On the Road
Nestled among the natural springs and rolling hills of the Texas Hill Country, Dripping Springs is a quaint, small town with a big history and heart.
Just a 40-minute jaunt west of Austin, it’s commonly referred to as the “Gateway to the Hill Country.” And the town is a natural beauty, with astonishing cliff arches, deep blue-green natural pools fed by waterfalls, and lush greenery with plenty of hiking trails.
Here are five reasons you should get to know Dripping Springs.
1. Stroll through a charming downtown with big history
"Taking a step back in time" is a common phrase you will hear as you walk down Mercer Street or Old Fitzhugh Road, where many of the historical buildings were constructed between 1870 and 1940 and served as the first businesses in the area.
A lot of the storefronts have remained unchanged for decades and now host a range of quaint boutiques, shops, and restaurants. Definitely grab a beer at The Barber Shop, too, where there’s live music every Saturday.
The actual "dripping springs" for which the town was named are also downtown. Located on the west end of Mercer Street, look for the lush, fern-covered limestone ledges that consistently drip water into a small stream.
2. Go day-sipping at more than 30 local places
There’s a triple threat happening in Dripping Springs, and it’s all about the trifecta of amazing and award-winning wineries, cool craft breweries, and fine Texas distilleries in the area.
The internationally known Fall Creek Vineyards is one such winery you’ll want to check out, because it’s literally an O.G.; it was the first Texas Hill Country winery and boasts five generations of roots in the industry.
If craft spirits are calling your name, begin your tour at Treaty Oak Distilling with a complimentary cocktail and a fascinating lesson about mashing, fermenting, and distilling.
For beer, start at Ghost Note Brewing, which was named after a musical note with a rhythmic value, but no discernible pitch. There, you’ll love the Texas Sun, a Saison layered with flavors of lemony-citrus, earth, and spice, which is a refreshing combo for summertime.
Word to the wise — and hungry. Turn up for the Texas barbecue and comfort food at Alice’s Restaurant; the restaurant is part of the Treaty Oak and Waterloo Gin empire, and you don’t want to miss these flavors.
3. Put these popular festivals and events on your calendar
Thousands of people gather in Dripping Springs for renowned festivals and events that take place annually, including the Dripping Springs Songwriters Festival in October.
The three-day experience is an up-close-and-personal way to see and hear talented performers from the U.S., Canada, and Europe, who all have a deep love of songwriting. Eight intimate stages within walking distance of each other downtown are open and free to the public with 30 shows a day and more than 45 songwriters.
Dripping Springs ushers in Christmas on Mercer Street in December, which takes over a dashingly decorated downtown district. Shop for one-of-a-kind gifts at the arts and crafts and vendor booths while enjoying holiday music, pics with Santa, and various kids’ activities.
The Founders Day Festival every April is the largest event of the year, celebrating the city’s heritage and pioneer spirit, and includes a parade, live music, carnival, entertainment, cook-off competitions, more than 150 unique vendors, and more.
In May, the Dripping Springs Fair & Rodeo showcases the best in bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc, bull riding, barrel racing, roping, rodeo clowns, a cowboy breakfast, and, of course, mutton busting, all hosted at the Dripping Springs Ranch Park.
4. Say ‘I Do!’ in Hill Country paradise
Dripping Springs, the “Wedding Capital of Texas,” wrote the book on the perfectly picturesque celebration with more than 35 gorgeous wedding venues, all with breathtaking views and within a 15-mile radius of downtown.
The town also boasts a number of local vendors and experts for every single thing you need for a blissful wedding, from rentals and linens to florals, cake, catering, and more.
You may also want to say “I do” to the Wedding Capital of Texas Showcase, held every January and July. It’s a chance to chat with the local vendors and tour wedding venues with no appointments necessary.
5. Discover an outdoor oasis
As the so-called “Gateway to the Hill Country,” Dripping Springs is an outdoor playground with activities and adventures that are truly a breath of fresh air.
Discover some of the best hiking trails in Texas, including Pedernales Falls State Park and Reimers Ranch Park, where you’ll be met with towering limestone bluffs, canyons, and cypress along with beautiful juniper and madrone groves and other gorgeous scenery.
You may also spot some feathered friends, as the area is a popular birdwatching destination and is a Texas designated Bird City.
Hiking to the very Instagrammable Hamilton Pool Preserve is a must when you’re in town, too. The historic swimming hole spills out over limestone outcroppings to create a 50-foot waterfall that plunges into the head of a steep canyon.
The canyon and grotto are a result of many years of erosion. Just know that swimming is not allowed currently, and you must make a reservation before you go.
Art and nature collide at Dripping Springs Sculpture Garden, and there are plenty more parks and outdoor spaces to explore during your stay.
For more reasons why Dripping Springs is a road trip adventure to be remembered, visit Destination Dripping Springs.