Have you ever explored the Texas Hill Country? If you don’t know, the Texas Hill Country includes cities like Austin, Fredericksburg, Gruene, San Antonio, San Marcos, New Braunfels, Marble Falls, and even Horseshoe Bay. I talked about my favorite place to stay and things to do in Horseshoe Bay and Lake Travis here, as they are both in the Texas Hill Country. So in today’s post I wanted to share some beautiful cities that are perfect for a road trip through the Hill Country!
I’ve done several TRAVEL blog posts on this part of beautiful Texas. You can see my Texas Summer Travel Guide, this piece on Boot Ranch and of course my visit to Lake Austin Spa Resort. So it seems natural that we should cover more destinations. We fell in love with the Texas Hill Country years ago when our kids were attending Camp Waldemar (be sure to eat at The Hunt Store in Hunt, Texas) and Camp Lonehollow. Check out these locations that would be excellent weekend trips or somewhere fun to visit this summer.
Fredericksburg is most known for its 14 local wineries, making it the center of the Texas Wine Country. Did you know it’s actually second in wine tourism right behind Napa Valley? I suggest looking into 4.0 Cellars, which has three wonderful wineries. Or take a full wine tour through Majesty Wine Tours. People also flock from all over to visit Enchanted Rock, which is particularly beautiful at sunset. You can hike, camp, picnic, and stargaze at this beautiful dome for amazing Hill Country views. This town has the cutest places to stay, such as Hoffman Haus – a luxury bed and breakfast. They offer standard rooms, large suites, or even your own personal little farmhouse! I must say that the food there looks top-notch. Although a chef can prepare your meals at Hoffman Haus, you can also try gourmet German cuisine at Otto’s Bistro, Caribbean food from Navajo Grill, tacos at Tubby’s, a juicy burger from Burger Burger, or a more health-conscious meal at Vaudeville Bistro. Fredericksburg also has an array of art galleries down Main Street that are worth checking out, especially since they serve local wines! And lastly, you MUST go on a tour of the breathtaking lavender fields anytime from May through July.
Gruene is right outside of New Braunfels and San Antonio. It’s most popular for its history and said to be the best spot for antique lovers! You might have heard of Gruene Hall – the oldest dance hall in Texas where musicians like Willie Nelson and George Strait have even played. You can take a historic walking tour here or come for the artisan goods market days on every third weekend of the month from now until November. Visitors also come from all around to visit the Grist Mill Restaurant, which overlooks the Guadalupe River. For Mexican food lovers, visit Adobe Verde or Cantina del Rio. Or grab a cup of coffee at Gruene Coffee Haus. Go shopping for antiques in Gruene or have a nice wine tasting. You can stay at the quaint and rustic bed and breakfast called the Gruene Mansion Inn or opt to drive into San Antonio to stay instead. This makes for the perfect trip for any history lover!
West Lake Hills (Austin)
West Lake Hills in Austin is truly one of the prettiest places! The Hotel Granduca here is just fabulous and so perfect for a getaway out of the city. It was actually voted one of the top 10 hotels in Texas, as it’s luxurious and sophisticated. The hotel is designed to be a taste of Italy in the South, providing for stunning views and a calming atmosphere. The pool is gorgeous and the rooms are very spacious. You can even listen to live music at the bar in the evenings. After all, Austin is the live music capital of the world! This really is the perfect place for a staycation if you’re in the area. It’s a quick 20 minute drive to downtown Austin, which has fabulous restaurants like North Italia, Sophia’s, Fixe, ATX Cocina and Le Politique. If you want to do something fun outside during the day, head over to Lady Bird Lake or Lake Travis in Austin and rent a kayak or paddle board. Or go to Zilker Park for a stroll and pretty picnic. Austin is the best mix of exciting activities and a relaxed environment!
San Antonio has a lot to offer! The La Cantera Resort & Spa is located here atop one of the highest points possible overlooking the Texas Hill Country. The scenery is spectacular and the environment is quite luxurious. It has total Texas charm with its golf courses, tennis courts, several pools, numerous restaurants, spa, and kid-friendly activities. But if you are less about the relaxing views and more about an authentic San Antonio experience… instead stay along the Riverwalk at Hotel Valencia, in the historic district at Hotel Emma, or by the Alamo at the majestic and luxurious St. Anthony Hotel. Of course, the Alamo is iconic to San Antonio! There really is so much history here, so certainly check out the Historic Market Square for tons of fun Mexican mercados and the Pearl Historic District for more eating, shopping, and history. Many of you know I love Bird Bakery in HP Village here, but did you realize that the original location is in San Antonio where the creator Elizabeth Chambers is from? Some other great places to eat around here are Piatti’s for Italian, Papouli’s for casual but delicious Greek food, Paloma Blanca’s for Mexican, and Ocho at the Havana Hotel for Latin American cuisine in a fun ambiance. Oh and before leaving, you must take an evening walk or boat ride down the Riverwalk!
San Marcos has a lot of natural beauty! You can float the river or go tubing, canoeing, swimming, fishing, and even snorkeling here. They also offer glass bottom boat tours. One of my personal favorite things about San Marcos is the shopping though! They have one of the best outlet malls in the country called Premium Outlets, which has about 150 luxury stores like Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Lululemon, Tory Burch, Saks, and Neiman Marcus. It was actually deemed one of the top 5 places to shop in the nation. After shopping, cross the road over to Center Point Station for one of the best burgers, some fresh fudge, and a little boutique shopping. You could also grab some wine and a snack at the lovely Patio Dolcetto. Or if beer and comfort food is more your thing, try Aqua-Brew. Some other great places to eat are Industry for brunch, Black’s BBQ for barbecue, or Perk Up for fresh sandwiches and coffee. I would recommend doing a day trip to San Marcos because your nice hotel options are limited. Perhaps even drive just 45 minutes to Hotel Granduca outside of Austin if you’re looking for a relaxing evening.
Do you know of some great spots in the Texas Hill Country? I’d love to know about them! Please leave a comment and give me your input.
xoxo – Tanya