Thursday, March 7, 2019

7 Best Off-Roading Spots in Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country might hold many adventure titles, but when it comes to off-roading, you can as well say that it has some of the best spots in the entire country.

We took our time to craft you some of the 7 best off-roading locations in Texas. Regardless of your driving experience or your vehicle, there’s always a perfect spot for you to blend in the Texas Hill Country.

1. Hidden Falls Adventure Park

Located in Central Texas, Hidden Falls has an array of exciting trails and rock formations that will make your experience a memorable one. This spot is relatively friendly to most vehicles – but of course, that cannot be compared with an experience of an ATV or a 4×4.

With about 240 miles of terrain with varying difficulty, you can be assured of a great time, regardless of your skill level. It is, however, advisable that you fuel up before your arrival as there is no fuel service in the immediate vicinity.

If it is your first time here, I would recommend that you follow a group of drivers familiar with the terrain. By so doing, you will be able to spot the tracks that match your driving skill.

Hidden Falls also provides you with ample camping area and improved RV and cabin sites - thus accommodation should not be an issue. Should you choose the RV or Cabins, purpose to reserve one on their website before you make your trip.

2. Katemcy Rocks

Located in Mason, Texas, Katemcy Rocks provides over 400 acres of granite with diverse terrains for all levels of four wheelers. This spot is operated by the Kruse family and Shain Chapman and has numerous trails with many obstacles – ranging from easy to extreme.

Each year, they host several open and closed events where you get a chance to challenge yourself through the hot rocks. In addition to wheeling, you get to enjoy yourself with extra fun activities such as fantastic BBQ, great food, live music, and much more.

You can always check their official website for the lined up events and contact them if interested.

3. Wolf Caves LLC

Its history dates ages ago when wolves would dwell on these lands and den in the granite caves – thus the name ‘Wolf Caves’. Like the Katemcy Rocks stated above, Wolf Caves is also a family-run operation based in Mason, Texas.

Visit this spot and get to enjoy the thrilling firsthand experience of your wheels against its famous terrain. Its 430 acres are covered with miles of trails suitable for both stock Jeeps and heavily modified vehicles. Unfortunately, they were not allowing ATV’s, UTV, or motorcycles the last time I checked.

When it comes to accommodations, Wolf Caves has primitive campsites for you to camp in. That is further supplemented by the restrooms, showers, and air-up station to make your stay an eventful one.
If you are a pro driver looking for some challenging tracks, Wolf Caves is absolutely your place.

4. Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area is located in Gilmer, Texas and has been in operation since the year 2000. With over 1,800 acres of terrain, this a perfect spot for ATV, OHV, and motorcycle enthusiasts.

Its facilities and trails were specifically constructed to cater for motorized off-road purposes. Its trail system which was developed by the volunteer TMTC membership has been mapped and rated with appropriate signage – giving you the best experience.

There’s a challenging 27+ mile long single trail specifically for dirt bike drivers. For the ATV and OTV owners, there are miles long of scenic trails and challenging trails waiting for you to explore.
The site offers both primitive campsites, cabin rentals, and RV hookups for accommodations. You are welcome to enjoy the park’s shower facilities, remote pavilions, and the dump station.

Barnwell Mountain recreation area is open from Friday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to dusk (all in exception to bad weather).

5. Trees Ranch Off-Road

Tree Ranch offers about 5,500 acres of off-road paradise loaded with some of the most scenic and challenging trails. The ranch is located in Leaky, Texas, and is primarily an exotic game ranch.
With the ranch offering everything from extreme buggy obstacles to mild creek bed trails – there’s a spot for everyone.

Over the last few years, the ranch has been busy cutting in the more than 40+ trails and grooming them. Trees Ranch is gradually transforming itself into a family-oriented ORV park with trails that meets expectations of all levels, regardless of their skill level.

They open up for drivers on Friday and on Saturday morning, all drivers assemble before promptly setting off at 9:00 a.m. Visitors are, therefore, advised to be punctual as it would be hard to find them a group past 9:00 a.m.

6. Canyons Off Road Park

Canyons Off Road Park is nestled in a small tourist town in Texas called Fredericksburg. The park offers great trails fit for almost every truck with a roll cage and has been home to popular race events including the ‘King of the Canyons’ and the ‘WERock’. The trails are, however, considered too dangerous for four-wheelers.

The park offers around 300 acres with over 25 miles trails from which you can enjoy climbing rocks, jumping hills, and splashing through creeks and waterways.

They are open from Friday 3 P.M to Sunday same time.

7. Rocky Ridge Ranch

Located in North Texas, Rocky Ridge ranch has around 650 acres of land offering wooded trails, stream crossings, steep hill climbs, and open fields.

Its varying trails are quite accommodating and can be accessed by ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, four wheelers, and Jeeps. Camping is allowed and you can bring along any size-trailer as there’s plenty of room available.

When not off-roading, you can also decide to go fishing in the 50-acre lake in the vicinity. Rocky Ridge ranch is open from Friday to Sunday.

They also offer weekday driving, but visitors are requested to make a call at least a day before their arrival.

Texas Hill Country is extremely popular for its numerous outdoor activities, off-roading adventures included. Besides being a major tourist attraction site, the rather rugged terrain molds Texas perfectly for off-roading. If you are an off-road enthusiast, make sure to check out these spots on your next stay in the Texas Hill Country.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Five Historic Towns Worth Checking Out in Texas Hill Country

With its perfect blend of natural features and charm, it is no surprise that the Texas Hill Country attracts millions of visitors annually. Starting from its picturesque landscapes, wine vineyards, and the strong presence of antique historical landmarks dating back hundreds of years, there’s always something for everyone visiting Texas.

Even while enjoying the numerous outdoor activities, your trip could never be more complete without visiting the historical landmarks spread throughout Texas. Below are 5 historic towns that are worth checking out during your next trip to Texas Hill Country:


Located east of the center of Gillespie County, Fredericksburg is one must visit-town for history enthusiasts. This town was founded in 1846, and named after Prince Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig of Prussia – a prince, general of the royal cavalry, and Division Commander.

Sometimes the town goes by the nickname ‘Fritztown’ which dates back to the old-time German residents. Fredericksburg is home to Chester Williams Nimitz, Sr., a fleet admiral of the United States Navy who was a major role player as a Commander-in-Chief and Pacific Fleet Commander in the World War II.

Fredericksburg is also well known as the home of the Texas German dialect which originates from the first generation German settlers who refused to learn English. Well, such are the features that have earned Fredericksburg a place in the National Register of Historic Places in Texas.

To get the real taste of history, head down to the Baron’s Creek at Fort Martin Scott. Founded in 1848, the site was used by the Confederate Army, US Army, and the Texas Rangers. Today, these grounds are home to the Texas Rangers Heritage Center.

What makes it livelier is that they offer live demos and hold events around the history and folklore of the Rangers.


It has a small population of around 900 residents (as per 2010 census) and a total area of around 3.10 square km. Don’t be fooled by its size, Bandera still holds some of the juiciest historical story-lines in Texas Hill Country.

The town which is the county seat of Bandera County lies in the Edwards Plateau. It is also well known by its nickname ‘Cowboy Capital of the World’ which can be explained by its American Cowboy history dating back late in the 19th Century.

Bandera is home to the legendary Frontier Times Museum opened by author, historian, and printer John Marvin Hunter. While entering Bandera, you will see a sign street on the Main Street stating that Bandera was founded by the Roman Catholic immigrants. That also explains the St. Stanislaus Catholic church which is among the oldest buildings in all of Texas.

Bandera is also home to several music legends such as Robert Earl Keen, the Bruce & Charlie Robinson brothers, and the legendary western actor and singer Rudy Robbins. Did you know that Bandera is home of the Arkey Blue Silver Dollar honky-tonk country bar included in the 1975 horror film, Race with the Devil?


Llano Town started more like a frontier trading center with a few log-building housing as business establishments in the 1870s.

You will find the Llano Courthouse has a history dating back to 1893. The first Llano Courthouse was an ornate brick building completed in 1885 but later destroyed by a fire on January 22, 1892. 
There’s also the Llano County Museum located on the northern end of the Llano River. You will find exhibits on local history and collections of the 1930s world-class polo player and Llano native, Cecil Smith.

Other places in Llano listed in the National Register of Historic Places include the Llano Jail, Badu Building, and the Southern Hotel.

In October of every year, Llano downtown residents set aside time for their Wild West Weekend. The event features chuck wagons, street dances, and even live music author readings. In Llano, your lesson on the value of western history and heritage is not only nourishing but also with plenty of fun activities as well.


In addition to the beautiful parks lining the Guadalupe River, there’s a number of historical landmarks dating back to many decades ago. Kerrville was named after James Kerr, a doctor, politician, and a Major in the Texas Revolution.

The Museum of Western Art in Kerrville was founded in 1983 and features work of living artists who specialize in themes of the American West. It boasts of a collection with roughly 25 paintings, 150 sculptures, and a number of other artifacts.

Each year, there’s the Kerrville Folk Festival featuring folk musicians from all over the country. The event has been running annually since 1972 and goes on for 18 consecutive summer days at Quiet Valley Ranch.

Kerrville is home to the Capt. Charles Mansion which is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Mansion, which has its history dating back to early 1960s, is now home to the Hill Country Museum – which is operated by Schreiner University.

Enchanted Rock

Not exactly a town, but if its historical nourishment you are seeking, Enchanted Rock is definitely your place. Enchanted Rock is situated in the Llano Uplift approximately 27 km (17 miles) north of Fredericksburg and 39 km (24 miles) south of Llano.

In 1936, Enchanted Rock was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – which is awarded by Texas Historical Commission for ‘historical and architecturally significant properties in the State of Texas.'

Human habitation on Enchanted Rock has been traced back at least 10, 000 years (as per the archaeological evidence found.)

But perhaps, what makes the Rock stand out more are its popular legends dating back to as early as the 16th Century. There’s folklore of Tonkawa, Comanche, and Apache tribes ascribing spiritual and magical powers to the rock – and thus its name, ‘Enchanted Rock.’

Should you decide to take a hike, you will find a plaque with the story about Ranger John Coffee Hays, who, as the legend goes, held off an Indian raid for around three hours while waiting for help to arrive – all that time using the natural rock formations as cover.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

5 Must-Visit Music Venues in Texas Hill Country

Each year, at least 5 million people are attracted to the magnificent wonders of Texas Hill Country. One visit to its tiny old towns with unique character and culture, combined with the cowboys and other limitless activities will leave you craving for another trip here.

To most, Texas Hill Country is home to some of the best jazz, country, rock, and rockabilly music of all time. Below is a list of the 5 must-visit music venues you should not miss on your next trip to Texas.

Continental Club - Austin

The Continental Club on South Congress Ave. has been a popular hub for country, rock, rockabilly, and swing music since the 1950s. It might be a small room (it has a capacity of around 300 people) but popular artists such as Joey Ely, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Kinky Friedman happen to have played on this stage.

When it was opened in the late 1950s, it started off as a BYOB private supper club which featured acts like those of Glen Miller and Tommy Dorsey. The ’60s saw its transition to a burlesque club and by the 70s and 80s, it had begun booking acts like Butthole Surfers, Vaughan, and WC Clark.

In the present day, the club features local and national rock, rockabilly, and swing acts. So if you happen to be a fan of any of these genres, this might just be your perfect hub in Austin.

You can always pop in at night - regardless of the day of the week, and still, enjoy some of the best music from Texas natives such as Toni Price and James McMurtry.

11th Street Cowboy Bar – Bandera

If you are looking for the Cowboy Capital of Texas, the 11th Street Cowboy Bar should be your first choice. Branded as the ‘Biggest Little Bar in Texas’, 11th Street features some of the best country swing bands and country western in the state. 

This bar is quite popular and it often attracts visitors from around the world. Cowboys and bikers mingling with locals are a common sight in this venue –which further explains its popularity.

11th Street Cowboy Bar has also been featured in numerous shows and magazines including the Texas Highways, Texas Monthly, Life Magazine, The Oprah Show, the Houston Chronicle, USA Today, Southern Living, and the San Antonio Express-News, among others.

During the 2008 Texas Presidential Primary and Texas Elections, the bar hosted ‘Live on CNN.’
Being a music venue, the 11th Street features top-notch Texas talent every week. If you are lucky enough, you might stumble across their jam sessions which are open to everyone.

Gruene Hall – Gruene

Built in 1878, Gruene Hall is the oldest continually operating dance hall in Texas. It has a 6,000 square foot dance hall built by Heinrich D. Gruene. The original layout was maintained and it still has side flaps for open-air dancing, a bar in the front, a small lighted stage located in the back and an outdoor garden.

This venue regularly attracts some of the biggest acts in music, including George Strait, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Greg Allman, Hal Ketchum, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Loretta Lynn among other popular artists.

One interesting thing about this venue is that even when they don’t have any live music lined up, you can always stop for a cold drink and enjoy the view of signed portraits of country music legends –dating to more than 100 years ago.

Being a historic venue, the Gruene Hall has been featured in numerous books, including Pat Green’s Dancehalls & Dreamers. If you are a country music fan with a passion of history and its antiques, there’s no better spot in Texas than this.

It is advisable you check out with their official website to familiarize yourself with the upcoming events and shows. You might also consider purchasing your tickets in advance prior to your visit.

Luckenbach Dance Hall – Luckenbach

It is located and named after the tiny Hill Country town of Luckenbach. The history of its popularity dates way back in 1973 when Jerry Jeff Walker, alongside the Lost Gonzo Band recorded the live album Viva Terlingua in this very hall.

The hall no doubt still holds its own piece of fame from the popularity the album has generated over the years.

Since then, this venue has been a host to major acts including Jennings, Pat Green, Nelson, Earl Keen, and Lyle Lovett. 

In the present day, Luckenbach Dance Hall holds dances and concerts nearly every weekend. The concerts feature some of the best artists on the Texas music scene, so it’s definitely worth your time.

You might, however, consider booking your ticket early in advance to evade the hustle of the last minute rush. Their official website displays their lined up events and also guides you on how to access the venue – including tickets.

Broken Spoke – Austin

James White drew inspiration from the old Austin venues such as the Moosehead Tavern, the Barn on North Lamar, and Dessau Hall to build the Broken Spoke. He began building it in 1964 and by December of the same year, it had opened to 300 guests.

Today, Broken Spoke still stands out with its iconic red color and an Oak tree stationed at its front.
Two years after its launch, James White booked Bob Wills – who also happened to have been one of his childhood heroes. Later, he booked other big names including Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubbs, Hank Thompson, Kitty Wells, Tex Ritter, Ray Price, and George Strait, among others.

Despite the recent condo and retail developments growing around this legendary venue, Broken Spoke still retains the Austin tradition. This venue also stands out because of the great dishes it offers. Visitors get to enjoy great lunch specials of chicken fried steak, fried chicken, and grilled chicken every Friday and Saturday.

Visitors can enjoy free shows hosted every Tuesday-Saturday night from various popular bands. You can also take part in the two-step/swing lessons offered every Wednesday-Saturday in the evening.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The 7 Best Spots To Paddle Your Way Through the Texas Hill Country

The Texas Hill Country is dotted and crisscrossed with hundreds of miles of spring and river waterways. So whether it is kayaking, rowing, rafting, canoeing, or even stand up paddle surfing, there’s a spot for everyone to spend their quality time.

Either alone or with your loved ones, these 7 spots in the Texas Hill Country are totally worth your time.

South Llano River

Navigate through the quiet pools, smooth waters, and gentle rifles along the 6 miles of the South Llano River in the Texas Hill Country. The water levels are generally shallow (they reach waist level) and are almost perfect in all seasons.

This spot is great for fishing, overnight camping, swimming, canoeing, and kayaking. You might, however, consider renting kayaks from established outfitters who will transport you to the spots, especially if it’s your first day in the area.

If you don’t want to spend your entire time in the water, you can enjoy spending some time birding and scouting for wildlife. Afterward, you can treat yourself with delicious chicken-fried steaks at Isaack’s Inn Junction.

San Saba River

The San Saba River is a scenic site located on the northern boundary of the Edwards Plateau, Texas. The sparkling clear waters and the beautiful surroundings make the area look like a little paradise. One visit there and you will definitely wish you had known the place earlier.

It is a great spot for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing among other fun activities. Enjoy the thrill of swishing your kayaks through the wide open spaces surrounded by cedar, oak, and pecan trees along the river banks.

The absence of nearby residential areas makes the place relatively calm and thus a great spot for daily escapades.

Water levels of the San Saba River fluctuate with weather conditions. You might, therefore, consider checking the status with an outfitter before your planned trip.

Guadalupe River

Guadalupe River is by far the most popular river in the region, mainly because of the spectacular view of limestone cliffs and avenues of bald cypresses that accompanies it along the 9.9-mile stretch.

The spot offers great tubing, rapids, canoeing and kayaking activities. Another feature contributing to its popularity is the kid-friendliness of the place. Therefore, if you are looking for a relatively inexpensive place for a family out, this is your perfect spot.

The upper part of the River passes through the Guadalupe River State Park, which is among the best places to hike and camp in the region. The lower section of the River, below the Canyon Lake, is wider, deeper and slower. Most recreation activities take place in this section.

Guadalupe River, being among top 100 trout fishing rivers in the USA, also has some best fishing activities in the region.

Pecan Bayou

With a trail length of 3.2 to 4 miles, Pecan Bayou offers a peaceful stretch with slow-moving water that can be paddled in either direction as a loop trail.

Pecan Bayou is an overflow from Lake Brownwood and is controlled by rainfall and dams. It is readily influenced by rainfall runoff that sometimes create temporary high flows and undesirable water quality conditions. You might, therefore, consider checking out with an outfitter before scheduling a visit.

Besides paddling activities, you can enjoy some fun fishing activities too. With simple lures such as spinner baits, plastic worms, and jigs, you can catch a variety of fish ranging from mouth bass, crappie, catfish, and brim.

Lady Bird Lake (Austin)

The Lady Bird Lake (originally known as Town Lake) is a 400-acre reservoir ideal for SUPing, rowing, swimming, canoeing, and kayaking activities. The lake doesn’t allow most motorized boats, so the conditions are calm and safe.

Lady Bird is an ideal and a perfect place for individuals seeking to have a nice, long day on the water.

You can either choose to paddle for hours on the 6-mile stretch of river or choose among the popular 3-to-5 mile loops. If you are looking forward to a calm yet eventful trip, this might just be the perfect place for you.

You can also indulge yourself in fishing activities which are also an option on the spot. Largemouth bass and sunfish are the most common in the area.

Canyon Lake

Located northwest of San Antonio, Canyon Lake was made by damming the Guadalupe River. It is one of the most scenic lakes and among the best-known water recreational spots in the whole of Texas.

Besides the many public parks surrounding it, Canyon Lake is also a great fishing spot for Guadalupe bass.

You can also choose to explore the rocky limestone on its shoreline by either boat or on foot. Being a good-sized lake, a trip to its shorelines can be a full-day endeavor. All the same, the experience has proved to be quite exhilarating.

The temperatures can be very high especially in the summer seasons. It is, therefore, advisable to bring along your own shade since there’s no shade at all on the shoreline.

Lake Bastrop

Lake Bastrop is a 900-acre lake in the Lost Pines, Central Texas. It has been perfect for all types of paddling, and SUPing is now becoming a popular activity in the area.

Because of its large size, the Lake offers plenty of room for families and groups planning to spend their day paddling or fishing.

Recently, sailing and water skiing activities have become very popular on Lake Bastrop. As a result, the South Shore Park now offers canoe rentals for those without their boats. Also on the south shore, are campsites and cabins available for any group size.

Surrounding the Lake are trails that are great for experiencing other activities such as hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. If you decide to stick with paddling, you will have plenty of room to stand up on a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard.

Lake Bastrop provides a good mix of recreational activities making it a perfect place for a family outing, event, or gathering.

During the high season, it can be difficult to get in any good paddling because of the tube traffic that accompanies these areas. It is, therefore, advisable to contact outfitters in the Hill Country to inquire about tube traffic before scheduling a trip.

It is also a good idea to talk to the ones in charge about any potentially dangerous conditions you might encounter. If any, discuss the proper precautions that need to be taken before you enter the water. Remember, safety first!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

10 Best Farmers Markets in Texas Hill Country

Farmers Markets are not only the best place to go when you need fresh affordable produce; they are sanctuaries of culture, colors, and local flavors. You can discover a huge number of things by walking through them while enjoying and tasting new ingredients or dishes. Here are the best 10 farmers markets located in Texas Hill Country.

Hill Country features many popular farmers markets in different towns. Saturdays and Sundays are the popular days; however, this can vary. The products go from fresh produce to collectibles, art, and home-made goods.


Visit the beautiful county of Blanco and enjoy the taste of real honey, sweets, and fruits while you walk around the square and the courthouse grounds. The market is held on the 3rd Saturday of the month, from March through November. A special day was added in December as part of the Christmas Market Day.
Check out this amazing market and take the kids out for an amazing experience.

Hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm


Enjoy Austin’s best local vendors and produce at this farmers market. You will love dancing to the rhythm of live music while tasting the most delicious, homemade delicacies and drinks! The market is open to families and pets as well, so nobody stays behind.

Open every Sunday.
Hours: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm


Make grocery shopping a great experience and visit Boerne’s farmers’ markets. Open Saturday and Sunday, this event has become the gathering place of many local artists and vendors. Spend your day buying delicious produce, food, collectibles, while dancing to amazing Texan music. 

Hours: Saturdays 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Sundays 10:00 am – 4:00 pm


Hang out at the coolest farmers market, voted Austin’s favorite farmers market for four years and be charmed by the friendliness of the vendors, and the freshness of their produce. The market is the ideal place to eat, shop, and enjoy alongside family and friends.

Open Sunday and Wednesday.
Hours: Sunday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Wednesday 5:00 – 8:00 pm.


The Downtown Buda Farmers Market is the greatest place to gather to find the best and most organic fruits and vegetables in the country. Vendors and shoppers will enjoy games, live music, crafts, fresh honey and much more. 
Visit Buda and fall in love with their amazing vibe.

Starts May 6th Sundays 10:00 am – 2:00 pm


This awesome market offers an open-air experience for the whole family. Local vendors and farmers offer fresh eggs, organic produce, honey products, unique Asian vegetables, herbs, spices, and many other things. Held April to October.
You can find it in front of Sid's Main Street BBQ at 702 Main Street in Bandera, Texas.

Open Thursdays, 8:00 am – 11:00 am and Saturdays, 8:00 am – 11:00 am.


The Fredericksburg Farmers Market is a seven-month long, weekly, open-air market that brings locally grown, organic food to the Texan community. The Fredericksburg Farmers Market is located at Kinder Halle Pavilion in Marktplatz, which is one of the best locations in Fredericksburg. The market’s objective is to support the local economy while delivering an amazing event for the whole family. This farmers market focuses on seasonal veggies and delicious fruit!
Come visit with the family and taste the best produce this beautiful city has to offer.

Open every Thursday, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm.
May - August and October - November.


You will never find a more inclusive place than Llano’s Farmers Market. Here, you will be able to find carved wood items, fresh produce, and even doggie biscuits. Located at the Llano River at Grenwelge Park, this great event will fill with joy your day.

Open most Saturdays from 8:00 am to 11:00 am.


Wimberley hosts the oldest outdoor market in the Texas Hill Country and the second-largest in the state. It is an amazing place where to go with your pooch for a stroll or with your family. Open 1st Saturdays, from March to December, 7:00 am – 4:00 pm at Lions Field, Wimberley. Over 400 booths will be open for you to check out and purchase fresh produce, clothing, furniture, tools antiques and much more; and do not worry, there is plenty of place for parking!


This event is planned by a non-profit organization of farmers, artists, and food producers who got together to give kids and families the best experience in the Texas Hill Country. Open every 1st Saturday of the month, from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm, no matter the weather. From March to June and from September to December.
This event showcases local artist working along each other to sell beautiful, unique pieces like jewelry, toys, collectibles, and more.