40+ Things to Do in Texas Hill Country
Tasty, finger-lickin’ BBQ. Beautiful clear water swimming holes. Rolling hills covered in bluebonnets. Charming small towns filled with friendly people. Lush wineries with picnics and tastings. There are literally SO many things to do in Texas Hill Country that I may not be able to list them all – but I am sure going to try!
As a local who spends every spare moment exploring all that this region has to offer, I’m excited to share some of my favorite things to do with you! My family’s personal favorite are numbers 1, 8, 15, 22, and 40.
Texas Hill Country is a special place with no shortage of ways to experience the true essence of all that the area has to offer.
Is Texas Hill Country Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! Texas Hill Country is beautiful in all seasons and offers many things to do. There are the most beautiful scenic wildflower drives in spring, refreshing swimming holes and waterfalls in summer, autumn colors in the fall, and charming, festive Christmas towns in winter.
Where is Texas Hill Country?
Texas Hill Country is located in Central Texas, starting west of Austin and ending at the north side of San Antonio. Hill Country starts at I-35 heading west and is on the Edwards Plateau. It is filled with rolling hills, charming towns, vineyards, rivers for tubing, and wildflowers as far as the eye can see. When you see Hill Country, you’ll know you are there!
It’s boundaries are often blurred and subjective by who is doing the explaining. We are pretty generous with our boundaries here at Very Truly Texas! If an experience is amazing – we’ll include it – even if it might be a smidge outside the boundary!
What is Texas Hill Country Known For?
Hill Country stands out from the rest of the Texas landscape due its beautiful features of the rolling hills where much of the rest of Texas is flat, limestone hills, clear rivers, and underground caverns. Hill Country is filled with quaint towns with traditional main streets, stunning wineries, incredible swimming holes, wildflower fields, deep historic roots, and plenty of pie and BBQ. Most well known-towns include Fredericksburg, Dripping Springs, and New Braunfels, among others. Austin and San Antonio are the cities that serve as gateways to Texas Hill Country.
What Cities are Considered Texas Hill Country?
Austin and San Antonio serve as the gateways into Texas Hill Country. Other towns in Hill Country include:
- Marble Falls
- New Braunfels
- Johnson City
- Dripping Springs
- Canyon Lake
What is the Best Town in Texas Hill Country?
It depends who you ask! Wimberly is a personal favorite due to its small town charm and amazing swimming holes. New Braunfels offers tubing on the refreshing Comal River. Fredericksburg is best for wine tasting, shopping and museums. Marble Falls has exceptionally fun holiday events and activities.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN TEXAS HILL COUNTRY
1. Swing off the Rope Swing at the Blue Hole in Wimberley
Wimberley’s Blue Hole (not to be confused with other Blue Holes around Central Texas) isn’t listed first by accident! We are huge fans of this beautiful gem located right in the heart of Hill Country. Beautiful year round for walking and picnics, summer is the best time to visit for swimming and swinging from the tree.
Reservations are required and summer weekends do fill pretty quickly, so make sure to plan ahead. Pack a picnic and enjoy the blue river, shaded lawn, and two different rope swings for kids and adults alike. Floaties are encouraged too for relaxing and also keeping your warmer on a chilly morning (they are rare – but Texas does get them sometimes!)
This gorgeous swimming area in Wimberley is on of the most beautiful natural springs in Texas – don’t miss it!
2. Try BBQ from Salt Lick in Driftwood – a Must-Do in Hill Country in Texas!
Let’s just pause for a moment and say, “Delicious!” With takeout options, indoor dining, and patio seating, you are set with Salt Lick BBQ, whether it is a hot summer day, chilly winter evening, or you are headed out to your favorite swimming hole.
It’s hard to pass up the brisket here, but if you are looking for something new, you can’t go wrong with the ribs or sausage either. If you time it right, don’t miss out on the peach cobbler for dessert. It is worth saving a bit of space for!
3. Book at Stay at a Dude Ranch in Bandera
We can’t speak from experience yet, but visiting one of Bandera’s dude ranches are high on our bucket list! With beautiful lodging, delicious restaurants on site, and everything from archery and horse back riding to massages.
Leave the hustle of life behind for a few days and relax at a working ranch with wide open country spaces, fresh air, and plenty of space to play hard or just relax.
4. Explore Jacob’s Well in Wimberley – a Hill Country Texas Favorite!
Jacob’s Well Natural Area is known for its unique swimming area as it is filled by a natural spring and includes an intricate cavern system. Splash around the outskirts for some fun water play of put on your brave face and jump from the rocks into the 140 foot deep cavern.
Jacob’s Well is open year-round for hiking (including guided hikes) and viewing, but swimming is only available during spring and summer and requires a paid reservation.
5. Follow the Trail of Cowboy Boots in Wimberley
This sweet town is made even more charming by the decorated cowboy boots that line the streets. Nearly 50 boots are painted by various artists and can be found along the main route through town. Check out this map to make sure you don’t miss any!
6. Learn about the Heritage of Fredericksburg at the Pioneer Museum
Fredericksburg’s Pioneer Museum is the perfect place to learn more about the history of Hill Country and the German roots of this lovely town. Filled with plenty of wineries, flavorful restaurants, beautiful parks, and hiking, this museum stands out as one of the highlights to better understanding how the town originated.
Complete with a blacksmith shop, schoolhouse, and several home, the museum requires at least a couple of hours to fully enjoy. Admission details can be found here.
7. Visit the Historic Post Office in Luckenbach
The combined Post Office, General Store and Bar in Luckenbach is a sweet spot worth a quick stop for photos and historical significance. If you are lucky enough to plan your trip around their music schedule, you’ll want to make it more than a quick stop. With a population of only three, more visitors come through than locals these days, but if walls could talk, you might never leave for fear of missing an incredible story!
8. Swim in the Natural Spring Pool at Krause Springs in Spicewood
Krause Springs is another personal favorite, as this privately-owned, spring-fed pool and swimming hole is a magical place. Filled with lush green trees, a musical garden, picnic areas, exquisite stone work, and even a couple waterfalls, Krause Springs is the perfect place to spend a day.
Admission fees do apply, so plan ahead and maybe bring cash for backup in case the card system is down. And don’t forget your floaties here! There is a thoughtful air compressor for a quick fill of your tubes and unicorns.
9. Stroll the Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls at Christmas
Of all the Texas Christmas towns, Marble Falls is one that should absolutely be on your list. There are an incredible number of holiday activities in Marble Falls every season. Filled with 130 sculptures and over 2 million lights, it is a magical experience. Plan ahead and check the ice skating calendar for snow fall evenings to add on your holiday fun!
10. Climb Enchanted Rock outside Llano
With its towering pink granite dome and scenic hiking trails, it’s no wonder why Enchanted Rock attracts thousands of visitors each year. For outdoor enthusiasts, Enchanted Rock offers over 11 miles of hiking trails with varying difficulty levels. For those looking for an easy stroll, the Loop Trail is perfect as it takes you around the base of the rock and provides amaziing views. The Summit Trail is more challenging but rewards hikers with panoramic views from atop the dome.
But Enchanted Rock isn’t just for hikers – there are also opportunities for rock climbing, bird watching, stargazing, and even camping. The park also hosts many events like Star Parties with astronomers and Campfire Chats where travelers can hear historic stories about the park.
11. Watch Live Music at Dahlia Cafe in Liberty Hill
Perhaps the cutest music stage on our list of things to do in Hill Country, Dahlia’s Café offers a delicious menu and a great musical line up. Go for the Mother-in-law’s meatloaf or the Shrimp and Grits and stay for Aunt Bea’s Buttermilk Pie – yum!
12. Pick Peaches at Jenschke Orchards in Fredericksburg
Located in Fredericksburg, Texas, Jenschke Orchards is a family-owned and operated farm that has been producing some of the finest peaches in the state for over 50 years. With over 30 different varieties of peaches to choose from, there’s something for everyone.
Simply grab a basket (provided by the orchard), hop on one of their wagons, and ride out to the designated picking area. You’ll also find delicious cobblers, farm fresh eggs, and homemade ice cream.
13. Tour Longhorn Cavern State Park in Burnet
With its stunning limestone formations, crystal-clear waters, and fascinating history, Longhorn Cavern State Park is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
The caverns themselves are the main attraction here. Formed over millions of years by underground water erosion, they’re a network of tunnels and chambers that stretch over 1.5 miles long. As you descend, you’ll be amazed by their towering ceilings, intricate stalactites and stalagmites formations that have been formed over thousands of years. One of the most unique features of Longhorn Cavern is the Dance Hall where the cavern walls have many stories to tell!
Cavern tours are available daily as well as self-guided hiking on one of their many trails. Children will also love mining for gemstones.
14. Kayak Inks Lake in Burnet
We are a kayak loving family, and Inks Lake State Park is one of our favorite spots in Texas Hill Country. Easy, inexpensive rentals are available here as well as pedal boats. Kayakers can stick around near the shore or venture off toward Devil’s Watering Hole which is a fun spot to explore and an attraction in itself.
The State Park also hosts a campground for tents and RVs with plenty of green space. Simple and cozy lakefront cabins in the park are also the perfect spot for a weekend in nature.
15. Take a Scenic Drive through the Bluebonnet Fields
When Spring hits the hillsides, bluebonnet spotting becomes one of the best things to do in Texas Hill Country. These blue and purple wildflowers are the Texas State flower and they are well loved by locals and visitors alike.
Take a drive through Willow City Loop in Fredericksburg, hike the trails at McKinney Falls, visit Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, or check out Brushy Creek Lake Park for more bluebonnet fields near Austin.
16. Visit Devil’s Waterhole in Burnet in Northern Hill Country
If you’re looking for a unique outdoor adventure in Texas, the Devil’s Waterhole at Inks Lake State Park should definitely be on your list! Accessed via boat or a short hike from the parking lot, this swimming hole is family friendly.
Located in Burnet, Devil’s Watering Hole is a deep pool surrounded by towering cliffs and rocky outcroppings. The water is crystal clear and perfect for cooling off on hot summer days, but be warned – the depth can vary greatly depending on recent rainfall. Use caution and have fun exploring!
17. Float down the Comal River in New Braunfels
The Comal River is known for its crystal-clear waters, scenic views, and easy-going rapids. It’s a popular spot for tubing because of its gentle flow and shallow depth, making it suitable for all ages and skill levels.
Tubing on the Comal River usually takes around two to three hours, depending on how fast you go. There are several places where you can rent tubes or bring your own. One of the most popular rental spots is at Prince Solms Park, which offers tube rentals as well as shuttle services back to your starting point. This spot is also home to the City Chute where riders can take a quick sprint down the water chute. Life jackets and extreme water safety are highly recommended.
As you float along the river, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery and plenty company as this is hot spot for locals as well as visitors.
18. Pick up a Texas Souvenir from Hill Country Mile in Boerne
Hill Country Mile is an area in downtown Boerne that spans along the Main Street. It’s a popular destination for tourists and locals alike who are looking for unique shops, delicious food, and stunning scenery.
One of the main attractions of Hill Country Mile is its variety of boutiques and specialty stores. Shoppers can find everything from locally made jewelry at Boerne Jewelers, as well as home good at Calamity Jane’s, and art galleries featuring local artists. Whether searching for a one-of-a-kind gift or picking up a sweet and spicy treat at Fickle Pickle , there’s something for everyone here.
19. Take to the Water Slides at Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels
Schlitterbahn is a family-favorite destination on our list of things to do in Hill Country. Packed to the gills on hot summer days, plan to arrive early to make the most of your time.
Attractions, pool, and rides are varied, allowing for plenty for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Coolers are allowed inside, but plenty of food options are available for purchase as well.
There are two sides to the park with a quick shuttle that runs between them. Expect loooong lines on the big slides and hit them up early. Our family favorite is hands-down the Torrent River and we recommend planning to spend hours riding it!
20. Move your Dancing Feet at the Dance Hall in Gruene
If you’re looking for a taste of Texas history and culture, look no further than the Gruene Dance Hall. Located in the charming town of Gruene (pronounced “green”), just outside of New Braunfels, this iconic dance hall has been hosting live music and dancing since 1878.
Walking into the dance hall is like stepping back in time. The wooden floors, long wooden tables and benches lining the walls, vintage signs advertising beer and soda, and historic photos add to its historic charm. But it’s not just about nostalgia at Gruene Dance Hall – it’s also about great music. From country to blues to rock-a-billy, you’ll find an eclectic mix of live bands playing every day of the week.
21. Experience the Crystal Clear Water at Garner State Park
One of the main draws of Garner State Park is its pristine Frio River, which runs through the heart of the park. Whether you’re looking to swim, tube, or simply relax on the banks with a good book, there’s no better place to soak up some sun and enjoy nature’s bounty.
But it’s not just about the water – Garner State Park also offers an abundance of hiking trails that wind through rugged canyons and lush forests. From easy strolls to strenuous hikes, there’s something for every level of adventurer here. In fall, you just might get to experience changing colors on the trees too!
22. Pick Strawberries at Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls
This sweet farm is a favorite spot in spring and early summer. Strawberries are sold by the pound and admission is free. There are also picnic areas, fresh strawberry popsicles and ice cream. and fun activities for kids like the jumpy pillow and crafts.
You’ll also find other strawberry picking farms in towns close by like Fredericksburg and Georgetown.
23. Rent a Boat on Canyon Lake
Canyon Lake is a fabulous destination for boaters of all skill levels. With over 80 miles of shoreline, there’s plenty of space to explore on the water. Whether you want to cruise around and take in the stunning scenery or anchor up and swim or fish, Canyon Lake has got you covered. The crystal-clear water is perfect for swimming, so don’t forget your swimsuit!
There are several marinas on the lake where you can rent boats or launch your own. You can choose between paddleboats, pontoons, ski boats or jet skis as well.
24. Lounge Lakeside at the Resort in Horseshoe Bay
The Horseshoe Bay Resort along the shores of Lake LBJ is the perfect spot to recharge and enjoy the lake on a warm day. Relax on a lounger lakeside or splurge for a cabana, rent jet skis or a boat, play on the inflatable water park, or enjoy the view from your luxurious room. Don’t miss the firepit s’mores each evening or take to the golf course for some exercise.
25. Explore the Castle Winery in Johnson City
The 290 Wine Castle in Johnson City is sure to catch your eye when driving by, so why not stop for a visit? A mix of European, Texas, and California wines are offered at the wine tastings here in a memorable medieval environment. This is an adults-only property and reservations are strongly encouraged, so travelers will need to plan ahead for this stop.
26. Check out the Iconic Hamilton Pool Preserve Waterfall
One of Austin’s prettiest waterfalls, Hamilton Pool Preserve has been beckoning visitors for decades. This stunning destination features a beautiful emerald green pool, surrounded by towering cliffs and lush vegetation.
One of the main draws of Hamilton Pool Preserve is its namesake swimming hole. The pool was formed thousands of years ago when the dome over an underground river collapsed, creating a 50-foot waterfall that spills into a tranquil pool below. The water here is perfect for swimming on a hot summer day, however it is important to note that swimming may or may not be allowed each day depending on weather and safety conditions.
Reservations are required and the walkway under the overhang is not currently accessible due to falling rocks. The falls are most impressive after a heavy rainfall.
27. Smell the Lavender Farms in Blanco
The charming town of Blanco is home to lavender farms that offer visitors a chance to unwind and bask in nature’s beauty. One such farm is the Hill Country Lavender Farm. Here, you can stroll through fields of fragrant lavender blossoms, snap some photos, and sometime even pick your own lavender.
The Blanco Lavender Festival is also held in Blanco each June. Visitors will find an array of lavender-infused products including essential oils, soaps and candles, all made from harvested plants. You can even sample some culinary delights infused with this herb at some of the food stalls available.
28. Take a Dip at Pedernales Falls in Johnson City
The centerpiece of Pedernales State Park is Pedernales Falls itself, where the Pedernales River cascades over massive limestone rocks creating several pools perfect for swimming and wading. Whether you’re looking to cool off on a hot summer day or simply want to take in the stunning views, this spot won’t disappoint.
But there’s more to see beyond just the falls themselves. The park offers miles of hiking trails through wooded areas and open fields that are home to plenty of wildlife such as deer, foxes, and even armadillos! The trails range from easy strolls along the riverbank to challenging treks up steep inclines.
29. One of the Best Things to do in Texas Hill Country: Pick up Wildflower Seeds at Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg
Bluebonnet, Red Poppies, Sunflowers, oh my! The largest working wildflower farm in the country is Wildseed Farms and it is a fantastic activity to do in Hill Country. This sprawling 200-acre property is home to fields upon fields of vibrant wildflowers, making it the perfect destination for nature lovers and flower enthusiasts alike.
One of the highlights of visiting Wildseed Farms is taking a leisurely stroll through their flower fields. Here, you’ll be surrounded by colorful blooms and fluttering butterflies as they flit from one colorful flower to another.
In addition to the stunning wildflowers and butterfly garden, Wildseed Farms also boasts a fully-stocked gift shop where you can purchase seeds, plants, gardening tools, and other fun souvenirs. There’s also a tasty café on-site where you can grab a bite to eat or an ice cream cone.
30. Don’t Miss Lockhart – the BBQ Capital of Texas
Thousands of visitors flock to the four BBQ restaurants in Lockhart each week. Given the “Barbeque Capital of Texas” title by legislature in 1999, Lockhart continues to live up to its name.
Smitty’s Market, Kreuz Barbeque, Chisholm Trail Barbeque, and Blacks Barbeque all serve satisfied customers each day. Stop by for brisket, sausages, pork ribs and if you want baby back beef ribs, they have that too. Blacks was the first BBQ spot in Texas and has been serving happy customers for over 90 years.
31. Watch the Bats at Bracken Cave Preserve
Many people head to Austin’s Congress Bridge to see the bats, but this hidden gem is home to one of the largest bat colonies in the world, and witnessing these creatures take flight is a truly awe-inspiring experience.
Located just outside San Antonio, the Bracken Cave Preserve is home to millions of Mexican free-tailed bats. Every evening during spring and summer months, these bats emerge from their roosts deep within the cave system and fill the sky with an incredible display of aerial acrobatics. It’s difficult not to appreciate their graceful movements as thousands of bats overhead dart and weave through the air.
32. Take a Float Down the San Marcos River
If you’re looking for a fun summer activity in Texas, tubing on the San Marcos River should definitely be at the top of your list. This amazing river is the perfect place to float lazily downstream while soaking up some sun and enjoying the beautiful scenery. The water temperature stays refreshingly cool during even the hottest summer days, making it a great way to beat the heat.
Tubing on the San Marcos River is an easy and affordable way to spend time on the water. There are several companies that rent tubes and offer shuttle services to take you back upriver after your float. You can also bring your own tube and launch from one of the river’s public access points.
MORE THINGS TO DO IN HILL COUNTRY IN TEXAS
33. Pick up a Slice of Pie from Blue Bonnet Café in Marble Falls
If you’re a pie lover and happen to be in the Marble Falls area, then Blue Bonnet Café should definitely be on your itinerary. This local institution has been serving up delicious homemade pies since 1929, and their reputation is well-deserved.
Blue Bonnet Cafe’s pies are made from scratch with only the freshest ingredients. They have an extensive selection of flavors to choose from, including classics like Apple, Peach, and Pecan, and some decadent options like Coconut Cream and Chocolate Meringue. Stop by for a slice or preorder a whole pie!
34. Snap Family Photos in the Bluebonnets at Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area in Spicewood
One of the best places to see bluebonnets in Texas is at Muleshoe Bend. This picturesque area is located in Spicewood and offers breathtaking views of rolling hills covered in vibrant blue flowers as far as the eye can see. The best time to visit Muleshoe Bend is during peak bluebonnet season, which typically runs from mid-March through mid-April.
Muleshoe Bend is a popular spot for hiking, picnicking, and taking photos with family and friends. Whether you’re a seasoned nature enthusiast or just looking for a peaceful escape from city life, this scenic spot has something for everyone.
35. Paddle Board along the Austin Skyline on Lady Bird Lake
Paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake is one of the best thing to do in Hill Country and one of Austin’s best activities as well. As you glide across the calm waters, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking views of downtown Austin and lush greenery. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time paddler, this lake has something for everyone.
One of the best things about paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake is that there are plenty of rental options available. You can easily find a local business that rents out high-quality boards at affordable prices. Plus, most rental companies will provide all the necessary safety equipment, such as life jackets and leashes.
36. Soak up the Flower Views at Lady Bird Wildflower Center in Austin
The Lady Bird Wildflower Center is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the native plants of Texas, making it a great place to learn more about the natural environment around us.
As soon as you walk through the gates, you’ll be greeted by an array of stunning wildflowers and other indigenous plants. There are 284 acres with a variety of species on display here, so there’s always something new and interesting to see.
The Hill Country Meadow Garden and Home Inspiration Garden are unique components, while the Family Garden offers interactive exhibits and activities for kids (and adults!).
37. Hike to Gorman Falls at Colorado Bend State Park
Gorman Falls is a stunning 70-foot waterfall tucked away in the heart of Texas Hill Country. The trailhead begins in Colorado Bend State Park and is around three miles round trip. Don’t be deceived by the shorter distance; this hike isn’t super easy. The first stretch is relaxed by the last stretch requires holding onto a chain hand rail. The terrain can be rocky and steep, so it’s essential to wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring plenty of water.
As you make your way deeper into the park, you’ll pass through fields of wildflowers and oak trees providing shade from the sun. As you approach the falls, you’ll hear the splash of the cascade and the beautiful falls will come into view.
38. Say Hello to the Longhorns at Lyndon B. Johnson State Park
Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site is named after the past president who spent his childhood in this area. The park offers visitors an opportunity to explore the rugged beauty of Central Texas with its rocky hills, lush forests, clear streams, and picturesque countryside.
Lyndon B Johnson State Park boasts several picnic areas where you can enjoy a meal with your loved ones while taking in breathtaking views of nature all around you. Tour the German historic cabins, talk with the rangers at the living history farm, and walk along the 1.2 mile trail seeing the longhorns, bison, and wildflowers.
39. Take a Chilly Dip in Barton Springs in Hill Country Texas
Nestled right in the heart of Zilker Park, this natural spring-fed pool is a true gem that attracts visitors from all over the world. The water is a gorgeous aqua and has a beautiful of the Austin skyline.
The water at Barton Springs stays a refreshing 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, making it the perfect place to cool off during hot Texas summers. Expect the water to feel very chilly, so bring a floatie to make your swim more comfortable. You’ll need to leaver your cooler in your car, so eat before you come in. Then stretch out a towel on the lawn, float in the springs, or take a splash off of the diving board!
40. Take in the Beauty of McKinney Falls State Park
McKinney Falls State Park covers hundreds of acres and boasts two stunning waterfalls that cascade into beautiful pools perfect for swimming or fishing. Explore Onion Creek and the remains of an early Texas shelter.
There are plenty of other outdoor activities to enjoy here as well. Hiking trails wind through forests of juniper and oak trees, leading to scenic overlooks with breathtaking views of the surrounding terrain. Mountain bikers will love the rugged limestone paths that weave through rocky outcroppings. And bluebonnet season is nothing to ignore here at McKinney Falls. Watch for those beautiful flowers in each Spring.
The campgrounds at this state park are large and beautiful as well. We camped as a family last Fall and found the grounds to be gorgeous and so very peaceful.
Visit the Natural Springs in Lampasas
Lampasas is home to the beautiful natural springs in Hancock Park that put the town on the map over a century ago. The crystal clear waters make for a refreshing swim in summer and is one of Lampasas’s best things to do!
After working up an appetite in the pool, head to Storm’s Drive-In for high quality burgers and strawberry milkshakes – just like Elvis liked them in the 1950s!
Best Things to do in Texas Hill Country
Texas Hill Country is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. From hiking to kayaking to wine tasting, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful region of the Lone Star State.
Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or planning an extended vacation, there are so many amazing things to do in Texas Hill Country to explore and enjoy. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for an unforgettable experience in one of the most stunning parts of Texas!