The Texas Hill Country is a dream location for just about everything. Because the climate is relatively mild, the scenic views are surreal, and the outdoor attractions are unmasked, this area is at the top of many travelers’ lists whether they live in Texas or another state.
I had a remarkable time on my latest visit to the Hill Country sampling wines all over the area. This trip made me fall in love with these small towns all over again. I had been to most of them already, and they are now on my list of favorite small towns to visit in the Texas Hill Country.
If you’re a wine connoisseur and want to explore the Texas Hill Country in all its glory, a great way to do so is to purchase a Texas Hill Country Wine Trail Passport and visit as many wineries as you can on the list — there are over 40 to choose from. They offer four wine tours a year, starting with the Wine Lovers Celebration in February. We had a great time on this tour, enjoying wines we would have never tried, and met so many friendly people along the way. I can’t wait to go back for the next one.
After a friend took me to the Blanco State Park, seeing the ripples in the Blanco River flowing over the bank was all it took for me to add this town to my list of favorite towns in the Hill Country. Because I love lavender and Blanco is known for its beautiful lavender fields, I’ve bumped it to the top. I can’t wait to go back to visit the lavender fields in spring when the flowers are in full bloom. My friend tells me the state park is even more gorgeous then. If you go for the lavender, do make plans to see the whole town, including the park. The photo I took (above) tells all.
Pro Tip: Blanco is a small town, and if you blink, you’ll pass right through it. Be on the lookout for Old 300 BBQ and its truck. If time allows, stop in for the best BBQ in town.
I’ve been here twice in one year and still can’t get enough of Boerne’s charming Main Street. I love the slogan they came up with to describe Main Street: “The Hill Country Mile.” It’s truly more than a mile of shopping, dining, relaxing, and sipping & savoring. If you love to shop at specialty boutiques, put Boerne on your list of towns to visit in the Texas Hill Country. The best things to do in Boerne are not just on Main Street; there are also plenty of things around town to see like the Cibolo Creek, which runs through the south end of Main Street. It makes a perfect spot for a picnic and to watch the ducks swim and quack in the creek. If you’re into Texas history, a tour of the Old Jail Museum is a must. After sitting for years, new owners came in and turned that old jail into a showcase of the Boerne and Texas history. It’s quite a show … and you could get locked up in the jail cell if you’re not careful!
Pro Tip: There are two caves to tour outside of town. One is Cascade Caverns, and the other is Cave Without A Name. If you like digging for gold, as they say, make plans to visit Cave Without A Name. There, you can also enjoy sluicing and other activities on the premises. My sluicing bag was full of crystals and beautiful rock formations that literally started my rock collection at home.
While some may pass this town right up when heading for Fredericksburg on Highway 281, I say stop and explore because Burnet offers what the other Hill Country towns do and may not be as busy. From scenic drives and wineries to caverns to explore and a lake for swimming — what’s not to love? I, too, drive through Burnet when I go deep into the Hill Country, but I’ve had the pleasure twice to explore several attractions outside of town and a gorgeous winery in town.
For those who like to explore outside, Longhorn Caverns and Inks Lake are minutes away. If you go out a little further (about 6 miles) on Highway 29, you’ll come up to Torr Na Lochs Vineyard & Winery, which offers gorgeous views of the rolling hills and a glimpse of Inks Lake and Lake Buchanan. The moment you turn onto the road leading up to the winery is a journey in itself. The story explained on the website will make you want to visit — even if you don’t drink wine. Food options are available as well. Torr Na Lochs tops my list of the most stunning winery on our Texas Hill Country wine tour.
Pro Tip: My only tip is that you won’t want to leave Burnet!
Comfort, Texas, is an inviting town centrally located in the Hill Country and has quite a few charming house rentals. When I visited earlier this year, we stayed in a quaint bed and breakfast, had a fantastic raspberry cream cheese pie at a local coffee shop, and enjoyed a winery in the outskirts of town. I can see why locals and visitors enjoy Comfort, Texas — a small friendly town indeed. Just so you know, much of downtown is closed on Sunday and Monday and some establishments are still closed on Tuesday, but the town comes alive the rest of the week, so plan accordingly if you go for a visit.
Pro Tip: My next-door neighbor moved to San Antonio for a job, but his wife told me she couldn’t wait to move to the Hill Country. They finally got the chance and chose Comfort as their forever home. They love it there, and she found an old house to buy and fix up.
5. Dripping Springs
With all the outdoor attractions just a few miles from each other like the Hamilton Pool Preserve, Pedernales River, Westcave Preserve, vineyards, a farmers market every Wednesday, rain or shine, how could I not love this place? Dripping Springs is a true outdoor oasis, and with 35 wedding venues, there’s a lot of “I dos” in town. Dripping Springs is less than a 20-minute drive from Austin and is known as “the Gateway to the Hill Country.” I didn’t get to spend much time here and can’t wait to return.
Pro Tip: There is always something going on in town, from live music to special events (or a wedding) — locals love to boast about that!
“The Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas” has undoubtedly put Georgetown on my list. My grandson and I visited there at Christmastime, and I can attest to its given name. Now, I want to go back to see the fields of poppies in the springtime and attend their Poppy Festival. Georgetown has a small-town vibe with several delicious local restaurants, art galleries, great shopping, and historic preservation on the square.
Inner Space Caverns, Lake Georgetown, and San Gabriel Hike & Bike Trail are three places to put on your list to visit.
Pro Tip: Depending on what you want to see, Christmastime and spring are my picks for the best times of year to visit this town. There’s so much to do and see these seasons.
7. Johnson City
I was delighted to have gotten stuck in this town for 2 days when a winter storm came through in February 2022. The place where we stayed was cozy and warm, and the owner was just a text away making sure we were okay. We were able to explore a few places before the ice came through. The first place we stopped at was Farmhouse Vineyard & Winery where we trampled in the rain to the front door being greeted by their friendly pup, Kona. We also got to enjoy delicious nachos at Proof & Cooper that the folks at the winery recommended.
Pro Tip: We found folks in town to be very hospitable and eager for us to see the rest in the city. On a good day, the town is an enjoyable walk.
8. Marble Falls
Marble Falls is side by side to Burnet and shares many of the same recognition. There are lovely scenic views, rolling hills, great places to eat, and lots to do outside. My grandson and I spent a weekend in the fall here doing fun kid stuff like making a scarecrow out of hay and second-hand clothes at Sweet Berry Farms, and then taking a tour of the Longhorn Caverns. If you like beautiful picturesque lakes, you’re in for a treat as they surround the town.
Downtown Marble Falls comprises quaint boutiques, a nostalgic toy shop, a yummy ice cream shop with many flavors, restaurants, and a winery, plus Lake Marble Falls is walking distance from downtown. Many roads lead to scenic views, and RM 1431 is one. We were lucky to have found a nice rental right off this road.
Pro Tip: Sweet Berry Farms offers a bushel of things to do for the entire family. Spring and fall are the best times to visit.