The Texas Hill Country is the cowboy capital and a place people come for vacation and find themselves never leaving! You will find incredible food, natural beauty, and some of the friendliest faces in these 25 best places to visit in Texas hill country.
From the north of Austin to the south of San Antonio, the Texas Hill country offers you an abundance of things on your Texas holiday.
Take a float down the Guadalupe River, enjoy some wine tastings among the Texas vineyards, and you can’t forget the late nights in the city.
Your Texas bucket list just got a lot longer, so grab your camera and get ready to drive the open roads with this guide to the 25 best places to visit in the Texas Hill Country.
In a hurry? Here is a quick overview of the top unmissable things to do in Texas Hill country
The Hill Country is full of outdoor gems, incredible food, and a honky tonk time.
Top Outdoorsy thing to do in Texas Hill country
Hike Enchanted Rock in Fredericksburg Texas
Top romantic thing to do in Texas hill country
Do a Texas Wine Trail
Best city to visit in Texas hill country
Best Glamping spot in Texas Hill Country
Best food in Texas hill country
Blacks BBQ in Lockhart Texas
Best State Park in the Texas Hill Country
Garner State Park
Best Activity in the Hill Country
Float down the Guadalupe river
Best Dance Hall in the Texas Hill Country
Best views in the Texas Hill Country
Best winery in the Texas Hill Country
Barons Creek Vineyard
Map of Texas hill Country Places to visit, Towns And Cities
Check out the 25 best places to visit in Texas Hill Country.
One of Texas’ most famous swimming holes, Jacobs Well is an underground cave that is 180ft deep in Wimberly, Texas. It is the second-largest submerged cave in the US.
For nature lovers, it is a beautiful crystal clear blue hole and welcomes more and more visitors each year. The water stays at a constant 68 degrees and is not open for swimming in the winter.
The park requires a reservation and closes at 6 pm. While many visitors come for the day to take the plunge off the 15ft high cliff, this used to be a place where divers would go to explore the inner workings of the cave.
However, many have lost their lives in Jacob’s well which is now known as one of the most dangerous scuba diving spots in the world.
Natural Bridge Caverns
One of my favorite places to visit in the hill country is the Natural Bridge Caverns. Located right outside of New Braunfels these caverns are one of Texas’ most famous natural landmarks. The caverns were discovered in 1960 by 4 college students.
The deepest part of the cavern is 180ft below the ground and remains a cool 70 degrees year-round. You will be able to discover ancient rock formations and large underground chambers.
Tickets to the caverns range from $20-$30 depending on when you buy them. The further in advance, you purchase them the cheaper they will be.
Hamilton Pool is a hill country highlight and one of my favorite outdoor adventures. A natural limestone ridge created a 50 ft waterfall over the swimming holes for its visitors to swim in.
The park has plenty of other fun things to do besides swimming. You will have hiking and bike trails, and knowledgeable guides to lead you through the natural landscapes as some of the trails are a bit steep and have rugged terrain.
I recommend having good shoes with some ankle support. You need a reservation every day of the week, so make sure to check their website before heading out there as a limited number of people are allowed in the park at a time.
Hamilton pool is located 30 miles west of Austin. To get there you would take SH 71 about 8 1/2 miles to FM 3238 (Hamilton Pool Road), turn left, and travel about 13 miles to the preserve. they will see the entrance on the side of the road.
Most Texans make a special trip to New Braunfels each summer to enjoy the cold water of the river. A long tradition of tubing down the river has become an extremely popular activity.
You can head to many different rental sites such as Texas Toobs or Rockin River rides to rent a tube, enter the river, and then be picked up at the ending point by a bus to be driven back to your car.
Pack a cooler with your favorite beverages and snacks and enjoy the 2-4 hour float depending on the speed of the river.
Pro tip* – Alcohol is allowed but keep in mind it will hit you a lot harder once you stand up out of your tube, so make sure to have some water and snacks as well.
Hike Enchanted Rock
Located about 17 miles north of Fredericksburg, you will find one of Texas’ most well-known hiking areas. Enchanted Rock, 11 miles of pink granite rock in the Texas Hill country.
A true natural wonder that you cannot miss. I recommend getting to the park early or renting out a camping spot to get on the trails before the sun is beating down, you will need to make it to the peak of the dome before it gets too hot.
The best time to visit is in early spring or late fall as the weather can easily reach 100 degrees before noon in the summer months.
Also Read about the 17 most charming Texas Hill Country towns and cities
Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Canyon Lake is the perfect place to spend a warm day out on the water.
Mostly known for its recreational water sports, Canyon lake is “the Jewel” of Texas.
Rent out a party pontoon to float on the lake with a DJ, cold drinks, and plenty of opportunities to use the second deck slide.
There are also some great on-shore fishing spots as well as some golf courses nearby for those who would rather hit the links vs hitting the waves.
Lake Travis is another water gem in the Hill Country, located about an hour from downtown Austin. The lake spans over 19,000 acres and is great for skiing, surfing, and my personal favorite, wakeboarding.
You can rent a boat or hire a driver if you want to sit back and enjoy gliding across the water and taking in the scenic beauty.
For some fun things to do off the water, head to the enormous zip-line that swings you out over the water, go on a helicopter guided tour to see a birds-eye view of the entire lake, enjoy their famous golf courses.
After a day of fun, enjoy a cocktail at The Oasis and watch the sun go down.
Wine Tasting in the Hill Country
The Hill Country is the best area in Texas to try some Texas wines. The rolling hills are warm and dry making it the perfect soil for Barbera, Montepulciano, and even some Tempranillo.
The state’s harsh UV rays make the season short but full!
Visit in mid-May to be able to pick the grapes off the vine. There are a few different tours that will drive you between 3 and 4 wineries, enjoy the tasting rooms, the vineyards and be able to explore the hill country while making sure you are safely arriving at your destinations!
Start in Fredericksburg, travel through Blanco, and end in Dripping Springs.
Some of my favorite wineries are listed below
- Barons Creek Vineyard in Fredericksburg
- Solaro Estate Winery in Dripping Springs
- Grape Creek Vineyards in Fredericksburg
Pro tip* After a day of wine tasting, make your way to Salt lick bbq in Driftwood. I promise you will not regret it. In fact, Salt Lick is one of the most famous BBQ joints in Texas. Many people travel to Driftwood just for the smoked meats and outdoor atmosphere.
Located in Spicewood, Texas in Central Texas, Krause Springs is open for 10 months out of the year due to Texas’ year-round warm weather.
Usually, it remains closed in January and February, depending on the weather patterns that year. It used to be December and January but since recently we have had 75 degrees Christmas’, this may change.
Krause Springs is made up of 32 natural springs that feed into man-made pools and a few waterfalls that eventually end up in lake Travis.
The pools are located on 115 acres of private property.
Thankfully for us, the owners allow visitors to visit for the day or stay and camp on a first come first serve basis.
The spring-fed waters are at a constant 70 degrees year-round making this every Texan’s dream in the summer!
Find an amazing spot to set up your tent, explore the spring-fed pools, maybe even swing off of a rope!
Pro tip* Before leaving Spicewood, make sure to check out Spicewood Vineyards to taste some Texas wine!
Pedernales Falls State Park
A picture-perfect state park for a weekend getaway. The Pedernales River flows beautifully over the limestone rock keeping it a pretty turquoise color for breathtaking views.
Located in Johnson City, this state park is great for a day trip out into nature.
You will find a large parking lot for day visitors that leads to the river, hiking and biking trails, and even geocaching.
If you want to turn your day trip into a night stay, the park has plenty of camping and RV park spaces.
Garner State Park
My personal favorite state park in all of Texas is Garner State Park! Located in Concan, and right on the outskirts of the Texas Hill Country.
The park has a winding clear river and incredible hiking trails. Bring a tent, or hook up your RV to spend a full week here.
Many people bring a tube to float down the 2.9 mile Frio River and enjoy some Texas sun. The park holds a dance every night in the summer for fun things to do while you are camping, bring your boots, and jump in the line dance for a night under the Texas stars.
During the day you can hike up Mount Baldy for a panoramic view of the whole park and the Frio River.
Colorado Bend State Park
Colorado Bend State Park is in the very south of the hill country! One of the most unique things about this park is the 65ft Gorman Falls that continuously flows down into the Colorado River and brings a serene sound to the expansive park.
Deep into this part of the hill country, you will discover sinkholes, caverns, and river activities all within your campsite.
The park has an impressive 35 miles worth of hiking, however, it is located 2 ½ hours from Austin.
I recommend making this a two-day trip if you have the time. Make sure to find the Spicewood springs in the park, a natural hot spring to soak in. Perfect for relaxing and taking in the scenic beauty.
Lost Maples State Park
Lost Maples is my favorite state park to visit in autumn. The state park is located about an hour west of San Antonio. The maple trees begin to turn to deep reds and bright yellows around October making your afternoon hikes truly magical.
The state park has over 10 miles of hiking trails and you can go fishing in the Can creek. Pack a tent and stay the weekend in one of their camping spots.
The weather in Texas is perfect for camping any time of the year if you check the weather forecast. Even December’s can have 80 degree days making it perfect for getting outdoors.
Inks Lake State Park
Pack a picnic, bring your volleyball and head out to Inks Lake. A beautifully serene state park with shining blue waters and plenty of outdoor activities.
Just 9 miles west of Burnet, this hill country hotspot is easy to get to and offers the prettiest sunsets.
They have 22 cabins to rent out, RV parks, and multiple park pavilions for its visitors. Hike the small canyon until you reach the Devil’s waterhole, you will be surrounded by many small waterfalls and different river trails to follow.
If you get hungry head to the parks store for some snacks or an icy snow cone to cool off with.
Go Glamping at Yurtopia
Get out of the city and into the treetops! This glamping ground is located in the high hills of Wimberley and gives you incredible views. It’s arguably one of the best glamping spots in Hill Country Texas
Stay in one of their luxury yurts on their 26-acre property near the Blanco River. Spend time enjoying the shining stars at night, some rest and relaxation all while not forfeiting your comforts.
Spend your days enjoying the hot tub, hiking, or heading into the town of Wimberley for some yummy food or shopping.
Take a day trip to Marble Falls
Marble Falls is a scenic drive and will bring you all the small-town feels! Have lunch at Storms, an old-timey drive-through burger shack.
Grab a juicy cheeseburger and a chocolate shake before heading to Lake Buchanan. Enjoy a day on the water, swimming onshore, or fishing from the pier.
Do not leave Marble Falls without stopping at the Blue Bonnet Cafe. The most famous Cafe in Texas, known for its delicious homemade pie!
Pro Tip* Head to Marble falls in the Spring to see incredible wildflowers such as bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, and Indian blankets on the side of the road.
Explore German Heritage in Fredericksburg
Fredericksburg is a must-stop spot in Gillespie county, a little town that german immigrants settled in years ago.
A short trip from San Antonio and you will be in the small German town with lots of fun things to do such as shopping, the best beaches in the state, and local beer gardens to enjoy the weekend.
The main street is full of charming shops, some world war II museums, and incredible German restaurants. Start the day at the Old German Bakery for fresh coffee and German pancakes.
Stop at the local fruit markets for fresh peaches, tomatoes, and ripe strawberries. Lastly, end the day at The Auslander for some traditional German sausage and a heavy pint of beer.
Eat BBQ in Lockhart, Texas
Texas is the barbecue capital of the world. Known for our smoked meats, creamy macaroni, and my favorite, peach cobbler! Lucky for you, the BBQ capital of Texas is right in the middle of the hill country in Lockhart Texas.
Make sure to wear your stretchy pants as the food just seems to keep coming in this little country town.
Located a short 30-minute drive from Austin, you will be able to spend all day here, and if you go in the spring you can grab one of the freshest watermelons on the side of the road!
Here are my must-try BBQ restaurants in Lockhart.
Visit Luckenbach Texas
Luckenbach Texas is the smallest city in the lone star state with a population of 3 people. The town’s slogan, known country-wide, is “Everybody is somebody in Luckenbach Texas”.
This tiny town might not boast of residents but it does know how to throw a great party.
The town’s saloon is world-famous and has hosted hundreds of Texas country music artists over the years. People drive from all over to listen to some live music, boot scoot across the dance floor, and drink a cold Lone Star beer in this famous small town.
Head to the back porch of the saloon for some outdoor picnic tables and to enjoy the hill country views. Luckenbach is a short drive from Fredericksburg, making it a great pit stop on the way!
Spend a weekend at Dude Ranch
A fun thing to do in the hill country is to head out to Dude Ranch for some lessons in roping and riding. Located in Bandera, Texas near San Antonio. You can grab a cabin for the weekend to spend some time out in nature and learn how to ride the trails.
Saddle up on a horse, and go galloping through the trails. They also have roping lessons, archery, and some fishing. If you need a break from the trails, make your way to their spa for a full body massage.
This is a great place to get out of the city.
Catch some Live Music in Austin, Texas
Austin Texas is the live music capital of the world. It is also the capital of Texas and is located right in the middle of the hill country.
Every year they host the famous ACL music festival and the two-week SXSW festival for some incredible live shows.
If you are unable to make these weekends or don’t want to spend the rather large price ticket that comes with them you will be able to catch a live show just about any day of the week.
Here are some great bars and venues to catch a show.
- The continental club
- Elephant Room
- Stubbs BBQ
- Petes Dueling Piano Bar
Spend a day in Gruene, Texas
Home to the oldest dance hall in Texas, Gruene Hall is a must-stop on your hill country tour. Many famous musicians, like Willie Nelson, have played at these two steppin joints.
Depending on the night you might have to purchase a ticket ahead of time as many artists come back to their roots and sell out the small bar.
The back patio has picnic tables for you to sit at and enjoy the music. Make sure to bring some cash as they have maintained their no card policy through the years.
Shop at the local wineries on the main street and stay at one of their vacation rentals for the weekend to enjoy the ins and outs of this little village.
Must eats in Gruene include:
- The Gristmill – Ask to sit on the back patio for amazing views of the river.
- Gruene Rivergrill – The bacon wrapped shrimp is to die for.
- Cantina Del Rio – You must try the frozen margarita!
Head to Ingram Texas to see the quirky roadside attraction Stonehenge II! An art piece debuted in the 1980’s from the hill country arts foundation as one of their many art galleries.
A smaller replica of the Stonehenge in England, along with a replica of Easter Island. It is free for visitors to stop, explore and take photos.
Visit the Alamo
The Alamo is one of the most famous landmarks in all of Texas! In 1836, the Battle of the Alamo took place and was where Texas fought for its independence from Mexico. The siege lasted 13 days led by Davy Crockett.
Around 200 men fought under the command “Victory or Death”. On the final day, March 6th, all the defenders perished in the 90-minute battle giving victory to the Mexicans.
“Remember the Alamo!” is one of the most famous sayings in Texas History. The saying is what the Texas defenders shouted when they won the Battle at San Jacinto which ultimately led to Texas’ independence.
The Alamo is free to visit and takes about 1 hour to walk through, make sure to bring your camera to take pictures inside and outside of The Alamo.
Spend the day in Wimberley
Take a day trip to Wimberley Texas. This little town is perfect for a city getaway. Most popular for the natural springs of Jacob’s well and blue hole, make sure to pack a swimsuit and some snacks!
Both of these parks have beautifully clear water that visitors from all over come to cool off from the Texas heat. After a quick dip, head to the town square for some local shopping and good eats!
My favorites are the Wimberley cafe and the shady llama for a cold beer.
If you have another day, take a wine and brewery tour from Wimberley to the nearby town of San Marcos.
Lyndon B Johnson Historic Park
One of the most historic places in the state is the birthplace of our 36th president, Lyndon B. Johnson. In Johnson City, Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park protects the birthplace, ranch, and grave of the late president.
The park is known as the Texas White House and is open to visitors free of charge Tuesday – Sunday from 10 am-5 pm and is the perfect place to explore the life of Mr. Johnson and how he went from a small-town farm boy to the 36th president of the United States.
Where to stay in San Antonio
Drury Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk
Located on the Riverwalk, you will be within walking distance to shopping, restaurants, and the historical missions. This is going to be the most expensive option but will save you money on car rentals and Uber.
Marriott Plaza Southtown
If you enjoy being among the hustle and bustle of a city, then this is a great option for you. Located in Southtown, San Antonio’s up-and-coming area with a lot of nightlife and bars within walking distance.
Located in a shopping center in Northwest San Antonio. This is the perfect area if you are planning on taking day trips to Fredericksburg, or New Braunfels. You will be near restaurants and shopping and have easy access to the highways to get you anywhere you need to go.
Where to stay in Austin
The South Congress Hotel downtown will put you right in the middle of everything going on in Austin. Surrounded by shops, restaurants and right on ladybird lake, you will have everything you need for those days you don’t feel like grabbing an uber.
There are lots of homes to stay at on Lake Travis. You will be farther from the city but in a great location to explore other cities and hill country activities. If you enjoy nature, this is a great location for you.
A little bit of everything. A quick 15-minute drive to downtown, 30 minutes from New Braunfels, 30 minutes from Dripping Springs. This is a great location if you love a packed itinerary in all different directions. Plenty of restaurants, shopping, and green space for those days you want to just hang out at the hotel or BnB.
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About the Author
Carae is a born and raised Texan and a lover of new places and adventure. She has been traveling around the world solo for 3 years now. She moved to West Africa in hopes of seeing the world and has not been disappointed. She has met the coolest people and believes to have seen the prettiest places and never wants it to stop. You can follow her travels on her site