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The perfect blend of picturesque landscapes and small-town charm, the Texas Hill Country offers a range of fun-filled activities for the entire family to enjoy. Boasting an abundance of outdoor adventures and historical landmarks, you’ll find both man-made and natural attractions equally appealing. Lined with wide-open vistas and beautiful hills, the Texas Hill Country offers visitors an escape from the big city stress. From enjoying the outdoors in a state park to paying homage to music legends and cooling off at a water park, here are the top things to do in the Texas Hill Country.
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Stroll the picturesque Garner State Park
Located in Concan, Garner State Park is a family-friendly tradition since 1941 that boasts 1,774 acres of beautiful Hill Country. It’s here that you’ll find the famous 1940s-style jukebox dances in the summertime and the perfect landscape for an overnight camping trip. Spend your days hiking the 11 miles scenic trails, or get out on the water in a tube or kayak as you soak in the crystal clear water views of Frio River winding through the park.
Sip wine at Fall Creek Vineyards
While the Texas Hill Country is home to an array of award-winning wineries, the Fall Creek Vineyards in Tow will simply take your breath away. Let your daily stresses melt away as you visit this unique combination of old and new, where antique stable doors and country English furnishings set the old world ambiance. A picturesque landscape, take in the panoramic sights of the beautiful vineyards that surround you on all sides and choose from a range of flavorful wines to enjoy the view.
Savor the sight of Enchanted Rock
Located just outside of Llano in Central Texas, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area has to be seen to be believed. An especially large aura of Native American lore, visitors flock here to witness the majestic views of this enormous piece of pink granite rock, one the largest of its kind in the United States. Make the climb to the top of the 425-foot landmark for a mesmerizing panoramic view of the area, while other popular activities include rock climbing and hiking.
Float down Guadalupe River
An ideal place to go tubing, visitors can explore Guadalupe River State Park in Spring Branch, where the four-mile stretch of the Guadalupe River offers ample opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Pitch a tent at one of the campsites near the water and soak in the beautiful natural landscapes that surround you. Spend your days out on the water, where swimming, fishing, tubing, and canoeing are popular activities. For those who prefer to stay on land, there are also 13 miles of biking and biking trails to explore.
Take a dip in Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve
Located in Dripping Springs, Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve is a natural wonder that was created thousands of years ago. It emerged when the surface of an underground river collapsed and is now a place that adventurous travelers can explore. One of the top attractions in Dripping Springs, you can oak in the pristine natural beauty of the area and take in the views of the emerald green waters, limestone cliffs and cypress trees that surround you, as the refreshing waters offer the perfect respite from a warm Texas sunshine.
Pay homage to music legends at Gruene Hall
A popular site in New Braunfels, Gruene Hall was built in 1878 and is the oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall in Texas. Retaining its original design, visit this 6,000-square-foot dance hall to find 1930s advertisements adorning the walls as live entertainment fills the air. Playing host to a long list of music legends such as George Strait, Willie Nelson, and Lyle Lovett, it has been the home where music icons come to pay respects and try out new material.
Reconnect With Nature at Blue Hole Regional Park
Take a moment to enjoy the nature offered at Blue Hole Regional Park, where visitors come to indulge in a day of swimming, camping and wildlife viewing. Located in the heart of Central Texas in Wimberley, it is consistently ranked as one of the best swimming holes in the state. While you’ll definitely want to take a plunge in the cold spring-fed waters, you can also hike the 3 miles of nearby nature trails and relax in one of the scenic picnic areas.
Go Camping in Inks Lake State Park
A picturesque park in Burnet, Inks Lake State Park is the perfect place to enjoy outdoor recreation. Lined with a rocky landscape and scenic topography, here you’ll soak in sights of sparkling blue waters and colorful rock outcrops and spend your day hiking, boating, or diving. After a day of adventure, nestle in at one of the on-site cabins or campsites by the water. Located just an hour northwest of Austin, this is an excellent weekend escape to get away from it all.
Savor Award-Winning BBQ at Franklin Barbecue
Taken seriously in Texas, Austin is home to an array of top-notch restaurants where expert pitmasters serve nationally-recognized smoked meats. Not many have received the same amount of attention as Franklin Barbecue. While it is famous for its long lines, many foodies believe it is worth the wait; even President Obama paid them a visit. Dedicated to their craft, here James Beard winner Aaron Franklin services hormone and antibiotic-free cuisine, and some of the best brisket in the area.
Visit Bluebonnet Cafe for a Slice of Pie
A perfect treat for dessert lovers, head to The Bluebonnet Cafe in Marble Falls for a heaping slice of mouthwatering pie. Open since 1929, John Kemper and his wife Belinda have been serving pie varieties to locals and visitors alike for decades. Made from scratch, pecan, coconut cream, and coconut meringue are some of the cafe’s best-selling varieties, as these classic wedges bring back to a sense of nostalgia along with a tasty presentation.
Enjoy Family-Friendly Fun at Schlitterbahn
A perfect escape in the summer heat, head to Schlitterbahn for a day of family-friendly fun in the sun. A Bavarian-themed water park, here visitors will find something that appeals to both thrill-seekers and non-thrillseekers alike, as its refreshing waters are sure to beat the heat. Located on the banks of the Comal River, the natural landscape of the park highlights the park’s array of attractions, from exciting tube shoots to the activity pools for the little ones.
See a rodeo at the Cowboy Capital of the World
Full of Texas traditions, Bandera is just an hour from San Antonio and offers visitors the chance to live the cowboy lifestyle. Here you can catch a rodeo, spend a night at a dude ranch or kick your boots to the sound of country music at a honky-tonk venue. Learn how to ride horses, explore the history of ranching practices and appreciate some of the unique aspects of authentic cowboy culture.
Step back in history at The Alamo
Standing as a reflection of Texas history, The Alamo in San Antonio was once a Franciscan mission. It stands as a monument to the 189 Texan volunteers who fought and died here during a 13-day siege in 1836, and while the Texans lost, it inspired a victory in the state’s bid for independence. Tour the landmark and see exhibits and artifacts used by military heroes such as Davy Crockett, who died defending the Alamo.
Browse the National Museum of the Pacific War
A must-see for history enthusiasts, the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg is dedicated to those who served in the Pacific War. Here you’ll find an Admiral Nimitz Museum, Plaza of the Presidents and a Japanese Garden of Peace that is all a part of the complex, while visitors can browse interactive exhibits that give an interesting insight into the events of WWII in the Pacific.