PEDERNALES FALLS STATE PARK NEAR DRIPPING SPRINGS, TEXAS (DANIEL MULLINS / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM)
Warm climate, a slow-paced lifestyle, breathtaking views, and tons of leisure activities are just a few reasons why the Texas Hill Country is quickly becoming a top retirement hotspot. Texas, in general, is a great place to retire because of its healthy economy, low cost of living, and absence of a state income tax. If you couple that with rolling hills, windy roads, 13 state parks to wander through, and an abundance of wildlife, the Hill Country is no doubt high on the list of places to spend your golden years in retirement. If this suits you, you’ll want to grab a drink and peruse this list. Also, it doesn’t hurt to say that the Lone Star State is full of friendly people — so the saying goes.
As a native Texan and a reasonably new wine enthusiast, I’ve been studying the Hill Country lately. The area has become my favorite place to vacation. With over 50 wineries in the Texas Hill Country, I hope wine is on your list of things to enjoy while in retirement. The towns I chose on my list are ones that I’ve visited and some more than once, even thrice.
Whether towns in the hill country are large, small, or somewhere in between, this area is popular for retirees, and Fredericksburg tops the list. With this in mind, the most popular places to retire in the Texas Hill Country are filling up quickly and the prices of homes are increasing, so many are venturing out (still in the Hill Country) into the surrounding smaller towns.
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If you like nothing more than relaxing and rejuvenating your body and soul, you’ll love this small cozy town in the Hill Country. And if you want to get out and enjoy the countryside, opt for a bike ride on the Flatrock Ranch Mountain bike trails or take a walk in the James Kiehl River Bend Park. There’s not much to do here, but the golfing is good, the wineries are the best, and the antique shops are fun to peruse. With a population of 2,940, there’s a good chance you’ll get to know your neighbors quite well, and perhaps everyone who lives in Comfort. For more about the town, read the 7 Experiences To Discover In Charming Comfort, Texas.
HAMILTON POOL PRESERVE (JUNKER PHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM)
2. Dripping Springs
Dripping Springs is brimming with small-town hospitality, yet is still close to Austin. Where else can you have a natural swimming pool with a waterfall and a beautiful state park in your backyard? The Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve and Pedernales Falls State Park are not far away, both of which can provide all-day fun outdoors. When the day is almost over, visiting breweries and wineries is an option because there are plenty in this area.
Pro Tip: Make time to have lunch or dinner at The Salt Lick BBQ restaurant. It’s been featured on a couple of food shows lately for its finger-licking-good barbeque. The restaurant is located between Dripping Springs and Driftwood.
WILD BILL HICKOK STATUE IN BOERNE, TEXAS (BARNA TANKO / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM)
A rich German heritage, relaxed but fun atmosphere, parks, and a charming Main Street bring visitors to Boerne on a daily basis. Retirees can have an ideal retirement lifestyle in Boerne if they love to shop, eat, and sip. Here, retirees can wine and dine until their heart’s content. And I hope you like to walk and shop because there are plenty of boutiques, one-of-a-kind shops, and thrift stores along Main Street – plus more eateries than you can imagine. There are more Fantastic Things To Do In Charming Boerne, Texas in this article if you’d like to learn more.
DAS PEACH HAUS, A STORE OFFERING WINE TASTINGS, COOKING CLASSES, AND MORE IN FREDERICKSBURG, TEXAS (MOAB REPUBLIC / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM)
One of the prettiest places in Hill Country is the town of Fredericksburg. As many already know, it’s the most favored town to visit in the area, and thus, it tops the best place to retire in the Texas Hill Country. But my list wouldn’t be complete without adding this popular destination for everything to do in the hill country. Wine enthusiasts love it here as there are wineries just about everywhere you turn. Like I said above, if Fredericksburg is too crowded for you and the prices are sky-high, then you may want to consider the other towns on this list.
LOUISE HAYS PARK IN KERRVILLE (RICARDO LESMES / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM)
Outdoorsy retirees will love Kerrville. From fishing and hunting to birding, golfing, and nature walks, it’s an outdoor haven in this area … and the shopping isn’t bad either. Upscale retail shops, including James Avery Retail and Headquarters, art exhibits, exquisite restaurants, and a few breweries and wineries are all in the vicinity of Kerrville. Kerrville is a place you’ll never get bored — there’s always something going on.
Pro Tip: If you’re retiring to ride all day, there are plenty of motorcycle routes outside of town that offer scenic views on windy roads. A route starts in Kerrville that crosses the Guadalupe River heading into Bandera, Texas. That, to me, would be a beautiful ride.
LAKE MARBLE FALLS (HUNDLEY PHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM)
6. Marble Falls
Active retirees will love Marble Falls, that is, if golfing and water activities are on your “things to do when I retire list.” Marble Falls is situated along the shores of Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, and with Lake Marble Falls nearby, you’ll no doubt want to spend some time out on the water enjoying boating and fishing. Your golf games will undoubtedly be one heck of a round with beautiful views and perfect weather. And with Austin just a short drive away, you’ll benefit from easy access to all the city’s shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
You really can’t go wrong with the other towns that are close by, like Lampasas, Burnet, Johnson City, and Blanco. Highway 281 North (Dallas-Fort Worth) and South (San Antonio) is the Hill Country’s backroads driveway to these towns. Before deciding if Marble Falls is right for you, consider a drive on this scenic highway to check all the towns.
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Deer hunters unite! I suppose if a town has the title of “Deer Capital of Texas,” hunters should probably check it out. The Llano Chamber of Commerce website even has a hunting category on its menu. Llano was my dad’s favorite place to go hunting. I remember him coming home from the lease and asking him if he caught a deer. He said, “no, honey, I didn’t catch a deer, but I shot one.” I think I asked him that every time he returned home from any deer lease.
Llano is a town not to pass up when deciding to retire in the Hill Country. It’s a gem of a city that’s growing big time. Whether you choose to live in town, by the river, or out in the country, don’t pass up this Hill Country gem to perhaps spend the rest of your life.
THE COMAL RIVER AT LANDA PARK IN NEW BRAUNFELS (RICARDO LESMES / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM)
8. New Braunfels
Living in New Braunfels will give you a small-town feel with big-town amenities. The Comal and Guadalupe rivers are close by, and you’ll have easy access to Austin and San Antonio via the interstate. New Braunfels is probably a known entity to many people who value the outdoor life, the rivers, and good weather – all of which stand out in this area. It’s a darn good reason we all head down that way for a leisure visit, and thus, an excellent reason to choose New Braunfels to retire. The Guadalupe River State Park and Canyon Lake are lovely places to hang out and take the family on a picnic.
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Georgetown (a short distance north of Austin), having one of the largest active adults community in Texas, appeals to retirees because homes are abundant at varying price points. And for the retiree who wants to stay busy and active, there are many groups and clubs to join, like tennis, golf, photography, arts & crafts, and a dozen more. No one will ever be bored or without a friend or two. To get to know the area a bit better, check out what to do on a weekend in Georgetown.
Pro Tip: When spring rolls around, out pop the red poppies, and Georgetown likes to celebrate with festivals and special events.
ROSCHETZKY PHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
10. Round Rock
If you’re going to check out Georgetown, you might as well travel south on the interstate about 10 miles to check out Round Rock to see for yourself what a lovely town this is. From what I know about this area, it is a beautiful upscale town to raise a family. People want to be close to Austin, yet not right in the mix of the busy lifestyle that Austin has to offer. Perhaps you have family in Austin, but you don’t want to live in the city; Round Rock might be for you. There are plenty of golf courses, hiking trails, and parks to keep the outdoor enthusiast busy, and name-brand retail stores and dining are all around, so driving into Austin wouldn’t be necessary unless you want to.
SHOPS AT WIMBERLEY SQUARE (ROBERTO GALAN / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM)
A bit further south of Austin off Interstate 35 sits the lovely town of Wimberley, yet another Hill Country charmer. No major highways run through town as it’s tucked away in the rolling hills of the beautiful Texas Hill Country, but it’s accessible from Austin and San Antonio. Wimberley’s natural beauty, small-town charm, unique shopping, and vibrant art community make it a special place to call home.
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