Family Fun in The Texas Hill Country

Summer is here and so is the Texas heat! That means all of us Texans will be looking for places to keep cool, relax, and entertain the little ones while they’re on break from school. While I love the sound of my luggage rolling through the airport, there is something nostalgic about packing the car to the brim and going on a road trip that still gets me excited. 

people float in tubes on riverGrowing up in upstate New York I spent my summers camping at Lake George and hiking through the Adirondack mountains with my family. My siblings and I would find endless ways to play and entertain ourselves outdoors from sunrise to sunset. I have some of the sweetest memories of swimming in the lake, playing kickball, and having my first taste of childhood independence as I walked down to the general store at camp to buy penny candy. Each day ended with a barbeque, campfire, smores {of course!}, and catching lightning bugs. 

I didn’t realize how much I would miss the mountains when I moved to Texas, but it wasn’t long before I discovered and fell in love with The Texas Hill Country. Rolling hills, small quaint towns, charming wineries, and a plethora of lakes, rivers, and outdoor activities, the Texas Hill Country is my favorite place to explore

I try to make it out to the Texas Hill Country three to four times per year. There is always more to see, each season has something to offer, and it never disappoints. Last summer, my partner and I took our daughters {ages 7 and 8} to Bandera for a long weekend. Both girls echoed sentiments that it was their favorite summer experience. Simple, affordable, and fun; we are making this into a tradition so that they can build sweet memories in the great outdoors too.

Here is a summer bucket list of things to do and places to see in the Texas Hill Country that are sure to be fun for the whole family!

Dixie Dude Ranch – Bandera, Texas

family at dude ranch in Texas Hill CountryA true home on the range, Dixie Dude Ranch is an old-time ranch that was founded in 1901.  It’s an all-inclusive southern hospitality experience. This property truly has everything you need to put aside the daily stress of modern life and unwind. Included in your daily rate are comfortable western-style cabin accommodations, three home-cooked meals per day, and two daily horseback rides. There is also a pool, catch and release fishing {gear provided}, hiking, and hayrides. Plenty of other timeless favorite activities are available to keep the family entertained such as volleyball, tetherball, washers, and ping-pong.  You can even arrange for a massage from a licensed massage therapist. If the scenic views and abundant amenities aren’t everything you need for a memorable vacation, you can easily take a day trip from the ranch to some of the other destinations on this list.

Chalk Bluff Park & River Resort – Uvalde, Texas

Chalk Bluff in Texas Hill CountryI originally saw a photo of Chalk Bluff Park on Instagram and couldn’t believe it was right in our very own Hill Country! Alongside the crystal clear Nueces River and surrounded by a wall of high mountainous cliffs, this rustic retreat is a playground for all ages. You can purchase day passes, camp overnight, rent an RV site, or stay in one of their on-property {no frill} cabins. We visited for the day and you definitely want to come prepared with water shoes for the entire family, your own tubes to float, food and/or a barbeque, chairs and a canopy. They also have a domestic petting zoo, playground with jump pillows, and for additional fees, camel rides, farm and exotic animal encounters, and hayrides. We had a blast and will definitely be going back!

Blue Hole Regional Park – Wimberly, Texas

This small town park has a big reputation as the recipient of the Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice 2021 Award. Located within a 126-acre park and surrounded by picnic areas, sports fields, and hiking trails, the natural swimming pool is definitely the main attraction.  While access to most of the park’s amenities is free, there is a fee for swimming and reservations are required. The spring-fed swimming pool has crystal clear water, is lined with Cypress trees, and is complete with a famous rope swing. There’s also plenty of room for sunbathing on the lawn. This iconic swimming pool deep in the heart of the Texas Hill Country is an experience the whole family is sure to enjoy and remember.

Jacob’s Well – Wimberly, Texas

Jacob's Well You will be in awe at this spectacular natural wonder. Jacob’s Well is rich with history as pioneer Texans have been utilizing it since the 1850s, both as a swimming hole and power supply. The pool is an entrance to an extensive underwater cavern system leading to the second largest fully submerged cave in Texas.  The artesian spring is the same water source that flows through the city of Wimberly, into the famous Blue Hole Park, and into the Blanco River. Similar to Blue Hole, you can access the natural area and hiking trails for free, but if you are looking to swim you must make a reservation online. Swimming at Jacob’s Well is best suited for older kids, teens, and adults who are strong swimmers.  

Krause Springs – Spicewood, Texas

Krause Springs in Texas Hill CountryFounded in 1955 and just 30 miles west of Austin, Krause Springs has been privately owned by the Krause Family for over 50 years.  It’s a perfect {and beautiful} place to camp and cool off with a swim.  There are 32 natural springs that feed into the natural and manmade swimming pools, and camping and RV sites are available for overnight stays.  Don’t forget to enjoy taking a stroll through the Butterfly Gardens too!


 

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Kimberly Smith is a Mindset & Resilience Coach and the founder of Encompass Life Coaching. She is a native New Yorker, proud Houstonian, truth seeker, mental health and DEIJ advocate, mother, yogi, and dachshund lover. Kimberly was born in Phoenix, Arizona, raised in upstate New York, lived in Florida where her daughter Amelia {June 2014} was born, and now proudly calls Houston her home. She is degreed in Sociology and Psychology, is an internationally certified life and career coach, and previously spent over a decade in corporate talent acquisition and staffing helping professionals level up and pivot their careers. Now as an entrepreneur, through coaching services, speaking, and writing, Kimberly helps ambitious women, mothers, and entrepreneurs stop stressing and focus, so they can flourish within their careers, families, businesses, and relationships. Kimberly’s clients move through self-doubt, build a positive and resilient mindset while increasing energy and confidence, and crushing their personal and professional goals. Kimberly is a servant leader passionate about dissolving the stigma around mental health, advocating for diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, and is dedicated to empowering others to live more authentic lives full of passion, purpose, courage, freedom and adventure. In her free time, Kimberly can be found sweating it out in a hot yoga class, running the White Oak Bayou trail, enjoying live music, exploring Houston markets, museums, and restaurants, or snuggling up on the couch to watch documentaries with her two dachshunds Winnie & Doyal. You can connect with Kimberly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or grab Kimberly’s free Mindset & Affirmations bundle at encompasscoachingservices.com.

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