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Region: Bandera



Bandera is well known and respected as the Cowboy Capital of the World.


Bandera was first founded 1852 as a cypress shingle camp. Cypress shingles were commonly used to make roofs because Cypress has certain oils in it that repel water. In 1854, a Roman Catholic colony from Poland established itself in Bandera. Today, this authentic Western town is one of the oldest remaining Polish communities in the U.S..Walking or driving tours of the town are available. See the original jail and County Courthouse and some of the oldest buildings in Bandera County, along historic Eleventh St.. You can also watch saddle makers and blacksmiths hard at work. After that, you can tour a working Longhorn ranch. Information on self-guided tours can be picked up at the Bandera Convention and Visitors Bureau.


Nestled in the Hill Country and surrounded by both working and guest ranches, the city bills itself as the Cowboy Capital of the World. Rodeos are held at least twice weekly from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Check the Hill Country Visitor Calendar for the schedule. Bandera boasts a great quantity of Dude Ranches. Dude Ranches (also called Guest Ranches) are modern ranches designed to capture all the best parts of cowboy life. Some are rustic while others are equipped with all the modern conveniences.

Recreational and Relaxing Activities:
Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Texas Hill Country while riding horseback, just like in the old West. If the heat gets to be too much, take a swim in cool, clear Hill Country lakes, rivers, or resort swimming pools. Visitors enjoy fine year-round fishing. Wild turkey and white-tailed deer may be hunted in season. For more information on hunting season in Bandera, please visit Texas Parks & Wildlife. Plenty more popular cowboy activities such as camping, hiking, rodeos, horse races, golfing, and Country/Western dancing are available to adventurers visiting Bandera.

The Hill Country State Natural Area, a 5,369-acre park in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, is only a 20 minute drive from Bandera. Primitive camping is permitted in a 20-acre designated site. Horseback riding, backpacking, and hiking are popular activities offered in the park. It is located on F.M. 1077, at 10600 Bandera Creek Rd, 12 miles west of town.

Scenic Drives:

The Hill Country is made up of many small towns connected by beautiful scenic drives. There are gorgeous Hill Country landscapes in almost any direction. Scenic drives are a favorite pastime for many locals, especially during sunset. So crank those windows down, turn up the radio, and fly over those hills!

–Ranch-to-Market Road: Texas Monthly ranks the drive on Ranch-to-Market Road 337 from Medina, TX to Leakey, TX  as 18th in an article titled “75 Things We Love About Texas”. “Take this drive on a Sunday afternoon in October. Trust me.” – Brain D. Sweany

–Texas 173 North:  This highway winds through scenic vistas to Camp Verde and Kerrville, looking out over private lakes, buffalo fields, and grand traditional ranch houses.

–Texas 173 South: 173 South rolls to the southern edge of the hills and enters the lower South Texas Plains. In the summertime, Texas bluebonnets and wildflowers cover fields as far as the eye can see.

–Texas 46 East: This Hill Country scenic drive explores steep-shouldered scenery through community of Pipe Creek to the German-accented town of Boerne.

Texas 16 and F.M. 470 West: This drive is one of the most dramatic. Blue hills enfold small green valleys threaded by sparkling creeks.

Hill Country Day Trippin’

There’s plenty of opportunities for day trips from the Bandera area.

Enjoy a relaxing drive through the spectacular Texas Hill Country on wide-open roads lined with breath-taking flowers and trees. Relish views only available in the Hill Country. You’ll feel like you’re light years away from a crowded freeway…because you are.

And, you won’t have to pick up and move. No packing and unpacking. While based in Bandera, you can stay as long as you want and experience an abundance of places to go and things to see and do.

Here are a couple of the possibilities:

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