The Hill Country is a region of the state of Texas in the United States of America. It has some of the most interesting history of the state. The cities here date to Spanish and Mexican days, with many beautiful Spanish missions dotting the area. The terrain is hilly and dry, cut by spring-fed rivers, with the beautiful Texas live oak providing occasional shade.
|Central Hill Country |
A region with German heritage, large lakes, and on its eastern edge, the state's capital.
|River Region |
The region between San Antonio and Big Bend Country, full of soft, green canyons carved by the Sabinal, Leona, Frio, Dry Frio, and Nueces Rivers.
|West Hill Country |
Grassy breaks which step down from the Edwards Plateau.
- 1 Austin, capital of the state with plenty of things to keep a traveler interested. Gateway into the Hill Country.
- 2 Driftwood
- 3 Fredericksburg, about 1.5 hours west of Austin and 1 hour north of San Antonio.
- 4 Stonewall, hometown of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
- 5 San Marcos, about half an hour south of Austin, San Marcos is the home of Texas State University and its Aquarena Center, as well as two massive outlet malls that have more than 350 shops.
- 6 New Braunfels, about one and a half hours south of Austin, this town is best known for its German culture and heritage, not to mention the Schlitterbahn, persistent in being voted the world's best waterpark.
- 7 Kerrville, the Heart of the Hills. One hour northwest of San Antonio on Interstate 10.
- 8 Bandera, self-proclaimed "cowboy capital" on Hwy 16.
- 9 Luckenbach, very small town known for legend in music.
- 10 Burnet, Nestled at the edge of the spectacular Texas Hill Country about 50 miles northwest of Austin, in the Highland Lakes.
- Bastrop State Park, Bastrop, +1 512 321-2101. Has camping (dormitories and shelters are available by reservation), a swimming pool, golf, fishing, and bike trails. Full shower and restroom facilities are on site.
- Pedernales Falls State Park, offers picnicking, camping, hiking, swimming, tubing, fishing, and bird watching.
- Hill Country State Natural Area, A rugged park that offers wilderness, hiking, biking, and horseback riding, camping, swimming, and fishing. It is a primitive park with no amenities provided - no drinking water or restroom facilities.
- Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, 16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg, +1 325 247-3903. A huge park on Big Sandy creek near Enchanted Rock. Activities include hiking, backpacking, camping, birdwatching, stargazing, rock climbing, and geography research. Restroom and shower facilities are available for a fee.
The Texas Hill Country is an area around Edwards Aquifer that demonstrates karst topography and a wide range of wildlife. It was originally settled by Mexican and German immigrants, and a visitor will note the distinct influence of both cultures in the local life. Most cities and towns are small, there are many parks and open areas, and an endless list of local experiences.
The easiest access to the area from a distance is through Austin's Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS IATA) or through San Antonio's "San Antonio International Airport". The most practical means of travel from the airport is by car. Travel by road from other major cities in Texas is also easy. From Houston, take US290 north to Austin (3 hours) or IH-10 west to San Antonio (3 hours). From Dallas, take IH-35 south to Austin (3 and 1/2 hours).
Public transportation is not available between most destinations. Bus and airport service is similarly sparse. The tourist's best option is to bring their own car or rent one at the airport. The many small scenic highways in this area also make motorcycling and bicycle riding very popular.
Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are becoming increasingly popular in cities. In general, pickups are available in suburban areas of cities like Austin and San Antonio with a short wait, but waiting might not be necessary for pickups at larger area airports such as Austin Bergstrom (AUS) and San Antonio International Airport (SAT).
- A total solar eclipse on Monday 8 April 2024 crosses this region from 1:30PM local time. The track of totality is northeast from Mexico to enter the US at Del Rio then through Texas into Arkansas.
- Visit Schlitterbahn, a water park in New Braunfels.
- See an Austin Toros basketball game or a Texas Stars hockey game in the Cedar Park Center.
- Hill Country Flyer, 401 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park, ☏ . A scenic 2-hour train ride through the Hill Country and into Austin, especially scenic during mid-spring when the hills are covered in bluebonnets. It is normally pulled by an old steam engine which is being restored. In the meantime the route still runs, pulled by a 1960s diesel engine. Some cars are wheelchair-accessible. Adults $38, child $28; first class adult $49-55, child $39.
- German headcheese, produced in South Texas, is nothing like the standard American kind - it contains chunks of meat rather than fat and offal. It's available at supermarkets only in the Hill Country and surrounding areas.
Tito's brand Vodka. Locally produced in Austin. Tours are offered as well as a free sample.