Weekender: Top Camping, Wining and Dining in the Texas Hill Country

by Raul Mercado on May 27, 2021 in Living Texas, Travel,
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From the crisp, vibrant taste of Albariño grapes to the lush, water-filled outdoor sites, nothing says summer like camping in the Texas Hill Country.

And spending outdoor nights in the rolling hills of Texas is just as much about visiting the local restaurants and wineries as it is about spending time in the rugged and beautiful natural landscapes.

Make your weekend stay in the Hill Country memorable by learning which State Parks to camp at, which local restaurants to visit, and which wineries use Texas grapes.

CAMPING

Pedernales State Park

The premier State Park in the area, Pedernales State Park, is a sprawling 5,000+ acre reserve where Texans have been swimming, fishing, hiking and camping for over 50 years. 

The scenic highlight of the park is Pedernales Falls, which has multiple water pools separated by limestone slabs. On rainy days, the falls become a raging torrent making it unsafe for visitors, but beautiful to behold.

The sprawling 5,212 acre reserve of Pedernales State Park is where Texas locals have been swimming, fishing, hiking, and camping for over 50 years. Photo Raul Mercado

RV and tent campers are welcome to reserve sites that have electric hookups next to them. But, if you really feel like getting back to nature, you can rent one of the primitive sites that have no water or electricity at all. 

The main attraction at Pedernales State Park is the multiple pools of water cascading down the limestone slabs. Photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife

Blanco State Park

For a quieter and less crowded camping spot, the 104 acre Blanco State Park is the perfect place to settle down in the Hill Country. With only two trails in the park, you’ll have no worries about getting lost and campsites are located close together. The main draw? Swimming in the cool refreshing waters of the Blanco River, of course! 

Blanco State Park is an ideal place to camp for the first time in the Texas Hill Country. The trails are short but the refreshing waters of the Blanco River will keep you entertained. Photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife

Campsites are available for tent campers or RVs and sites either have an electric plug or a full hookup. If glamping is your thing, there are screened shelters with more privacy and protection that you can turn into your own outdoor haven.

Don’t Delay

Don’t make last-minute decisions when camping at one of the Hill Country State Parks. The best camping sites can be booked for months in advance, so the sooner you reserve a spot the better. 

Pro Tip: Head to the Texas State Park reservation website and find the specific site you want. If it isn’t available yet, you can set an automatic reminder to be sent to your email to let you know when the site is available. 

DINING

Most State Park campsites don’t allow check-in until 2pm, so before you head out to the wilderness drop by one of the Hill Country’s finest restaurants. Eateries in the Hill Country really have it all — from a hole-in-the-wall local favorite to fine-dining modern cuisine with Southern flair. 

Hye Market

For a more down-to-earth experience, drive on through the dirt back road behind the historic Hye Post Office and you’ll discover Hye Market

Hye Market is a first-come, first-served small deli that includes local wines, produce and meats. Discover this gem on the dirt back road behind the historic Hye Post Office. Photo Raul Mercado

This first-come, first-served small deli also has Texas wines, produce,and meats. A small outdoor dining area filled with vintage Southern tables and chairs give off more the feeling of a family reunion more than they do a restaurant. 

Food highlights include the Whatever Sandwich that comes with local Vogel Orchard’s Peach Butter Chipotle Sauce and the Hye Texas Reuben, complete with house-made Russian dressing. 

The Leaning Pear

Now, if you want to see what Hill Country looks like all dressed up, visit The Leaning Pear in Wimberley which serves Texans and visitors in a 4,600 sq ft building.

The Leaning Pear in Wimberley serves visitors from across Texas and beyond in a 4,600 sq ft building and is perfect if you’re looking for an elevated dining experience in the Texas Hill Country. Photo courtesy Leaning Pear

Try the crowd-favorite Crab Cakes and Mac n Cheese for a guaranteed delicious meal. You’ll find all kinds of foods though, from whole trout to pizza to chicken sandwiches.

WINING

The best part about Hill Country camping is picking up your favorite bottle at one of the dozens of Texas wineries you’ll pass on Highway 290.

Pedernales Cellars

Pedernales Cellars is a family-owned business that sits on 140 acres of land in Stonewall with relaxing views of the rolling Texas Hill Country. There is a small inside tasting room with several tables and chairs. Don’t despair, though! What they lack on the inside, they more than make up for on the outside. 

The main outdoor attraction is a large wooden deck that sprawls under winding oak branches, providing plenty of seating and shade. 

Pedernales Cellars is a family-owned business sitting on 140 acres. They offer local Texas wines and their outside wooden deck has breathtaking views of the Texas Hill Country. Photo courtesy Pedernales Cellars

If you’re looking for a little more space, and to spend some time in the sun, visitors are welcome to sit on over an acre of land in front of the shaded deck. Pedernales encourages guests to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets on this part of the property.

All the wines are made 100% from Texas grapes, coming from both the Hill Country and the Panhandle. 

Becker Vineyards

You can also find wine from Texas grapes at the gorgeous Becker Vineyards. Sitting on 56 acres of land in a 10,000 sq ft facility in Fredericksburg, this staple in the Texas wine scene has dedicated itself to producing high-quality grapes since its first harvest in 1995. 

Becker Vineyards offers tastings (note, they have two tasting locations, one on the estate and one on Main Street) but requires an advance reservation. It’s a great place to pick up a few bottles before heading back to your camping site for the night. 

Becker Vineyard’s winery is a 10,000 sq ft facility which is a reproduction of a late 19th century German stone barn. The winery location and the Main Street location are currently both open but with limited capacity. Courtesy photo

Cover photo courtesy Blair House Inn

Raul Mercado is an outdoor enthusiast who helps modern campers in Texas find comfort in the outdoors through his website, Camping Helper. If he isn’t camping, or writing about camping, Raul spends time with his beautiful partner and playing music.