to the hills
Travel magazine names Texas Hill Country among the top 25 destinations in the world
If you’re writing “travel more” on your list of New Year’s resolutions, you might not have to travel very far to visit one of the most sought-after travel spots across the globe: the Texas Hill Country.
Afar, a U.S.-based travel publication, just released its annual list of 25 recommended vacation spots around the world. It includes some of the obvious spots like Paris, Fiji, and Machu Picchu, as well as some more unexpected spots like Maldonado, Uruguay, and Brno, Czechia (as a Czech Texan, I’m adding this one to my list).
A few spots in the United States made the list: Philadelphia, Detroit, San Diego, Charleston, and a few others. But the Hill Country is the only Texas spot on the list, with Afar deeming it “arguably one of the prettiest places in Texas.” This isn’t exactly a secret: In 2022, the Hill Country saw more than 2.3 million visitors to its state parks. That's not even counting the many charming towns.
The main reason the Hill Country made the list? It’s in the path of totality for April’s solar eclipse. If you haven’t already made your eclipse travel plans, though, you might be out of luck.
Airbnbs in Fredericksburg, smack dab in the heart of the Hill Country, are listing for at least $1,000 a night on and around April 8. Some of the larger rental homes are going for as much as $2,700 a night.
But as Afar writes, there’s plenty of reason to stick around after the eclipse. There's the wine, for one thing; The Hill Country’s viticultural area spans 9 million square miles, the third-largest in the U.S. Then there's beer, with breweries like Jester King and Real Ale attracting visitors from far and wide.
Plus the unique lodging options are endless: yurts, shipping containers, treehouses and, yeah, you can even stay in a resort where giraffes will trot past your window. If the prices above are out of the question, you could always try camping or taking a road trip from an area with greater supply or less demand — both Austin and San Antonio are close enough for an easy day trip.
Afar’s article highlights some of the major locales – Fredericksburg and its peaches, of course – but also points out a few other less-trodden paths in the Hill Country, like Bandera (the Cowboy Capital of Texas) and Kerrville. But that barely scratches the surface.
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Hill Country officially spans 25 Texas counties, though many Texans will tell you that the Hill Country is a state of mind (meaning, it’s west-ish of Austin and hilly). So the travel possibilities are endless.