Is your Hill Country heart getting a little antsy to explore? As the weather cools down and you need a respite from the impending rhythms of the school year, take a day to breathe in the Hill Country air.
Image Courtesy of Richard Baltazar via @VisitBoerne
As the “Tuscany of Texas,” the Hill Country offers the rugged terrain, sweeping views, sparkling creeks, and rich wineries of the Italian countryside...but without the overseas price tag. If you’re looking to take advantage of a few more Texas gems (but still be back by bedtime), we’ve done the research for you: here are 14 fabulous Hill Country day trips less than 50 miles from home!
Comfort: 16.5 Miles Northwest
With a name as adorable as “Comfort,” this little town of nearly 2,500 is about as idyllic “small town” as it gets. But despite its small stature, Comfort packs a big punch when it comes to tourist attractions and things to do. Walk down the stone-masoned streets and pop into antique shops, boutiques, or one of the area’s 22 wineries before you settle in for a meal at a local dig. If you’re feeling outdoorsy, set up a camp by the Guadalupe and watch the Hill Country stars spread out across the sky. Pro Tip: Comfort is famous for the delightfully ominous “Scarecrow Invasion” from October 15th to October 31st.
Bandera: 25 Miles West
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Is it any surprise that the “Cowboy Capital of the World” is smack dab in the middle of the Hill Country? Bandera may be small (Pop: <1,000), but its audacious, fifty-gallon reputation is enough to garner a seriously hell-raising culture of its own. Pop in for horseback riding, trail hikes, and rodeo shows, and we can almost guarantee your Texas accent will be thicker by the end of the day. We recommend heading over on Saturdays from April through November, when “Cowboys on Main” displays Bandera in all its western glory.
Shop: Bandera General Store
Play: The Frontier Times Museum, Bandera City Park, Silver Spur Ranch
New Braunfels + Gruene: 40 Miles East
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About as German as it gets (outside of Boerne, of course!), New Braunfels is a Bavarian oasis in the South Texas heat. Located at the intersection of the mighty Guadalupe and the cool, clear Comal, this ever-growing town boasts attractions like Schlitterbahn and the Natural Bridge Caverns, as well as historic local favorites like Gruene Hall and the Gristmill. Plus, if you really want to see the town transform overnight, pop in for Wurstfest: a ten-day “salute to sausage” that takes place every November.
Blanco: 35 Miles Northeast
Photo of @blancoriverretreatImage & Taken by @amiereinholz
Though it was settled in 1853, Blanco is just beginning to peek its head into the tourism scene. Boasting the “Warmest Welcome in the Texas Hill Country," this little town offers plenty of shops, galleries, and restaurants that all seem untouched by modern hustle and bustle...all adjacent to the natural wonders of Blanco State Park! Pro Tip: Blanco truly comes to life when the local lavender fields are in bloom. Head to the Lavender Festival each summer for both education and aromatherapy galore!
Kerrville: 34 Miles Northwest
Image Courtesy of Samuel Beaver
A haven for artists and creatives, Kerrville’s location and culture have been curated to inspire since the nineteenth century. Set amidst the sparkling waters and sweeping views of the Guadalupe River Valley, Kerrville offers everything from rugged hiking and biking to serene gazebos. The area’s cultural arts realm also has a great deal to offer. Originally a hub for Texan artists, this city still holds a penchant for the creative. Visit the Museum of Western Art, the Cailloux City Center for the Performing Arts, the Texas State Arts and Crafts fair, and the Kerrville Folk Festival.
Johnson City: 50 Miles Northeast
The birthplace of Lyndon B Johnson, the aptly named Johnson City isn’t just for presidential history buffs (although they’ll nerd out hardcore, too). This adorable little town offers a surprisingly diverse set of tourist attractions, including everything from lavender farms, the Exotic Zoo Resort, wineries, and something whimsy called the “Science Mill.” Plus, Johnson City’s status as "Wildflower Capital of the Texas Hill Country” means it’s perfect for those annual family bluebonnet photoshoots. Oh, and don’t forget to stop in and gawk at the natural wonders of Pedernales Falls State Park while you’re here!
Fredericksburg/Enchanted Rock: 40 Miles North
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As the absolute classic “Hill Country Getaway,” Fredericksburg is no stranger to the wandering tourist. The city’s ambling views, warm atmosphere, German charm, and world-famous peaches make it a favorite amongst Texas travelers. Its enviable perch on prime Hill Country soil means Fredericksburg is a gardener’s paradise. But don’t just take our word for it...the proof is in the peaches, strawberries, rosemary, thyme, lavender, and (of course!) wine. Visit one of the 14 local wineries and see for yourself! Afterwards, stroll down the “Widest Main Street in Texas,” shop, admire eclectic galleries, and then catch the sunset at nearby Enchanted Rock, the nation’s second largest granite dome.
Luckenbach: 29 Miles North
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If there was ever a town that claimed country music as its bread-and-butter (or biscuits-and-gravy, if we’re taking liberties), that town would be Luckenbach, Texas. A one-building town in the middle of the Hill Country, Luckenbach still manages to boast “legendary status” in terms of music and popularity. The famous General Store and dance hall beckon everyone from far and wide to dance under the stars, eat a classic Texas meal, and listen to stories set to music. As their motto suggests, “Everybody is somebody” in Luckenbach, Texas.
Eat: Feed Lot
Shop: General Store
Play: Luckenbach Dance Hall
Hill Country adventures come in all shapes and sizes! All we know is that at the end of the day, as the kids are dozing and you’re pulling back into the familiar, outstretched arms of Boerne, TX, you’ll smile and know for certain that you live in everyone’s favorite Hill Country town. If you’re interested in finding out more about life in Boerne, let us be your guide! Contact a licensed REALTOR® and download our exclusive Buyer’s Guide today.