The Texas Hill Country is home to many rivers and lakes, rolling hills, and wildflowers. Llano is right in the middle of it all, with the Llano River running through the town and located just minutes from Lake Buchanan, the second largest of the Highland Lakes. Naturally, one of the top things to do in Llano is to spend a day on the water, whether it be the Llano or Lake Buchanan. “Lake weather” lasts nearly 12 months for year-round outdoor recreation in Llano. The 30-mile-long Lake Buchanan is a fisherman’s paradise teeming with bass and catfish. Find your own spot on the lake or hire a Lake Buchanan fishing guide if you’d like a little more hands-on help. There’s plenty of beaches along the shore for swimming and sunbathing and many restaurants nearby.
Back in Llano, it’s easy to jump into the river as there are several public access points in and around town. You can also kayak along the turquoise river past impressive boulders as you take in the wildlife. Cast your line over the side of your boat and let the fish come to you. Thanks to its scenic beauty, the Hill Country is a true getaway for nature lovers. Experience some of the best of it in Llano.
There’s something calming about the rhythm of a fisherman’s fly line dancing on a river, serenaded by the surrounding crickets and birds as the sun slips behind the horizon. This is the kind of experience you’ll have when you go fly fishing on the Llano River. Book a guided tour with Castell Guide Service and they’ll bring everything you need, including flies, leaders, tippets, drinks, snacks, and sunblock. You can even rent a rod, reel, and waders. As for the fishing itself, Guadalupe and largemouth bass, Rio Grande Cichlids, and a variety of sunfishes are all waiting to be caught throughout the year.
Bring your camo and go hunting in Llano, the “Deer Capital of Texas.” Each year, 6,000 to 8,000 hunters travel to Llano seeking the abundance of white-tailed deer. The Llano Chamber of Commerce even hosts Llano Hunter Appreciation the first Friday in November to kick off hunting season in Texas. There are a number of outfitters, guides, suppliers, and processors in Llano to help create an enjoyable, responsible, and easy hunting experience. Places like Oran Hill Outfitters and Three Sticks Outfitters do a lot of the work for you and grant you access to some of the most breathtaking land in the Texas Hill Country. You can then return home with some delicious and lean venison to share with family and friends.
In Llano there’s always a fiddle fiddling, a guitar strumming, and drums beating. This town is alive with its own rhythm and embraces live music at its many venues and special events throughout the year. The Heart of Texas Country Music Association's Llano Country Opry hosts performances at the historic LanTex Theater the second Saturday each month. Greats like Kitty Wells, Johnny Bush, and Johnny Wright have graced the stage for this event. For something a bit more low key, sip a hand-crafted caramel macchiato and listen to live music at Fuel Coffee House on the quaint Main Street. This java joint routinely hosts renowned songwriters in an intimate setting at Songwriters in the Round on the third Thursday of each month.
For a bit of food with your music, savor an impeccable meal at The Badu House while you listen to the fast banjo pickings or soothing guitar music on the patio. On the first weekend in April, some of the finest fiddlers in the Lone Star State come to town for the Llano Fiddle Fest. The contest is open to all ages with several categories. Take in the music and check out the art exhibition, tricks and licks contest, and cowboy breakfast. Llano’s scenic charm may be pleasing for the eyes, but its wealth of live music makes it just as appealing to your ears.
Grab your fancy camera or smart phone and embark on a photo tour of Llano’s historic buildings. You’ll encounter fine examples of Romanesque Revival style of architecture prevalent in the late 19th century, as well as historic sites, landmarks, and buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Located in the heart of the downtown square, the 1893 Llano County Courthouse is an eye-catching structure with its arched windows and looming clock tower. Meanwhile, the Llano County Red Top Jail incorporated county granite in its construction. For a breathtaking photo of the sunrise or sunset, visit Inks Bridge. Built in 1935, the truss bridge provides fantastic views of the Llano River that you can enjoy from the sidewalks that are separated from the roadway. The cherry-red marquee sign over the historic LanTex Theater downtown is also a favorite shot for photographers. Let your imagination and creative talent lead you as you view Llano through your camera lens and appreciate the macro and micro treasures of this Texas town.
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