On the Road
It’s known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” and Bandera — in the beautiful Texas Hill Country — lives up to that title.
Once the staging area for the last great cattle drives of the late 1800s, the town also boasts many National Rodeo Champions.
When you’re here, you’ll quickly see how the respect and authenticity of “cowboy culture” permeates every square inch of the town. What you’ll also notice is how Indian, Mexican, Polish, and Western cultures give Bandera a unique ambiance not found anywhere else in Texas.
So grab your hat and boots, channel your inner cowboy, and get set to lasso up a great little getaway in Bandera.
Find your home on the range
With a number of dude ranches in Bandera, each nestled into scenic surrounds, it’s easy to fully immerse yourself in that cowboy culture.
Each of the working ranches is its own unique experience. For example, at Flying L Ranch Resort you can stay in a cedar cabin or historic villa and take wagon rides, feed deer and antelope, get in on a chuckwagon dinner (during the summer only), sidle up to the campfire for s'mores, and maybe even catch some champion trick ropers and storytellers.
Situated on 725 acres, Dixie Dude Ranch goes back five generations to 1901, showing true Texas hospitality every step along the way.
Horseback riding, catch-and-release fishing, hiking, hayrides, campfire sing-alongs, dancing, and lots of Western fun are all on the docket here.
You can also check out the century-old barn and Range War Cemetery or, for a little R&R, the ranch offers massages, too.
Willow Creek Ranch is a family-owned and operated 40-acre horse farm where they rehabilitate and retrain rescue horses, too. You'll stay in the three-bedroom house surrounded by nature, horses, oak trees, a creek, and a pond.
Hit the trail
Even if you don’t stay at a dude ranch, you can still get in on horseback riding that ventures through the rolling green hills, wide-open pastures, and picturesque creeks.
Juniper Hill Stables and Cross-G Ranch both have one-of-a-kind trail rides through these rugged-cool landscapes.
Head to the rodeo
You can see some of the best barrel racers and mutton busters in Texas vie for the top prize at one of the many rodeos in town, including the Bandera ProRodeo Association's Memorial Day PRCA rodeo.
Celebrate Bandera Round-Up, held over Labor day weekend, features a longhorn cattle drive on Saturday morning followed by a market day with entertainment around the courthouse lawn Saturday and Sunday.
Bandera ProRodeo then produces a working cowboy Ranch Rodeo (no bull riding) on Saturday evening and an All Women’s Ranch Rodeo and Mutton Bustin’ on Sunday evening.
Schedule in a shootout
A shootout that’s straight out of a classic spaghetti western is what you’ll get at Cowboys on Main, a weekly event with gripping gunfights by historical re-enactors from the Bandera Cattle Company, along with chuck wagons and period costumes. Check the weekly entertainment guide here for the most up-to-date times.
Get your nature fix
Sure, dude ranch’ing it up and horseback riding will put you in touch with nature. But there’s plenty more to explore with Bandera as your home base.
Two of the most breathtaking natural areas in Texas are within easy driving distance. Surround yourself with limestone bluffs and hills covered in blooming wildflowers at the Hill Country State Natural Area, which is home to more than 40 miles of trails.
Meanwhile, Lost Maples State Natural Area — named for the park’s abundance of bigtooth maple trees that provide vibrant fall colors — is 2,100 acres of statement-making scenery, including limestone canyons, grasslands and wooded hills, and clear-water streams.
It’s also known as one of the best birding destinations, with the spotting of species like the black-capped vireo, golden-cheeked warbler, and green kingfisher.
Check out the museums
Browse the Frontier Times Museum’s 40,000-item collection of Western art and memorabilia with historical artifacts, photographs, and art that tell the story of Bandera County’s earliest days.
There’s also a gallery of paintings displayed on a natural rock wall to reflect the rugged landscape of the surrounding Hill Country.
The Bandera Natural History Museum is a true gem, with an extensive wildlife exhibit and a collection of Spanish art from 1521-early 1800s.
And with motorcycles from all over the world, ranging from 1910 to today, the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum is a fascinating look at the bike.
Tune into some live music
In addition to its Old West vibes, Bandera has a thriving music scene with jams just about every day of the week. One of the most popular venues in town is the 11th Street Cowboy Bar, a go-to spot for live country music and good beer.
Grab an ice-cream float
The Bandera General Store is really a must; it has one of the last remaining old-fashioned soda fountains in Texas (there are only 11 of them!). There, you can also shop for cowboy boots, hats, and more.
See more of what Bandera has to offer here.