Known as the self-proclaimed "Cowboy Capital of the World," Bandera boasts activities such as horseback riding, ranch tours and rodeos. Located in Texas Hill Country, it's also known for its selection of parks and outdoor recreation. Visitors to the area will find outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and fishing. The Lost Maples State Natural Area boasts rarities such as the Big Tooth Maple. The city also offers historical tours, museums and honky-tonks for those visiting.
Bandera is home to the Hill Country State Natural Area, a 5,400-acre area with a wide range of multi-use trails and camping. There you can horseback ride, mountain bike, hike, swim and fish. Bandera City Park is a 77-acre area that runs along the Medina River. The park has overnight camping, areas for fishing and 35 miles of trails for mountain biking. Swimming is permitted in the river, and the Flying A Ranch, Pipe Creek Ranch and the 7 Canyons Ranch all allow hunting.
Rodeos are a popular tourist attraction in Bandera and are plentiful. The Twin Elm Guest Ranch holds rodeos every Friday from the end of April until the end of August. The Cowboy Capital Rodeo Association Professional Rodeo is an annual event held on Memorial Day weekend and features top competitors from around the world. The National Professional Bull Riders Association hosts two nights of bull riding annually on Labor Day weekend for the "Celebrate Bandera" festival. Every Saturday from June through August, the BR Lightning Ranch holds a rodeo as well.
To experience the cowboy life, visit one of the many dude ranches located in the city. Dude ranches offer cookouts, hayrides, fishing and horseback riding. Guest rates usually include three meals a day and entertainment. The 9,000-acre Flying A Ranch offers ranch tours and overnight accommodations. Courtney Mountain Ranch offers two-hour ranch tours with a selection of on-site animal species. The ranch suggests that you bring a camera. Silver Spur Ranch offers a day at the ranch and includes a horseback ride and a meal in its seasonal package.
Hear live country music and dance the night away at the selection of honky tonk bars that Bandera has to offer. The Longhorn Saloon has live music and dancing every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It also offers a horseback tour of the town every Sunday at 12:15 p.m. The 11th Street Cowboy Bar hosts live music and dancing on the weekends and jam sessions on Sunday afternoons. Blue Gene's also hosts live music and dancing on the weekends along with Texas hold 'em and pool tournaments.
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Residing in Nashville, Tenn., Kiley Mitchell has been writing topical articles and SEO copy since 2002. He has done work for the Wyndham hotel chains and has written about topics including travel, music, online marketing, business, health and literature. Mitchell holds a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University in Bloomington.