New York has the Hamptons, San Francisco has the wine country, and Texas has the Hill Country. Just an hour or two's drive from both Austin and San Antonio, the area is an easy day trip or weekend getaway, and its natural beauty paired with its easygoing nature has inspired more than a few early retirements.
Thanks to former First Lady Claudia Taylor Johnson – around here everyone calls her Lady Bird – each spring the highways are lined with stunning wildflowers that stretch for miles, planted as part of her Highway Beautification Act.
In addition to the bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes and black-eyed Susans, the Hill Country shirks Texas' reputation for being dry and flat, with rolling hills, oak trees, spring-fed creeks and flowing rivers. Those hills abound with small wineries, stylish B&Bs, lively dance halls and Instagram-ready geological wonders, from caverns to a grand granite dome. Gorgeous back roads connect them all.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Hill Country.
Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Hill Country.