The hills around Wimberley are some of the prettiest in the Hill Country, and so close to Austin. The beauty comes with thorns: The ranch roads can be clogged with Sunday drivers and stock car racers, especially on the weekend, and the roads are narrow and winding, so be careful and patient. And as always, please drink responsibly.
Creekhouse Kitchen and Bar is just off the town square in Wimberley on the creek, and offers outdoor and indoor seating. Food options are mostly sandwiches and tacos, and there’s a full bar.
Open daily, 11am-9pm. 14015 RR 12, 512/722-3344, creekhousewtx.com.
The backyard at Dark Skies Tavern in Woodcreek outside of Wimberley. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)
Dark Skies Tavern at Cypress Falls Lodge was built in 1949, and with its rock walls is all pretty authentically rustic. Includes a full bar, a 22-room hotel, and three additional townhouses. The swimming hole has its own bar during the season and includes the historic Eagle Rock.
Open daily noon-midnight, and until 1am on Saturday. 1 Woodcreek Circle, 512/847-6595 (swimming hole FAQ: 512/842-3434), thelodgeatcypressfalls.com.
Desert Door Distillery produces Texas Sotol outside of Driftwood. There is a seating area outside the tasting room, and food trucks are often on-site.
Open Thu. 3:30-8pm; Fri.-Sat., 11:30am-8pm; Sun. noon-6pm. Tours are available Fri.-Sun., noon and 1pm. 11 Darden Hill Rd. off FM 150, 512/829-6129, desertdoor.com.
The patio at Driftwood Estates Winery looks over the valley below. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)
Driftwood Estates Winery has a beautiful view from their patio and garden for adults only.
The Bistro is open Fri.-Sun., 11am-6pm. The tasting room is open daily 11am-6pm. 4001 Elder Hill Rd. just off of RR 12, 512/858-9667, driftwoodwine.com.
The rocking chairs at Ghost Note Brewery on RR 12 have a great view of the stage. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)
Ghost Note Brewery has live music most weekends, weather permitting, and special events on Saturdays. Betty Maes Food Truck serves a variety of down-home and Gulf Coast-inspired foods.
Open Thu., 3-7pm; Fri., 2-8pm; Sat., noon-8pm; Sun., noon-7pm. 23663 RR 12 at Ghost Note Lane, Dripping Springs, 512/553-2870, ghostnotebrewing.com.
Lone Man Mountain Brewery is inside Wimberley Valley Winery. The food truck outside offers burgers and pizzas, and live music is offered on Saturdays. Pets on leashes are welcome inside and out.
Open Fri.-Sun., 11am-6pm. 2825 Lone Man Mountain Rd. off of RR 12, lmmbrewing.com.
Mercer Dance Hall has cabins, a kitchen, and adult beverages. It used to be in downtown Dripping Springs, but lost its lease and is now on RR 12. The food menu includes chili, hot dogs, pizza, tamales, etc.
Open Fri., 5pm-12mid; Sat., 6pm-12mid; Sun., 1-7pm. 23490 RR 12, 512/858-4314, mercerdancehall.com.
Shade trees and a view of the sunset await guests at the Shady Llama. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)
Shady Llama Bar offers a selection of local beers and wines in an outdoor garden oriented toward the sunset. Two food trucks offer tacos, sandwiches, and salads. Meet one of the nine llamas up close, or the two miniature donkeys if they come up to the fence. Well-behaved dogs are welcome on a leash. Children are also welcome, leash optional. Five miles north of Wimberley, 10 miles south of Dripping Springs.
Winter hours: Open Wed.-Thu., 3-9pm; Fri.-Sun., noon-9pm. Closes for inclement weather. 18325 RR 12, 512/539-7407, theshadyllama.com.
Vista Brewing has a large outdoor area and a covered dining area.
Open Wed.-Thu., 4-9pm: Fri., 2-9pm; Sat., noon-9pm; Sun., 11am-7pm (Sunday brunch, 11am-2pm). 13551 FM 150, Driftwood, 512/766-1842, vistabrewingtx.com.
Wimberley Valley Winery/Lone Man Mountain Brewery has a large backyard. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)
Wimberley Valley Winery was established in 1983 before Hays County allowed alcohol sales. The tasting room opened in 2011 and has a beautiful outdoor area to enjoy the fruit of the grape, craft beer, and fresh air.
Open daily 10am-6pm; food truck service offering pizzas and burgers open Thu.-Sun., 11:30am-5:30pm. 2825 Lone Man Mountain Rd. off of RR 12, wimberleyvalleywine.com.
Gerald McLeod has been traveling around Texas and beyond for his “Day Trips” column for more than 25 years. Keep up to date with his journeys on his archive page and follow him on Facebook.