Texas brings a few iconic images to mind: rolling deserts, cowboy boots, and maybe the odd tumbleweed. It’s a big state, but it’s mostly full of sand and cacti, right?
Nope! The Texas Hill Country offers some of the most beautiful scenery that will be sure to challenge your perception of Texas. If you’re looking for the perfect place to vacation, look no further than the Heart of Texas, with its spectacular rolling hills, scenic lakes and rivers, the fusion of Spanish and German culture, and endless outdoor recreation pursuits.
With many charming small towns that offer a vast range of experiences within a short distance from each other, you’ll find a wide variety of activities to do — you could finish a hike on a mountain and less than an hour later be tasting wines at a Hill Country vineyard.
But before you run off and start planning your trip, we’ve rounded up everything you need to see and do for the perfect week in the Hill Country. Yeehaw.
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States and one of the fastest-growing, offering a wide variety of both cultural and culinary experiences. This is why it should be your first stop on your week-long trip to Texas.
While in San Antonio, be sure to visit the Pearl District, a picturesque culinary and cultural destination offering a boutique hotel, charming shops, bustling restaurants, and even community activities such as free concerts and outdoor yoga.
Another hot-spot is the San Antonio River Walk, a southern Texas gem located in the heart of downtown that is visited by over 11 million people each year. Whether you’re into people-watching, enjoying a casual drink, or getting lost in a crowd, it is one of the best places to experience the atmosphere of San Antonio! Go Rio Cruises offers private or group-guided boat tours of the River Walk for those who want to learn about the city’s historical roots.
When visiting any city, you can’t forget the food. Check out Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery, a modern eatery blending coastal classics with southern comfort food for cross-cultural Texas cuisine. Be sure to try the famous Fried Snapper Throats, Wood-Fried Pretzels, and one of their many rotating beers that are brewed in-house.
And of course, no trip to San Antonio is complete without some good ol’ BBQ. Just north of the downtown River Walk is Alamo BBQ Company, where you can find platters of BBQ including Peach Glazed Baby Backs, Beef Brisket, and Creamed Corn among other classic barbecue dishes.
San Antonio has many choices for accommodation, but for a change of pace, consider a resort stay. Just minutes from downtown, there are several spectacular golf/spa and family-friendly resorts. The Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa offers guests a luxe retreat with exceptional resort amenities, combining the rich history of a family ranch with authentic Texas hospitality and the comfort and charm of a country ranch house. Pamper yourself at the Windflower Spa, float down the lazy river and tee off at their championship golf course.
Located less than an hour away from San Antonio, Bandera refers to itself as the ‘Cowboy Capital of the World‘. It is home to western jewelry designers and real cowboys, and finding horses parked out front 11th Street Cowboy Bar is the complete norm!
While Beverly Hills has Rodeo Drive, Bandera has Dixie Dude Ranch Road. There, you’ll find Dixie Dude Ranch, one of the eight working ranches in Bandera, where you can set out on a scenic horseback ride through the hills.
Lastly, stop by the Bandera General Store for a scoop of the famous Blue Bell Ice Cream.
Wimberley is brimming with creatives inspired by the sense of community, dotted towering cypress trees, and covered with spring wildflowers. A small town nestled deep in the heart of the luscious Texas Hill Country where the Cypress Creek meets the Blanco River, head here to experience the art and culture.
Your first stop should be Wimberley Glassworks, a premier art and lighting glass studio recognized for its unique artistic vision and high-quality craftsmanship. They offer a range of workshops, pop-up classes, and demos where you can learn the basics of glass blowing.
For a full experience of the art scene in Wimberley, head to Wimberley Square, which has been designated a Texas Cultural District by the Texas Commission of the Arts. Some must-visits include Art on 12, the largest art gallery in Central Texas, and Pitzer’s Fine Arts.
While in Wimberly, keep an eye out for the custom-embellished boot sculptures that can be found throughout the town, as part of Wimberley Valley Arts and Cultural Alliance’s Bootiful Wimberley Project!
Fredericksburg offers German heritage mixed with Texan hospitality and is home to more than 900 charming bed and breakfasts, guest houses and inns, fascinating historic sites, and a much slower pace.
The area is best known for its more than 40 wineries and tasting rooms, contributing to Texas being the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the United States. Sip and savour locally produced wine (Fredericksburg is the epicentre of the Hill Country wine region) at Narrow Path Winery, offering one of the best views of the Texas Hill Country. You can enjoy a tasting in the brand new tasting room, without sacrificing the view, thanks to being wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glass.
If you drive through the scenic hills north of Fredericksburg, you’ll come across Enchanted Rock, a pink granite mountain filled with flora and fauna. Hike up the Summit Trail, where you will have panoramic views of the Texas Hill Country. Be sure to wear appropriate hiking or athletic shoes, and pack some water!
Lastly, grab lunch at Vaudeville Bistro, a one-of-a-kind dining and retail establishment where you can dine on wood-fired artisanal pizzas, charcuterie boards, and local wines, as well as browse home furnishings, décor, and view the contemporary art gallery.
End your trip at Miraval Austin, the newest destination sanctuary for relaxation and empowerment, nestled right in the heart of Texas Hill Country.
Sitting on 220 acres of natural preserve overlooking Lake Travis, you will be asked to settle into Miraval Mode upon arrival — meaning you will unplug and be present during your stay.
By day, learn about sustainable living and mindful nutrition with a visit to Cypress Creek Farm, who supply many of the fresh ingredients for the farm to table dining experience you will enjoy at The Nest and Hilltop Crossing Kitchen (the smoothie, cocktail bar, and restaurant at the resort).
Get creative at the Astro Art workshop, where you can create your own vintage-inspired astrological birth chart in a hands-on experience. Lastly, finish your trip with a relaxing apothecary massage at the Life In Balance Spa, where you will experience a sensory journey through indigenous leaves, flowers, and herbs found in the botanical cornucopia of the Texas Hill Country.
For more information on Texas and to receive a free copy of the Travel Texas Guide and Official Travel Map, visit TravelTexas.com.