Things to Do in Castroville
Castroville’s unique French heritage and its location among the lush oak forests and picturesque rolling hills of the Texas Hill Country make it a must visit any time of the year. Tour a European home built in the 17th century, stay at a historic inn, or simply take in fascinating architecture you won’t see anywhere else in Texas. If that weren’t enough, you can also relax on the bank of the gorgeous Medina River while you’re surrounded by gorgeous limestone canyons. These are just a few of the things to do in Castroville. Read on to discover all the things you’ll experience while you’re here.
Visit the Steinbach Haus
With its sloped roof, stucco walls, and distinctive wood beams, the Steinbach Haus in Castroville looks like a medieval home plucked from the French countryside. And that’s exactly what happened. The 2.5-story, 1,232-square-foot Steinbach Haus was built sometime between 1618 and 1648 in the Alsatian community of Wahlbach and transported to Castroville in 1998. Today, the home represents the heritage of many of Castroville’s residents, and it offers visitors a rare look inside of a historic Euorpean house. The interior of the house is full of antique furniture and other items donated by individuals in Alsace. Although the home is a must see any time of the year, spring may be the best time to go. That’s because the fields around the Steinbach Haus are full of blooming poppy flowers that paint the landscape a vibrant red. The Steinbach Haus is open every day of the week.
Relax at Paradise Canyon
Castroville sits on the southern end of the Texas Hill Country, a region known for its spectacular natural beauty and abundance of rivers and lakes. A great example of the Hill Country’s scenic charm is Paradise Canyon, an outdoor recreation park and campground nestled on the bank of the Medina River about 13 miles north of Castroville. Swim, snorkel, and kayak in the cool and clear blue water surrounded by rugged limestone cliffs; camp out with your friends and family; or enjoy a romantic getaway in one of the park’s cabins. Whether you’re up for a fun afternoon in the great outdoors or a weekend in the serene Hill Country, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Paradise Canyon.
Experience Castroville’s Alsatian Architecture
The Steinbach Haus is just one example of the Castroville’s historic architecture. As it turns out, the town has nearly 50 homes and churches constructed in the 19th century. Many of Castroville’s homes are beautifully resorted examples of the kind of residential architecture you’d see in the Alsace region of France: steeply pitched roofs, flat stucco walls, and windows enclosed in painted wood panels. Another example is the St. Louis Catholic Church, which features a towering spire with small arches carved into limestone walls, a traditional nave with carved wooden pews, and ornate stained glass windows. The first version of the St. Louis Catholic Church, a small and simple house of worship built in 1849, is still open to this day.
Castroville is full of unique architecture unlike anything else in Texas. One of the best ways to see it is by following a walking tour suggested by the city, which you can learn more about here. If you’re an architecture or history enthusiast, then you’ll find plenty to love about Castroville.
Stay at the Historic Landmark Inn
There are quite a few ways to experience Castroville’s history, but nothing compares to actually sleeping in one of the town’s first buildings. In most places, this type of experience would be rare, but in Castroville it’s routine. As it turns out, you can hang your hat at several homes and inns built in the earliest days of the town’s history. This includes the home of Castroville’s founder, Henri Castro, a two-bedroom cottage constructed in 1845, and the Landmark Inn, which has been housing guests since the 1860’s. Both of these inns are appointed with antique furniture, adding an authentic feel to the experience. Keep in mind these aren’t your only options in town. Check out all the places to stay in Castroville here.