Your Neighborhood Expert
Bunker Ranch: Where town meets country in Dripping Springs
There are so many great places to live in Austin that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.
When native Austinite and real estate agent Ashley Darnell wanted to move out of Austin proper — but not too far from family and friends — she found the small-town charm and elevated Texas Hill Country vibe of Bunker Ranch in Dripping Springs to be the perfect fit.
“After I got married and had kids, the slower-paced lifestyle seemed more appealing — plus Dripping Springs has amazing schools,” Darnell says. “Let's not forget low taxes, too!”
As a gated community, Bunker Ranch boasts livable, light-filled homes that are sited on large estate lots — anywhere from three-quarters of an acre to two acres — and many with majestic oaks or views of a scenic brook.
“It's a perfect place for those seeking serenity without being too far removed,” adds Darnell. “At only 25 miles west of downtown Austin, it offers homeowners a convenient commute to work without forgoing gorgeous landscapes and a dream lifestyle.”
After all, Dripping Springs may be tiny but it’s big on personality, with charming inns and resorts, creative restaurants, authentic live music venues, and superb shopping, not to mention wineries and tasting rooms, craft breweries, and distilleries.
“The sports scene out here is insane, too,” says Darnell. “My kids are 5 and 6 and we are fully ingrained in the baseball life. This town is breeding elite athletes by the dozen.”
A huge dog lover, Darnell is also an advocate for the Austin-based Wags & Whiskers, which provides peace of mind and temporary placement for pets of people facing illness.
She offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Bunker Ranch. Here's her guide to the area:
Where to eat & drink
Named for owner Whit Hanks’ great-grandmother, Tillie's at Camp Lucy is a beautiful destination restaurant in the area with an executive chef who formerly worked at both Aspen’s five-star hotel The Little Nell and at Bobby Flay’s restaurants in Las Vegas and the Bahamas.
For classic comfort food, Homespun Kitchen and Bar has the best chicken-fried steak and shrimp and grits around. Oak Creek Café is another casual neighborhood hangout. And don’t miss Dripping Springs Distilling for a vodka tour and tasting.
Darnell also recommends Texas Hill Country Olive Co., a family-owned business that supplies the highest quality olive oil produced in the United States. Book a tour of the Tuscan-inspired mill house and orchard, and then have a meal at the Bistro with a menu that highlights their award-winning products.
Where to play
“Bunker Ranch is right across the street from Dreamland, a fan fave of my family's,” says Darnell. “They have pickle ball, mini golf, disc golf, corn hole tournaments, movies on the lawn, fireworks on the 4th, live music, a tasting room, bar and kitchen, and more.”
She also suggests Camp Lucy, a luxury resort on a Hill Country ranch, as a great staycation in the area.
Driftwood Axe House is another great spot, and if you’re not into axe throwing, the Driftwood Dugout Sports Bar is right next door.
What to see
You can rediscover your love of nature because you're close to Hamilton Pool, Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center’s 76-acre preserve, and Pedernales State Park.
Historic Mercer Street is also a must, where you’ll find unique and eclectic shops located in original buildings — some dating to the late 19th century.
Where to live
“The style of homes in Bunker Ranch ranges from farmhouse to modern, transitional, and traditional,” says Darnell. “And you can bring your own builder for custom homes, both new construction and resale.”
What’s also unique about the community are the generous building setbacks for privacy — at least 35-foot setbacks from the front and back property lines and at least 15 feet between homes, side to side.
A brand-new listing of Darnell's showcases exactly that. 857 Bunker Ranch Blvd. has an enormous backyard with Spanish Oaks (that produce stunning fall foliage, by the way) and a ruggedly beautiful hillside that slopes to a natural dry creek. It's 1.4 acres of peace and privacy.
Also, it’s important to note that Dripping Springs was one of the first designated International Dark Sky Communities, and the town has enacted efforts to preserve peaceful nighttime views and keep light pollution out. So you really can stargaze from your backyard!