Things to Do

5 Great Places to Find Shade in the Hill Country

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Summer is here, and the forecast calls for hot, hot, and more hot! Thankfully, the Hill Country is full of wonderful locations to soak up some shade. From exploring a geological wonder to chowing down on one of the best burgers in the state, here are five great places to find shade in the heart of Texas.

1. Longhorn Caverns 

longhorn caverns

Photo: Texas Parks and Wildlife

What better way to escape from the glaring sun then by traveling underground? Located 12 miles outside the city of Burnet, the caverns are part of the 639-acre Longhorn Cavern State Park. Take a guided tour through the parkland and learn how the caverns formed and who made use of them. Looking for an extra dose of adventure? A Wild Cave tour allows guests to experience the caverns as they were hundreds of years ago. However, caving equipment is a necessity. (Click on the link above for more details.)

The park permits visitors to bring their own food or offers a variety of meal options at the Longhorn Grill.

2. Bill’s Burgers, Wings, and Things

outdoor dining at bill's burgers, wings and things

Photo: Facebook/Bill’s Burgers in Burnet

This small-town burger joint’s menu features something everyone can enjoy. Selections range from a classic burger to the “Naked Bird,” a turkey patty on a bed of lettuce. Outdoor seating is available, complete with umbrellas to provide the perfect amount of shade. Bill’s also hosts live music events throughout the summer. Bill’s Burgers, Wings & Things, 306 West Polk Street, Burnet; phone: 512-234-8216

3. Schlitterbahn-New Braunfels 

Cabana shade at Schlitterbahn

Photo: Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts

Texans have been escaping from the summer heat at Schlitterbahn water parks for 50 years. Recently, the park expanded the number of cabanas available to guests. As a result, the number of shaded lounge areas also increased. Of course, if visitors are looking for a more exciting way to beat the heat, the park is home to 51 attractions ranging from, “mild to wild.”

4. The Guadalupe River 

Canoeing the Guadalupe River

Photo: Texas Parks and Wildlife

Arguably one of the most well-known rivers in Texas, the Guadalupe’s tree-lined banks provide abundant shade for those seeking to float the river. Pack the cooler for an all day excursion, or plan for a short two-hour float. Whatever time frame, the combination of cool water and plentiful cover make this river a great place to pass the dog-days of summer.

5. Bullock Texas State History Museum

Bullock Texas State History Museum

Photo: Bullock Texas State History Museum

Expand your knowledge of Texas history and leave the sultry heat at the door while exploring the state’s official history museum. Bring the entire family and take advantage of the Free First Sunday program, sponsored by H-E-B. Admission is free on the first Sunday of every month. Boasting an IMAX theater, interactive exhibits, and numerous summer programs, the museum has something everyone can enjoy.