Exploring Texas Hill Country and Central TXThis region offers historic and quaint experiences, adventurous excursions, and extraordinary cities. It is nestled in (and named after) the rolling hills of Central Texas. The Texas Hill Country, which was settled by Germans and Eastern Europeans, has its own culture. The Texas Hill Country is defined by the small towns and two-lane roads that radiate westward from Austin. Here, you’ll find Texas’ unexpected gems: rivers that wind through bald cypress groves, and shimmering lakes cupped in limestone canyons.
From the autumn color of the maple leaf to its picturesque bubbling rivers that wind gently through hills and canyons of splendid beauty, the famed Texas Hill Country in the central part of the state offers more color and natural wonder than most places in the United States.
Ranging in elevation from about 1,000 feet up to around 2,600 feet, the wide area of Central Texas known as the Hill Country encompasses many thousand square miles of a rugged but bountiful landscape full of flowing streams and rivers and is noted for its abundant natural wildlife. With an average winter low temperature above freezing and daytime temperatures reaching the comfortable 60s, the climate offers a great retreat from the harsh winters of the Midwest and northern states of the U.S.
With cities and communities like Kerrville, Fredericksburg, Blanco, Bandera, Marble Falls, New Braunfels, San Marcos, and Utopia, the Texas Hill Country offers variety and great amenities to visitors and part-time residents. With state parks, natural areas, wildlife retreats, and abundant lakes and rivers scattered throughout the region, it’s no wonder it is a favorite of travelers regardless of the season. The Texas Highland Lakes, a series of Hill Country reservoirs near Austin, provide fabulous lake and resort activities in a beautiful setting and are central to the metropolitan hubs of Austin and San Antonio.
For those that prefer a more rural setting, Bandera, Brady, and Fredericksburg provide both charm and an outstanding mild winter climate. More and more Winter Texans every year are discovering the diversity the Hill Country offers, from lakefront resorts to quiet retirement parks in one of a dozen unique and historical communities that make up the region. Named one of the best retirement regions in the nation, the Hill Country offers more than just a place to park your RV – it offers true backcountry comfort and style.
There are nearly 20 state parks and natural areas found in the Hill Country, and ample RV parks and campgrounds where one can spend the winter (or summer). The hill country is filled with incredible wildlife from the infamous white-tailed deer to exotics, eagle nesting grounds, and mountain lion havens, a true mecca for naturists and hunters alike. The hardest part is choosing which park you will call home!
Connect to Texas Hill Country resources below and find out more about this diversified and lovely area of rural Texas – a great home away from home.
There are picturesque farms and ranches dotted throughout the countryside, and you can still hear older people speaking German in Fredericksburg, Boerne, and New Braunfels. There are also some of the best barbecues in Texas, antique shops on old-fashioned main streets, and Old World celebrations like the Wurstfest sausage festival and the Weihnachten Christmas festival.
Unlike portions of Texas that are plain and opaque, the Texas Hill Country is vibrant with color — green grass, multi-colored wildflowers so vivid and dense that you want to squint, red rocks, barns, and buildings with peeling paint — and topography such as lakes and streams, rolling hills, caves, and vineyards. Don’t forget about the wildlife. Much of the area is photogenic, so grab your camera and head out on the back roads to explore the Texas Hill Country.
The Texas Hill Country region is located on the Edwards Plateau, a grassland with limestone bedrock that has slowly eroded over millions of years, resulting in beautiful rolling hills and grasslands. The Balcones Fault runs through the Edwards Plateau to the south and east, the Llano Uplift and Llano Estacado to the north, and the Pecos River and the Chihuahuan Desert to the west. The Hill Country is Texas’ fourth largest region, covering 31,000 square miles and receiving 15–34 inches of rain per year on average.
Don’t be shocked, but the Hill Country is rather hilly, from lush rolling green hills to dramatic, craggy landscapes populated by cacti and scrub trees. Lakes abound and spring-fed rivers flow through bluff-filled greenbelts—a natural for swimming, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing. Several spectacular caves reside here, as well. Like Cascade Caverns, boasting glistening drops of water on the Diamond Ceiling, a nine-story-high underground waterfall and rare wildlife, too. Another fun feature is the brilliant color of Texas wildflowers, which make for a great family photo opportunity.
Hill Country wineries
Although five million visitors visit the 30-plus Hill Country wineries a year, it’s still a surprise to some that wineries abound here. Grape vines were cultivated in Texas as far back as the 1600s, making this one of the oldest and most prolific wine-growing states. Of course, a heavy influence of German and cowboy culture in the area, like Fredericksburg and Johnson City, means you can also count on a variety of excellent beers and oh-so-festive beer gardens – if that’s more your style.
Fun & Games
While you’re here, seek out many unique attractions like Schlitterbahn Water Park on the spring-fed Comal River. Of course, this area is loaded with great music venues…from the thriving music scene of Austin to the classic dance halls of towns like Gruene, where you can honky-tonk yourself silly. There’s also plenty of world-class shopping, outlet malls and charming antiques to be discovered in towns like Dripping Springs and Wimberley, plus endless opportunities to enjoy Hill Country cuisine.