Spring is a great time to see the Texas State Flower, the Bluebonnet, in all its glory. And, if that isn’t enough, over 5,000 varieties of wildflowers carpet the rolling hills of the central Texas Hill Country. Whether you like to tour wineries, hike, or kick back at a historic B&B, the Texas Hill Country will have something for you.
Austin, the Texas Capitol city, is the largest town in the Hill Country and a great place to start your explorations. We recommend the Hill Country for a romantic getaway and features some great ideas for hotels and restaurants in Austin. Austin is known as a “Live Music Capitol.” But for those looking forward to outdoor pursuits, Austin is a great place to begin a Hill Country vacation. Austin is fairly close to the airport and so in a matter of minutes, you can pick up your luggage and arrive at your hotel in Central Austin.
As you leave Austin and head out to the surrounding Hill Country, head toward Fredericksburg. Fredericksburg, the little German town, is a great place to use as a base for your Hill Country travels. Fredericksburg is home to some great little restaurants, 350 B&B inns, and loads of German ambiance and hospitality. (We can just smell the German bread baking!)
Ten state parks and natural areas are located in the region around Fredericksburg. Wildflower enthusiasts and birders will find just what they are looking for at these parks. The Texas Hill Country is the most reliable place to see two endangered species – the jewel-like Golden-cheeked Warbler and the red-eyed Black-capped Vireo. The parks of the Hill Country attract visitors from across Texas and the U.S. who come to experience the rugged beauty and outdoor recreation.
There are some fantastic little side trips to enjoy as you travel the Hill Country around Fredericksburg. Fredericksburg is home to a fantastic Herb Farm. The Herb Farm has an award-winning restaurant, a candle shop, day spa and, of course, nursery. Butterflies, hummingbirds, and wildflowers abound. They are known for their lavender plants and products. The organic greens served in the restaurant are grown on the farm’s 14 acres.
If lavender sparks your interest, you have to visit Triple L Farms. They have 4.5 acres of lavender plants in two separate fields. The drive out to Triple L is an experience in itself. Special seasonal events are held at the Farm. Check out their gift shop. They sell lavender headache remedy, lavender bubble bath, lavender hand sanitizer, sachets, and many other products. The shop carries Sharon Shipley's Lavender Cookbook. If you are a "lavender lover," this sounds like a wonderful book.
Ways to See The Hill Country
Of course, our favorite way to see the Hill Country is on foot, but you can tour wineries in deluxe cars or bike the back roads.
Cycle Texas provides free, detailed information about cycling routes over the best cycling roads in Texas as well as other useful information targeted to bicycling guests.
Texas Wine Tours offers day tours, short tours and custom tours to Hill Country wineries. The regular tour is an all-day event and begins in Fredericksburg including stops at 5 of the best wineries and tasting rooms in the state. Or, if time is short, you can reserve a seat on our short tour where you'll visit 3 wineries/tasting rooms in an afternoon. Custom tours can be arranged with two weeks notice and can include an Austin or San Antonio pickup/drop-off. The regular tour will include lunch at one of the wineries. Their gourmet picnic lunches are made fresh daily by a local favorite caterer. You will want to buy a bottle or two of wine from the host winery to have with your lunch or afternoon snack. What a cushy way to tour the Hill Country!
If you want to plan your own tour, the Texas Hill Country Wineries has put together a great printable map. As we mentioned, we love seeing the Hill Country on foot. We recommend starting with an overview of the Texas Hill Country parks. Select a park you want to visit and then look at the park website to find out more about hiking. Each park has trails.
If you want to start out with an easy walk and city tour of Fredericksburg, the American Volkssport Association provides a mapped route of the town. The walk is 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) but you can shop, have lunch or rest along the way. The walk is self-paced.
Central Texas and the Hill Country will surprise you. With rolling hills, stony creeks and wildflowers galore, the Hill Country has become an important Spring destination for outdoors enthusiasts as well as those wanting a taste of small-town Texas country living.