For scenic views of wildflowers, forests, hillsides, and more, use this guide to the most scenic routes through the Texas Hill Country. Start your drive in the state’s capital of Austin, venture through San Antonio, and on to the country town of Bandera, for a trip filled with beauty and charm that is distinctly Texan.
Texas Hill Country is the perfect region to climb behind the wheel and simply enjoy the drive. Starting just north of Austin, the Hill Country, with its two-lane roads, charming towns, and distinct natural surroundings, is widely considered the heart of the state. For drivers interested in getting an authentic taste of the Lone Star State, scenic drives in the Texas Hill Country are a great way to start.
Discover the State Capital
Exploring the Hill Country demands a stop in Austin, Texas’s capital city. More than 100 live music venues call the “Live Music Capital of the World” home. The city boasts roughly 300 sunny days every year, making it an equally popular destination for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities.
Explore San Antonio
Although Austin may be the Hill Country’s playground, San Antonio is a favorite among history buffs. Just about an hour from Austin, this bustling city is home to attractions like The River Walk and SeaWorld and historic sites like the Spanish Mission and the Alamo.
Channel Your Inner Cowboy in Bandera
Leaving San Antonio, many tourists take scenic drives through the Texas Hill Country on State Highway 16 to the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” Bandera, Texas. While there, visitors can explore spots like the Frontier Times Museum, known for its quirky collection and Old Spanish Trail Restaurant, where patrons can dine on a huge chicken-fried steak or tender pot roast.
Take in the Sights at Bandera Pass
Bandera Pass is one of Texas’ top scenic drives. The natural mountain break has served as a bustling travel route for centuries, and the paved road offers some of the most outstanding 360-degree views of the Hill Country.
Enjoy Downtime in Kerrville
Loop around State Highway 16 to backtrack to Kerrville, where the chicken-fried steak and scenic river views are too good to miss. This charming city is affectionately known as the “unofficial capital of the Texas Hill Country.” It’s also home to a variety of art galleries, theaters, shops, and parks.
Visit Germany, Texas Style in Fredericksburg
German culture in the heart of Texas? The charming town of Fredericksburg is known as “German Hill Country” as a nod to the German immigrants who were among the first non-natives to settle in the area. Until the 1970s, German was the mother tongue spoken in this area. Plus, it has plenty of galleries, bistros, and boutiques as well as more than 300 bed and breakfasts.
Marvel at Enchanted Rock
This is one side trip that’s worth the detour. Located just 18 miles north of Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area boasts a one-billion-year-old mountain of pink granite that looms more than 400 feet tall.
Enjoy the Scenery
One of the locals’ favorite scenic drives in the Texas Hill Country is the drive between Enchanted Rock and Llano. It provides picturesque scenery, and once travelers arrive in Llano, they’re immersed in small town charm and a relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Get in Touch with Lyndon B. Johnson
History buffs can’t miss Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park when they drive through the Hill Country. Tucked in Johnson City, this park offers a self-guided walk past monitors that show real footage of major events in Lyndon B. Johnson’s life, including Vietnam and the War on Poverty.
Slide Along in New Braunfels’ Version of the Hill Country
New Braunfels is known for several things, including its historic district, country music scene, and Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Thrills, chills, and plenty of boot-scooting fun await those who continue their Hill Country exploration in New Braunfels.
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