Spending Christmas with my mom in Kerrville, I got to reminiscing about all of the times I’ve been to the Texas Hill Country, my favorite part of my home state.
I grew up in Texas and lived there for almost 20 years. It’s a big state and I’ve been in just about every corner of it (except down by Big Bend National Park and that’s on my list for 2018)! Listening to live music at the South by Southwest festival in Austin. In San Antonio, eating Mexican food and drinking margaritas on the Riverwalk, getting splashed by whales at Seaworld, and touring the Alamo. Visiting the Houston Underground and the Dallas World Trade Center.
While these cities and sites are definitely worth visiting, I’m a small town country girl at heart. I’m so glad my mom lives in Kerrville, in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. The Hill Country is a great alternative to the big city scene. Surrounded by the beautiful and rugged Texas countryside, with outdoor activities, live music, great food, wine country, small town vibes, historic dance halls, and the Guadalupe river, going there is tons of fun. Here are a few of my favorite things to do in the Texas Hill Country.
Taste Wine on Fredericksburg Wine Road
Every time I go to Wine Road, I sit outside in the sun, drinking a glass of Texas wine, listening to live music. Fredericksburg Wine Road includes 16 wineries and vineyards 20 minutes outside of Fredericksburg on Highway 290. Each winery has its own charm and style. Torre di Pietra is reminiscent of an Italian villa. Becker Vineyards is more rustic.
Getting There: Google Maps for Becker Vineyards
Wander Wildseed Farms
Wildseed Farms is the largest working wildflower farm in the country with over 200 acres. There is no charge for admission. In addition to the beautiful wildflower fields, there’s a biergarten, winery, gift shop, and nursery. I could spend hours at Wildseed Farms, wandering the fields and gardens.
Getting There: Google Maps
Fredericksburg is all kinds of cute and quaint. This little town is a mashup of German culture and rural Texas flavor. I love to meander through the shops and people watch. There are biergartens everywhere. My favorite one is at the Auslander, a pub and eatery with authentic German food. The Auslander has a biergarten in the back of the restaurant, and open air tables at the front where you can continue people watching.
Hike Enchanted Rock
I’m nuts about hiking and have hiked all over Colorado. And yet the hike I did at Enchanted Rock in October 2017 is one of my all time favorite hikes. Not only is the hike itself challenging and fun, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area has 11 miles of hiking trails, with camping, rock climbing, and stunning views.
Getting there: Check out my Enchanted Rock post for details
Listen to Live Music in a Texas Dance Hall
What is a Texas dance hall, you ask? Dance halls started as community centers for Texas towns, where local folks gathered to meet, eat, drink, and socialize. Over time, these community centers evolved to places where bands played and people danced. Big as barns and with sawdust on hardwood floors, Texas dance halls are where the two-step was born and are a true part of small town Texas culture. I grew up two-stepping in dance halls and the entire family went, from toddlers to great-grandmothers. Many of the historic Texas dance halls are disappearing. There’s a whole movement to preserve this part of the Texas culture, Texas Dance Hall Preservation. Gruene Hall, considered by many to be the oldest dance hall in Texas, is still going strong. Some of the big names that have played there are George Strait, Garth Brooks, Bo Diddley, and Buddy Guy.
Getting There: Google Maps
Get On the Guadalupe River
When I was a kid, I learned how to swim in the Guadalupe River, which of course makes me partial to it. You have all kinds of choices for being in, on, or by the Guadalupe which runs from Kerrville to the Gulf of Mexico. You can tube, kayak, canoe, water ski, raft, fish, and just plain jump in. I love going for a run along the river at Louise Hays Park in Kerrville. And of course, I dig sitting on a riverside deck having drinks and food. Kerrville has many awesome decks to choose from.
Planning Your Own Trip to the Texas Hill Country
Flights: The closest major cities to the Texas Hill Country are San Antonio and Austin. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport typically offers cheaper airfare than San Antonio International. I love flying into the Austin airport to see the guitar display!
Where To Stay: Most of the places on my list are near Fredericksburg. Check out AirBnB for a variety of options in and around Fredericksburg, from funky Airstreams and cozy wine country cottages to an entire ranch. Or, backpack in Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, wander, and camp for a few days!
Does this list make you want to plan a trip to the Texas Hill Country? Let me know if you go! Or, if you’ve already been, tell me about your favorite places to visit there.