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The Hill Country, TX

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Texas Bluebonnets

Texas Bluebonnets

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Lake in Texas Hill Country

Lake in Texas Hill Country

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Ranch in Texas Hill Country

Ranch in Texas Hill Country

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You can't go many places in Texas without seeing or hearing the phrase "Texas is a State of Mind." If Texas is indeed a state of mind, the Hill Country is the reason why.The region is etched with dramatic slopes of rocky terrain, wide-open vistas displaying an endless horizon of blue sky, and roads that go on forever. Countless creeks and old cedar posts wrapped in rusty barbed wire meander through mesquite-filled pastures; in spring, blooming bluebonnets and other wildflowers transform the rough-hewn landscape.The Hill Country's defining feature is, of course, the hills. (The lovely lakes and rivers are a close second, though.) Geographically, the area comprises the lower region of the Edwards Plateau, which rises from 750 feet to 2,700 feet in some places and is covered primarily by a thin, limestone-based soil that reveals solid, limestone rock just beneath. The calcite-rich limestone formations create perfect environments for the many freshwater springs and extensive caverns that spot the region. The rugged soil has created a perfect environment to sustain grass for cattle, and weeds and tree foliage for sheep and goats, thus making the area a ranching hub and one of the nation's leading Angora goat and mohair-producing regions. The region is also home to the Llano Basin, a stretch of land that lies at the junction of the Llano and Colorado rivers and features outcroppings of granite.The Hill Country is a retreat for businesspeople from Austin, and even Houston, who trade in their Armani and city sights for Levis and ranch life each weekend at their second homes (and later their retirement homes). It's also been growing in popularity with Winter Texans, who are passing through en route to the Rio Grande Valley at Texas's tip. Tourists make up the third wave of visitors, flying into San Antonio or Austin and driving up for a day or weekend trip. They're drawn by the chance to play in the lakes, travel the Texas Wine Trail, sample fruit at roadside farm stands, and become short-term cowpokes at one of the local dude ranches.

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Things You Can't Miss

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We’re Goin’ Honky-Tonkin’
We’re Goin’ Honky-Tonkin’

Built in 1878, Gruene Hall at New Braunfels, the state’s most famous dance hall, attracts top musicians and fans, who do the Texas two-step.

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A Texas-Sized Boulder, for Sure
A Texas-Sized Boulder, for Sure

It’s worth the journey to see Enchanted Rock, a solid mass of pink granite covering 640 acres and rising 425 feet above the surrounding landscape.

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Explore Lost Maples State Natural Area
Explore Lost Maples State Natural Area

The Hill Country has many beautiful parks, but none better than this one on the Sabinal River. Fall foliage of the maple trees creates a colorful spectacle.

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Alamy

article
10 Things Flight Attendants Wish They Could Say

Bad manners is just one of the many things that irk attendants. See what other things get under their skin.

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Old World Traditions Endure in Fredericksburg
Old World Traditions Endure in Fredericksburg

This town celebrates its German heritage with European-style architecture, wineries, biergartens and cafés serving schnitzel and Black Forest cake.

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Alamy

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Travel Photographers Share Their Secrets for Memorable Photos

Try these 10 easy tips from the pros on your next vacation.

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Tour LBJ’s Texas White House
Tour LBJ’s Texas White House

See how the 36th president relaxed at Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, including the ranch house on his beloved Pedernales River.

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Alamy

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7 Safety Tips for Traveling Alone

Traveling solo? Follow these safety tips when going places on your own.

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‘Everybody’s Somebody in Luckenbach’
‘Everybody’s Somebody in Luckenbach’

Made famous by a 1977 Waylon Jennings song, this tiny community attracts devoted pilgrims eager to shop, hear (or play) music, or just sit and chat.

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Alamy

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