayak. To get there, take the Kerrville River Trail, a 5km quiet walk away from traffic.

    Downtown, Water Street is a shopper's paradise for crafts, clothing, home accessories, personal care products, books and antiques. The most famous shops are James Avery, historic jewelry from 1954, and Billy's Western Wear, perfect for country enthusiasts, who will find cowboy boots, shirts and hats.

    Fredericksburg

    A city where Germanic roots are clearly visible is Fredericksburg, 10.000 inhabitants and unofficial capital of the Texas Hill Country. It was founded in 1846 by a German community, so fond of their land that they refused to speak English and created a new language, Texas German.

    The most famous attraction is the National Museum of the Pacific War. The museum focuses on the battles of the Second World War that took place in Pacific: Pearl Harbor, the American counterattack led by Colonel James Doolittle, the battle of Iwo Jima, and of course the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It includes several sections, each dedicated to a salient event, and showcases over 55.000 pieces of vehicles and aircraft, photographs, documents, weapons, uniforms and models. After visiting the museum, stop by the well-kept Japanese garden, a symbol of peace between the two peoples.

    The museum is open from 9.00 to 17.00 from Wednesday to Sunday. The Pacific Combat Zone section has a more limited hours, from 11.00 to 15.00. Admission costs $ 18 for adults, $ 14 for seniors and $ 8 for children.

    Another important cultural center is the Pioneer Museum. The exhibition contains artifacts, documents, and the reproduction of a typical settlement of the mid-800th century. You can visit the school, the barn, the public bath, a wooden house, the smokehouse and several other buildings. Although detached from the main site, the museum is also part of the prigione (at 117 W San Antonio Street) and the small church association church, located in Marktplatz. The church, built soon after the settlers arrived, was the first public building in the city, and also served as a town hall and school.

    The museum is open from Monday to Saturday, from 10.00 to 17.00. Admission costs $ 7,50 for adults and $ 3 for children aged 6-17.

    The main street is the Main road, which has several Germanic-style buildings and teems with restaurants, cafes and shops. Two places that you shouldn't miss are the pretty Christmas Store, a Christmas decoration shop open all year, and the Lonestar Candy Bar, which serves sweets in true 50s style. If you want to get your wallet, you will be spoiled for choice: handmade candles, car license plates, home accessories, gourmet products, witty t-shirts, and even a popcorn shop.

    Finally, for lovers of good wine, I suggest Elk Store, founded by the Czech John Cyril Smajstrla in 1895, after arriving by ship in Galveston and sold as a slave on the cotton plantations. If you prefer a beer, since you are in the most German city in Texas, try the Fredericksburg Brewing Company.

    Fredericksburg city center
    Fredericksburg city center
    German lunch at Fredericksburg Old German Bakery

    About 3 km south of the center we find the Fort Martin Scott, the first US military outpost in Texas. Operational from 1848 to 1853, it was occupied by the Confederates during the Civil War, and later abandoned. It includes a couple of original buildings, the barracks and shed, and the memorial statue of the legendary Texas Rangers. The fort is open from 17.00 to 17.00, from Thursday to Monday. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

    Of course, Fredericksburg also hosts several events. In addition to Oktoberfest, there is the Gillespie County Fair, the county fair held in late August, and the Food and Wine festival, which takes place in the second half of October. Finally, if all these things are not enough for you and you also want to visit a nearby winery, here you will find the list of the main wineries.

    Luckenbach

    More than a village, this tiny town 16 miles from Fredericksburg is a saloon-restaurant that organizes live music events. The permanent inhabitants are in fact only 3.

    For lovers of country music it is a mythological place, the protagonist of the poignant Waylon Jennings song of 1977, entitled Luckenbach, Texas, and among the cornerstones of this genre.

    Visit it on the occasion of one of the many shows, and also stop for something to eat at the food stand. You will love this place in the countryside so much that you will never want to leave. We have screwed up all our plans for the day to spend the afternoon here!

    Consult the online calendar to organize yourself according to the events that inspire you most.

    Enchanted Rock

    Always keeping Fredericksburg as a reference point, let's move north for about 27 km along Ranch Road 965, a winding scenic road that crosses the green hills of the Texas Hill Country.

    We then arrive atEnchanted Rock State Park, another state-run park. The absolute protagonist here is the enormous granite outcrop, or a huge monolith that emerges from the ground. The rock, a sacred place for the natives, covers an area of ​​about 2,6 km², and rises 130 meters from the ground. It is the solidified part of a gigantic underground magma chamber, pushed to the surface from a depth of about 11 km. What we see is just the tip of the iceberg, the dome of a much larger underground formation.

    The main activity in this park is of course the trekking The many paths are all designed to see the giant boulder from every possible angle and, why not, climb it. Climbing to the top of Enchanted Rock is challenging but not impossible, it takes a little breath and endurance of the heat, but it is not about a real climb like in the case of Devils Tower in Wyoming.

    • Il Loop Trail it is a circular path that touches the main points of interest in the natural area by turning around the rock formation, which however always remains quite distant.
    • To get really close to Enchanted Rock, and climb it to the top, I recommend one instead combination of several trails, which also allow you to have an overview of the park. From the main car park, take the Loop Trail to the right, then cross the stream and take the Turkey Pass Trail. Continue to the crossroads, keeping the boulder on the right, then turn left onto Base Trail. Always continue for about 1 km, then turn left to take theEcho Trail (if you like, you can take the short detour to Moss Lake from here, and then turn back). In this section, you will have to climb a little on the rocks. Without even realizing it, or almost, you will be on Summit Trail and on top of Enchanted Rock. Stop to admire the view from the summit, then all you have to do is descend until you return to the parking lot.

    The park is open every day, from 6.30 to 22.00. The car park fills up quickly and, when full, it is not possible to enter the park. For this reason, I recommend visiting Enchanted Rock during the week, early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Admission costs 8$ for adults, and it is free for children up to 12 years.

    Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site

    Let's go back to Fredericksburg, and head east along US-290 for about 30km. Shortly after the village of Stonewall we find the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site, a site that is part of the NPS national parks circuit.

    Johnson, 36th American president and Kennedy's successor, was a true Texan, very attached to his land. Aside from the interlude in the White House, he always lived here in the same place where he was born. Today, the estate and its ranch have become museums, which you can visit independently:

    Stonewall
    • Childhood home, where Johnson lived from his birth in 1908 until 1924. Decorated as in the 20s, it portrays life in rural Texas well. The house can be visited with free ranger-led tours, which take place every hour.
    • Johnson Settlement, the family land where Johnson's father and grandfather raised cattle. There are wooden houses, the barn, the cellar and the windmill, plus a small themed exhibition.
    • LBJ Ranch, also called the "White House of Texas". You can visit it freely with a tour by car, but you will first need to obtain a permit at the Visitor Center.

    The Visitor Center is located in Stonewall at 199 State Park Road. The park is open every day except Christmas, New Year and Thanksgiving, from 9.00 to 17.30. The permessohowever, it must be requested before 16.00 pm, and the last admission is at 16.30 pm. Admission is free.

    22 km further east, still US-290 W, also stop at Johnson City. At the intersection of Ladybird Lane and Avenue G there is a second museum, which holds documents, clothing and other personal items of the President and the First Lady. You will be able to see two films of 30 minutes each, one on the Johnson presidency, and one on the life and activities of Ladybird Johnson. This museum follows the same hours as the Stonewall Visitor Center, and admission is free here too.

    Lakes Region

    Travis Lake: Oasis Restaurant panorama

    Starting in Johnson City, we take US-281 S north for 37km, until we reach the banks of the Colorado River (not the Grand Canyon!) And the Lakes Region. Here we find a series of artificial reservoirs, created between 1939 and 1950 following the construction of some dams, which had the purpose of generating electricity for the densely populated area of ​​Austin.

    Fall Creek Falls a Lake Buchanan
    Faro at Lake Buchanan

    Let's see the most important lakes from north to south, and their characteristics:

    • Lake Buchanan, formed in 1939. Here you can practice water sports, fish, swim, or simply relax on its banks and have a picnic. In the neighbor Burnet, the Bluebonnet Festival is held every spring, a fair for the whole family with live music, food and craft stands, and activities for children such as sack races and rides.
    • Inks Lake State Park, just south of Lake Buchanan. It is a state park, therefore with paid access, where you can take walks and admire splendid views. The two main things to see are Devil’s Waterhole, a lookout point over the narrow gorge of Spring Creek, and the Valley Spring waterfalls, reachable with a short trekking path of 1,2 km. In the southern area of ​​the park there are other trekking paths, which cross the inland area between hills and pecan nut trees, with beautiful panoramic views of the lake. It is open every day from 8.00 to 22.00. Entrance costs 6$ for adults, and it is free for children up to 12 years.
    • Lake LBJ, dedicated to President Johnson, who often entertained his international guests here. It is most famous for its fishing, having been specially repopulated with trout, perch and catfish. In addition to fishing, you can also take private boat tours. If you are interested, contact one of these companies.
    • Lake Travis: the closest lake to Austin, and therefore the most developed. There are numerous hotels, restaurants, bars, water and adventure parks. The towns on its shores are very active and lively, notably Lago Vista, Point Venture, Spicewood and Lakeway. Check the calendar of all events online to find out if there is anything interesting during your stay. Between Sunday brunches, concerts, cooking and yoga classes, and cruises on the lake, you are sure to find something for you.

    Hamilton Pool e Dripping Springs

    From Lake Travis, we take TX-71 south, then turn right onto Hamilton Pool Road. After just over 20 km we will arrive at Hamilton Pool, one natural swimming pool with a waterfall of 15 meters, surrounded by a limestone cave covered with stalactites, moss and ferns.

    The water is always very cold, around 15 °. However, it is almost always possible to swim (but check the warnings first). Visit it regardless, however, because it is a truly scenic place where you can take beautiful photos, or soak up some sun.

    Since it is a protected natural area, it is necessary to book access every day between March and October, and on weekends and holidays between November and February. You can also try to show up without having booked, but obviously in this case you will not be sure of being able to enter. Admission costs $ 12 if you book online and $ 8 when you arrive at the gate.

    Hamilton Pool is located in the municipality of Dripping Springs, known as the "wedding capital" of Texas. Given the beauty of the landscape, many restaurants and farms have in fact specialized in this sector.

    The town itself has no particular attractions, but in its surroundings there are many wineries and distilleries. These are the most famous:

    • Deep Eddy Vodka, recent company (from 2010), very young, they make vodka with different flavors.
    • Bell Spring Winery, an exceptional location immersed in the countryside, which also sets up a nice food truck on weekends that serves excellent sandwiches.
    • Twisted X Brewing, a brewery with a wide choice of great classics and modern and particular proposals, such as mango beer.
    • Treaty Oak Distilling, a whiskey distillery.

    Even if it's not "themed", also stop by the Texas Hill Country Olive Co, which has been producing olive oil since 2008 in a bucolic setting reminiscent of the Tuscan countryside. It is possible to take guided tours of the estate, some with tasting.

    Lockhart

    Let's now move to the eastern end of the Texas Hill Country, about 50km south of Austin along the TX-130 S.

    The city of Lockhart is known throughout the United States as "capital of barbecue". A tradition that dates back to the days of cattle drives, as the city was on the most famous route of all, the Chisolm Trail. Restaurants specializing in grilling meat are wasted, but we will talk about it in the paragraph dedicated to the best places to eat.

    After enjoying your great bbq meal, head downtown to visit a couple of historic buildings:

    • Caldwell County Courthouse, the old court, is a beautiful sandstone palace from 1894, built in the second empire style. As it turns out, it's the most photographed courthouse in Texas!
    • At 314 East Market Street was the county jail, from 1908, now converted into Caldwell County Jail Museum. The museum is open only on Saturdays and Sundays, from 13pm to 17pm, and inside it is possible to see the reinforced concrete cells, located on the upper floors. Admission costs $ 2 for adults and $ 1 for children.

    New Braunfels and Gruene

    We take I-35, and exit at Exit 195 to land at one of the last destinations on the Texas Hill Country tour, New Braunfels.

    Founded in 1845 by the German prince Charles of Solms-Braunfels, it is a very populous city, which exceeds 60.000 inhabitants. It is crossed by two rivers, the Guadalupe and the Comal River, in fact the most popular activities for visitors take place right on the water.

    You can rent kayaks and canoes to navigate the rivers, or single-seater dinghies to let yourself be lazily carried away by the current. Two of the companies that rent these large life jackets, which also have a can compartment, are Texas Tubes and Landa River Trips, both near Landa Park. If you're traveling with children, head to Schlitterbahn, a family-friendly water park with slides and water games.

    Beach activities aside, most tourists come to New Braunfels to visit its small hamlet, Gruene.

    Gruene

    Once an important center of cotton production, this little gem of German architecture is now mainly devoted to entertainment and tourism. Impossible to resist the temptation to buy something, there are so many craft shops that populate its small center. Some examples? Cowboy hats, pottery, Texas-shaped chocolate bars, and an authentic General Store selling jams, caramel and other goodies.

    La Gruene hall, from 1878, is the oldest honky tonk in Texas. Almost every night country, folk and rock artists perform here, on stage trampled by even the greatest country artists such as Garth Brooks, George Strait, Maren Morris, and even Kevin Costner. Consult the online calendar and attend one of the evenings, you can also take advantage of the dance floor to try to move a few steps.

    Canyon lake

    We leave Gruene and take the River Road, a scenic drive lined with cypresses, which follows the sinuous curves of the Guadalupe River to Canyon Lake.

    This basin is known as “The gem” of the Texas Hill Country, for the beauty of its views and the numerous activities that can be practiced there. The lake is suitable for swimming, and on its shores there are 8 areas where you can camp, picnic, fish, swim and spot wildlife. The two most popular, and most easily accessible, are Canyon Lake e North Lake.

    But there are also some interesting hikes to do on foot, here are a couple.

    • Along the S Access Road, go to where the Guadalupe River is buried. From here the River Trail, a linear path of 3 km with 33 meters of elevation gain. A walk suitable for the whole family with beautiful panoramic views of the river, while the lake remains covered.
    • If you are in the mood for a little more adventure, choose instead Ganyon Lake Gorge, a gorge of about 1,5 km, created in 2002 following a flood. The gorge can only be visited with guided tours organized by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority. Tours last 3 hours, and offer the chance to see waterfalls, dinosaur footprints and fossils. The cost is $ 10 each, and you must be at least 7 years old to participate. To secure your spot, book online, and then arrive a few minutes early at 16029 S Access Rd, Canyon Lake.

    Bulverde

    The final destination on our Texas Hill Country tour is tiny Bulverde, a town of 5.000 just 40 miles north of San Antonio, famous for its amateur rodeo.

    The Tejas Rodeo is held every Saturday between March and October, in a particularly suggestive structure that refers to the Mexican atmosphere. This rodeo is still not very popular with tourists, and for this reason it has remained (for now) authentic. The rodeo starts at 19.30pm and lasts approximately 2 hours. The structure, however, already opens at 17.30. Admission costs $ 20 for adults, and $ 10 for children between 3 and 12 years old.

    Come early to browse the stalls, enjoy a bbq dinner, and try to challenge the mechanical bull. After the cowboy performances, the evening continues on the dance floor, where you can let off steam with live country music. The best way to end this long but wonderful tour of the most distinctive region of Texas!

    Where to sleep to visit the Texas Hill Country

    Since there are so many things to see, the best solution is to get around at least in a couple of hotels, so as to avoid traveling too many kilometers back and forth. If you prefer, you can also choose just one hotel and move from there. Texas Hill Country is relatively compact, you can get everywhere in a couple of hours. In this case, choose a central city, such as Fredricksburg, Blanco or New Braunfels.

    In all cities you will find classic American motels, for example:

    • Holiday Inn Express & Suites a New Braunfels
    • Best Western Inn & Suites a Boerne
    • Best Western Plus a Fredericksburg

    Since we are talking about a very picturesque region, it is also worth considering an atmospheric stay in some country b & b. Here are some structures:

    • Riverside Cottage, to sleep in colorful bungalows in Blanco
    • Mansion Inn in Gruene, in a historic villa
    • Lakehouse Bed and Breakfast, un resort super romantico a Canyon Lake

    Finally, as we have already seen, in the Texas Hill Country it is also possible to stay on a real ranch. In addition to accommodation, rates include full board and various daily activities, such as a cowboy breakfast in the open country, horseback riding, guided hikes, water sports and evening entertainment.

    These are the most famous ranches, all within easy reach of Bandera:

    • Dixie Dude Ranch
    • Mayan Ranch
    • Twin Elm ranch

    Where to eat in the Texas Hill Country

    Saltlick BBQ

    Good food, especially barbecue, is at home in the Texas Hill Country. After all, it's no wonder, with so many farms, farms, wineries and vineyards! Here are some of the best restaurants:

    • Old Spanish Trail, in Bandera, serves a little bit of everything, from meat to salads, from Tex-Mex to typical Southern dishes, such as country fried steak. You will certainly find something to your taste.
    • Old German Bakery & Restaurant is a German-inspired restaurant in Fredericksburg. It is open for breakfast and lunch, and on their menu you will find bratwurst, wiener schnitzel and sausages, just like in German breweries. However, there are also more American dishes such as burgers, salads and fried shrimp.
    • Saltlick BBQ, in Driftwood, is a well-known meat restaurant, also featured in Man vs Food. Her main dish is excellent brisket, served with side dishes, or in a sandwich. Also try the pulled pork, and end the meal with an excellent pecan pie. Also take advantage of the delicious sauces on sale, to try to replicate the American bbq in your home.
    • Lockhart, as we have seen, is the barbecue capital. Historic places that you shouldn't miss are Black's Barbecue, Smitty's Market and Kreuz Market. Three rustic and spartan places, where the quality of the meat is more concerned than the frills.
    • The Freiheit Country Store, in New Braunfels, mainly serves sandwiches and burgers, plus it organizes live music nights several nights a week.
    • Gristmill River Restaurant, in the small Gruene, is a restaurant that we could define shabby chic, in a building that appears dilapidated, but in reality very well kept. They serve meat, fish, burgers and salads at very competitive prices.
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