The hill country is one of the most beautiful parts of Texas, with rolling hills and cute, little towns. Whether you're just spending a weekend or an entire week, there is plenty to do in the Texas hill country to fill your time! I've practically spent a third of my life in the hill country and here are some of my favorite places:
Fredericksburg is a little German town about 78 miles (1 hr 30 min) west of Austin and 70 miles (1 hr 15 min) northwest of San Antonio. Here you'll find shopping, delicious German food, parks, and museums! Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, which is right outside of town, is perfect for a morning hike! Fredericksburg is a great central location in the hill country, so I recommend using it as a home base and venturing out from here. Check out this blog post for a guide to Fredericksburg, including where to stay and where to eat!
Johnson City, between Fredericksburg and Austin, is the birthplace of former president Lyndon B. Johnson. You can visit his childhood home here and learn all about his family's ranch! Pedernales Falls State Park offers plenty of fun outdoors activities and is just outside of town. The Exotic Resort Zoo is a fun drive-thru safari where you can feed animals from your car! Johnson City even has a family-centered science museum called the Science Mill. The Science Mill has STEM-focused, fun activities for families with kids of all ages.
Kerrville, southwest of Fredericksburg, is larger than Fredericksburg and Johnson City, but still has the same small town feel. Kerrville has plenty of parks and trails for you to walk/hike/bike around! The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden and Empty Cross are also really cool! In the neighboring town, Ingram, you can see Stonehenge without traveling to the UK... that is Stonehenge II 😏 Stonehenge II is not quite the same size as the original, but it gives you an idea of how everything is set up. They even have replicas of the Easter Island heads!
Blanco, which is southwest of Fredericksburg, is home to Blanco State Park. Here you can swim, canoe, hike, tube, or fish! The park is beautiful and it's the perfect place to cool off in the water on a warm day!
The Medina River, a popular river for floating and/or kayaking, runs through Bandera. Bandera, aka the "Cowboy Capital of the World", is located southwest of Fredericksburg. Living up to its nickname, Bandera is home to several dude ranches where you can stay, eat some good food, go horseback riding, and enjoy other outdoor activities. Enter Bandera as a visitor, leave as a cowboy/cowgirl.
Colorado Bend State Park
Believe it or not there are waterfalls in Texas! There's an awesome hike in Colorado Bend State Park, called Gorman Falls Hike, that is 3 miles long and has a 70-foot waterfall! At Colorado Bend State Park you have the opportunity to hike, mountain bike, swim, fish, or go caving!
Doss doesn't have a lot to do, but Doss General Store and Cafe is an excellent spot for lunch if you're driving northwest of Fredericksburg. Doss General Store and Cafe has everything: salads, sandwiches, pizza, burgers, Italian food, steaks, southern food, BBQ, & fajitas!
For some time on the water, head northeast from Fredericksburg to Lake Buchanan. Lake Buchanan is great for boating, fishing, and other water activities! There are also cabins that you can stay at around the lake!
Lampasas is yet another small town in Texas Hill Country! There is a cute town square with shops surrounding the county courthouse. You can also see the world's largest spur in Lampasas!
The Llano River runs right through town and is surrounded by three parks in the center of town! There are shops around town and some good restaurants! Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que is also a popular place to grab some good BBQ in town!
Mason's town square is one of my favorites in Texas! Unfortunately, the beautiful Mason County Courthouse that sits in the middle of the square was damaged from a fire in 2021, but it is being restored and will be just as beautiful as it was before! In Mason, you can also tour The Seaquist House, a 19th century mansion built by a pastor, expanded by a banker, and renovated by a Swedish immigrant (Oscar Seaquist). The house has beautiful stained glass, a ballroom, and a chapel! Visit Fort Mason to step back even further in time (just a few decades before construction on The Seaquist House began). The fort, established in the 1850s, survived raids and housed U.S. Army officers and, at one point, prisoners. The original buildings are no longer there, but you can see a reconstruction of the officers' quarters!
🎵 Let's go to Luckenbach, Texas 🎵 Luckenbach was originally a trading post for farmers and Native Americans. The general store/post office/bar was opened by a German preacher in the 1880s. The town sold in the 1970s and has been a popular destination since. You can catch concerts practically every day of the week, you may even be able to catch your favorite country singer perform!
Marble Falls is not too far from Austin and the Colorado River runs right through town! This is the perfect place to spend a day at the park or do some shopping! Stop for some delicious lunch and dessert at Blue Bonnet Cafe, a restaurant that has been around since 1929!
Medina is the perfect place for apple lovers! There's an apple store where you can buy everything apple, from pie to apple butter to ice cream and everything between!
New Braunfels is home to a massive waterpark with a river tubing ride that connects to the actual river!! If you'd rather just go tubing with friends or family, there are plenty of places where you can rent tubes for the day. New Braunfels is also where Wurstfest is held! Wurstfest is a fun festival held in November that celebrates German culture.
Home to the Texas State University Bobcats, San Marcos is a unique college town, not too far from New Braunfels, with two rivers running through it. San Marcos also offers water activities, like stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling, and tubing! If you'd rather stay on land, San Marcos has two huge outlet malls with every store you can think of!
San Saba, known as the pecan capital of the world, is a small town northwest of Austin with some fun outdoor activities! The town has a few parks with trails so you can enjoy the outdoors. You can even learn about San Saba's history at the San Saba River Nature Park!
Want to see the world's largest pecan? Yep, it's in Seguin. Don't forget to stop for lunch at The Powerplant Texas Bar & Grill! As you can probably tell by the name, the restaurant is housed in old power plant! It's really cool and the food is really good!
Between Fredericksburg and Johnson City, you'll find a tiny town called Stonewall. Here you'll find Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site, where you can walk the trails, fish, play tennis or baseball, or go for a swim. You can also visit the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm to see what life was like on a farm in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I mentioned LBJ's childhood home in Johnson City earlier and now I'll tell you more about it. The childhood home is part of the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, which is divided into two parts. The other part of the National Historical Park is the LBJ Ranch in Stonewall, where LBJ and spent a lot of time on holiday and eventually retired. You can tour his house, school, barn, airplane hangar, and other buildings!
Lost Maples State Park
Texas isn't known for beautiful fall colors, but in Lost Maples State Park you'll think you're in the northeast. Northwest of San Antonio, Lost Maples is the perfect place for a hike on a crisp fall morning. In autumn, the park's leaves become colorful and beautiful. With over 10 miles of trails, though, there is plenty to do in other times of the year!
While the most beautiful time to visit Lost Maples State Park is in the fall, the most beautiful time to visit Willow City is in the spring. In the spring, bluebonnets and other wildflowers cover fields along Willow City Loop, a road that goes through Willow City (I bet you couldn't have guessed that one ;) ).
Wimberley, located between Austin and San Antonio, is known as a unique, artist town with some great swimming holes and cute shops. Jacob's Well is a cave filled with water by a natural spring. When Jacob's Well Natural Area is open during summer months, make a reservation to jump in and swim around! Blue Hole Regional Park is another great, natural swimming hole! Spend the morning at either of these swimming holes, then head into town for a walk and some shopping!
There are so many different things to do in the Texas hill country and so many reasons to visit! These are just a few of the places I recommend; there are definitely so many more awesome places to discover!