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