Thursday, March 21, 2019

5 Top-Rated Tourist Destinations In The Texas Hill Country

5 top-rated Texas Hill Country tourist destinations blog cover image

With its stunning natural scenes and unique culture, Texas Hill Country has been recognized as a major visitor destination for those seeking an adventurous escapade. Being the second largest state in the entire country, its diversity both culturally and geographically is simply impressive.

From its historical stories, natural parks, and coastal scenery, to its culture-embedded towns and cities, Texas State is by every means an all-around destination. If you are looking forward to exploring the Texas Hill Country, make sure to check out these 5 best-rated tourist destinations.

lit shops and diners along the river

1. San Antonio River Walk

The San Antonio River Walk, also known as Paseo del Rio is a city park with networked walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River. With its lined up bars, restaurants, nature, shops, public artwork, and historic missions, it is no surprise as to why it has repeatedly been top ranked as a must-visit destination in Texas Hill Country.

Explore by foot along the river’s walkway, or take a guided ride along the 15-mile urban waterway and get to enjoy the all-in-one treasure-packed San Antonio experience. Once in Downtown, you can choose to explore nearby attractions such as the King William Historic District, or shop at some of the local favorites along the river.

Just to give you a clear view of what to expect: the River Walk winds and loops below bridges in two parallel sidewalks lined with shops and restaurants, connects a series of tourist attractions such as the HemisFair Park, San Antonio Museum of Art, the Pearl, Tower Life Building, Alamo – just a mention of a few, yet with a uniquely different experience.

Admission to the San Antonio River Walk is free – which means that you have the option to spend your cash at the spots within.

the still-standing front of The Alamo

2. The Alamo

Located in San Antonio, The Alamo receives over four million visitors annually who come to see where Texas liberty began.

Most Americans are familiar with the phrase ‘Remember the Alamo’ which is used to refer to the few defenders who were slaughtered by Mexican troops in the 1836 Battle of the Alamo.

Today, the battlefield tour is taught by history interpreters who will guide you through the battle of 1836. You can still see where the original fort lied, and where Colonel Travis and Davy Crockett fought and heroically spent their last moments.

To get an in-depth tour, you can choose to attend the ‘After Hours Tour’ which allows you to see Alamo without any crowds. It is more personalized, quieter, and has a 45 minutes audio tour that will take you around to enjoy the sights of Alamo.

The guided tour is $15 per person and free for children below the age of eight. Military personnel (active/veteran) pay $10 per person.

a giraffe reaching down to eat food from a driver's hand

3. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

Located just north of San Antonio, the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is designed to give you a typical African safari experience. The sanctuary has zebras, elk, and ostrich roaming through the 400 acres of land. If you are lucky enough, they may sometimes poke their heads through your open car window looking for some food.

The walk-a-bout area has a giraffe barn, Lemur Island, and other numerous opportunities for a close-up interaction with animals. In this area, some animals such as peacocks, parrots, and lemurs roam freely. You can, therefore, be guaranteed a fantastic experience even when not in the car. There’s also a designated zone for kids, the ‘Petting Barnyard’ where they can chase, feed, and cuddle baby goats and other docile furry friends.

You will need to hire a car and pay a day-long entrance fee so as to explore the Ranch. But once you are set, you can take your time through the parkland while animals such as emu, zebra, buffalo, and ostrich graze around your car – with a few of them heading to your car window for a bite. You can choose to book a one-hour guided tour with an experienced animal specialist who will point you to various animals while sharing facts about them.

calm waves on the beach

4. Padre Island National Seashore

Located just a quick drive south of Corpus Christi, Padre Island National Seashore is made up of sand dunes, grassland, beach habitats, and is home to a variety of migratory birds as well as rare sea turtles.

Because of the warm weather present all year round, its beaches are very popular with typical activities such as swimming, sunbathing, windsurfing, and fishing.

Besides a weekly entrance fee of $10 per vehicle, camping on the beach is absolutely free. In addition to normal beach activities, you can also go fishing – either in the sea or the western lagoon (but with a Texas State license). However, activities in the dunes and grassland are to some extent limited so as to protect wildlife and prevent erosion.

Padre Island is home to varied bird life such as laughing gulls, geese, sandpipers, herons, and over 300 other species. The island is also home to other wildlife such as coyotes, diamond rattlesnakes, deer and rabbits living in the ruins. The endangered sea turtles are now a common sighting, and during the egg-laying season, park rangers are seen patrolling the beaches searching for any signs of activity.

5. Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Paulo Duro Canyon State Park is the second largest canyon in The United States and is located in the Texas Panhandle near the cities of Amarillo and Canyon. Besides the geological aspect of the location, the canyons are also home to numerous fun recreational activities.

With over 30 miles of varying trails, you can explore the canyons on foot, mountain bike, horse or cars. Other activities include camping, nature study, and birdwatching. In summer, you get to enjoy performances of the Texas outdoor musical drama in the Pioneer Amphitheater present in the park. Also, make sure to mark your trip with one of the souvenirs sold at the Visitor Center.

Although they are just a glimpse into the wonders of Texas Hill Country, these destinations guarantee any individual a memorable experience. A visit to the local visitor centers will provide with even more detailed information of your preferred destination to ensure you get the best out of your trip.