On the Road
Smack-dab in the middle of the Texas Hill Country lies Marble Falls, a place that got its name from falls that were once formed by a shelf of limestone running diagonally across the Colorado River. The upper layer of limestone, brownish on the exterior but deep blue inside, was mistaken for marble!
Now the area serves up a perfect fusion of charming downtown and enchanting countryside, with everything you could possibly want in a weekend (or any day of the week) road-trip destination.
Here are a few go-to itineraries:
Hill Country adventure weekend
Marble Falls has your nature fix covered — and glamping is a logical first step to getting outdoors in the Hill County.
Look no further than Talula Mesa for rustic-luxe accommodations overlooking Lake Travis. Another worthy option is The Retreat on the Hill, which has your room key to a magical (and Instagrammable) setting that overlooks Lakes LBJ and Marble Falls. Here, you can stay in a clear star-gazing dome perched 20 feet in the air, safari tents and tepees, or a cool container-style suite.
You may have to force yourself to leave your glamp-site, but when you do, head to Hidden Falls Adventure Park for its 200-plus miles of ATV/UTV, Jeep, motorcycle, and four-wheel trails across more than 2,500 acres. No ATV? No problem. They also have rentals.
The sparkling-blue water and colorful rock outcrops of Inks Lake State Park, a short drive from Marble Falls, make it a pretty place to chill out in the afternoon.
Rent a kayak or take a swim in Devil’s Waterhole there, too, which can be accessed via a nature trail with cliffs that are tailor-made for jumping into the lake. The park also has nine additional miles of hiking trails through shady forests and dramatic rocky hills.
About 25 minutes from Marble Falls, Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge has five miles of foot trails and excellent birding opportunities. The refuge serves as the home to two endangered songbirds: the golden-cheeked warbler and the black-capped vireo.
More waterside fun can be had at Lakeside Park, located right on beautiful Lake Marble Falls — the park includes a sandy beach and swimming pool. Just Yakin can hook you up with hourly and daily rentals of single and tandem kayaks as well as stand up paddle boards for the lake, too.
To refuel, River City Grille is right on Lake Marble Falls, so you can have your fish tacos outside on the deck with a view.
Overlooking Horsehoe Bay, Bay View Restaurant & Bar also delivers sweeping views and golden sunsets, along with an incredible dinner menu of seasonal spins on American classics — think misoyaki butterfish with pickled cucumber salad, barbecue baby back ribs with poppyseed coleslaw, and crispy redfish with street corn.
Or order up everything you love about classic surf and turf at Doc's Fish Camp & Grill.
Downtown district shopping weekend
With everything from home decor to western apparel, art galleries, and vintage treasures, it's easy to spend a day shopping around Old Oak Square, which is centered around the town’s legendary oak tree.
But before getting to the goods, your first stop is McKenzie House, a boutique vacation rental with six lovely guest suites. It’s less than a block away from historic Main Street and the perfect place for easy access to all the boutique shops, restaurants, and more.
Caffeinate for a day of shopping at The Ragtime Oriole, an artisan cafe located in the heart of downtown, or grab a late-morning latte and chocolate fix at Choccolatte’s, which is also the maker of infamously good pecan English toffee.
As you get the lay of the land, you’ll probably also see some Sculpture on Main art installations, which are sponsored by the local nonprofit Highland Lakes Creative Arts.
Browse Birdie's Market, a haven of handmade treasures and curated artifacts with vintage and antique finds from local artisans and craftsmen.
And don’t miss ReDid, with its eclectic farmhouse-meets-vintage style for home furnishings and accessories along with apparel — it’s all handpicked by the owners, who are flea-market-frequenting sisters.
The Marta Stafford Art Gallery showcases the work of regional and national artists in a historic setting: a 1930 former bank lobby. And a day of shopping wouldn't be complete without a visit to Trendy B Boutique and Smartie Pantz.
Drop off your bags and end the day on a flavor-packed note at Thai restaurant Ginger & Spice, where they're known for the pad Thai and basil fried rice. Or go to RBar (as the locals call it) for comfort food with a twist, along with live music and karaoke.
An eats-and-drinks weekend
Craft beer lovers, wine aficionados, and foodies, too: this one’s for you.
Start with Blue Bonnet Cafe, an institution since 1929 and a local fave. The food’s not fancy, but the breakfast-all-day place has the down-home cooking that you know you crave, along with world-famous, mile-high meringue pies.
Wingman Brothers Smoke House is also worth a visit, as they sling some of the best barbecue around. For epicureans wanting to cook — and eat! — sign up for a session at Art of the Meal, a family-run biz with classes about how to make all sorts of menu items.
You can literally make a full day of it at Flat Creek Estate for wine tastings overlooking the beautiful vineyards, followed by a round on the 18-hole disc golf course, strolls along the walking trails, and more. They also do brunch along with a three-course wine-paired dinner that should be on your must-try list.
At Perissos Vineyard & Winery in nearby Burnet, take a winemaker's tour and tasting through the vineyards. And make sure to check out Fiesta Winery in downtown Marble Falls for another worthy sampling experience.
Drink beer and do good at America’s first 100-percent philanthropic production brewery, Save the World Brewing Company, which specializes in artisanal Belgian-style ales.
You’ll also want to swing by Bear King Brewing Company, a family-run brewery and restaurant with a huge taproom, open-air beer garden, patio games, and frequent live music.
The Electric Watermelon light ale is a summertime must at Double Horn Brewing Company, and they also have a full dine-in menu of tacos, burgers, pizza, and more to go with their handcrafted ales.
Find more itineraries to plan your perfect getaway at Visit Marble Falls.