The Texas Hill Country is a place of natural beauty and serenity. Located on the rolling hills of the Edwards Plateau, this area is home to limestone knolls, rippling creeks and lush forests, not to mention rocky wonders like the Llano Uplift and the Enchanted Rock. While wandering the outdoors could be a retreat in its own right, there are plenty of both rural and urban activities you'll want to try on your romantic getaway in Texas.
Kayak Down the Medina River
While many tourists take to the Guadalupe River, you can enjoy a more intimate kayaking experience on the Medina River, which winds its way through 116 miles toward the San Antonio River. Kayak past lush bald cypress, live oak and cedar trees, as well as limestone bluffs, on your soothing water journey. Kayak rentals are available through the Medina River Company, or select a canoe for an even smoother ride.
Indulge in Some Barbecue
Texans are known for their exceptional skills with a grill, and no Hill Country vacation is complete without a taste of the local barbecue. Try Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, a favorite among meat-centric locals. You order your meal as it’s cooking - go up to the grill and point to which piece of meat you want. Choose from sausages, prime or pork ribs and smoked brisket, among other delights.
Explore the Art Museum
Hill Country's Museum of Western Art is the place to go to discover the unique Southwestern culture of the area. It contains Western American artwork from modern and traditional artists, presenting renderings of mountain men, cowboys, Indians and settlers in an effort to preserve the rich cultural heritage. The building itself is a testament to the architectural styles of the Wild West - it was designed by famed Texas architect O'Neil Ford, who fashioned it to look like a fortressed hacienda.
Visit a German Bakery
While much of the food in Hill Country has that Tex-Mex appeal, you can also find hints of German cuisine. Immigrants from the European country settled in the area in the mid-1830s and laid the foundation for many cultural traditions. Stop by the Old German Bakery and Restaurant for a taste of Old-World-influenced baked goods, like potato pancakes and apple strudel.
Take a Wine Tasting
One might not think of Hill Country as a hotspot for wine lovers, but the area is littered with quaint vineyards. For a taste of Tuscany, head to Grape Creek Vineyards. The tasting room take on an air of an Italian villa with red-tile roofing and a stucco facade. Out on a tree-shaded patio overlooking the rolling hills, you can sample the flavors of award-winning wines bottled right on the grounds. You can also take a cellar tour that includes barrel tastings.
Hike Through Gorman Falls
Put on your hiking shoes and make your way 1.5 miles of rugged terrain through Colorado Bend State Park until you get to Gorman Falls. As you begin to reach your destination, you’ll come across cascades falling from a 60-foot high cliffs down into a grotto.
Visit an Orchard
Georgia may be the Peach State, but Texas is also known for its many lush peach orchards. Marburger Orchard. Grab a basket and make your way through the crop aisles and pluck the ripe, juicy fruit straight from the trees. This orchard grows 13 different varieties that are ready for picking at different times of the year, typically between May and August. If you don’t come during the season - don’t worry: just have your hand at the fresh strawberries and blackberries.
Go Hunting for Topaz
You don’t have to go to the jewelry store for topaz in this region - just head to Mason County and look to the ground. Texas’ state gem, topaz, is a clear or bluish stone that can be found near the top of granite outcroppings across Mason, like in ditches and creek beds. Lindsay Ranch is a prime location for finding these treasures.
Picnic on Enchanted Rock
Enchanted Rock is one of the area’s most charming locales - the massive mound of granite is located just outside of Fredericksburg. You have to hike a mile to the top, but it’s worth the effort. Lay out your picnic table on the soft grass or a plateau and watch the sunset while you enjoy your meal. Be sure to cast your eyes toward the undulating Pedernales River, and put an ear to the ground to hear the faint sounds of the granite fissures as they expand after a long, hot day.
Reserve a Table at Rose Hill Manor
Couples from all across Hill Country know Rose Hill Manor as one of the most romantic spots in the area. This restaurant is all about the lavish experience, from the setting to the cuisine. You’ll arrive to find yourself in front of an elaborate Georgian-influenced mansion and a backdrop of wide open hayfields. Then, after you order, you’re presented with a fine dining extravaganza of four courses. The menu changes each week, but you’ll find traditional Southern fare like braised pork belly and Mississippi mud pie. While in the Texas Hill Country, be sure to also check out these the top romantic restaurants in the region.
By Nicole Martinez