Kingsland is a small, unincorporated community in perhaps the most scenic valley in Texas.
Surrounded by beautiful hills, including legendary Packsaddle Mountain, and embraced by the Llano and Colorado River Arms of constant-level Lake LBJ, Kingsland boasts miles and miles of the state’s most sought-after lakefront property.
People have always wanted to come to Kingsland. Archaeological evidence shows that for thousands of years before Martin King bequeathed his name to the beautiful valley, Native Americans had regularly visited the banks of the Llano and Colorado Rivers. A Spanish explorer named Bernardo de Miranda led a party of 23 treasure-hunters down the Llano River to “Kingsland” in 1756, and intermittent attempts were made to find gold, silver and iron in the area. But for more than a century after Miranda’s visit, the rugged hills and fierce inhabitants kept all but the most adventurous away from this remarkable place “where rivers flow and bluebonnets.
After the region’s last major Indian battle, fought atop Packsaddle Mountain in 1873, Martin and Nancy King founded a tiny frontier town near the juncture of the two wild rivers. Their town became a popular resort with the arrival of the railroad, and the luxurious Antlers Hotel became the town’s most enduring landmark. But the absence of good roads left the town in almost total isolation through the middle of the twentieth century, and Kingsland’s population dipped to around one hundred by the time the Alvin Wirtz Dam was built in 1950.
The sparkling lake that resulted from the dam’s construction made Kingsland’s resurgence almost inevitable, but it wasn’t until the 1960s (when Ranch Road 1431 was completed from Marble Falls) that the growth really began. Promoters divided local ranches and hunting grounds to sell lakefront lots. Military veterans from San Antonio and oil workers from the Midland-Odessa area led the charge, and even President Lyndon Johnson bought a ranch across the Llano River Arm of what was originally called Granite Shoals Lake. Numerous fishing camps bolstered the local economy.
Soon modern highways and infrastructure brought retirees and vacationers to the lake (renamed Lake LBJ for its famous neighbor in 1965), and the wide valley became a community once again. A remarkable Independence Day celebration and a spectacular amateur ski team brought statewide recognition. Today, there are numerous lakeside lodgings, from campgrounds and RV parks to the beautifully-restored Antlers Hotel and several fine rental homes and bed-and-breakfasts. For those who decide to make Kingsland their home, there are modern healthcare facilities and a variety of shopping options to go with the beautiful terrain.
In addition to a wide range of watersports and boat rentals, Kingsland boasts two top-quality golf courses and three popular state parks within easy driving distance (Inks Lake State Park, Longhorn Cavern State Park, and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area). The famous “Slab” on the Llano River is one of the area’s favorite swimming holes, and Kingsland’s Community Park provides public access to the lake. The Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery and the Nightengale Archaeological Center (with thousands of artifacts from the area’s earlier inhabitants) are just down the road from downtown Kingsland.