If Texas Hill Country was to be described in one word, that word would be “stunning.” Encompassing charming small towns and breathtaking vistas, Texas Hill Country is a perfect spot for outdoor and gourmet adventures. Hiking, swimming, biking, kayaking, and camping are only some of the activities to enjoy. Out of the many choices, we recommend the following:
Visit the Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve
The Hamilton Pool Preserve is a part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, just a 45 minute drive away from Austin. It is a popular tourist spot, so the first thing you need to know is: Don’t just turn up. Make your reservations beforehand. Hamilton Pool is surrounded by unearthly rock formations, with a waterfall complementing the view. On top of swimming, there you can also enjoy hiking and bird watching. Hamilton Pool is home to rare species such as cliff swallows and golden cheek warblers. In fact, the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve is a huge 30,428-acre system of endangered species habitat.
Enjoy Famous Texas Barbecue
Barbecue might be synonymous with Texas, but those famous eateries in big cities are the best-known. You will be glad to learn that Texas Hill Country is no exception. If locals are to be believed (and they usually are), mouthwatering barbecue is served all the way from Cherokee to San Marcos. You can expect some downright home-away-from-home experiences, too. We are talking about cities with up to 2,000 inhabitants (and many of those number just several hundreds). Southside BBQ in Cherokee smokes excellent steaks and ribs, Payne’s Bar-B-Q Shak in Burnet is famous for its sausages, Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano serves barbecue into the evening hours, Opie’s BBQ in Spicewood serves delicious pork chops and ribs, The Salt Lick Driftwood serves excellent wines on top of barbecue, and Hays County Barbeque in San Marcos accompanies the food with live music.
Unwind in Dripping Springs
The city of Dripping Springs is located just 25 miles west of Austin and is often referred to as the “Gateway to the Hill Country”. Gateway or not, the city is as charming as it gets, offering far more than just sightseeing. In addition to the Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve, Dripping Springs is also near to the Westcave Preserves, a canyon famous for its endangered plants. Additional attractions include the Milton Reimers Ranch Park and the Founders Park. The city offers many kinds of lodgings, such as historical bed-and-breakfasts and motels.
Enjoy Live Country Music
Image via Flickr by Mobilus In Mobili
If you get the chance, don’t miss a visit to Luckenbach. Established in 1849 as a trading post, the tiny town now serves as more of a tourist attraction, with dance hall, general store, and year-round live country music. The dance hall hosts about fifty private parties each year, including weddings. It’s also famous for family-friendly music events and motorcycle rallies.
Whether you’re into quirky attractions, delicious regional specialty food, or gorgeous natural scenery and outdoor experiences, you’ll find what you crave in the Texas Hill Country. It’s full of small towns that are big on hospitality, and there is so much for you to explore.