Saddle Up: 11 Amazing Things to Do in Bandera, Texas

Texas has more than a few cities and towns that are absolute gems. Bandera is easily one of those cities. There are plenty of things to do in Bandera, but first let’s give you a little rundown on the city.

The city has been dubbed the “Cowboy Capital of the World”, and with good reason. There are more Rodeo champions out of Bandera than any other city in Texas that are around the same size.

Dixie Dude Ranch

The Dixie Dude Ranch is the most popular ranch in Bandera. It has been in operation since 1901.

They boast a near 5-star rating on their Yelp page. This review from a happy patron makes it easy to see why and well worth the read if you are planning a visit.

The Dixie Dude Ranch has many amenities to choose from. They have a swimming poot with jacuzzi, recreational areas for adults and children, fantastic family styled meals that can be enjoyed indoor or outdoors, a seasonal fishing pond, and large front porches to relax and take it all in with your family.

They offer horseback riding as their main attraction. Their experienced guides will help get you saddled and make everyone feel at ease.

They also have several massage therapists on hand to help work out any last bits of stress you might have brought from the city. Staying at the Dixie Dude Ranch is one of the best things to do in Bandera, TX, don’t delay!

Top Review: “I can’t adequately express what an incredible experience we had here. The ranch is stunning with perfect rustic charm and the best plethora of animals all around it’s campus. How often can you wake up with longhorns in your yard? And the horses!! So thankful for those beautiful creatures who took such great care of us all week. The true magic of this place, however, is the people. Each person we met, Penny and Heather in the kitchen, our fabulous wranglers Garrett, Bubba, Tammy and John, the ranch owner Clay, and so many more we met made us feel like family instantly. I cannot wait to return and continue to live out my alternate universe cowgirl life; I’d choose no other place. God bless you, Dixie Dude Ranch!”Danni C.

833 Dixie Dude Ranch Rd Bandera, TX 78003, (830) 796-7771

Mayan Dude Ranch

The Mayan Dude Ranch is another highly acclaimed ranch that is owned and operated by the Hicks family for over 50 years.

Activities to enjoy throughout the day abound at the Mayan. Here are just a few:

  • Talent show from the staff, patrons are invited to show off any skills also!
  • Star-gazing with a bona fide astronomer
  • Hay rides
  • Huge Brunches
  • Hoe downs
  • Horse rides

Top Review: “What an incredible experience.  The staff is more than friendly.  It’s rustic yet clean.  More food than you’ll ever need.  Gentle horses and beautiful views.  A very short drive to local nightlife.  Extremely family friendly with structured activities.  Stayed a few days and always felt fresh and not routine.  It’s a 24-7 dude ranch but you don’t feel like you’re getting a repeat of the guest before you.  Met some great folks visiting from Temple (5 families across 3 generations) and other families from Corpus also on holiday.  I never turned the TV on or surfed the net. Just connected by disconnecting. I frequent Bandera often with this my first Mayan experience.  It’s my new go-to.”Rick S.

Rancho Cortez Dude Ranch

If you’re looking for a true Texas experience and one of the best things to do in Bandera, TX, look no further than Rancho Cortez Dude Ranch.

Located in the heart of the Hill Country, this working cattle ranch offers a taste of the Old West with all the modern amenities.

Guests can choose to stay in one of the ranch’s luxury lodging options or opt for a more rustic experience in one of the bunkhouses.

During the day, there are plenty of activities to keep guests entertained, including horseback riding, hiking, fishing, and swimming.

And in the evening, guests can relax around the campfire and enjoy live music under the stars.

Frontier Times Museum

The Frontier Times Museum in Bandera, Texas is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of the American West.

The museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts from the frontier era, as well as a library and research center.

Visitors can explore exhibits on topics such as stagecoach travel, cattle drives, and Native American culture.

The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, making it the perfect place to learn more about the heritage of the Lone Star State.

The Frontier Times Museum is sure to make an impression whether you’re a history buff or simply seeking for something unusual to do with your Saturday.

Top Review: “Relatively small but well run and effortlessly charming museum.  Frontier Times is just a couple blocks outside of downtown Bandera, and contains a wealth of items mostly from the Old West up though the early 20th Century.  It’s a really great display of Americana.”Michael B.

510 13th St Bandera, TX 78003

Juniper Hill Stables

Juniper Hill Stables is a family-owned horse ranch that offers visitors a chance to experience the cowboy lifestyle firsthand.

Juniper Hill Stables offers a variety of riding lessons and trail rides, perfect for both beginners and experienced riders.

Lessons are conducted by certified instructors in both English and Western riding styles, and all saddles and equipment are provided.

Trail rides take place on the ranch’s 500 acres of beautiful rolling hills, giving riders a chance to really take in the stunning scenery of the area.

But Juniper Hill Stables isn’t just about horses – it’s also a working ranch, meaning that visitors can get involved in all aspects of ranch life.

From feeding and caring for the horses to mucking stalls and breaking new horses, there’s always something to do at Juniper Hill.

And at the end of a long day’s work, there’s nothing better than sitting around the campfire, sharing stories with new friends.

9061 Bandera Creek Rd Bandera, TX 78003, (281) 615-3152

Medina River

Looking for a little adventure? Head to the Medina River. This beautiful spot is perfect for swimming, tubing, and kayaking.

The river is lined with cliffs and trees, providing a stunning backdrop for your day of fun.

And when you’re ready to relax, there are plenty of spots to sun yourself on the riverbank. So come on in – the water’s just right.

Hill Country State Natural Area

The Hill Country State Natural Area is a 5,000-acre preserve that offers miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as fishing, swimming, and picnicking opportunities. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Bandera with family.

In addition to its natural beauty, Bandera is also home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

Visitors can also enjoy a number of annual events, including the Cowboy Capital of the World Rodeo and the Bandera County Cattlemen’s Livestock Show.

Bandera Natural History Museum

The Bandera Natural History Museum is a hidden gem nestled in the hill country of Texas.

This little museum is packed with fascinating exhibits on the area’s natural history, from the geology of the region to the plants and animals that call it home.

The museum is also home to a beautiful butterfly garden, where visitors can get up close and personal with these delicate creatures.

Whether you’re a nature lover or simply looking for a unique day trip, the Bandera Natural History Museum is definitely worth a visit.

Top Review: “Highly recommend to check out.  Kids under 3 are free and they feature Groupon discounts.  Well worth the trip. It was a fun outing especially during covid. There’s just enough to entertain my daughter who will be 4 soon.  Inside, the dioramas have a very well kept collection of animals and the triceratops skeleton is awesome.  Outside the kids are sure to love the life size dinosaurs… Especially the gigantisaurus. My daughter and I enjoyed trying to put together the dinosaur skeletons and pretending to play paleontologist.  It was well worth the cost and 40 minute drive.  The staff was super friendly and there’s a nice gift shop with reasonably priced items too to take home a memory.”Ryan R.

267 Old San Antonio Hwy Bandera, TX 78003, (830) 328-5090

Bandera City Park

There’s something about the wide open spaces and rugged terrain of Bandera City Park that just begs to be explored.

Photo: Christina Z.

With its winding hiking trails, scenic vistas, and tranquil river views, the park is a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

And when the sun goes down, the park takes on a whole new feel.

The stars seem brighter here, and the night air is thick with the sounds of nature. It’s as if the world is just waiting to be discovered.

173 Main St Bandera, TX 78003

St. Stanislaus Catholic Church

Photo: James S.

St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Bandera, Texas is a beautiful piece of history. The church was built by Polish immigrant settlers and is one of the oldest Polish-American Catholic churches in the state.

The church is still an active parish today and its lovely grounds are open to visitors. The church is built in the Gothic Revival style, with a stunning rose window over the main entrance.

Inside, the church is decorated with hand-painted murals and stained glass windows. St. Stanislaus is a must-see for anyone interested in Texas history or architecture.


Bandera has a number of spots that are well worth stopping for. Here are our must-stops!

The Hen’s Nest

One of the best things you can do when visiting a smaller rural town is to find the little gems with great food and people. The Hen’s Nest is one of these gems with home cooking that is top-notch, and authentic hospitality that will brighten your whole day.

The breakfasts are incredible, and a must-try is the jalapeno popper waffle sandwich. Yes, that’s a thing!


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bandera, Texas known for?

Bandera, Texas is a small town located in the Texas Hill Country. The town is known for its cowboy culture and history. Visitors to Bandera can experience a taste of the old west by visiting the many shops and restaurants that line Main Street.

Is Bandera worth visiting?

Bandera is a great place to visit if you are looking for a taste of the old west. The town is home to many shops and restaurants that offer a unique experience. Visitors can also take part in many activities such as horseback riding, hiking, and fishing.

Can you swim in Bandera River?

The Bandera River is a great place to cool off during the summer months. The river is open to the public for swimming, tubing, and kayaking.

Why is Bandera, Texas the Cowboy Capital?

Bandera, Texas is known as the Cowboy Capital because of its rich cowboy culture and history. The town is home to many shops and restaurants that offer a unique experience. Visitors can also take part in many activities such as horseback riding, hiking, and fishing.

What is Bandera close to?

Bandera, Texas is located in the Texas Hill Country. The town is situated close to many attractions such as the San Antonio Zoo, the Alamo, and the River Walk.

You might also enjoy reading:

things to do in bandera tx, bandera texas things to do, things to do in bandera texas, bandera things to do, what to do in bandera tx