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Hill Country

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The Hill Country is a region of the state of Texas in the United States of America. It has some of the most interesting history of the state. The cities here date to Spanish and Mexican days, though a large number of Czech and German immigrants leave a legacy. The terrain is hilly and dry, cut by spring-fed rivers, with the beautiful Texas live oak providing occasional shade.

Cities

  • Austin, capital of the state with plenty of things to keep a traveler interested. Gateway into the Hill Country.
  • Fredericksburg, about 1.5 hours west of Austin and 1 hour north of San Antonio.
  • Stonewall, about 15 miles East of Fredericksburg on Highway 290.
  • San Marcos, about half an hour south of Austin.
  • New Braunfels, about one and a half hours south of Austin.
  • Kerrville, the Heart of the Hills. One hour northwest of San Antonio on Interstate 10.
  • Bandera, self-proclaimed "cowboy capital" on Hwy 16.
  • Luckenbach, very small town known for legend in music.

Other destinations

  • Bastrop State Park, Bastrop, +1 512 321-2101, [1]. Has camping (dormitories and shelters are available by reservation), a swimming pool, golf, fishing, and bike trails. Full shower and restroom facilities are on site.
  • Pedernales Falls State Park, offers picnicking, camping, hiking, swimming, tubing, fishing, and bird watching.
  • Hill Country State Natural Area, A rugged park that offers wilderness, hiking, biking, and horseback riding, camping, swimming, and fishing. It is a primitive park with no amenities provided - no drinking water or restroom facilites.
  • Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, 16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg, +1 325 247-3903, [2]. A huge park on Big Sandy creek near Enchanted Rock. Activities include hiking, backpacking, camping, birdwatching, stargazing, rock climbing, and geography research. Restroom and shower facilities are available for a fee.

Understand

The Texas Hill Country is an area around Edwards Aquifer that demonstrates karst topography and a wide range of wildlife. It was originally settled by Mexican and German immigrants, and a visitor will note the distinct influence of both cultures in the local life. Most cities and towns are small, there are many parks and open areas, and an endless list of local experiences.

Get in

The easiest access to the area from a distance is through Austin's Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) [3] or through San Antonio's "San Antonio International Airport". The most practical means of travel from the airport is by car. Travel by road from other major cities in Texas is also easy. From Houston, take US290 north to Austin (3 hours) or IH-10 west to San Antonio (3 hours). From Dallas, take IH-35 south to Austin (3 and 1/2 hours).

Get around

Public transportation is not available between most destinations. Bus and airport service is similarly sparse. The traveler's best option is to bring their own car or rent one at the airport. The many small scenic highways in this area also make motorcycling and bicycle riding very popular.

See

Do

  • Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, 830-625-2351, [4]. Consistently called the best waterpark in the world. See web site for various ticket prices, reserve rooms early to ensure availability.


Buy

Eat

  • German headcheese, produced in South Texas, is nothing like the standard American kind - it contains chunks of meat rather than fat and offal. It's available at supermarkets only in the Hill Country and surrounding areas.
  • Sausage, of all types. Dry and semi-dry are often especially good. Don't wait for directions, just stop at a local smokehouse and see what they have.
  • Kolaches, small buns with sausage and sometimes cheese and jalapenos.
  • Chicken Fried Steak, a localization of weinerschnitzel, often served with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Drink

  • Tito's brand Vodka. Locally produced in Austin. Tours are offered as well as a free sample!
  • Local beer. Find brewpubs and breweries in New Braunfels, Blanco, Boerne, and Austin.

Stay safe

Get out

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