Day Trips From Boerne in Every Direction

By:
Trisha Doucette | Map courtesy of texashillcountry.com and authentictexan.com

Boerne, Texas is often referred to as the gateway to the Hill Country. Here you will find a charming, historic downtown area with fine dining and boutiques. There’s live theatre, an art scene, caverns to explore, parks for hiking, fishing and kayaking, and lovely places to stay. But it is also perfectly poised at the center of a diverse grouping of big cities, other historic towns and state/national parks. As an ideal position for launching scenic drives, within about 50 miles in every direction you can explore the Hill Country, central/south Texas and San Antonio. In Texas, you’ll discover there’s a trail for everything, from bluebonnets to bourbon to BBQ and wine to walking tours to water sports. Each town is perfect for a day trip or extended stay, with a variety of activities to please everyone. Here’s a sampling to get you started on your next excursion.

San Antonio – 30 miles   

Beginning with the nearest big city, San Antonio is home to an international airport, South Texas Medical Center and five military bases. It’s also a tourism and convention mecca with several theme parks, arts and historical districts and five Spanish colonial missions (including the Alamo) – the combination named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO also awarded San Antonio a Creative City of Gastronomy designation for its culturally significant food scene (with food trails, of course). Last but not least, the famous River Walk is frequented by locals as much as tourists for dining and seasonal entertainment. visitsanantonio.com

Courtesy of Visit San Antonio
By Al Rendon

New Braunfels – 50 miles

This German town boasts everything from historic walking tours, art and heritage museums, Natural Bridge Caverns and Wildlife Ranch and upscale dining, but it’s water recreation that draws adventurers for tubing and fishing the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers, and boating on Canyon Lake — nicknamed the Hill Country Coast. You’ll also find Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort and Texas Ski Ranch. Upstream from New Braunfels is the Gruene Historic District, home of the oldest dance hall in Texas, along with a thriving music and art scene. playinnewbraunfels.com

Wimberley – 57 miles

Several swimming holes dot the Hill Country and Central Texas, but Wimberley is home to two of the most beloved — Blue Hole Regional Park and Jacob’s Well. Both are rare ecosystems that support many species of wildlife and are diligently preserved. Call first as hours may vary by season. Not to worry, there’s also handblown glass studios and art galleries, olive orchards and, when combined with nearby Dripping Springs, over 30 wineries, distilleries and craft breweries. visitwimberley.com, destinationdrippingsprings.com

Courtesy of visitwimberley.com

Blanco – 39 miles

The Old Blanco County Courthouse is most recognizable when lit for the holidays, and now houses the Visitors Center, museum and monthly Market Days. There’s also an annual Lavender Fest, boutiques and antique malls and the popular Old 300 BBQ.  visitblancotexas.com

Johnson City – 53 miles

As the birthplace of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the LBJ District and Ranch include the President’s boyhood home and school, the family cemetery, “The Texas White House” and many other historical buildings to tour. The wine-spirit-beer trail continues as does the extravagant holiday lighting events that draw visitors from across the country, and joins the Science Mill for kids plus six-and-counting art galleries to visit. On the way to Fredericksburg, stop by Wildseed Farms, the nation’s largest working wildflower farm. johnsoncitytexas.com, wildseedfarms.com

Courtesy of NPS and Cynthia Dorminey
Courtesy of NPS and Cynthia Dorminey

Fredericksburg – 37 miles

The Hill Country is home to more than 100 wineries and vineyards, and Fredericksburg is the epicenter of Texas Wine Country. Original settlers produced wine with native mustang grapes and now more than 50 wineries are located around Fredericksburg offering Napa-worthy tasting rooms and exceptional wines. Main Street includes over 150 shops, restaurants and tasting rooms housed in historic buildings, with overflow on side streets. At either end you’ll find the National Museum of the Pacific War and the Pioneer Museum, both notable attractions. Enchanted Rock State Park is nearby, and this is where several bluebonnet trails begin and continue north to the towns surrounding the Highland Lakes. visitfredericksburgtx.com, thedaytripper.com

Luckenbach – 29 miles

As the saying goes, “Everybody’s Somebody in Luckenbach,” and Waylon and Willie made it famous. There’s a General Store, the Feed Lot restaurant and live music practically daily. luckenbachtexas.com

By Al Rendon

Comfort – 17 miles   

Right down the road from Boerne, Comfort is another German settlement founded in 1854. Several accommodations include B&Bs along with the restored Hotel Giles – part of architect Alfred Giles’ walking tour that features six historic properties he designed between 1879 and 1910. These and more than 100 other historic buildings house restaurants, a local distillery and antique and specialty shops. Holidays are celebrated in grand fashion with special events year-round. Nearby are wineries, the Buckhorn Golf Course, Flat Rock Ranch for mountain bikers and Old Tunnel State Park where 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge nightly from their home in the abandoned railroad tunnel. comfortchamber.com

Bandera – 25 miles 

The “Cowboy Capital of the World” lives up to its name with dude ranches and tours, annual rodeos, a saloon and dancehall, plus several other nature sites. Head north towards Kerrville and you will discover Camp Verde, a former Army fort where in 1856 the Great Camel Experiment tested over 50 camels for endurance and transport for military purposes. Now the General Store is a great stop for shopping and dining. banderacowboycapital.com, campverdegeneralstore.com

Castroville – 48 miles

Farther southwest but well worth a visit, Castroville was settled in 1844 by German farmers from Alsace. Residents call themselves Alsatians and many still speak an unwritten Germanic dialect that has been passed through generations. Their homes were built in a distinct architectural style and over 60 still remain that can be viewed on a walking tour. castroville.com

Medina – 38 miles

Known as the “Apple Capital of Texas,” with several orchards and a fabulous fall Pumpkin Patch, Medina is a perfect stop for apple pie on the way to Lost Maples State Natural Area. texashillcountry.com  

Texas BBQ Trail

While there are many delicious BBQ restaurants in the Hill Country, it would be sacrilege to not mention the line of towns east of I-35 that are nationally famous (in some cases, world). While they do exceed the 50-mile radius, it’s still an easy drive. In a nearly straight line, visit Luling, Lockhart, Bastrop, Elgin and Taylor. Each town is historically significant and each has more than one BBQ joint so with strategic planning, it’s easy to eat, sight see, repeat. texasbbqtrails.com

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