Each summer, Texans pack their bags and beer coolers to float the Frio in Uvalde County, but this gorgeous river region in the Hill Country has plenty of adventures to offer during the off-season months as well.
“Fall and winter is the perfect time to visit Texas Hill Country River Region,” says Annabell McNew, executive director of Texas Hill Country River Region tourism. “Families will love the perfect weather, the opportunity to hike endless trails amidst beautiful fall foliage and take advantage of outdoor activities like dove hunting, golfing and more. And, the fall and winter tends to be a quiet—and more affordable—time to visit Uvalde County, making for a relaxing vacation that won’t break the bank.”
Unlimited opportunities await outdoorsy travellers of all ages, so here’s our list of the top five off-season spots and activities to enjoy in Uvalde County:
1. Garner State Park
If hiking and camping is your thing, then Garner State Park is an ideal destination. The cool, clear Frio River snakes through Garner State Park’s 1,774 scenic acres where visitors can fully appreciate the beauty of this region on 11 miles of hiking and biking trails.
Opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, fishing and even mini-golf are offered here, in addition to a variety of overnight options—from good old tent camping to cabin rentals. Sleeping under the stars while surrounded by magnificent chalk cliffs are just some of the reasons why this the perfect spot for unplugged family time. As locals often say, “If you don’t have cell service, you’re doing it right.”
2. Lost Maples State Natural Area
With 10 miles of hiking trails, part of which takes visitors along the top of a 2,200-foot cliff, Lost Maples State Natural Area is a particularly attractive spot for witnessing the vibrant leaves as they change colors from late October through December.
Pack your bait and tackle for fishing on the Sabinal River and Can Creek, or binoculars for spectacular bird watching. For the full experience at Lost Maples, reserve a campsite and listen to professional storyteller Lee Haile as he shares cowboy poetry and entertaining tales about the region over a crackling campfire.
3. The Laurel Tree
Part treehouse, part restaurant and event venue, The Laurel Tree is a one-of-a-kind attraction near the town of Utopia. Located in the owner’s backyard, the treehouse is perched in a 450-year-old oak tree and was even featured on the TV show Treehouse Masters.
The Laurel Tree is available for lunch and dinner meals, but this breathtaking space is understandably in high demand—it’s accessible by reservation only, which should be made up to six months in advance. In addition, the treehouse is quite small—there is only one table that seats two to six people in order to optimize the intimate and enchanting experience.
4. The Golf Club of Texas—Concan
For the golf enthusiast, this 72-par, 18-hole championship course is nestled near the Frio River and offers panoramic views of the expansive Hill Country. “You can't find this kind of experience anywhere else,” shares Gabe Gonzales, general manager of The Golf Club of Texas—Concan. “Luxury accommodations, first class service and championship golf just a few hours away from Houston make for an easy and fun getaway.”
Get your golf buddies together and take advantage of the course’s off-season stay and play package for an especially affordable trip, complete with lodging and unlimited golfing opportunities.
5. Ox Hunting Ranch
Although Uvalde County is ripe with hunting opportunities, the Ox Ranch stands out as one of the most unique experiences the area has to offer. While more common, native species like whitetail deer and turkey are plentiful, over 40 more species are found on this 18,000-acre ranch. Some of the many exotic encounters include zebra, emu, wildebeest, four horn Jacob sheep and much more to satisfy even the most adventurous hunter’s dreams.
First-class lodging and dining are available on the property, as well as a wide variety of activities, from WWII tank driving to outdoor, scenic yoga sessions. With so much to offer, the Ox Hunting Ranch easily has something for everyone.