From the Austin-San Antonio corridor to Houston’s sprawling concrete jungle, Texas’ recent urban explosion has been marked by increased industry, rising population, and so, so, so much construction.
It’s no surprise to us that the quiet, lush tranquility of the Texas Hill Country has become more and more appealing over the course of the last decade. From abundant wildlife to placid lakes and sweeping views, this central part of Texas exemplifies a simpler way of life.
So which towns and cities have been favored by ex-city-dwellers looking to slow down? We’ve compiled a list of the most appealing, alluring, and downright charming Hill Country towns (that still promise friendly, not-too-fast growth and enviable amenities).
Originally founded by three families in the autumn of 1853, Dripping Springs is a vibrant town that still screams “Hill Country” at every turn, from its lush landscape to its glittering stars and romantic name. Located 25 miles west Austin, Dripping Springs retains the charm that garnered its founding in the first place: simplicity, family, and the beauty of the Texas Hill Country.
An international Dark Sky community (and the official “Wedding Capital of Texas”), Dripping Springs hasn’t gone unnoticed by all the recent Texas growth. From 2010 to 2016, this community’s population nearly doubled, growing from 1,788 to 3,140 residents.
Featuring exceptional schools (Dripping Springs ISD) and full of unique local attractions like the famous Salt Lick BBQ and Jester King Brewery, Dripping Springs is the perfect locale to start and grow a Texas family.
31436 Retama Ridge ($499,999)
A popular watering hole for travelers in the 1880’s, Bulverde (also called "The Front Porch of the Texas Hill Country") is now a junction at the intersection of Texas culture and Hill Country tranquility, a veritable gateway into the rolling hills and craggy bluffs that make up this region’s iconic landscape.
In fact, this peaceful sense of privacy and wildness is precisely why Bulverde has experienced a steady sense of growth and popularity in recent years. Filled with remarkable views and dotted with live oak trees and blooming wildflowers, Bulverde is just a short drive from Guadalupe River State Park and Honey Creek State Natural Area.
In addition to natural beauty, Bulverde’s established sense of Texas culture includes traditional rodeos (every Saturday night at Tej as Rodeo Company) and a high-quality education (the award-winning Comal ISD).
Head about an hour west on I-10, and you’ll find one of the oldest settlements in Texas. And while Kerrville has certainly changed over its history, it still retains its homespun roots: a town full of art, culture, relationships, and a rich sense of Texas community.
Punctuated by cultural attractions like the Hill Country Museum, the Museum of Western Art, and the annual Kerrville Folk Festival (nearly three weeks of music and fun at the precipice of summer), Kerrville also boasts a rustic natural setting that truly exemplifies the intersection of West Texas and the Hill Country.
Throw in excellent schools (Kerrville ISD) and a healthy population of about 23,000, Kerrville is a destination for anyone who loves wide-open skies and down-home culture.
922 Falling Water Dr ($425,000)
A bit more secluded from the city scene, Spring Branch has been the home of families and residents since the 1850’s, though it only officially became its own entity in 2015. Founded mostly by farmers drawn by the sparkling promise of Spring Creek (which flows into the Guadalupe River), Spring Branch is a peaceful community that lives in harmony with the landscape.
Made up of only about 250 residents (over about two beautiful square miles near Canyon Lake), Spring Branch is served by Comal ISD and made up of several iconic upscale neighborhoods (with a median listing price of $378K).
A charming small town north of San Antonio, Boerne is a decidedly German community, evidenced by its “Hauptstrasse” (Main Street), festivals, and affinity for beer and kolaches. Family-friendly in every sense of the word, Boerne’s cozy location and surprisingly adventurous activities (Cave Without a Name, Guadalupe State Park) make it the perfect commuter zone: a short drive to San Antonio and surrounding Hill Country towns, yet still far enough away from the hubbub of the city.
Served by Boerne ISD and part of the San Antonio-New Braunfels Metropolitan Statistical Area, Boerne’s population has more than doubled in the last 20 years, growing from about 6,178 in 2000 to nearly 15,000 in 2016.
1668 Rebecca Ranch ($775,000)
Known as “The Jewel” of the Texas Hill Country, Canyon Lake’s sparkling waters set the scene for a beautiful community centrally located between Austin and San Antonio (and just minutes from New Braunfels, Bulverde, and Spring Branch). Located on the edge of the iconic Texas Hill Country, Canyon Lake boasts 80 miles of coveted shoreline, dotted with lakefront properties and boating docks.
Populated with vacationers, residents, and plenty of wildlife, Canyon Lake is a place for outdoor recreation, featuring hiking trails and parks, bank fishing, and a par 72 golf course.
The city’s growth has been steadily increasing over the past 30 years, currently resting at above 21,000. Like several of the other cities on our list, Canyon Lake is served by award-winning Comal IS D, a district dedicated to high-quality Hill Country education.
522 Melody Wind ($200,000)
Another Hill Country entry point, New Braunfels is a historic gem perfectly situated between San Antonio and Austin. Home to the intersection of the Comal and Guadalupe rivers, this tiny town plays host to a flood of tourists and leisure-seekers every year, making it a primed epicenter for local music and cultural events. From the iconic Wurst fest (a “ten-day salute to sausage”) to the historic Gruen e Hall, New Braunfels is a hub for all things Texas Hill Country.
Considering its cultural allure, gorgeous location, and great schools (Comal ISD and New Braunf els ISD) it’s no surprise to us that New Braunfels has been one of the fastest-growing towns in the local area. At a 6.6% growth rate, the city's population was 57,740 at the 2010 census and an estimated 70,543 in 2015.
The Hill Country has always been known as the classic Texan paradise. To discover where you fit, from farm and ranch to luxury, contact one of our licensed agents! Plus, download our exclusive Buyer’s Guide to discover tips written specifically for the Hill Country buyer.