Are you thinking about exploring Bandera, Texas? This small town that’s tucked away in the Texas Hill Country is filled with fun, adventure, and plenty of downhome western experiences. If you’re looking to take a day trip, or even spend a weekend immersed in Texas history set against a beautiful backdrop, visit Bandera and keep reading to see a list of things to do in Bandera.
1. Flying L Ranch Water Park
Flying L Ranch Water Park is the perfect place to cool down during your trip to Bandera, Texas. Spending some time enjoying the rides and water at Flying L. Ranch is a great thing to do in Bandera, Texas.
2. Ride a Horse
Bandera, Texas is the cowboy capital of the world and is full of beautiful canyons, scenic vistas and plenty of horses to ride. One of the best ways to explore the hill country of Texas is on horseback and there are plenty of companies that provide horses to take on trail rides.
3. Get Wet in the Medina River
The cool and clear Medina River runs close to Bandera, Texas, and is a great place to get your feet wet. You’ll find locals on the bank every day that are fishing, tubing, and swimming. Join the fun and cool off during the hot Texas summer.
4. Bandera City Park
Bandera City Park is a great spot to enjoy some downtime while you’re exploring Bandera. The park has plenty of green space to spread a blanket out on or take a walk through. There’s also a skate park, picnic pavilions, and the Medina River runs through it.
5. Town Mountain Miniature Museum
Town Mountain Miniatures Museum is filled with a lifetime collection of native Bandera residents, Patty Callahan Adamson. Both sides of her arrived in Bandera in the 1850s and helped to settle the area around it. If you’re looking for some fun and interactive history to explore, this is the place to do it.
6. Rock Cliff Reservoir
Rock Cliff Reservoir is a reservoir that is located about 5 miles from Bandera, in Bandera County. If you’re looking to do any fishing while you’re in the Bandera hill country, this is not the place to go. Plenty of locals report that there are no fish in the reservoir and it’s only a pretty place to unwind.
7. Hill Country State Natural Area
The Hill Country State Natural Area is a state park that is close to Bandera, Texas. If you’re looking to do some primitive camping and explore all that Texas topography has to offer, this is the place to go. The park offers over 5,000 acres of crag filled canyons and breathtaking plateaus.
Food & Drink
8. 11th Street Cowboy Bar
The 11th Street Cowboy Bar is a famous staple in Bandera, Texas. The dance floor inside the bar is cooled and the patio is also a great spot to sip your favorite cocktail. Most nights there’s also live country music.
9. Brick’s River Cafe
Brick’s River Cafe is a laid back cafe in town that locals love. Most of their popular menu items are meat-related, such as steaks or burgers. On weekends, the cafe also offers a delicious breakfast buffet. Bricks River Cafe is a great thing to do in Bandera, Texas.
10. Mi Pueblo Mexican Restaurant
Mi Pueblo is one of the best restaurants in Bandera, and in surrounding areas, to stop in for a delicious and traditional Tex-Mex meal.
11. Visit the Hill Country Cellar Winery
This is the only winery in Texas to produce its very own Pino Grigio wine. If you’re looking for a fun place to relax after a day of outdoor activity or shopping around town, this is the perfect place.
12. Grab Some Ice Cream at the Soda Fountain in the Bandera General Store.
The Bandera General Store is a place that tourists and locals alike love to congregate. Their ice cream has a reputation that proceeds them. If you’re looking for a tasty treat, this is the thing to do in Bandera.
13. Visit the Oldest Continuing Honkytonk in Texas.
You can’t go to Bandera without visiting the Arkey Blues Silver Dollar Saloon. It’s the oldest continuously operating honky-tonk in Texas. They have live music every night and even inspired some of the most famous Texas Country artists, like Robert Earl Keen to write his song “Feelin’ Good Again.”
Art & History
14. Explore the Natural History Museum
You wouldn’t expect a small town like Bandera to house such an informative and historical museum as the Natural History Museum. Patrons who have visited report that the museum has a large natural history exhibit, dinosaur replicas, and dioramas.
15. Visit the Frontier Times Museum
The Frontier Times Museum is a museum dedicated to the American West. It’s one of the oldest museums in Bandera and was opened in 1933 by author and historian John Hunter.
16. Go to the American Legion Post 157 Military Museum
The American Legion Post 157 Military Museum is home to over 170 models of airplanes, ships, helicopters, tanks, and more. The museum also features uniforms from WW1.
17. Check out the Historic Bandera County Jail
The historic Bandera County Jail was built in 1881 and was in operation until the town built a new establishment. It’s a great historical site in Bandera where travelers can take a glimpse into the past.
18. See the Great Western Cattle Trail Landmark
This scenic and historic landmark in Bandera is a ranching industry commemoration to memorialize an important road that original settlers used to herd cattle on.
19. Pipe Creek General Store and Dance Hall
This wonderful family-oriented dancehall in Bandera, TX is a large building that was recently restored to its 1930’s former glory. The facility also has a General Store that’s a great place for tourists to buy Bandera themed gifts. The Dance Hall is always playing country and western music and also serves beer and wine.
20. Watch a Gunfight at the Bandera County Visitors Center
Among the many things that the Bandera County Visitors Center can offer is a gunfight that will help all ages learn something about the wild west while also being entertained.
21. Attend an Authentic Rodeo
Texas rodeos are a staple and the ones put on in Bandera are no exception. If you get there early enough, you can watch little kids try to ride sheep, watch the cowboys on bucking broncos and hear some classic country music.
22. Dixie Dude Ranch
The Dixie Dude Ranch has been in operation for over 75 years and is a great place for visitors to get away, unwind and have a western experience. You can ride horseback, eat delicious meals, and stay in beautiful accommodations.
23. Attend a Biker Rallies of Texas meeting
Many wouldn’t know that there are biker rallies of Texas meetings in Bandera. The fun and exciting rallies are a great way to experience a different culture while the bikers ride all across the Texas hill country, enjoying the beautiful scenery.
24. Go ziplining
There isn’t anything more beautiful than the Texas Hill Country. If you’re interested in seeing it from a bird’s eye view, ziplining in Bandera is a great thing to do.
25. Visit Lost Maples State Park
Lost Maples State Park is one of the rare places in Texas where the leaves change in fall and mimic the northeast. The breathtaking park is a great place to hike, fish, spend time in relaxing nature and have an out of state experience.
26. Go Antiquing and Find a Treasure
Bandera is a town that is full of history. Aside from being the cowboy capital of the world, there is also a lot of history about when the town was settled and how it was founded. There’s no doubt that plenty of antiques from that historical time can be found around town at local shops.
27. Shop at Back in the Saddle
Back in the Saddle is a popular women’s clothing store in Bandera. Aside from offering women’s and children’s clothes, it’s a great store to visit if you’re looking to leave your trip with a bit of new western flare.
28. Branding Iron Gift Shop
Branding Iron Gift Shop is a great way to bring a little bit of Bandera back home with you. Locals love to shop here because of their cute t-shirts, fun wall decor, and genuinely helpful employees.
29. The Cowboy Store
The Cowboy Store is exactly what it sounds like, which is rather fitting for the cowboy capital of the world. This store is the perfect place to buy cowboy boots, cowboy hats, western shirts, and western pants. If you’re really looking to get into the Bandera spirit, this is the place to shop.
30. San Martin Creek
The best part about shopping in Bandera is that you can bet that the stores are going to be originally owned and operated, as opposed to them being chains. San Martin Creek is no exception. This store is the place to visit for rustic decor, books, and much more.