The Hill Country: Places to Explore

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Bandera

Dust off your chaps, loosen your saddle cinch, and stay a while. In Bandera the mythic tales of rodeos, ranches, and the "cowboy way" are all true. Not only will you see beat-up boots, worn Wrangler jeans, and more than a few cowboy hats, you may even catch a glimpse of one of the local ranch hands riding his horse to the general store on Main Street. After all, this isn't considered the "Cowboy Capital of Texas" for nothing. Open rodeos take place twice weekly from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and you can't drive any direction outside of town without passing a dude ranch.

This tiny ink spot on the Texas map was originally established in 1853 as a sawmill town based solely on the cypress trees along the Medina River. Throughout much of the late 1800s, both German and Polish settlers made their home here. After the Civil War the town boomed with cattle drives to the Great Western Cattle Trail. But the rugged terrain slowed things down, as railroads couldn't find passages through the hills and most roads weren't even paved until the 1950s.

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