The Texas Hill Country is the perfect weekend getaway. Whether you’re looking for a romantic trip to explore wineries and hike through nature, or if you want to spend your time tubing on the Guadalupe River with friends, this area has something for everyone. Here are some of my favorite things to do in the Texas Hill Country.
Texas Hill Country is a popular tourist destination as it’s conveniently situated around two distinct cities in Texas, San Antonio and Austin. Both of these cities offer amazing activities, but the hill country is so unique and beautiful it’s consistently named as one of the best things to do in San Antonio as well as Austin.
Where is the Texas Hill Country?
The Texas Hill Country is in central Texas and is part of the Edwards Plateau. It’s a region of rolling hills, limestone cliffs, and springs that feed into rivers.
The Hill Country is home to many wineries, breweries, and tasting rooms. There are also plenty of outdoor activities like hiking along the trails or swimming in natural pools at Hamilton Pool State Natural Area.
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Things to do in Texas Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country is an ideal destination for the adventurer, nature lover, and foodie alike. The rolling hills and friendly locals make it a great place to explore on your own or with friends in tow.
Discover the Texas Hill Country Wineries
The Texas Hill Country is full of wineries, and there’s no better way to spend an afternoon than at one. Not only will you learn about wine and taste the delicious fruits of your labor, but some wineries also feature restaurants and shops where you can browse for souvenirs or enjoy a nice meal.
Winetasting is always free at most Texas Hill Country wineries. You’ll be able to try a variety of wines in many different styles, as well as take home your own bottle or two if you find something that catches your eye!
Go swimming at Hamilton Pool.
The Hamilton Pool Preserve is located outside of Austin, Texas. It’s an oasis for nature lovers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. You can go swimming, hiking, bird watching, or just enjoy the scenic views from one of their many picnic areas. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous than lounging by the poolside all day then check out the Devil’s Waterhole hike; it’s a short but steep climb down into a rocky area that leads directly into the water hole!
If you do not have a reservation they will not let you into the park.
Discover the beauty of Garner State Park.
If you’re looking for a place with a wide variety of activities, Garner State Park is the place to be. The park offers kayak rentals and guided tours through the river, as well as swimming pools, cabins, and campsites that can be reserved ahead of time. There are also many different hiking trails available in Garner State Park—some of which take you past unique rock formations like Balanced Rock Falls.
Visit the LBJ Ranch.
The Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park is located in Stonewall, Texas, and includes the LBJ Ranch, which was the president’s boyhood home, as well as his birthplace, grave site, and the “Texas White House” where he worked during his time in office.
The park offers a variety of ranger-led programs, as well as self-guided tours of the different buildings and homes on the property. You can also take a scenic drive down Ranch Road 1 through the Hill Country and stop at one of the many overlooks to take in the stunning views.
Watch the bats at Old Tunnel State Park.
One of the best things to do in the Texas Hill Country is to go to Old Tunnel State Park and watch the bats emerge from the cave.
No, we’re not talking about flying around in your PJs or hitting up a club with your friends. We’re talking about saving the environment, which is super important because it’s going to save your life! Bats are an endangered species in Texas and they eat bugs that would otherwise destroy crops and pollute water sources if left unchecked.
The park is open from dusk until dawn, so you can get there at night. The best time for bat watching is just after sundown—but don’t worry if you don’t catch them on your first visit: bats only emerge for about 15 minutes each evening (though some say more), so keep coming back until you see them for yourself!
Stay at a dude ranch.
If you’re the type who’s in search of a rustic retreat, you’ll want to seek out one of Texas Hill Country’s many dude ranches. These lodgings have been around for over 100 years and offer guests a true cowboy experience.
- Austin Horseman Camps are located in Bastrop County, just north of Austin. It offers full-time employment opportunities at its ranch and guest ranch facility as well as short-term job opportunities like trail riding tours or cookouts at its campfire pit.
- The T Bar M Ranch is located in Kerrville, about an hour northwest of San Antonio on IH-10 West. A favorite among families that love to ride horses together (or with their kids!), this ranch also has lots of other things going on – from hayrides to cookouts!
- Flying L Guest Ranch is another option if it’s time for you and your family to get away for some outdoor fun together! Located just outside Kerrville (45 minutes from San Antonio), this place boasts a wide array of activities from horseback riding lessons for kids all the way up through horse races where everyone gets involved.
Drive Scenic Highway 16 in Texas.
If you’re looking for a scenic drive that won’t take too much time and won’t cost you a lot of money, Highway 16 is the way to go. It’s an easy, beautiful drive through the Texas Hill Country. You can stop at any of the many scenic overlooks along the way to get out and enjoy nature or have a picnic with your friends.
The views from these overlooks are amazing, and you’ll definitely want to take some photos to remember your trip! There are also plenty of places to eat and stay overnight if you’re looking to make a weekend out of it. Whether you’re just looking for a day trip or want to explore the area more, Highway 16 is the perfect option. Craft the perfect playlist to make this drive the ultimate vibe.
Climb Enchanted Rock, particularly during sunset.
There are many reasons to visit the Texas Hill Country, and this natural wonder is one of them. Enchanted Rock is a State Natural Area located in Llano Uplift, about 30 miles from Fredericksburg on Highway 16.
Unlike its namesake, Enchanted Rock isn’t actually enchanted—it’s just a nice place to visit! The rock itself is a granite dome that rises above the surrounding landscape like an enormous pimple on top of the earth’s crust. And while it may not be magical, it definitely looks like something out of a fairy tale: colorful flowers cover its face, while other species have grown into unique shapes in order to survive on such harsh terrain (the mushroom-like fungus known as puffballs are especially popular).
There are also plenty of hiking trails around the base where you can explore all these sights in more detail—or simply sit back and enjoy nature’s beauty as you take in your surroundings from above.
Go tubing in Guadalupe River State Park.
If you’re like me, you want to spend as much time in the water as possible. You can go swimming at many popular spots along the riverbank, but tubing is a great way to get out on the water and enjoy some serenity. There are also several locations where it’s possible to rent tubes and life jackets or bring your own gear. Guadalupe River State Park has plenty of parking, bathrooms with showers (not all parks have this!), and an area for tubing where there are plenty of places to store your stuff while you’re floating downstream. The park also provides inner tubes if yours got lost on its way from Austin or wherever else you packed it last time around.
Spend a day at Canyon Lake.
Spending a day at Canyon Lake is a must if you’re in the Texas Hill Country. This reservoir is located about an hour and a half from Austin, making it easily accessible for those who want to spend their time exploring the area. It’s also one of the most popular destinations in this region, so there are plenty of options for outdoor activities and entertainment.
Canyon Lake offers many recreational activities including boating, fishing (including fly fishing), jet skiing, wakeboarding, and water skiing. There are also several parks along with trails for hiking and biking plus picnic areas where you can enjoy your lunch outside in nature’s beauty!
If you want to learn more about this beautiful body of water then visit either the Visitor Center or Dam which both provide excellent views of Canyon Lake from above as well as below its surface waters.
Is Texas Hill Country Worth Visiting?
If you’re looking to get away from it all and enjoy the great outdoors, then you should definitely consider visiting the Texas Hill Country. The area is known for its beautiful scenery, with rolling hills and lush green fields. There are plenty of activities to enjoy here, too, including hiking, biking, and swimming.
If you’re planning a trip through the Texas Hill Country soon (or if you just want an excuse to take one), we’ve got some suggestions on what to do during your stay!
We hope this guide has helped you to decide if Texas Hill Country is worth visiting. If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that there are many things to do here! Whether you want to swim at Hamilton Pool, watch the bats at Old Tunnel State Park or climb Enchanted Rock, there is something for everyone. Plus, with so many wineries and ranches nearby, who knows what type of adventure might be waiting just down the road?
Author Bio: Kyle Kroeger is the owner of ViaTraveler.com. ViaTravelers is a destination travel blog providing the best tips, hacks, and itineraries to help you explore the world. Follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.