Hotel at a Glance: Inn of the Hills
Set in lush Texas Hill Country, the Inn of the Hills has an upscale-lodge feeling. Exposed timbers, native rocks, and a winding stone staircase in the main lobby form the backdrop for the inn’s soaring design, and guests will notice the spaciousness and giant floor-to-ceiling windows that make the inn luxurious. A five-minute drive from downtown Kerrville, this hotel is also close to restaurants and the wineries of Texas Hill Country.
- Nearby diversions: Along with being close to historic downtown Kerrville, Inn of the Hills is a few steps from the Guadalupe River, where you can rent kayaks and canoes for a day on the water. The hotel is also a 25-minute drive from German-influenced Fredericksburg and 30 minutes from the town of Bandera, also known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World.” Austin is only a two-hour drive away, and San Antonio can be reached in an hour.
- Go swimming: The inn boasts an outdoor swimming pool ringed by a spacious patio with deck chairs and umbrellas.
- Dig in: An included continental breakfast is served each morning, and onsite are both The Alpine Lodge, which is a casual family restaurant, and the Inn Pub, a Texas ranch-style bar with a limited menu that features live music on weekends. Hand-carved roast beef and giant desserts are the house specialties.
- Home-like rooms: All the rooms are simple and elegantly decorated in earth tones, using local rocks as wall accents. All rooms have microwaves and refrigerators.
- Don’t miss: Hiking and swimming at the 517-acre Kerrville-Schreiner Park, where deer and wild turkey roam free and there’s a butterfly garden for the kids.
Texas Hill Country: Pastoral Landscape of Ranches, Rivers, and German-American Towns
A picturesque region of rolling hills and valleys covered in bluebonnets, the area of central Texas known as Texas Hill Country has been compared to the landscape of Tuscany by the New York Times. Texas Hill Country is a backyard playground for nearby cities, as it lies just west of Austin and northwest of San Antonio. Urbanites often escape here for the weekend to enjoy the slower pace and beat the heat—the region's slightly higher elevation means it's often less humid. With many state parks and spring-fed rivers, the Hill Country is also a haven for outdoorsy types; activities range from fishing and tubing to rock climbing. The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is popular thanks to its main attraction: a gigantic pink-granite dome in the middle of the park.
Among the Hill Country’s major towns, Bandera best captures its cowboy spirit. It’s not uncommon to catch an open rodeo in the summer or to see a ranch hand riding to the store on horseback. The town is also surrounded by dude ranches where you can get a taste of the local lifestyle. Just north of Bandera, the town of Fredericksburg is also worth exploring. Along with New Braunfels, it was one of the main settlements of local German immigrants in the 1840s—a heritage that visitors can still see today in the “Willkommen” signs hung on shop doors.