Sample locally made wine and beer, take off on an outdoor adventure, kick up your heels at a dance hall and shop one-of-a-kind boutiques in these 15 charming small towns found in beautiful Texas Hill Country.
1. Dripping Springs
Sip your way through the Distillery District, which boasts wineries, breweries and distilleries. Cool off in the aquamarine waters of Hamilton Pool Preserve, featuring a 50-foot waterfall (reservations required). Step back in time at the Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead & Museum, built by one of Dripping Springs’ founding families.
Savor the brisket at The Salt Lick BBQ and sip a glass of wine at neighboring Salt Lick Cellars. Set off on the Driftwood Wine Trail and sample award-winning wines at six different wineries. Discover sotol, an earthy Texas spirit, at Desert Door Distillery. Drink in the sweeping ranch views at Vista Brewing. Stop by Hays City Store & Ice House for comfort food and 50+ beers on tap.
Families love Lakeway Resort and Spa, perched above the shimmering waters of Lake Travis. Lake Austin Spa Resort, located on the shore of Lake Austin, was named the #1 resort in Texas by Condé Nast Traveler in 2018. Nearby Miraval Austin is a destination resort hidden among 220 hilly acres, offering luxe spa treatments, gourmet cuisine and equine experiences.
4. Johnson City
Tour the LBJ Ranch and see the 36th president’s childhood home and Texas White House at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. Hike the trails and check out the rushing twin falls at Pedernales Falls State Park. Get up close to more than 700 wild animals at Exotic Resort Zoo. Experiment with more than 50 interactive exhibits at the Science Mill, housed in an actual refurbished feed mill.
Pick up a souvenir T-shirt or shot glass at the legendary Luckenbach Texas General Store a combination souvenir shop/saloon housed in an 1800s trading post. Or catch a country western concert at Luckenbach Dance Hall in this tiny town that was immortalized in song by country superstars Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.
Enchanted Rock. Credit Pierce Ingram.
Climb the 425-foot-tall pink granite dome at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area for a panoramic view. Hit Fredericksburg Wine Road 290 and make stops at 19 wineries, including Becker Vineyards and Pedernales Cellars. Tour a replica battlefield at the National Museum of the Pacific War. Shop in the chic boutique and dine on New American cuisine at Vaudeville. Stroll trails lined with colorful wildflowers and sample Texas foods at Wildseed Farms.
Browse boutiques and dine at locally owned restaurants along the Hill Country Mile in the heart of downtown Boerne. Kick back at The Dodging Duck Brewhaus (offering gold medalwinning brews) and the family-friendly Random, featuring 80+ craft beers and cider on tap, plus live music. Take an evening flashlight tour through the underground Cascade Caverns.
8. San Marcos
Kayak or lazily float in a tube along the pristine San Marcos River that meanders through the center of town. Explore a cave and ride a tram through a waterfall at Wonder World Park. Get your shopping fix at two sprawling outlet malls: San Marcos Premium Outlets and Tanger Outlets.
9. New Braunfels
Ride a wild water coaster at Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort. Tour 18 distinctive breweries on the Hill Country Craft Beer Trail. Grab an inner tube and ride the currents of the spring-fed Comal and Guadalupe Rivers that pass through New Braunfels.
Gruene Hall. Courtesy of Gruene Historic District.
The entire town of Gruene is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Stroll the streets of the Gruene Historic District and browse the shops housed in 19th-century brick storefronts. Boot scoot across the wooden floorboards of Gruene Hall, Texas’ oldest dance hall, where big-name music stars and up-and-comers have been performing since 1878.
Jacob’s Well is home to one of Texas’ longest underwater caves. Wander through art galleries and watch artists craft colorful sculptures at Wimberley Glassworks. Stop by Bella Vista Ranch to pick up a bottle of fresh-pressed olive oil or small batch wine.
Belly up to The Barbecue Capital of Texas, where lip-smacking restaurants include The Original Black’s Barbecue, family-run since 1932. Marvel at the architecture of the Caldwell County Courthouse and browse the fun shops, galleries, restaurants and historic theater around the town square. See where outlaws were once held at the Caldwell County Jail Museum.
13. Round Top
Shoppers flock to Henkel Square Market (with art galleries and eateries nestled in renovated 1800s homes) and the Bybee Square shops across the street. Find gems like fine glass and vintage silver during The Original Round Top Antiques Fair, held in fall and spring.
Talk a walk through downtown Courthouse Square, where beautifully preserved Victorian-era buildings house shops and restaurants. See a play at the 1920s Georgetown Palace Theatre. Explore caves dotted with stalactites and awe-inspiring rock formations at Inner Space Cavern.
15. Marble Falls
Go swimming or boating on scenic Lake Marble Falls. Hop on an ATV and get revved to ride the off-road trails at Hidden Falls Adventure Park. Try the chicken-fried steak with a slice of homemade pie from the iconic Blue Bonnet Cafe, open since 1929. Go boating or golf three championship courses at nearby Horseshoe Bay Resort on Lake LBJ.