April 3, 2023
The 8 Best Small Towns To Visit in Texas Hill Country
Texas has its fair share of big cities, but our small towns are where the Lone Star State’s many wonders can truly shine.
Exploring shops where the owner is behind the register, meeting a family that has been cooking in the same restaurant for decades, and breathing in fresh air while looking across expansive fields and meadows are just part of the charm of small Texas towns. City living comes with plenty of perks, too, but don’t forget to carve out time to visit our smaller communities for a true Texas Hill Country experience.
This space between San Antonio and Austin is rich in culture and experiences, and each destination will give you a unique vacation to remember. These towns are small, but they’re filled to the brim with fun activities for the ideal weekend getaway.
Fredericksburg is one of the most visited small towns in Texas Hill Country due to its plentiful opportunities for indoor and outdoor activities.
If you are looking for a peaceful place to sip on a glass of wine and admire Texas’s beauty, visit one of the many wineries in Fredericksburg. Each offering a different selection of food, wine, and live entertainment, a night at a Hill Country winery is a night well spent.
Explore the Hill Country Herb Garden, which is home to a day spa, bistro, gardens, and walking paths, that was built out of an 1800s homestead before browning the bars, restaurants, and shops on Main Street.
This small town is rich in German heritage, which can be seen through some of the architecture and culinary options, and its sustainable farming systems support Boerne’s many restaurants, breweries, and vineyards.
Additionally, Boerne is home to some of the oldest known cavern systems, including the Cave Without a Name. This cave descends 126 steps and nearly 90 feet down into the ground, with many well-lit limestone rooms waiting to be explored by tourists.
For an above-ground activity, walk or bike down the 1.5-mile Old No. 9 trek before getting dinner at a local restaurant and seeing a show at the Boerne Community Theatre.
You may be able to spot flowers and wildlife you’ve never seen before in mystical Llano. If you are visiting Llano between late March and mid-April, look for bluebonnet patches on the side of Highway 71 near the town’s entrance. These stunning flowers are a Texas staple not to be missed during any down-home outing.
If you are visiting in the winter, you won’t be able to see the bluebonnet fields, but you might spot a bald eagle flying above you if you visit between November and March.
For a day full of hiking and swimming, be sure to take advantage of the trails and natural swimming hole at Inks Lake State Park.
One of the biggest reasons to visit Dripping Springs also happens to be one of the most picturesque spots in all of Texas. Hamilton Pool Preserve will make you feel like you have been transported to a tropical oasis as you swim under a 50-foot waterfall surrounded by lush green foliage.
End your day at Texas Hill Country Olive Company and pair a delicious dinner at their bistro with a local beer or wine as you watch the sunset over the 15 acres of olive trees. Before you go, be sure to pick up a souvenir at their gift shop, such as their award-winning olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cooking accessories, or fresh bread.
Upon entering Blanco, you will be greeted with the soothing smells of natural herbs, accompanied by gorgeous views of wildflower fields. Blanco is known as the lavender capital of Texas, and from late May to early July, you can visit Hill Country Lavender Farm to walk through the aromatic fields and pick a bushel of lavender for yourself.
Blanco State Park is an expansive park that has activities for everyone. Hike along their scenic trails, take a tube or canoe out on the water, swim in the natural swimming hole, or bring your fishing rod to cast a line into the water.
Nothing represents Texas better than Lockhart, the Barbeque Capital of the state. Lockhart was the birthplace of classic Texas smokey meats, and you can try them at Black’s Barbecue, Kreuz Market, Smitty’s Market, and Chisholm Trail BBQ.
Between barbecue meals, stroll the quaint downtown area filled with small businesses before checking out the historic and picturesque courthouse.
Another classic destination in the heart of Hill Country, Wimberley is a beautiful ranching town. If you want to get your heart pumping and look at the Hill Country foliage from an entirely new perspective, head to Wimberley Zipline Adventures. You can book a tour that will take you across 10 different ziplines, each giving you the opportunity to soar above the trees.
For another dip in the water, be sure to visit Blue Hole Regional Park. Here, you will find a swimming hole tucked away among the masses of gorgeous cypress trees.
The water remains a cool 70 degrees year-round, so you are sure to feel refreshed from the Texas heat without getting the initial dip shivers. Spend your time floating in the water or jumping in from the rope swings hanging off of the trees.
Where To Stay in Texas
If you want to visit more than one of these wonderful small towns, consider extending your day trip into a weekend getaway. Collective Retreats has created a luxurious Hill Country experience that provides accommodations surrounded by the beautiful natural landscape of Texas.
Our Summit Tent is a temperature-controlled living space with heating and air conditioning, offering a refuge from the outdoors. However, you will have access to a private deck right outside of your door that looks out over the expansive Hill Country scenery, giving you the chance to connect with nature at any moment.
To feel clean and refreshed after a day of exploring, use your en-suite bathroom, which includes a full-flush toilet, a rain-style shower, a vanity setup, and spa-quality toiletries.
With your full electric hookup, you will be able to charge your phone while you drift to sleep on top of your king bed, tucked into a plush duvet and 1500 thread count linens.
Other Activities in Texas Hill Country
While you are staying on the Collective Retreats ranch, you also have access to a collection of activities designed to give you a relaxing vacation that makes you feel more connected to nature and Texas culture.
This remote weekend getaway includes wellness activities to help you enjoy these peaceful surroundings. Start your morning with our sunrise yoga sessions, designed to strengthen your muscles while also relaxing your mind, body, and soul.
During the day, if your muscles are sore from yoga, hiking, or swimming, book a 60- or 90-minute massage through our concierge. A licensed massage therapist will come to you for an in-tent massage that will properly relax your entire body, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and pampered.
Collective Retreats is located next to Wimberley, surrounded by classic Hill Country sights, such as cypress trees, rolling hills, and remarkable foliage. If you want to admire your surroundings in a new way, try getting on horseback. A local guide will take you and an intimate group on a two-hour ride exploring the entire ranch. No previous experience is required, and a wonderful time is almost guaranteed.
If you would rather explore on foot, there are two hiking trails located on the ranch for your convenience. Each trail will bring you to different overlook points of the canyon on site and the rest of Hill Country for a view you will not forget.
Small Town Discoveries
Even though these small towns don’t have the size or population of the Texas cities, they have so much to offer.
Visiting the small towns of Hill Country will make you feel more connected to Texas culture, provide you with new experiences, and will give you the space to slow down for a moment. At the end of the day, you can combine your love for high-end amenities and small-town visits while staying with us at our Collective Retreats experience.
Travis County Parks | Hamilton Pool Preserve
Blanco State Park | Texas Parks & Wildlife Department