33 Best Sights in The Hill Country, Texas

Cave Without a Name

Fodor's choice

That's not a typo; this cave officially has no name—or rather, not having a name is part of its name. The story goes that in 1939, the owner of the cave, James Horne, held a public contest to name the cave. A young boy commented that the geological site was too beautiful to name and won the contest with the suggestion that it be called Cave Without a Name. Similar to the other living limestone caverns in the region, the cave has magnificent stalactite and stalagmite formations and calcite deposits. Be sure to make reservations in advance.


Fodor's choice

This unique outdoor entertainment and arts venue is spread across 64 fun-filled acres, with plenty to do, no matter your interests. You’ll find sculptures and murals scattered throughout the property as well as the world’s most extreme miniature golf course, pickleball courses, a beer garden, and multiple stages for live music and films.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Fodor's choice

Protruding from the earth in the form of a large pink dome, Enchanted Rock looks like something from another planet. This granite formation rises 1,825 feet—the second-largest in the nation, after Georgia's Stone Mountain—and its bald vastness can be seen from miles away. Today the massive batholith is part of the 624-acre Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and one of the most popular destinations in the Hill Country region. Once considered to have spiritual powers by the Tonkawa tribe, Enchanted Rock is traversed day in and day out by those curious about its mysterious occurrence. The park is perfect for day hikers, most of whom can't wait to scale the summit. The rock also yields a number of faces to test the skills of technical rock climbers, plus there are caves for spelunkers to explore. And even if you're not into rock climbing, the area is a perfect spot for camping, picnicking, and hiking. Arrive early; once parking lots reach capacity, the area is closed to more visitors to protect the resources. Amenities include restrooms, an interpretative center, and campgrounds.

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Guadalupe River State Park

Fodor's choice

This park gives some of the best public access to the shady cypress tree–lined Guadalupe River, a wonderful spot for kayaking, swimming, and fishing. And in the winter, fly-fishing fanatics have a top opportunity to land rainbow trout stocked here by the state each year.

Hamilton Pool Preserve

Fodor's choice

About 30 miles southwest of Austin off Highway 71 is this small nature preserve that is home to one of the Hill Country's most beautiful natural pools. The continuously flowing Hamilton Creek spills over an enormous limestone outcropping, creating a beautiful 50-foot waterfall that gently plunges into the crystal waters of Hamilton Pool. A popular swimming spot for decades, recent rock fallings have closed the pool to swimming for the foreseeable future; it's still a lovely place to explore and walk. Reservations to visit are required in advance. Entry fees are cash only.

Longhorn Cavern State Park

Fodor's choice

Formed over thousands of years from water cutting and dissolving limestone bedrock, Longhorn Caverns are a fantastic exhibit of Texas natural history. With a history of Comanche tribes seeking refuge in the caves and calcite-crystal beds, the caverns are a perfect destination for families interested in how the limestone caverns in the Hill Country were formed. Be sure to wear rubber-sole shoes; it gets slippery down there.

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park

Fodor's choice

History buffs will enjoy wandering through the rooms of Lyndon Baines Johnson's boyhood home in Johnson City, where every effort has been made to restore the home to its 1920s appearance. LBJ lived here from the age of five until his 1924 high school graduation, and the house gives an insightful look into the 36th president's childhood and how he grew into the man he became.

National Museum of the Pacific War

Fodor's choice

Dedicated solely to telling the story of the Pacific battles of World War II, this museum is the only one of its kind in the nation, making it a popular attraction for history buffs and veterans alike. Opened in 1967, the museum was originally named the Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Memorial Naval Museum, after the admiral famous for successfully halting the Japanese advances following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Today, the museum has been expanded to include an Admiral Nimitz Gallery and a George H. W. Bush Gallery in addition to a number of memorials, and it also houses the Center for Pacific War Studies. In its more than 45,000 square feet of exhibit space, the museum exhibits both Allied and Japanese airplanes, tanks, and guns among its numerous displays.

Pioneer Museum Complex

Fodor's choice

Those looking to dig a little deeper into the history of this area may find some answers at the Pioneer Museum Complex, which also encompasses the Vereins Kirche Museum. Both museums offer permanent exhibits with collections of woodworking tools, textile pieces, furniture, paintings, and a number of domestic artifacts from the area. Other historic buildings in the complex include a pioneer log cabin, an old First Methodist Church, and a smokehouse. Also on the premises stands a typical 19th-century "Sunday house" that catered to farmers and their families who traveled long distances to attend church services and had to stay the night.

Southold Farm + Cellar

Fodor's choice

Reagan Meador began making wine in Long Island but decided to return to his native Texas to put down roots (literally). At Southold Farm + Cellar, he crafts unique, limited-release wines using very little intervention with the Texas grapes he currently sources as he waits for his estate-grown grapes to be ready for production. Visits to the tasting room are by reservation only, and guests can choose from several different options: an “Introduction” tasting of four wines, a “Prologue” featuring four wines plus a spread of dishes made with local ingredients, or an eight-course “Sunset Supper” set in the gorgeous, western-facing restaurant overlooking the vineyard. No matter which tasting you choose, be sure to get in some time on their cozy wooden porch swings that look out across the rolling hills.

Wildseed Farms

Fodor's choice

If you’re heading west on Highway 290 to Fredericksburg from Johnson City in the warmer months, you’ll inevitably note a large, expansive spread of land flush with vibrant colors. (You may see less of this color in late fall and winter, but the sweeping fields are still hard to miss.) You’re looking at the largest working wildflower farm in the country. Owner John Thomas created Wildseed Farms in 1983 in an effort to share the Hill Country’s bounty with all who visited. The farm has more than 200 acres under cultivation and produces 88 varieties of wildflower seeds. You can walk the meadows, step into the live butterfly house, and purchase packets of wildflower seeds.

Boerne Grill

If you need a quick caffeine fix, hit The Daily Grind at the Boerne Grill. It's a relaxed place to read or sip a potent coffee, and the Friday night steak nights at the adjoining Boerne Grill are not to be missed.

143 S. Main St., Boerne, TX, 78006, USA

Cascade Caverns

Take a half-mile tour here past awe-inspiring limestone formations, deep caverns, stalactites, and stalagmites; you may even catch a glimpse of the endangered Cascade Caverns salamander. Watch for the impressive 100-foot waterfall spilling into a black pool at the end of the tour.

Cibolo Center for Conservation

Nature lovers will enjoy strolling the trails through a 100-acre nature center set aside for the conservation of natural grasslands, marshlands, and riverbeds. Educational outdoor workshops and camps are available for kids. At Herff Farm, you can explore community gardens and trails as well as learn about land stewardship.

Crowson Wines

Johnson City is becoming a small but mighty natural wine destination thanks in big part to this small mom-and-pop operation in the center of the town. Book an appointment for a tasting with animated winemaker Henry Crowson to experience his unique natural fermentations made without sulfites or filtration. Crowson and his dad craft about 2,500 cases of minimal-intervention wine each year in the adjacent production space, using the best Texas-grown fruit he can find and letting it spontaneously ferment using ambient yeast. Stand-outs include the lively Malvasia Bianca, the complex barrel-aged Sangiovese rosé, and the earthy, juicy Mourvedre fermented in concrete tanks.

102 N. Ave. G, Johnson City, TX, 78636, USA
Sight Details
Rate Includes: $18

Cruz de Comal

This spot may be located a short jaunt from the rest of the traditional Texas Wine Trail, but it’s absolutely worth a visit to experience a winery that’s always done things a little differently. Inspired by his friend and fellow winemaker Tony Coturri, Lewis Dickson began planting grapes and producing natural wine back in 2000. Since 2011, all Dickson’s wines have been made using only estate-grown Blac du Bois and Black Spanish grapes. The winery is named after the old Mexican graveyard cross in the vineyard (ask Dickson for the full story behind it), and the eclectic tasting room is set in a historic house filled with plenty of art, photographs, and relics to marvel at while you sample the wines. Be sure to buy bottles to go because you won’t find them anywhere else but here.

Duchman Family Winery

Founded by doctors Stan and Lisa Duchman, this bucolic vineyard features Italian-inspired gardens, a central villa, and food-friendly grapes like the deep-purple Sangiovese and tart Dolcetto sourced mainly from the Texas High Plains AVA. Sample the award-winning Vermentino white while you stroll the gorgeous grounds before enjoying lunch next door at Trattoria Lisina, where chef-owner Damian Mandola serves up house-made pasta and wood-fired pizzas.

Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve

One of the largest Mexican free-tailed bat colonies in the world is found in the hills of Mason County. Managed by the Texas Nature Conservancy, Eckert James River Bat Cave, a maternity bat cave, is home to more than 4 million. Only females inhabit the cave, where they bear and rear their young each spring; they depart in mid-October. You can watch in the evening and morning as the entrance to the cave swarms with female bats leaving and returning from an evening hunt to feed their pups. Stand clear of the entrance, unless you don't mind bat guano or having thousands of female bats buzz by. The best way to glimpse this phenomenon is from a safe distance a few hundred yards away.

Exotic Resort Zoo

Wild animals—from goats, deer, and kangaroos to buffalo, zebras, and oryx—eat right out of your hand when you take a safari tour of this 137-acre wildlife park. When you purchase your ticket, be sure to buy the pellets so you have something to give the animals.

235 Zoo Trail, Johnson City, TX, 78636, USA
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Rate Includes: $18

Fall Creek Vineyards

In 1975, Susan and Ed Auler planted a test plot of grapes in the corner of their ranch, and it quickly grew from one-fourth of an acre to 7½ acres, and is now the oldest winery in the Hill Country. They source Texas-grown grapes from their two estate vineyards as well as a handful of local vineyards, each with its own distinct terroir. On your visit, taste the fruits of their labor in highly rated ExTerra single-vineyard labels, and be sure to check out the winery’s namesake twin waterfalls on the north end of the property.

18059 Farm to Market Rd. 1826, Driftwood, TX, 78619, USA
Sight Details
Rate Includes: Tastings $20

Fredericksburg Herb Farm

Just a short jaunt from downtown Fredericksburg is this magical little herb farm churning out an endless variety of fresh herbs and serving guests culinary creations inspired by an edible garden. Fredericksburg Herb Farm offers blissful relaxation in its cozy B&B and spa and has created a vast array of heavenly scented candles, toiletries, cooking oils, and herbal rubs and marinades for cooking. One of the gardens is artfully designed in the shape of a star with an old windmill in the center. Each arm of the star represents herbs for specific purposes—medicinal, cosmetic, culinary, crafting, or ornamental.

Frontier Times Museum

Hand-built in 1933 by Hough LeStourgeon's company from stones gathered from the region, this popular tourist stop teems with oddities and relics—take, for instance, the two-headed goat or the mummified cow fetus. The collection here is truly eclectic. 

Hill Country State Natural Area

With more than 5,300 acres of rolling hills, spring-fed creeks, and thick patches of live oaks, this natural park is a slice of backcountry paradise. Adventurers seeking an avenue for primitive camping, mountain biking, backpacking, limited fishing, and even horseback riding will find happiness here. The park is undeveloped, so you'll need to bring your own water, and you'll need to pack out what you bring in.

Kalasi Cellars

Nikhila Narra Davis co-founded Narra Vineyards in the Texas High Plains with her family, and together they sustainably farm 140 acres of grapes for some of the best winemakers in the state. Davis began experimenting making her own wine using lesser-known varieties like Teroldego, a red Italian varietal typically grown in northeastern Italy, and has now launched her own brand of wine under the label Kalasi Cellars. At the spacious, modern tasting room in northeast Fredericksburg, sheep keep the grounds free from weeds and a refurbished tuk-tuk promises rides down to the production facility. Wines like Malvasia Bianca and Muscat of Alexandria perfectly complement the Indian-inspired snack menu with offerings like samosas, tikka masala pizza, and a chaat sampler plate.

414 Goehmann La., Fredericksburg, TX, 78624, USA
Sight Details
Rate Includes: From $20, Closed Tues. and Wed.

Kerrville Hill Winery

Sitting at the highest point in Kerr County and overlooking the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Kerrville Hills Winery was the first winery established in Kerrville in 2008. Built on the footprint of a Kerrville homestead, the tasting room features the building's original double-sided fireplace, winery-facing windows, and unique rustic warehouse decor. Award-winning winemaker John Rivenburgh has a passion for growing high-quality, sustainable Texas grapes, and has gained acclaim for his full-bodied reds like Tannat, Tempranillo, and the Sagrantino. After a wine tasting, grab a glass of your favorite selection as you watch the sun set behind the hills.

Krause Springs

If you need a little relief from the Texas heat, a trip here will certainly cool you off. Just a few miles east of Marble Falls in Spicewood, the springs are actually two separate swimming holes on a private ranch opened to the public. From Highway 71, splash through a low-water crossing and up to a hilltop bluff with hypnotic views of rolling grasslands, sprawling oak trees, and an undisturbed horizon. Park your car near the main house and stroll down a flight of outdoor stairs to the spring-fed pools. Be prepared for the biting chill as your toes hit the water.

Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park

This city park just 3 miles south of downtown features 330 acres of rolling hills, five outdoor pavilions with large barbecue pits, baseball and softball fields, basketball and sand volleyball courts, and a golf course—plus a pool and a creek. 

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site

It's easy to feel confused, but the state park and the national park that honor LBJ are technically separate entities that operate in conjunction with each other. The national park includes Johnson's boyhood home in Johnson City proper, while the state park is confined to this property 14 miles west of town. This historic site encompasses the World War I–era Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm, historic cabins and trails, and the LBJ Ranch, which includes the family cemetery where the 36th president is buried and the Texas White House, the home where LBJ and his wife, Lady Bird, lived before and after his presidency and often returned to during his time as the nation's leader. A self-guided tour of the ranch begins at the visitor center, and afterward you can hike the many park trails, fish the Pedernales River, picnic, and even take a dip in the pool during the summer.

Marktplatz von Fredericksburg

Located right in the center of the city, Marktplatz is a park that wraps around the Vereins Kirche Museum, an octagonal building that was the site of the first church and the first school in Fredericksburg. It boasts picnic areas, play spaces, and a winter ice skating rink and also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year.

Pedernales Falls State Park

With cool aquamarine pools created from the picturesque Pedernales River shaded by towering cypress trees, this park brings a respite from the glaring sun on hot summer days, especially if you're here to partake of its water-based activities, like swimming or tubing. If you're here to burn calories with a long trek, you've also come to the right place. Hikers and mountain bikers can embark on 19.8 miles of trails, with an additional 14 miles of backpacking trails (hiking only). Fishing, bird-watching, picnicking, and camping are also popular here. Park facilities include picnic sites, restrooms (some with showers), a trailer dump station, and campsites (some with water and electricity, others that are primitive and must be hiked to, with a 2-mile or longer hike). No pets are allowed within the park.