Texas travel

4 charming Hill Country spots named among Texas' best small towns by Travel + Leisure

4 Hill Country spots named among Texas' best small towns by T+L

Flying L Ranch Bandera
The Flying L Ranch in Bandera. Flying L Ranch
Sage Hill Inn & Spa Wimberley hotel
View from the porch of the Sage Hill Inn in Wimberley. Sage Hill Inn & Spa/Facebook
Deep Eddy Vodka Distillery Dripping Springs
When in Dripping Springs, visit a distillery. Deep Eddy Vodka Distillery/ Facebook
Lighthouse Hill Ranch Arc De Texas Johnson City
Johnson City's Lighthouse Hill Ranch. Photo courtesy of Lighthouse Hill Ranch
Flying L Ranch Bandera
Sage Hill Inn & Spa Wimberley hotel
Deep Eddy Vodka Distillery Dripping Springs
Lighthouse Hill Ranch Arc De Texas Johnson City

Travel + Leisure magazine has given its seal of approval to four Hill Country communities as being among eight of the best small towns in Texas.

In a list published July 28, the magazine lauds Bandera, Dripping Springs, Johnson City, and Wimberley, offering vignettes of the Hill Country towns.

Nicknamed the "Cowboy Capital of the World," Bandera “is the perfect place to learn how to be a cowboy,” thanks to the presence of several dude ranches and the area’s historic role in cattle drives. The magazine also notes the ability to explore the Hill Country State Natural Area, go kayaking on the Medina River, visit the Frontier Times Museum, or hang out at 11th Street Cowboy Bar, “the biggest little bar in Texas.” Bandera is about an hour northwest of San Antonio.

Dripping Springs, the magazine says, “is a mecca for those who love spirit tastings, as the town is full of distilleries.” Also prevalent in the area are wineries. For nature lovers, Travel + Leisure suggests checking out Hamilton Pool Preserve. Those in search of indoor activities can partake of boutiques, restaurants, and live music venues. Dripping Springs is nearly 25 miles southwest of Austin.

Travel + Leisure describes Johnson City as a “Hill Country escape full of beauty and history.” Of course, that history centers on former President Lyndon B. Johnson. You can tour his boyhood home, visit the LBJ Ranch, or head to the LBJ State Park and Historic Site. Numerous wineries in the area showcase Texas vino. Johnson City is roughly 50 miles west of Austin.

And Wimberley merits kudos as “a nature lover’s Eden.” Highlights of this Eden include two popular swimming homes, one at Jacob’s Well Natural Area and the other at Blue Hole Regional Park. Also worth putting on your Wimberley itinerary are the Devil’s Backbone scenic highway, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and live music venues. Wimberley is around 37 miles southwest of Austin.

Four other small Texas towns earn praise in the T+L piece, and they're all over the map: Jefferson in northeast Texas, Marfa in West Texas, Port Aransas on the Gulf Coast, and Round Top, home of the famous antiques fair, between Austin and Houston.