#TravelTuesday: Find Your Inner Texan in the Highland Lakes Region

by Susie Oszustowicz on August 20, 2019 in Living Texas, Travel,

Texas is 268,820 square miles. That gives us plenty of unique adventures to take and wildly varied terrain to see. A less explored region with a great deal to offer is Burnet County, also known as the Highland Lakes region.

In the heart of Texas Hill Country, it’s made up of the towns surrounding some of the six lakes along the Colorado River which are flanked by craggy ledges with dense vegetation. With rugged terrain and diverse ecosystems surrounding each lake, the land is as varied as its offerings.

Tour the diverse Highland Lakes region on an up-close Vanishing Texas River Cruise. Photo Susie Oszustowicz

While the region encourages relaxation and a Texas pace, it also offers excitement and the chance of an adrenaline rush. Enjoy water sports and tours, picturesque hikes, sunsets and sunrises, delicious wines and beers, and mouth-watering food in this area.

DRINK

Save the World Brewery (Marble Falls)

This brewery, owned by a husband and wife team of doctors, is actually trying to save the world. The beer itself is extraordinary and you can feel great about drinking it as it’s the first 100% philanthropic brewery in the Americas.

Photo courtesy Save the World Brewery

Bear King Brewing Company (Marble Falls)

A clean, modern brewery owned by four siblings is giving us some absolutely fantastic brews. Named for the famed half-man, half-bear that is a legend in the region, their beers will surely be just as legendary.

Flat Creek Estate Winery & Vineyard (Marble Falls)

Combining the beauty of the region and their delightful wines makes this the perfect location for a laid-back meal and wine tasting.

Marble Falls’ Enoteca at Flat Creek Winery is the only restaurant in Burnet County to offer wood-fired, brick oven pizza. Photo Susie Oszustowicz

EAT

Blue Bonnet Café (Marble Falls)

No trip to the region is complete without a taste of Blue Bonnet Café’s mile-high meringue. This quaint diner has served the area its amazing homemade pies and comfort food since 1929. And you certainly can’t miss their daily pie happy hour!

Opie’s Barbeque (Spicewood)

Texans love their BBQ, so it must be done well, and in large quantities. While not much to look at from the outside, Opie’s has been a mainstay of the region for more than 20 years thanks to its famous mesquite-smoked meats and housemade sides. Don’t miss their brisket and homemade pickles and sauces, and don’t skip dessert!

The Enoteca at Flat Creek Winery (Marble Falls)

If you’re a pizza lover, this is your spot since it’s the only restaurant in Burnet County to offer wood-fired, brick oven pizza. This urban wine bar is the outpost of their winery and serves their proprietary wines along with other local options. 

STAY

Canyon of the Eagles (Burnet)

This rustic, eco-friendly resort is perched atop a hill, giving guests beautiful views from their cabins and the restaurant, which serves exquisitely-prepared local game. The sweeping view is best taken in from the overlook, where yoga classes are offered gratis for guests and to the public each morning for a small fee. Even night owls will find this experience invigorating. 

Canyon of the Eagles, an eco-friendly resort perched atop a hill, gives guests beautiful views from their cabins and the restaurant. Photo Susie Oszustowicz

As a resort guest, you’ll have the opportunity to spot local wildlife on the Canyon of the Eagles lake cruise. The region offers an intriguing collection of wildlife, some native to the region and some not. This relaxing boat trip is led by knowledgeable, local guides that will help you spot Spanish goats, a variety of birds, and the small waterfalls that dot the cliffs. 

DO

Get an Adrenaline Kick at Hidden Falls Adventure Park (Marble Falls)

Have you always wanted to explore uncharted territories? Hidden Falls gives first-timers and experienced riders the chance to explore their 2,100 acres of off-road trails on your motorcycle, ATV or on their side-by-side UTVs. Expect a rush, and definitely expect to get dirty.

Explore the trails at Hidden Falls Adventure Park on your motorcycle, ATV or on their side-by-side UTVs. Photo Susie Oszustowicz

Tour the Entire Region on the Vanishing Texas River Cruise (Burnet)

Since the region is centered around lakes and rivers, it’s best seen from the water. Hop on the two-story cruise and enjoy the live-narrated tour of Lake Buchanan and its surrounding rivers. Look for birds of all kinds, including bald eagles, silhouetted against extraordinary geographical feature like hidden waterfalls and brightly colored cliffs.

Kayak at Inks Lake State Park (Burnet)

Texas’s geography dates back to more than 600 million years ago, and taking a float at Inks Lake State Park gives visitors the chance to see the Precambrian striations that are abundant in the region. The park is open for camping and day visits, but check the online park alerts before you go.

Do not miss Inks Lake State Park on your Highland Lakes region visit. Photo Maria Jimenez

Star Gaze at the Eagle Eye Observatory (Burnet)

Take a break from the city lights in this dark-sky observatory where you’ll have the chance to see far off planets and galaxies with brilliant guidance from their resident astronomer. He’ll instruct you where to look to get a glimpse of star belts through their five telescope systems. Complimentary to resort guests, $7 for visitors.

No holds barred with the biking adrenaline rush at Spider Mountain Bike Park in Burnet. Photo Maria Jimenez

Mountain Bike at Spider Mountain Bike Park (Burnet)

Newly opened at the beginning of 2019, it will be the first bike park with lift access in the country to be open year-round. Strap on a helmet and start your GoPro for the ride of your life on their downhill bike trails, with five currently active and more promised.

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Cover photo

Susie O. is a freelance cocktail, spirits, food and travel writer coming to us from Dallas, Texas … or wherever her travels take her. She is the founder of SusieDrinks.com and TheJetsweater.com, and runs her own social media consulting agency. But she’s never too busy to dive into “research” for her articles, because the perfect Gibson isn’t going to find itself.