Few places embody the spirit of the Texas Hill Country like Boerne, an inviting hamlet surrounded by sloping hills, oak forests, limestone cliffs, fascinating caves, and pristine rivers and lakes. Like many places in the Hill Country, Boerne has a rich German history. It was one of the first towns founded by German settlers in the 19th century, and their influence can still be seen today, from the various historic buildings to the name of its main street: Hauptstrasse. Yet its German heritage is just one of the things that makes Boerne a great place to visit. Browse one-of-a-kind stores, treat your taste buds at unique restaurants and bakeries, and explore the beautiful Hill Country landscape. You can experience all of this in a less than one-hour drive from San Antonio and within two hours of Austin, making it a pleasant getaway from the hustle and bustle of big city life.
Boerne was established in 1849 on the banks of Cibolo Creek by German immigrants. The town was originally named Tusculum after Cicero’s home in ancient Rome, but in 1852 it was changed to Boerne in honor of Ludwig Börne, a German poet and journalist. Boerne was eventually selected as the seat of Kendall County, and the courthouse that was built in 1870 still stands to this day.
The old courthouse, with its limestone walls and distinctive three arched entryways, is just one of the many pieces of living history in Boerne. Other examples include the Kuhlmann-King Historical House, now home to the Boerne Visitor Center, and the Joseph Dienger Building, which is a boutique, bookstore, espresso bar, bakery, bistro, and event venue today. Boerne’s Patrick Heath Public Library is home to an even older relic: a 1614 Low German Bible, one of only seven in the world. The bible arrived in Texas in 1844 with German immigrant Johan Schwarting and features handwriting dating back to the 1660s.
Along with its German history, Boerne also offers a wealth of outdoor adventure in some of the most picturesque areas of Texas. Cibolo Creek meanders through the center of town, where you can go for a jog or fish along the Cibolo Trail and at River Road Park. Just west of town, traverse the hiking and biking trails that weave through 100 acres and four distinct ecosystems at the Cibolo Nature Center. Head one mile northwest and you’ll encounter the scenic Boerne City Lake Park, where you can swim, fish, paddleboard, and kayak. Not enough for you? The Kreutzberg Canyon Natural Area and the Guadalupe River State Park, located along the Guadalupe River, are two more areas that are well worth seeing. There’s also the two cave systems near Boerne, Cascade Caverns and the Cave Without a Name.
Boerne’s central location in the Hill Country makes it a great hub for exploring the region. It sits within an hour’s drive of fascinating towns, wineries, and vineyards. Head in any direction and you’ll likely enjoy some of the best scenic driving in Texas. And don’t forget the many attractions in San Antonio, including Six Flags Fiesta Texas, which is just 18 miles away.
Ample small-town charm, a rich German heritage, great shopping and dining, and plenty of outdoor fun makes Boerne a must-visit town in the Texas Hill Country. Visit and you’ll see why.