Just north of San Antonio and west of Austin, the Texas Hill Country is one of the state’s most pleasant surprises, as its rolling green hills, wineries, orchards and charming towns present a scene that doesn’t altogether resemble the stereotypical image of Texas as a dusty, Southwestern state. Visit in the spring to see wild flowers like the Texas bluebonnet – the state flower of Texas – infuse some color into the hillsides.
Most travelers will start their trips from either San Antonio or Austin, and driving around the region visiting quaint communities like Fredericksburg and Kerrville and stopping to enjoy the beautiful countryside at places like Lake Travis is a great way to experience Hill Country. Reservation services like Gastehaus Schmidt make it easy to stay awhile and book bed and breakfasts or country inns in communities across the Hill Country region.
Let’s start our exploration in the town of Medina, which is just northwest of San Antonio, where we’ll stop in at the Love Creek Orchard for a tour of the apple orchard. Tours are only $5 and visitors can buy some apple pie and other apple-related products to have a wonderful picnic lunch on the scenic orchard grounds.
Another scenic stop in Hill Country is the Pedernales Cellers Winery just outside of Fredericksburg. Open every day, the winery invites visitors to taste its excellent wine and enjoy the property’s 145 acres of rolling vineyards.
[Also see the Hopper travel spotlight on Fredericksburg, Texas]
Back in Fredericksburg, travelers can learn a little about Texas history, as it’s the hometown of two of the state’s greatest persons: President Lyndon B Johnson and Admiral Nimitz. The town’s National Museum of the Pacific War presents some interesting facts on the admiral, while LBJ has his own state park with an informative visitor center and some great natural scenery.
Directly north of Fredericksburg is the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, which is a great place for hiking or rock climbing on its stunning pink-granite rock dome. Only experienced climbers should attempt to scale the rock face, and even they should register their climbing routes in advance with the state park office.
Continue north from Enchanted Rock and travelers will quickly reach the small town of Llano. While there’s not too much to do in this small town, don’t miss the opportunity to try some good ol’ Texas barbecue at Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. The bbq alone is worth the drive!
The last place we’ll mention on our little tour of Hill Country is Lake Travis, which is situated near Austin on the eastern end of the region. On the weekends the lake is a popular spot for partying Austinites who gravitate to its shores to rent party boats and jet skis. But visit during the week and travelers will instead discover a quiet and beautiful lake with plenty of camp sites and recreational opportunities.