An Enchanting Road Trip in Texas Hill Country - Go Wandering

An Enchanting Road Trip in Texas Hill Country

By Shannon Alfes |
An Enchanting Road Trip in Texas Hill Country
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Road trips are extremely therapeutic, especially when they are as scenic and peaceful as the Texas Hill Country. There are many places to make a road trip in the United States, and the Texas Hill Country has it all – beautiful countryside, friendly locals, hidden swimming holes, rolling hills, and small towns bursting with charm. The Texas Hill Country is an area in Central and South Texas. It forms the southeast part of the Edwards Plateau.

It is considered the border between the American Southeast and Southwest because of its terrain, location, climate, and vegetation. The region represents quite a remote countryside of Central Texas, even though it is home to growing suburban neighborhoods and affluent retirement communities.

Notable for its karst topography, it stands tall with rugged hills of limestone or granite that rise to the height of 400 to 500 feet above the surrounding plains and valleys. For example, Packsaddle Mountain rises to the size of 800ft above the Llano River in Kingsland. The country is also famous for the second-largest granite dome in the country, known as the Enchanted Rock. Defined by the thin layer of topsoil and many exposed rocks, it is a dry region and one that’s prone to flash flooding. The native vegetation in the area includes yucca, prickly pear cactus, desert spoon, and wildflowers in the Llano Uplift.

The Texas Hill Country, initially settled by the German and Eastern Europeans, has a unique blend of cultures. So don’t be surprised when folks in Fredericksburg, Boerne, and New Braunfels speak fluent German. In addition, picturesque small towns with a variety of outdoor adventures are just a stride away. You can go shopping down Main Street, hiking and biking through rolling, scenic terrain, and vineyard tours are galore. All of this is in a 90-minute radius.


Day 1

You will drive west on Highway 290, then go north on Highway 71. Start the road trip with a dip in the Hamilton Pool Preserve. Nothing beats a swim, especially if the temperatures are soaring above the usual. Then take Highway 12 and head south through the Dripping Springs as you head to Johnson City. Don’t forget to hit the roadside Texas Tavern Barbecue; it is almost a sin if you don’t. Make sure to check out the old limestone jail that was built in 1894, and that is still in use today.

You will proceed westward on highway 290 toward Stonewall to LBJ State Park and Historic Site. A retreat to President Lyndon B. Johnson, the ranch is regarded as the Texan White House. While at this site, you will get to watch an old movie about the 36th President. Once you hit highway 290, branch off to Becker Vineyards for some fantastic wine tasting; after the illustrious drinking by all of the crew except the designated driver, continue westward on Highway 290 for about fourteen miles. There you will find the German homestead of Fredericksburg. That should be your resting point for the night; enjoy the schnitzel, beer, and German polka music in most German-themed hotels in the area.

Day 2

You can begin the day with a stroll down Fredericksburg’s Main Street to see the various shops and boutiques. After that, pay a visit to the Pioneer Museum and Gish’s Old West Museum. If you are a World War II zealot, then you must check out the National Museum of the Pacific War to see the artillery that was used at the time. Next, you will get on the road and head north on RR 965 to one of the Hill Country’s most craved natural wonders, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, for some incredible hiking. Enjoy the hike on the gigantic granite-dome rock for better sightseeing. After the walk, enjoy the therapeutic views on the road in Texas, the Willow City Loop. You will then continue south of Fredericksburg on highway 16 to Kerrville toward Hunt. While there, you should look out for Stonehenge II, a mysterious rock formation in Ingram, TX made to replicate the original in England. After enjoying its scenic obscurity, make your way to Bandera, regarded as the Cowboy Capital of the World. Once there, enjoy the remarkable food and culture.

Day 3

After a big cowboy-style breakfast, a horseback ride should kick-start day 3. A tour guide should take you into the backcountry on trails that have been trodden under hoof for eons. After the horseback ride into the echelons of history, get some lunch to fuel back up. Prepare to head downtown to explore the unique western shops that flank Bandera’s dirt sidewalks. Then head to Frontier Times Museum as the final visit in Bandera. Finally, take Highway 46 toward the historic German pioneer town of Boerne. There is an excellent spot on Cibolo Creek to hunker down for the rest of the day. Walk down Main Street, known to locals as Huaptstrasse, where you will find dozens of antique shops, boutiques, and food points – all built-in limestone by the German pioneers.

Day 4

As soon as you have done all the morning rituals such as washing up and eating a filling breakfast, hit the road, and drive north on RR 474. There you will explore Cave without a Name, full of intriguing rock formations, stalagmites, and stalactites. After the magical experience, head back to Boerne, then go east on Highway 46, where you will encounter Guadalupe River State Park. At the park, there are a variety of activities such as tubing the Guadalupe River and sightseeing. After the illustrious fun at the river, then you should head to New Braunfels and the alluring town of Gruene. Explore Gruene’s eccentric buildings full of antiques and a few restaurants overlooking the Guadalupe River. Gruene Hall should be your final stop of the road trip; an old structure with chicken wire windows that is said to be the oldest dance hall in the entirety of Texas. Legends still roam the establishment, providing great foot-stomping music.

The last dance is never the wrong way to end a joyful road trip in the Wild West. Your trip through the Texas Hill Country will certainly be one that stands out if you’re a seasoned explorer of the scenic routes in the United States, as the enchanting appeal that is found throughout it leaves its mark on all who make their way here.

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