With the summer season just around the corner, we wanted to explore some hill country day trip destinations. Whether you’re looking for an educational, adventure, family, or girls trip we’ve got you covered! Just grab your car, write down the itinerary and head out to some of the fantastic day trip destinations our area of Texas has to offer.
Educational – Fredericksburg Museum’s (ending with Luckenbach)
Opening daily at 9 a.m., the National Museum of the Pacific War is a museum you should not miss! The expanded George H.W. Bush Gallery tells the story of world events leading up to Pearl Harbor and then chronicles the battles of the Pacific in World War II, as well as the home front. The Nimitz Museum, located in the old Nimtz Hotel, follows the life and career of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who was born in Fredericksburg. Other parts of the museum complex include the Pacific Combat Zone, the Plaza of the Presidents, the Memorial Courtyard and the Japanese Peace Garden.
Next, head towards the Pioneer Museum Complex located at 325 West Main Street. Get a quick introduction to the fascinating history of Fredericksburg – why the Germans came to Texas, who negotiated a peace treaty with the Comanche Indians, what are Sunday Houses and much more. If you want to learn more, you can purchase a book about Fredericksburg or German immigration into the Texas Hill Country.
If you have time drive 30 minutes to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. Check out the boyhood home and the Johnson settlement there. Then head to the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site where you will pick up a driving pass to visit to visit the LBJ Ranch and The Texas White House, which is now open for guided tours. And don’t forget to experience the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm at the state park, where interpreters in costume go about the tasks of a German farmstead in the early 1900’s.
End this trip by heading back to Boerne on Sisterdale Road (Ranch Road 1376), and making a quick stop in Luckenbach. Luckenbach is a place where you can kick back and relax after everything you learned that day. Go out for a dance on the dance floor, grab a beer or spend the evening under the gorgeous oak trees listening to live music.
Girl’s Trip – Wimberley’s Shopping, Lunch and Olive Ranch
Wimberley is full of unique shops that offer traditional and not-so-traditional art and gifts. The best shopping areas are clustered around the “Square” and “Olde Towne Plaza.” Wimberly is known for its unique art galleries. Also, the first Saturday of each month, March through December, Market Days draw in visitors from around the state.
After shopping grab lunch at Wimberley’s top lunch spot, The Leaning Pear located on 111 River Road. With the help of family and friends, Leaning Pear owners, Rachel and Matthew Buchanan, worked for months to create a unique casual dining environment that is reflected in the color and warmth of the Village of Wimberley. They share a fresh, seasonal and local food philosophy that is carried out in the restaurant’s delightful soups, salads and sandwiches.
After lunch head to The Bella Vista Ranch located at 3101 Mt. Sharp Rd. Designed to reflect a traditional Italian family farm, this ranch is home to over 1,200 producing olive trees, seasonal fruit and vegetables, a frantoio (olive press), a winery, tasting room and gift shop.
First Texas Olive Oil Co., is headquartered at the Ranch. You can taste the grassy, peppery and most importantly FRESH olive oil that Bella Vista has been making here since 2001. After an olive oil tasting, move onto a wine tasting. Bella Vista Cellars winery handcrafts hill country varietals using locally grown grapes and offers a selection of seasonal fruit wines including their popular Blackberry Wine.
Adventure – Enchanted Rock, Helicopter ride and dig for Topaz
Hike to the top of Enchanted Rock – estimated to be one billion years old. The state natural area opens for day use at 8:00 a.m. You can enjoy primitive backpacking, camping, hiking, technical rock climbing, picnicking, geological study, and bird watching. You might consider taking
breakfast, lunch or a snack from home with you.
After you hike, head to the Gillespie County Airport and hop onto a Zulu Helicopter and tour the Hill Country from above. Zulu Helicopters is based out of the Gillespie County Airport in Fredericksburg Texas and serves all areas of the Hill Country. You can even arrive in style by getting picked up by a limousine and then off to fly in a helicopter! Rides start at only $75 per person!
In big cities, you have to go to the mall to buy jewels. In the Hill Country, you find them lying on the ground at Lindsay Ranch. Topaz, the state gem of Texas, is found only in Mason County, about an hour’s drive from Fredericksburg. Clear or blue-tinted stones are generally located close to the surface around granite outcroppings in creek beds and ditches.
Family – Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, Aquarena Center and the Gristmill
For a great family day trip start at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch in New Braunfels. Meander through 400 acres of rolling hills, creek beds, and magnificent live oak trees and witness the behavior of over 500 animals from 40 exotic, native and endangered animal species worldwide. You will see ostrich feathers, zebra ears and buffalo noses so close to you, you could touch them. Make sure to purchase food to feed the animals before you enter the drive through the safari and grab food for yourself after you’re done at the Safari Camp Grill.
After the animal safari, head down the road to San Marcus’s Aquarena Center. Even though they no longer have Ralph the swimming pig or the mermaid show, there are still lots of fun things to do at Aquarena Center. The Glass-Bottom Boat Tours remain along with many new exhibits such as Kayak glass bottom tours, the Wetlands Walk, and the Texas Rivers Center.
Before heading back to Boerne, stop for dinner in New Braunfels at The Gristmill River Restaurant and Grill, located in the historic district of Gruene just beneath the famous Gruene water tower. They serve everything from excellent steaks to hamburgers – something for the whole family.