The arrival of summer often brings with it a wanderlust. The desire to travel is strong, but somewhere between an exotic getaway and a staycation lies a never-ending number of great places to spend a day or longer, with Hill Country getaways right in your own backyard. Those who live here have the advantage of soaking it all in without enduring a long drive in the car.
Quaint shops, wineries, and the opportunity to enjoy a stunning view from the top of the pink granite Enchanted Rock draw visitors from far and wide to Fredericksburg. This charming city is also the peach capital of Texas, so visitors love to pick their own at Marburger Orchards.
One of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, Austin is accessible from anywhere in the Hill Country and makes a great place for a summer getaway. Spend the afternoon cooling off at the 68-degree Barton Springs Pool, picnic with a view of the river at Zilker Park, and watch one of nature’s most curious sights—millions of bats emerging at sunset from the Congress Avenue Bridge. As Austin is also a foodie town, you’ll want to make sure you hit a few faves like Uchi for sushi and Franklin Barbecue, routinely named the best barbecue in the state.
A favorite spot of daytrippers and vacationers, this historic town is best known as the home of Gruene Hall, Texas’ most famous dance hall. Next door is the famous Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar, another favorite spot. There are free daily wine tastings at The Grapevine, and don’t leave town without a piece of homemade fudge at the Gruene General Store.
Head toward San Antonio and stop in this quaint place, where you can enjoy the favorite shops, art galleries, and European architecture along the Hauptstrasse (Main Street). Cave Without A Name is a National Natural Landmark and a living cavern that is thought to be the most spectacular in Texas. Visitors also love spending time at the Cibolo Nature Center, where 100 acres of wilderness and trails with walking paths bordering Cibolo Creek, horseback riding, and Kreutzberg Canyon Natural Area.
A day on the lake is as little as mere minutes from home when you live in the Hill Country.
At Canyon Lake, you can swim, boat, and fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, Guadalupe bass, white and striped bass, and catfish. Or, enjoy a view of the lake while you hike, bike, picnic, or go horseback riding on the lake trails.
Sandwiched between Austin and San Antonio, New Braunfels is a hotspot all its own. Float the Comal or Guadalupe, cool off and have some fun at Schlitterbahn, and take in some beautiful Hill Country scenery and the city’s German heritage at the same time. Make sure if you’re spending a day in New Braunfels that you leave time for wine tasting right on the Texas Wine Trail at Dry Comal Creek, and then head across the street to Vintage Oaks to tour the fastest-growing community in the Hill Country.