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The Best Places to Visit in the Texas Hill Country

The Texas Hill Country is an area that stretches from San Antonio to Austin, and is packed with a broad range of recreational opportunities ranging from hiking and fishing to history and food.

The Texas Hill Country is a vast swath of land (around 30,000 square miles) filled with dramatic canyons, clear lakes, mouthwatering barbecue, and world-class wines. Whether you have your sights set on a scenic weekend drive or an epic backpacking and canoeing trip, you can find the trip of your dreams somewhere in this beautiful region stretching between Austin and San Antonio that surrounds the upcoming Mayfair Texas community.

The opportunities for fun in the Texas Hill Country are so varied that we’ll start by breaking them down into a few categories: nature, food/wine, and culture/history.

New Braunfels riverImage Credit: New Braunfels Convention & Visitors Bureau

Natural Wonders and Epic Scenery

Canyon Lake. If you’re drawn to the Texas Hill Country because of its natural beauty, it’s likely you already know about Canyon Lake. Canyon Lake has over 8,000 acres of surface area well suited for water sports and fishing, and its odd, canyon-influenced shape makes for 80 miles of breathtaking shoreline. Its crystal blue waters are situated near the center of the Texas Hill Country, making it the region’s crown jewel in every sense. It is particularly well-known for great bass fishing action, but several other varieties of fish also make their homes in Canyon Lake.

Pick a river, any river. Tubing down one of the Texas Hill Country’s scenic rivers is perhaps the quintessential way to take in the beauty of the region at a relaxing pace, and there are reputable tour operators at both the Austin and San Antonio ends of the Texas Hill Country, as well as scattered throughout. Some of our favorite tubing rivers include the Guadalupe, Blanco, Frio, San Marcos, and Comal.

Take a walk. Most of the parks and natural areas you’ll find throughout the Texas Hill Country — be they picnic grounds, popular bird-watching spots, or swimming holes — will also be adjacent to hiking trails. Set aside a few hours of your trip to simply walk around and enjoy being under that big Texas sky. Some of our favorite hikes include Cypress Falls, Purgatory Creek, and the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

Texas Barbecue

Bangin’ BBQ and World-Class Wine

BBQ. There is downright epic barbecue to be had in both San Antonio and Austin, but there’s no shortage of out-of-the-way gems scattered throughout the Texas Hill Country as well. You can research ahead of time or just stick your nose out the window as you drive; you’ll probably smell something smoky, sweet, tangy, and irresistible in the air before long. Some of our top picks include Cooper’s Old Time Pit BBQ (New Braunfels, TX), The Salt Lick (Driftwood, TX), and Black’s, which has three locations, so you can stop in for a bite from either end of the Texas Hill Country.

Texas Hill Country Wine Trail. Not just a single destination, but an interpretive “trail” with over 50 potential stops, each offering its own tours and tastings! Some people are surprised to learn there are wineries in Texas at all, but the innovative and bold operations scattered throughout Texas Hill Country produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other well-loved wines that stand up to any competing vineyard region in North America.

Beer. While the Texas Hill Country Wine Trail is undoubtedly iconic, there’s more to drink around here than just wine. Craft breweries have been steadily making a foothold around the region, with Real Ale Brewing Company (Blanco, TX) in the spotlight. If you start your journey on the Austin side of the Hill Country, consider a stop at 512 Brewing to hydrate before you head out. Whether you’re an IPA lover, a cider aficionado, or just a connoisseur of all things beer, you’ll probably find a local take on your favorite brew as you make your way through the best places to visit in Hill Country Texas.

WurstfestImage Credit: New Braunfels Convention & Visitors Bureau

Cultural and Historical Hot Spots

Wurstfest (New Braunfels, TX). Held every November in the German-influenced suburb of New Braunfels, Wurstfest is one of the greatest celebrations of German culture and heritage to be found this side of the Atlantic. Officially proclaimed in 1961, Wurstfest has been thriving since then, and you don’t need to be German to enjoy great sausage, beer, and culture. Wurstfest is organized as a non-profit corporation and works to promote local commerce and tourism while also promoting and preserving the unique heritage of New Braunfels. If you’re passing through the Texas Hill Country in early November, it’s well “wurst” the drive into New Braunfels to check it out!

Music. The San Antonio and Hill Country areas are home to some absolutely iconic country and western music venues that remain in operation today. Historic Gruene Hall is one of the most prominent among them. At the other end of the Texas Hill Country, you have Austin, whose history as the “music capital” of Texas is nearly as full of great stories and colorful characters as its history as the actual state capital! The unique sounds of this brilliantly quirky region draw inspiration from blues, honky-tonk, conjunto, western, folk, rock n’ roll, and alternative country, just to name a few.

These suggestions barely scratch the surface of all the things you can do to entertain yourself in the beautiful Texas Hill Country that surrounds the upcoming Mayfair Texas community. Get out there and start exploring!

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