The Hill Country has seen a huge flux of visitors over the last few years and it’s no surprise. This area in Texas has stunning hills, wineries for days, and a slow pace of life that we all sometimes crave.
In this post on the most charming Charming Texas Hill Country Towns and cities, I will tell you all about it and what you can’t absolutely miss in this exciting region of Texas.
The heart of Texas is known for its natural beauty, juicy BBQ, and rich history. You will find yourself wanting to call these hill country towns home soon enough. The charm and heritage of these small towns run much deeper than the Guadalupe river.
Head to Gruene to visit the oldest dance hall in Texas or try some hill country wine in Dripping Springs.
The Lone Star State continues to impress its residents and guests every day, so what are you waiting for? Grab your keys and let’s explore the 17 most charming towns to visit in the hill country.
Texas hill Country Towns Map
The 17 Most Charming Texas Hill Country Towns and cities
The biggest city in Hill Country Texas is San Antonio, full of culture, food, and Texas history. This is a fantastic city to start in and will give you easy access to the rest of the Hill Country.
Spend your days walking the famous San Antonio Riverwalk, learning about how Texas won its independence at The Alamo, or taking in a Spurs basketball game at the AT&T stadium.
San Antonio is known for its large Hispanic population and influence, the city has a week-long fiesta every year to celebrate Mexican history and culture. The city is saturated with local traditions and yummy food. Enjoy homemade tamales, chicken on a stick, and slurp down a fresh margarita while learning to salsa to the famous Mexican singer, Selena.
Read more about all the things to do in San Antonio, Texas.
Located on i-35 in between San Antonio and Austin, this German town is a must-see in the hill country. Two of the most stunning rivers in Texas run right through New Braunfels making it a perfect summer escape. The Comal and Guadalupe river welcomes thousands of visitors every year.
Among the most fun things to do in New Braunfels head to one of the Tube shops to spend the day floating on the clear water, make sure to pack a cooler and some snacks to enjoy the long float. Get ready to be shot out of the famous tube shoot with all the other river rafters about halfway through the float.
If you happen to be here in the Fall, lookout for their famous two-week-long German-themed Wurstfest. Hundreds of food vendors, pitchers of beer, and people dressed in lederhosen to celebrate the long-standing German traditions in the town. My favorite is the pork chop on a stick and the fried Oreos.
Everyone’s favorite college town, San Marcos is home to Texas State University and the infamous square. Lucky for you, I have all the insider tips for this beautiful Texas town as it is my alma mater.
The large university campus covers much of the city and you will see college kids running around everywhere you look. The most beautiful thing about this town is the freshwater San Marcos River that runs right through campus.
From the underground aquifer, this clear river maintains a temperature of 72 degrees all year long, making it the perfect refresher in the spring, summer, and fall. Head to Sewell Park to play some volleyball, tan on bikini hill, or float down the river.
Grab dinner at Grinns with their 2 dollar margaritas before hitting up the Square. Bar after bar after bar makes up a square in downtown San Marcos all surrounding the town’s courthouse. Whether its Dollar Dos Tuesdays or wild Saturday nights, you will find heaps of people out partying in San Marcos.
Texas’s capital city is almost everyone’s favorite city in and out of Texas. In Austin, you can be whoever you want to be without anyone judging you.
The famous slogan “Keep Austin Weird” continues to ring true today.
Spend the day paddleboarding ladybird lake, taking in museums, or walking South Congress. There are plenty of things to do in the vibrant city. Known as the live music capital of the world, you are guaranteed to have some fun nights out.
If you don’t know much about Texas, here are two things you can be sure of, it’s hotter than hell most of the year and the food is out of this world. Whether it’s bbq or tex mex, you are in for a treat.
So after spending the day at Barton Springs pool, make sure to fill your belly at one of my favorite restaurants.
- Loros: bbq asian fusion
- Chuys: Texmex
- Terry Black BBQ: bbq (Get there early as the line can get extremely long)
If the weather isn’t great in Austin while you are there make sure to check out my list of things to do in Austin when it rains here.
Round Rock is located right outside of North Austin, it is considered a small suburb of the area but this little town comes with a lot of fun things to do for a day out of the city.
Start the day with round rock donuts, they are melt in your mouth good and a MUST STOP if you are in the hill country. After a sugar rush, you can spend the day shopping at the round rock outlet mall.
Head to Saks off Fifth, Nordstrom Rack, or my favorite Lululemon. I can usually catch some great deals and work off those donuts from the morning.
If it is baseball season you can catch a minor league game, watching the round rock express team. This is a cheap, fun activity to do on a warm night. After the game head to one of my favorite BBQ spots, Saltlick. On the weekends they have live music and it’s BYOB.
Driftwood is perfectly placed in the hills outside of Austin and welcomes you for a quiet weekend getaway or the perfect day trip! Driftwood is the beginning of the hill country Winelands.
This small city has multiple distilleries, wineries, and breweries for you to visit depending on your drink of choice.
Duchman Winery and Driftwood Estate winery have become widely known for their Italian wine styles and beautiful on-site vines. If wine isn’t your thing, head out to JesterKing brewery for some picnic tables and sour beers to enjoy while listening to live music and munching on their cheesy pizzas.
Now with all of that being said, no one comes to Driftwood without heading to Saltlick BBQ. I mentioned Saltlick BBQ in Roundrock, but the restaurant got its start at its first location in Driftwood and is world-famous for its smoked meats.
So bring an empty stomach, cash (they still don’t take cards, or split the bill for you and your friends), and enjoy a night at everyone’s favorite bbq spot.
If you are looking to beat the heat in the Texas Hill Country then look no further than Wimberley! This town boasts two of the most popular swimming holes in Texas.
Jump off the limestone rocks into Jacob’s well natural area, and deep natural spring that used to be a famous scuba diving spot. Or head to the Wimberley relaxing blue hole regional park, a forested swimming hole with rope swings, picnic tables, and basketball courts.
After spending the day in the sun, head to the town square for some local shopping and good eats!
This town has been named as one of the nation’s top 10 small towns. It has become the home of many famous artists, musicians, and historians that are looking for small-town life.
One of the town’s most famous craftworks is Wimberley Glassworks. Stop in and see hand-blown glass and even take a class to learn the ins and out of the craft.
Some of my favorite stops in this town 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.
10 years ago Dripping Springs was home to only 1,400 people. The town would have visitors from all over for their multiple wineries in the area.
Over the last decade, many have visited and then just stayed. Now home to over 5,000 people, Dripping Springs is becoming a hot spot for those trying to get out of the city.
Located a quick 25 minutes from Austin, this town tucked in the hill country is your perfect escape. You will find plenty of outdoor escapes such as the Hamilton Pool Preserve and Pedernales State Park. Both of these have plenty of hiking and biking trails as well as rivers to cool off from the Texas heat.
Dripping Springs is my favorite place to do a wine tour. The town has so many vineyards it’s hard to keep track these days.
If you find yourself here in the late spring you might catch the vines in full bloom with a grape picking event. If wine isn’t your thing there are plenty of distilleries, breweries, and even olive oil farms for you to spend your days at.
My favorite wineries in Dripping Springs
- Solaro Estate Winery: Tell them Carae sent you and you just might get something special;)
- Bell Spring Winery
- Hawks Shadow Estate Winery
Known as “The gateway to the Texas hill country” Blanco, is a small town on the outskirts of the region. With its serene river and trail-filled state park, this is the perfect town to start your journey in before making your way to the bigger cities.
Get your fill of small-town treats, eats, and shopping in the downtown area. The event that draws people into Blanco is its stunning lavender fields.
Known as the lavender capital of Texas, this little town hosts a lavender festival every year for people from all over to come to enjoy the wildflower.
You can pick your lavender, make soap out of it, or just take the seeds with you. Enjoy some live music and a beer from their local Real Ale distillery.
There is usually something going on every weekend in Blanco, whether it be a cycle meet-up or their local farmers market that is hosted every 3rd Saturday of the month. So, regardless of the time of year, you will find something fun to do in Blanco!
Check out my guide to other lavender fields in Texas to learn more.
Just a short trip from San Antonio is this must-stop spot in the Hill Country, Fredericksburg, the most famous small town in Hill Country.
Arguably one of the best Texas Hill Country Towns, Fredericksburg is a small town where long ago many German Immigrants settled. It is nowadays known to have the best peaches in the state.
The main street is full of mom-and-pop 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.
Plan to spend at least two days here as the beautiful Enchanted Rock state natural area park is close by and is a must-do in the hill country.
Climb the pink granite rocks and see the incredible hills from a bird’s point of view.
If you are in the hill country during the holidays, Fredericksburg is a great place to get you in the spirit.
Check out the best places to spend Christmas in Texas to learn more.
One of the most famous cities in the hill country is Johnson City. Also known as the birthplace of our 36th president, Lyndon B. Johnson.
Located on the same highway that leads to Austin or San Antonio depending on which direction you’re going. This small town is full of art, history, and southern hospitality.
Spend your nights at a local ranch, shop on the main street, enjoy the hill country wines and listen to the crickets sing once the sun goes down. This town is exactly what small-town living is about!
Make some time to visit the LBJ ranch. Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park protects the birthplace, ranch, and grave of the late president.
You will be able to explore the life of Mr. Johnson and how he went from a small-town farm boy to being the 36th president of the United States.
Whether you are craving something hearty or something sweet, the Texas hill country town of Luling has everything you need!
Texas is the BBQ capital of the world but Luling is high in the running for the BBQ capital of Texas. People will drive from all over to indulge in some smoked meats in Luling Texas.
Luling is a very small town with a quaint downtown, however, if you are visiting in the summer you can’t miss the annual watermelon thump!
The last weekend in June visitors will gather in this small town for all things watermelon. There is a seed spitting contest, a watermelon eating contest, and every year they judge who can grow the biggest watermelon.
It must be something in the water because the watermelons in Luling seem to just be bigger, juicier, and sweeter than anywhere else.
Here are my must-try BBQ restaurants in Luling:
Marble Falls has everything you need for a quick getaway. Only about an hour drive from Austin and you will arrive in this charming small town. Marble Falls is home to the famous Blue Bonnet Cafe.
Now, I love a good happy hour, but the happy hour at Blue Bonnet Cafe is special… It’s a happy hour for pie! Pie is what has made this cafe the most famous one in Texas, and you should stop in for a slice if you don’t want to miss out.
The town has so many outdoor adventures for those who love to be in nature. Head to lake Buchanon to enjoy a day on the water, swimming onshore, or fishing from the pier. Bring some water and hike the trails around the lake and into the hill country.
After a long day, head to Fiesta Winery for a party and a flight of wine.
The historic town of Gruene Texas is located in New Braunfels, about 25 minutes from San Antonio. Known for Texas’ oldest dance hall, Gruene Hall continues to host concerts, dance contests and is the perfect place to grab a beer with a new friend.
Many famous musicians have played here such as George Strait and Willie Nelson. Some weekends you can still catch a famous singer headed back to his roots… make sure to buy tickets on these special weekends as they will sell out.
This small town is right on the Comal River and has some beautiful views. Shop at the local wineries and find a nice B&B for the weekend to enjoy the ins and outs of this little village.
My favorite places to eat at in Gruene
- 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!
Just a short 15-minute drive from San Antonio is this charming little town. Boerne has a little bit of everything for everyone.
A great place to spend your time outdoors and in nature is at Cibolo Nature Center and Guadalupe State Park. The state park has plenty of tent spaces and an RV park for you to spend the weekend walking the trails and fishing in the river.
One of the most famous outdoor activities in Boerne is visiting the “Cave Without a Name”. The cave is a natural cavern that has many walkways for visitors to explore and throughout the year you can catch performances in the caves by local talent.
Head to the downtown area of Boerne and walk their mile-long main street that is full of art galleries, small shops, and coffee shops. If you enjoy a nice cold beer, this is the place for you as they have a few breweries to stop in, try their local brews and meet some other travelers.
The saying “Everybody is somebody in Luckenbach” still stands true today and every weekend this small hill country town welcomes people from all over.
Luckenbach is the smallest Texas hill country town with a population of 3 people.
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!
Among the most historical Texas hill country towns, Kerrville is home to one of the oldest settlements in Texas. Located right on the other side of Bourne, this small hill country town is perfect for those who want to dive into history.
Kerrville has two historic museums, the Hill Country Museum and the Museum of Western Art. This little town has evidence of human life from 10,000 years ago!
In these museums, you will see how we used to not only live but survive.
People from all over flock to this little town 3 weeks out of the year for the famous folk festival.
You will be able to dress up, enjoy live folk music and participate in the folk culture for a few days. This festival is held every summer and seems to get bigger and bigger each year.
More about Texas
- The 25 Best places to visit in Texas Hill Country
- 21 Incredible Things To Do in East Texas
- The top 13 Glamping Spots in Hill Country Texas
- 17 top Art Museums in Texas that you should visit
- 39 fun things to do in Katy Texas – All the top attractions and activities
- Insider guide to the most beautiful natural hot springs in Texas
- 30 Best Things To Do In Corpus Christi, Texas
- The 7 best beach towns in Texas to visit in 2022
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- The Best 11 Lavender Fields in Texas
Hill Country Texas Map of hotels
About the Author: Carae
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