14 Texas Hill Country Towns Worth a Stop

Explore stunning waterfalls and caves, browse charming shops, chow down on true Texas barbecue, tour historic landmarks and sample local wines, spirits and brews. 


1. DRIPPING SPRINGS 

Sip your way through the Distillery District, home to more than 25 distilleries, wineries and breweries, including Deep Eddy Vodka, Treaty Oak Distilling (featuring Alice’s Restaurant), Family Business Beer Co. and Bell Springs Winery. Step into the 1850s at Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead Museum and trace the history of Dripping Springs. Take an orchard tour and taste olive oils at Texas Hill Country Olive Co. 

2. DRIFTWOOD 

Vista Brewing.
Vista Brewing. Photo by Jeremy Enlow.

Chow down on slow-cooked pork ribs at The Salt Lick BBQ and sample wines at neighboring Salt Lick Cellars. Follow the Driftwood Wine Trail and try wines at six scenic wineries. Sample sotol, an earthy Texas spirit, at Desert Door Distillery. Stroll around the ranch with a beer in hand at Vista Brewing. Stop by Hays City Store & Ice House for live music, local eats and 50+ beers on tap. 

3. LAKEWAY 

Stay at the family-friendly Lakeway Resort and Spa, the only resort on Lake Travis. Just outside Lakeway, experience the all-inclusive Lake Austin Spa Resort, named the #1 destination spa resort in North America by Condé Nast Traveler in 2019. Also near Lakeway is Miraval Austin, sprawled across 220 rural acres, offering wellness packages that include spa services and gourmet meals. 

4. JOHNSON CITY

Pedernales Falls State Park.
Pedernales Falls State Park. Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Tour the LBJ Ranch and see the 36th president’s childhood home at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. Hike or bike trails that lead to the twin waterfalls at Pedernales Falls State Park. Taste wines, dine at a brewery with live music and settle in for some pampering at Carter Creek Winery Resort & Spa. Let the kids get their hands on the innovative, technology-based exhibits and games at the Science Mill

5. LUCKENBACH

Pick up a T-shirt to prove you made it to the legendary Luckenbach Texas General Store, a combination souvenir shop/saloon housed in an 1800s trading post. Catch a country concert and do some lively two-steppin’ at Luckenbach Dance Hall. 

6. FREDERICKSBURG

Climb the magical pink granite dome at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Make your way along Fredericksburg Wine Road 290 and visit 17 award-winning wineries. Learn the history behind WWII in the Pacific at the National Museum of the Pacific War. Shop for chic boutique finds and dine in the bistro at Vaudeville. Explore a working wildflower farm, complete with a wine tasting room and beer garden, at Wildseed Farms

7. BOERNE

Check out the charming locally-owned shops and restaurants along the Hill Country Mile in the heart of historic Boerne. Try a pint of beer brewed on site at The Dodging Duck Brewhaus or choose from 80+ craft beers and ciders on tap at Random. See underground wonders on a guided cave tour through Cascade Caverns

8. SAN MARCOS

Kayak or float on a tube along the San Marcos River that winds through the center of town. Tour a cave and ride the train through a wildlife park at Wonder World Cave & Adventure Park. Just try to resist the designer deals at two area outlet malls: San Marcos Premium Outlets and Tanger Outlets

9. NEW BRAUNFELS

Schlitterbahn Waterpark.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Photo credit: Schlitterbahn Waterpark.

Spring-fed river waters fuel the thrilling slides and coasters at Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Raise a glass at 19 unique breweries on the scenic Hill Country Craft Beer Trail. Grab an inner tube and ride the currents of the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers that pass through New Braunfels. 

10. GRUENE 

Gruene Center with shops and Gruene Hall.
Gruene Center with shops and Gruene Hall.

The entire town of Gruene is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Browse antique and specialty shops housed in 19th century brick storefronts in the Gruene Historic District. See live bands at Gruene Hall, Texas’ oldest dance hall, where stars like Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams and Garth Brooks have commanded the original small stage. 

11. WIMBERLEY

Jacobs Well.
Jacobs Well.

Splash in the cool, clear waters of Jacob’s Well, home to one of Texas’ longest underwater caves (be sure to make a reservation). Wander through the town’s many art galleries and watch a glassblowing demonstration at Wimberley Glassworks. Arrange a tour of the family-run Bella Vista Ranch and pick up a bottle of fresh-pressed olive oil.

12. LOCKHART

The Barbecue Capital of Texas is known for famed restaurants like The Original Black’s Barbecue, family-run since 1932. Visit the charming shops, galleries, restaurants and historic theater that dot Lockhart’s town square. Peek inside the stately Caldwell County Jail Museum and landmark Caldwell County Courthouse.

13. ROUND TOP

Round Top is a shopaholic’s dream. Make a beeline to Henkel Square Market, where stores and eateries are housed in buildings that date back to the mid-1800s. And don’t miss Bybee Square, with galleries and boutiques nestled in historic homes. Find vintage treasures at The Original Round Top Antiques Fair, held in spring and fall.

14. MARBLE FALLS

Hill Country Wildflowers.
Hill Country Wildflowers. Photo credit: Pierce Ingram.

Reel in a catfish or go paddling on picturesque Lake Marble Falls. Jump on a dirt bike or ATV and tackle the trails at Hidden Falls Adventure Park. Indulge in a slice of homemade pie from the quaint Blue Bonnet Cafe, open since 1929. 


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