Given, hotels in Austin, Texas, provide easy access to all this booming city has to offer, often for only the effort of walking a few blocks. But whether it’s your first or your tenth time to this laid-back urban center, we’re here to assure you that there are equally good reasons to consider booking a room a little way out of the city center amongst landscapes that will challenge you to avoid abusing the word “romantic”. So ditch those hotels in Austin along with your city duds and head for the hills. We mean, of course, Texas Hill Country. Dotted with dude ranches, laced with meandering streams and punctuated by grand old oaks and wooded hillocks, this stretch of Texas is both peaceful and pretty.
In the Austin area, Hill Country technically starts a short way out of downtown, but for the effort of an hour’s drive or less you just might find yourself at a spot like the Inn above Onion Creek, almost another world altogether. Here, you can catch a sherbet sunset, wander miles of trails, spot wildlife and enjoy spa treatments or an outdoor pool if you have the time.
A haven for artists, Wimberley, a thoroughly charming small town roughly 40 miles from Austin, has both a bevy of galleries and the note-worthy Blair House Inn. Set on an expansive estate, visitors can enjoy both the inn’s own art gallery as well as cooking school, spa services and easy access to area wineries.
Slightly farther to the southwest find the historic charmer, Gruene, Texas. Quaint old buildings vie with the Guadalupe River for attention in these parts, but if you’re looking for a place to rest your weary head you can have your cake and eat it too with a room at the Gruene Mansion Inn Bed and Breakfast, a stone’s throw from the river and the state’s oldest running dance hall.
And finally, it’s an hour the other side of Austin but if you just want room to roam unfettered by the trappings of modern man, head for the Canyon of the Eagles resort near Burnet. Set on 940 acres, including a stretch of Lake Buchanan shore, this resort offers everything from hiking and kayaking to starry nights in the observatory.
So wherever you choose to bed down, our recommendation is that you plan for a pleasant week to divvy up between downtown Austin sights and Texas Hill Country. It’s the best of both worlds, really.