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Treat the Body, Mind, and Soul to a Hill Country Summer Vacation

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Originally published in Heart of Texas Magazine

Saying you’re spending your summer vacation in the Texas Hill Country is sure to have some side effects. You might witness envy (some of your neighbors could turn a greenish color), and your Instagram account just might suddenly gain double its followers due to recent posts including #TexasHillCountryTime or #YouHateUsCauseYouAintUs. Why? Because you’ll be spending time in the heart of Texas!

The Texas Hill Country is a lot of things, but dull isn’t one of them. Offering adventures for outdoors people, art and literature locales and events for the intellectual, and accommodations that suit everyone from the thrill seeker to the romantic, it’s tough to find a better place to spend a summer vacation. And, honestly, why would you look elsewhere? The bi-ways, FM roads, and the many small towns that fan out west of San Antonio make up this beautiful region where you’ll find some diamonds-in-the-rough when it comes to places to visit, things to do, and sights to see. You’ll also find winding rivers, shimmering lakes, and fields billowing with native plants. That’s not to mention the age-old trees that have seen the transformation of the rustic German towns that dot the landscape. Fredericksburg, Boerne, New Braunfels, and Kerrville are just a few of the great places you can visit that can easily find you spending entire days of your vacation wishing this was more of a permanent move.

Treat the Body, Mind, and Soul to a Hill Country Summer Vacation

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Grab yourself a beer (or your beverage of choice), turn up the tunes, and make a splash in your summer vacation by tubing in the crystal-clear, spring-fed rivers of the Texas Hill Country. One of the most stunning spots for tubing is on the Frio River, where a number of outfitters can get you geared up and floating your cares away in no time! Other settings to soak up some sun include the Comal, Guadalupe, San Marcos, and Blanco rivers, where you can experience the beauty of the region.

In the same vein, if you’d rather have a little more control over your river experience, consider spending a couple of blissful hours in a rented kayak making your way along the Medina River, or doing the Mission Paddle Trail in San Antonio. Offering some of the most scenic paddling that the Hill Country has to offer, these options allow for you to see local beauty, experience the history of the area, and take on some new kayaking skills in the process.

Treat the Body, Mind, and Soul to a Hill Country Summer Vacation

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Speaking of paddling, you could also consider taking a canoe or boat out for some fishing time with friends. The Texas Hill Country offers some of the best fishing in the state, and it’s coupled with breathtaking views. Having a great share of state parks and an abundance of lakes, rivers, and streams, the fishing conditions couldn’t be better. Anglers have plenty of opportunities to catch their limit in such places as the Sabinal River at Lost Maples State Park, Canyon Lake, Cypress Creek in Wimberley, and the Pedernales River at Pedernales State Park. Each of these locations offers a variety of species and many ways to fish – by boat, from a dock, by kayak or canoe, and even fly fishing!

If staying on dry land is more your passion, spend some time hiking the innumerable trails found in and throughout the Texas Hill Country. They offer beauty that’s unsurpassed and photo opportunities that are prettier than a postcard. Take a trip to Colorado Bend State Park where you can hike to Gorman Falls – a diamond in a field of rhinestones in terms of its natural exquisiteness, and the park’s main attraction. This 1.5-mile-long hike takes you through some rugged ranch country, with the final 100 yards composed of a rocky descent, but the steep path leads you to a mist-filled chasm featuring half a dozen cascades spilling over a 60-foot limestone cliff. The pools at the base form a moss and fern-draped grotto that has been the envy of many a photographer. It’s extremely peaceful and moving at the same time. You can end your day camping at the park, making your experience a great turn-key trip.

Treat the Body, Mind, and Soul to a Hill Country Summer Vacation

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For a hike with a little lighter effort but the same great impact, consider visiting Enchanted Rock near Fredericksburg. It’s one of the largest natural rock formations in America and home to centuries of myth and legend. The amazing views of this monolith from the bottom are surpassed only by those from its summit. Its dome rises 425 feet above the ground, and it’s designated as a State Natural Area where hiking is extremely popular. A four-mile moderate-level trail encompassing several rock formations can be traveled here, including the shorter, steeper trail that leads to the top. Camping is also available here for those that wish to spend the night in the heart of what was formerly a Native American historic site and the beginnings of Texas lore.

Those looking for family fun or full-on, heart-pounding excitement may want to add area amusement and water parks to their Texas Hill Country summer vacation to-do list. Check out Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio and Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels. Families with special needs will also be happy to know that the first amusement park in the U.S. designed for everyone to have the ability to make special memories is right here in Texas. Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio is fully accessible for everyone. A summer vacation that allows everyone to be a part of the fun is easily doable in this neck of the woods!

Treat the Body, Mind, and Soul to a Hill Country Summer Vacation

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Never let it be said that the Texas Hill Country is lacking in worldly wonders or charmed facets of life. Art and wine tours are practically our middle name! Llano, Dripping Springs, and Fredericksburg are known for their studio tours, art shows, and numerable galleries which comprise a wonderfully eclectic art scene. Our AVA (American Viticulture Area) is the second largest in America, making our region a pleasure to tour for wine enthusiasts. In particular, Wine Road 290 (as it’s known) has a variety of vineyards and wineries overflowing with local production that’s worth every sip! Couple that with a stay in a charming and cozy Texas Hill Country bed & breakfast, and you have a recipe for summer vacation success you’ll want to write home about. Remember, the symptoms you experience from such a holiday won’t disappear overnight. They’re something you’ll want your friends and family to remember for years to come!