Filled with sparkling rivers, beautiful small towns, hundreds of excellent hikes, and more wineries than first-time visitors could possibly imagine, the best things to do in the Texas Hill Country are as varied as they are enjoyable.
With a seemingly countless number of swimming holes to sample, barbecue joints to stuff yourself at, wildflower fields to admire, and antique stores to peruse, tackling a complete Texas Hill Country bucket list is a lifelong endeavor–but this list of what to do in the Hill Country will definitely get you started.
Ready to jump in the car and head for the (literal) hills? Here’s where to set your GPS for this weekend!
The Best Things to Do in the Texas Hill Country
Jump into Jacob’s Well.
One of the most beloved swimming holes in all of Texas, Jacob’s Well is an artesian spring that is located in the second-largest submerged cave in Texas.
At 140 feet deep, it’s quite mesmerizing, and plunging into its icy waters is one of the best things to do in the Texas Hill Country!
Get underground at Natural Bridge Caverns.
The Hill Country is littered with fascinating limestone caves and caverns to tour, but Natural Bridge Caverns is easily accessible and truly magnificent to behold.
It’s both one of the coolest caves to visit in Texas and one of the best places to visit in the Texas Hill Country!
Climb Enchanted Rock.
Made of pink granite, this bald dome stands 425 feet tall and has been fascinating humans for thousands of years.
Climbing to the top takes less than an hour (albeit a very strenuous, sweaty hour) and belongs on any TX Hill Country bucket list!
There are also several other interesting hikes at Enchanted Rock worth enjoying after your ascent.
Go wine tasting.
With over 100 wineries and associated tasting rooms to choose from, it’s safe to say that enjoying a wine tasting and/or vineyard tour is one of the best things to do in the Hill Country!
The vineyards and wineries near Fredericksburg on Highway 290 (aka Wine Road 290) are some of the best-known, but there’s no shortage of beautiful spots to explore throughout the region.
… and to a distillery.
Wineries not your thing? No problem: from mead to vodka to authentic German beer, there are plenty of distilleries mixed in with the wineries!
Discover the German heritage of Fredericksburg.
Founded by German immigrants in the 19th century, the Hill Country town of Fredericksburg holds on tightly to its heritage.
You can find vestiges of the town’s German origins in its many German restaurants, at its Christmas celebrations (completed with a German Christmas pyramid), at its Oktoberfest celebration each fall, and even at the Vereins Kirche that sits in the town square.
Fredericksburg is one of the most popular places to visit in the Texas Hill Country, and for very good reason!
See Texas’ best fall foliage at Lost Maples.
Lost Maples State Natural Area lies on the beautiful Sabinal River in the town of Vanderpool, and while it is an excellent year-round destination for hiking in the Hill Country, it is best known for its stunning foliage each autumn.
You can catch fall color at Lost Maples State Natural Area in fall months ranging from roughly late October-November every year–check the foliage report for updates on the best time to visit.
Spend a day on Canyon Lake.
Whether you want to rent a boat for the day, jump into the sparkling turquoise water, go fishing, or even try to find a lost town while scuba diving (yes, really!), you can’t go wrong with a day at Canyon Lake.
Dance the night away at Gruene Hall.
Dating to the 19th century, Gruene Hall is Texas’ oldest dance hall–and the floor still gets torn up each and every night in Gruene, Texas!
Go tubing in Guadalupe River State Park.
There is no shortage of places to go tubing in Texas, in the Hill Country or otherwise, but it’s hard to find a spot more iconic for it than the beautiful Guadalupe River State Park!
Eat barbecue in Lockhart.
The barbecue capital of Texas is the perfect pitstop on the way to or from a hike or swimming hole.
Black’s Barbecue, Kreuz Market, and Smitty’s Market have been rivals for generations–and there’s no better way to decide who serves up the best meat than by trying each spot for yourself.
Check out our Texas barbecue guide!
Go swimming at Hamilton Pool.
The legendary Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs is one of the most famous swimming spots in Texas–and despite the fact that you’ll probably need to wait weeks for a reservation, it’s absolutely worth the effort it takes to get there.
Visit Texas’ smallest town.
Luckenbach may be home to only 3 residents, but “Everybody is Somebody in Luckenbach!”
The Luckenbach Dance Hall has played host to legendary musicians, including the Hill Country’s own Willie Nelson, and is one of the most popular dance halls in Texas.
Discover the beauty of Garner State Park.
Climb Mount Baldy, swim in the crisp waters of the Frio River, and follow it all up with a long afternoon spent tubing: the beauty of Garner State Park is both overwhelming and worth savoring.
There are lots of worthy contenders, but Garner State Park is definitely among the absolute best Texas Hill Country state parks to visit!
Watch the bats at Old Tunnel State Park.
From May to October each year, thousands of bats call Old Tunnel State Park (the smallest in Texas, in fact!) home–specifically, the abandoned railroad tunnel in the park.
Arrive at dusk, and you can watch them emerge for their evening hunt. This is one of the best places for viewing bats in Texas!
Swing into the Blue Hole.
Located in a quiet section of Cypress Creek that is lined with–what else–Bald Cypress trees, the Blue Hole in Wimberley is an unforgettable place to spend an afternoon swimming.
Swimming in the Blue Hole is one of the best things to do in Wimberley, but this popular Hill Country weekend getaway has much more to offer.
Seek out Alsatian architecture in Castroville.
Texas’ German and Czech heritage is well-documented, but what about its French heritage?
Castroville was founded in the mid-19th century by mostly German-speaking Alsatian immigrants, a region that is now part of France.
Alsatian architecture and heritage live on throughout the town, but nowhere more prominently than at the Steinbach Haus, a 17th-century Alsatian home that was relocated to Castroville.
If you’re looking for interesting samples of European heritage in Texas, Castroville is a great place to look!
Take a bluebonnet road trip.
Each spring, the Hill Country is positively covered in bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, and other native Texas wildflowers.
Finding the best fields is somewhere between a fun hobby and an intense sport in Texas, and in the Hill Country, you can usually find some of the best fields along Willow City Loop, near Llano, near Burnet, and near Marble Falls!
Check out our full guide to finding Texas bluebonnets for more detail.
Stay at a dude ranch in Bandera.
The Cowboy Capital of the World is the perfect place to spend a weekend at a dude ranch–or just to head out on a trail ride, if a whole weekend in the saddle feels like a bit much to you!
Check out Stonehenge II in Ingram.
For a taste of England in Texas, head to one of the TX Hill Country’s bizarre roadside attractions, Stonehenge II.
Built in the late 1980s/early 1990s, Stonehenge II is 90% as wide as England’s original, and 60% as tall.
It’s free to visit, and inexplicably also includes replicas of the famous Easter Island heads.
Stroll through a lavender farm in Blanco.
It’s also home to Blanco State Park, a fantastic place to take a dip and cool off after exploring the lavender.
Marvel at the Westcave Waterfall.
The Westcave Waterfall, located in Spicewood, is far from the easiest Texas waterfall to visit: you can only visit with a guided tour on the weekends.
It’s worth the effort, though, because this magnificent hidden gem in the Texas Hill Country is a delight to admire in person!
Tour the LBJ National Historic Park.
This fascinating national historic park covers a wide slice of history associated with President Lyndon B. Johnson, from his childhood home to his ranch to the “Texas White House” he often worked from while in office. It even includes an Air Force One from his time as president!
Go for a hike at Pedernales Falls State Park.
One of the most popular places in the Hill Country, Pedernales Falls State Park is known for the wide and beautiful Pedernales River, which runs over enormous slabs of limestone and creates a distinct and beautiful environment that is perfect for hiking, biking, swimming, and more.
Eat some of the best pie in Texas in Marble Falls.
The Blue Bonnet Cafe has been serving up some of the most beloved pie in Texas for over 100 years–add in beautiful bluebonnet fields, excellent lakes, and nearby Longhorn Cavern State Park, and it’s no surprise that Marble Falls is considered one of the best towns in the Texas Hill Country to visit!
Where is the TX Hill Country?
Located in central Texas, the Hill Country is bordered by Austin (which technically lies inside it, though we didn’t cover Austin here as it deserves its own post), and San Antonio, which lies just outside the Hill Country.
Covering about 31,000 square miles, the Hill Country is the fourth-biggest of Texas’ seven regions.