The Texas Hill Country is perhaps Texas’s most famous landscape. Rolling hills covered with trees and rocky terrain, the Texas Hill Country draws in countless visitors from other parts of the state. Then there is the springtime explosion of wildflowers, a mix of rich colors that cover the hills – most notable are the bluebonnets with their purple hue.
Austin sits at the eastern edge of this well-known region. And since Austin is a tourist destination in its own right, it makes sense many visitors to the Texas Hill Country make their way to Austin for a few days after roaming through the hills and small towns.
So if you have some friends coming to the Texas Hill Country — or maybe you’re planning a journey yourself — take plenty of time to enjoy the area. Get lost on some country roads and visit some of these Texas Hill Country hot-spots before ending your Austin road trip.
Please note, if you are making the trip in Summer 2020, some locations may be closed due to Covid-19. Please call ahead to confirm.
The Frio River
As anyone who took a few weeks of Spanish classes can tell you, frio is the Spanish word for cold. An apt name for a river with an average temperature of about 68 degrees. Most Austinites enjoy the coolness of the Frio given the Texas heat, especially during the summer months.
Garner State Park sits just a half-hour drive north of Uvalde. The main attraction is the river where you can swim, canoe and fish. You can hike 11 miles of trail, study nature, picnic, and play miniature golf. With several camping areas throughout the park, you may want to throw your tent in the trunk before heading on your Texas Hill Country road trip.
Outside the park, vacation rental cabins dot the riverbanks and offer options for those who want to both enjoy the park and also have a home-like environment nearby.
Fredericksburg and its surrounding countryside are hopping with things to do. The Texas Hill Country is the state’s hotbed of wine production, with Fredericksburg as the epicenter. Extending outward and all around the area gives visitors a breathtaking view of both the many peach orchards and grape fields encircling Fredericksburg.
Several wineries have tasting rooms in downtown Fredericksburg, as well as production facilities outside town of course. But that’s not all the town has to offer! Check out this post to learn more about what else you can do downtown.
History buffs will find in Fredericksburg a unique museum ready to be explored. The National Museum of the Pacific War is an incredible World War II museum focusing on the Pacific theater.
Exploring the local cuisine is a must for any visitor to Fredericksburg. Crossroads Saloon & Steakhouse is a nice place for an intimate dinner for two as well as a few cocktails while local bands play live. Hondo’s on Main has a full bar, live music and delicious food while August E’s has a great selection of sushi and steak.
And if those places don’t give you enough live music, head over to Luckenbach just a few miles outside Fredericksburg. They have live music acts every evening and multiple acts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. As the song says, “Out in Luckenbach, Texas, ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain.”
Marble Falls is located just down the Colorado River from Lake LBJ. This quaint little town has gorgeous views of the water and several restaurants ready to delight you. Blue Bonnet Cafe is the best known restaurant in Marble Falls for good reason. People come from all over the Texas Hill Country just to eat a slice of pie. The most economical time to enjoy their delicious pies is during their weekday pie happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m.
Double Horn Brewing Company is another great restaurant choice, especially if you have a beer connoisseur in your group. They serve their own brews and have other Texas beers on tap. Pair one of their pints with one of their burgers, and you’ll be ready for a nap in no time.
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It's the week after Thanksgiving, and work is back in full swing. Stop by Cherrywood Coffee House in Austin for a break this week and get our 1885 Pale Ale on draft. . . . #cheers #doublehornbrewingco #marblefalls #marblefallsfood #craftbeer #hops #beer #atx #atxfood #atxdrink #brewery #breweries #coldbeer #beerflight #ipa #brownale #paleale #stout
And speaking of naps, Marble Falls is just a few miles from Horseshoe Bay Resort. Before you settle into your hotel room, you’ll want to take a walk around the property to check out all their amenities.
You’ll definitely want to make time for a round at their Whitewater Putting Course. You won’t find giant clowns or windmills here. Instead, you’ll feel like you’re walking on a golf course that got zapped by the laser from “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” And if you want to play a full size course, the Horseshoe Bay Resort staff can hook you up with a tee time at any of the nearby courses.
If you’re looking to sample liquor of the hard-stuff variety, you have several options in and around Dripping Springs including Deep Eddy Vodka, Treaty Oak Distilling and Dripping Springs Distilling of Dripping Springs Vodka and Dripping Springs Gin. For a little less hard drinking, don’t miss Family Business Brewery, a nice place to hang out that’s also very family friendly.
Plus, Dripping Springs has Hamilton Pool Preserve. This swimming hole has become so popular that the park now takes reservations during the busy season. Make sure you make your reservation if you want to swim this summer.
Featured photo: A Texas Hill Country Road leading to Enchanted Rock. By Flickr user TimothyJ, creative commons licensed.