Unlike the rest of the plains, Texas Hill Country will amaze you with rolling hills, bluebonnets and little towns of authentic German heritage. Take a delightful trip with me to Fredericksburg, New Braunfels and San Marcos. Different in size and altitude, these three cities will welcome you with Texas-size hospitality!
Fredericksburg – Wine, Wildflowers and White House History
This great family destination has a laid-back vibe with a real sense of community for locals and visitors alike. Walk down Main Street and you’ll feel like you belong, too as you shop, dine and enjoy delightful B&B accommodations.
Located just two blocks from Main Street is Hoffman Haus, a 25-room luxury B&B that feels so comfortable with a sitting room, porch and kitchen area. The best part is the delicious breakfast that comes delivered hot and fresh to your door in a picnic basket every morning. Take a step back in time and visit the Pioneer Museum.
Learn more about the founding of Fredericksburg with “Sunday houses” that pioneers built so they’d have a place to stay in town when they came for church. Join the First Friday Art Walk in the local galleries happening all day long.
The National Museum of the Pacific War is the only institution in the U.S. dedicated to the Pacific Theatre in World War II. The museum is located here to honor Admiral Chester Nimetz who was born and raised in Fredericksburg. The Gallery’s state-of-the-art 33,000 square foot exhibition features 40 media installations, approximately 900 artifacts and hundreds of photographs. Check out the nearby Pacific Combat Zone with regularly scheduled combat re-enactments.
Trace the steps of President Lyndon Baines Johnson as you drive out to his ranch, about 16 miles from town. This sprawling complex, now the LBJ National Historic Park, served as the “Texas White House” for almost a third of his presidency. While the ranch is currently being renovated, you can still drive through and see the schoolhouse, family cemetery and horses grazing the grass.
Explore the 40 wineries in the area like Grape Creek Vineyards or the Das Peach Haus, where you can taste everything peachy, including peach wine and their signature Raspberry Chipotle Sauce. On the road, stop and pick up some fresh delicious Texas peaches, in season from May-August. While you’re in the neighborhood, stop at Luckenbach Ranch (population 3) for some lively music at 5 p.m. every day and a brew. VisitFredericksburgTX.com.
Discover Authentic German Heritage in New Braunfels
Founded in 1845 by German settlers, New Braunfels maintains its old world charm with memorable family-friendly activities and plain old-fashioned fun. Located on two rivers, the highlight is the original Schlitterbahn Waterpark with 51 rivers, rides, slides, and chutes – you can float the day away together. Families can even stay in a loft or treehouse!
Gruene Dance Hall – oldest dance hall in Texas
Explore the historic town of Gruene at the Grist Mill restaurant right on the Guadeloupe River. For an authentic stay, the Gruene Mansion is the perfect B&B with a gorgeous breakfast spread. When the sun goes down, head out to Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas for some two-steppin’ and a brat. Come November, their annual 10-day Wurstfest salute to sausage is rich in German culture with good food, music, dancing, carnival rides, German, Texan and domestic beer, and Bavarian-style entertainment. playinnewbraunfels.com
San Marcos – Shop BIG
Get your shopping shoes on because you are about to navigate the largest outlet shopping center in the United States. Between the San Marcos Premium Outlets and Tanger Outlets, you’ll find 240 designer and name brand stores to shop ‘til you drop. For lunch, head over to Hays County BBQ for mouth-watering brisket, brats and ribs with all the trimmings.
Then, check out the Meadows Center for a glass-bottom boat tour, wildlife viewing and Texas River exhibits. It’s heads down everybody as you get an underwater look at fish, turtles, prawns and species found only in Spring Lake or the San Marcos River.
Make big plans to visit Texas Hill Country and discover all the many reasons to love the heart of Texas.