Popularly known as the “Gateway to the Hill Country,” the city of Dripping Springs in Hays County, Texas, promises many exciting places to visit even as it just has about a 9-square-mile territory.
The Texas Hill Country region that opens up from this city is the domain of spectacular wonders that Dripping Springs shares abundantly.
Founded in 1857, Dripping Springs also offers many historic treasures from its early settlement that began with just three families.
Known as the “Old Three,” the Moss, Pound, and Wallace families helped in the birth of Dripping Springs.
Nannie, the wife of John Moss, the first postmaster of the new settlement, takes the credit for naming Dripping Springs.
She named the settlement for the water dripping from the fern-covered, limestone ledges of an aquifer she saw in that part of Texas Hill Country where they settled.
Now also known as the “Wedding Capital of Texas,” Dripping Springs offers all the frills of a tourists’ town with live music venues, craft breweries and wineries, and unique shopping opportunities.
Get a preview of all these in this list of the best things to do in Dripping Springs.
Enjoy the Water Hole at Hamilton Pool Preserve
This preserve is accessible via Hamilton Pool Road, offering a picturesque natural swimming pool.
This water hole impresses visitors as it is located in a canyon with a 50-foot waterfall and a grotto overhead.
Around this natural swimming pool are lush trees and vegetation serving as a habitat for a variety of wildlife.
Water erosion spanning thousands of years formed the pool, a geological occurrence that also resulted in the preserve’s collapsed grotto, canyons, and waterfall.
The waterfall’s source is Hamilton Creek which flows for about a mile from its upstream confluence with the currents of the Pedernales River.
Visitors of the pool have to negotiate a quarter-mile trail that features a succession of rock steps downward the canyons.
Given this hiking prospect, you will need boots with good traction plus plenty of drinking water.
Take a Stroll at Founders Memorial Park
This park is located off Ranch Road 12 North, offering several outdoor facilities for the enjoyment of the whole family.
One of its features is the one-mile, 6-foot-wide ADA compliant Katherine Cannon walking trail easily accessible near the park’s entrance.
This trail is a path of decomposed granite looping around the whole perimeter of Founders Memorial Park.
Besides this trail conducive to quiet walks, the park also provides a large outdoor swimming pool.
It also provides a covered pavilion, a concession area, football/soccer fields, and playgrounds for various ages.
Just a short walk to the north of this park is the historic Dr. Pound Farmstead and museum, which hosts a kid-friendly pumpkin festival during the fall.
Go Biking or Horse Riding at Ranch Park and Event Center
This park on Event Center Drive features a 6.2-mile long trail system ideal for horse riding, biking, and hiking.
The trail areas of the park are ADA-compliant, and it has a mounting facility available for riders who need special assistance.
The other features in the park include picnic tables and a playground, plus a pond and a tower serving as a home for Chimney Swift birds.
Visitors also flock to Ranch Park for the various events it hosts throughout the year.
Ranch Park is also ideal for primitive camping, as it provides several fire pits and convenient access to restrooms, water, and a shower.
Enjoy Outdoor Fun at Dreamland Dripping Springs
This unique, fun destination is located on US 390 and promises an outdoor experience including not only outdoor sports but also stunning visual arts.
Dreamland Dripping Springs covers all of 64 acres, with large-scale sculptures as its head-turners.
The art centerpieces in Dreamland include a graffiti park and a curated one-of-a-kind mural on repurposed rainwater storage tanks.
Food trucks, a beer garden, and a taproom are also drawing crowds at Dreamland Dripping Springs.
Its visitors can likewise enjoy playing mini-golf and pickleball on the property.
Tour the Dr. Pound House Farmstead
This historical residence is located on Founders Park Road and the former home of Dr. Joseph M. Pound, a member of the three founding families of Dripping Springs.
The Dr. Pound House Farmstead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Texas State Historical Landmark as well.
Also a museum, the Farmstead offers glimpses on the early life in Dripping Springs and the Texas Hill Country.
Dr. Pound’s home was the hub of community life, as it also served as a medical office and hospital, a schoolhouse, a church sanctuary, and a social gathering place.
The museum collections in the Farmstead mostly belong to the Pound family, with the heirlooms on display, including Dr. Pound’s desk and medical instruments.
The wooded grounds of the Farmstead also feature a barn, smokehouse, corral, and windmill, further adding charm to this historic residence.
Check Out the Spirits and Menu in Treaty Oak Ranch
Take a refreshing countryside drive on Fitzhugh Road for a visit to the 28-acre Treaty Oak Ranch, which is home to a namesake distillery and Alice’s Restaurant.
Treaty Oak Distillery picks the best ingredients for its wide selection of spirits, including gin, rum, and bourbon.
Family-friend and dog-friendly as well, this distillery boasts a tasting room where you can also enjoy craft cocktail mixes of Treaty Oak’s spirits.
You can also go on a 45-minute tour that the distillery offers for you to learn all about its production process.
Later, you can try the fare at Alice's Restaurant, which has a full bar and kitchen serving Texas-inspired cuisine.
The restaurant’s menu includes fresh salads, roasted veggies, BBQ, smoked/roasted/grilled meats, as well as kid-friendly meals.
Learn about the Oil of Texas Hill Country Olive Company
Orchard and mill tours are offered at the Texas Hill County Olive Company along Fitzhugh Road every Friday and Saturday.
The headquarters of this olive oil producer is an impressive Tuscan-inspired villa backdropped by15 acres of olive trees.
The tour will tell you all about olive oil, its extraction process, and much more about its history.
Texas Hill County Olive Company also flaunts a tasting room, a bistro with tempting pizzas, Paninis, and charcuterie, as well as an equally enticing selection of local wines and beers.
There is a gift shop within the villa where you can buy their award-winning olive oil, cooking accessories, balsamic vinegar, fresh bread, and gifts.
Have a Music Trip at Hudson's on Mercer
Check out the schedule of this music venue on Mercer Street for the tone that pleases your ear.
The theme of the musical entertainment here can vary from karaoke nights or open mike to featured singers and bands dishing out blues, soul, country, Americana, and rock.
Hudson’s On Mercer Street boasts a 2,800-square-foot music venue with state-of-the-art audio equipment.
It also flaunts a large yard and patio area stretching for nearly a whole street block.
In addition, Hudson’s On Mercer has a 1,200-square-foot recording studio and music lesson space.
It also runs a restaurant offering bar snacks.
Shop at Le Ragge Ruggs and Cowgirls and Lace
Located on US 290, this is a unique two-in-one store that has drawn customers from all over Texas.
Starting out just selling rugs, as its name suggests, this store has grown to become one of the largest sources of fabric and items for interior decorating in the whole of Texas.
It has diversified into other consumer items that likewise have drawn shoppers outside Dripping Springs.
Its exciting shopping addition Cowgirls and Lace has emerged as a travel destination for shoppers in search of value-for-money merchandise.
These offerings include anything from body care items to classic toys that appeal to all ages.
Take the Trails of Reimers Ranch
Follow Milton Reimers Road to reach this ranch which will lead you straight on the banks of the picturesque Pedernales River.
Hanging over the river are limestone walls and cliffs that rock climbers love romancing with.
If rope play and hugging rock walls isn’t your thing, you can follow the three miles of riverside of Reimers Ranch that sprawls over 2,400 acres.
All told, the ranch offers more than 18 miles of trails suited for biking and hiking, as well as horse riding.
After working out a sweat, you can jump into the water for a relaxing swim on the river.
As an alternative, bring along a fishing rod and hope to reel in largemouth bass from the Pedernales River.
The day-use only Reimers Ranch also hosts parties and events plus guided birdwatching hikes monthly.
Perfect Your Swing at Dripping Springs Country Club
Located off US 290, this family-owned country club is a driving range that offers more as you take the opportunity to perfect your swing.
Dripping Springs Country Club operates a driving range equipped with a cutting-edge setup, including the sophisticated Toptracer technology.
Cameras fitted above the bays of the driving range allow you to track the ball and see your shots’ graphics on-screen.
With this tech, you can monitor each shot you hit, as well as play virtual golf games.
Dripping Springs Country Club also offers satisfying meals and drinks, as well as local live music on special days.
Visit Charro Ranch Park
Charro Ranch Park is a 64-acre property donated to Dripping Springs in 1968.
Its donor, Lucy Reed Hibberd, has developed trails in the property and also created areas for reflection in it.
Signs identifying tree species in the property have also been installed, helping provide a natural setting for passive park activities.
Besides the educational value and casual reflection it provides, this park is a favorite training area for track and cross-country runners.
The civic groups Hays County Master Naturalists and Charro Ranch Park Volunteers help maintain the Charro Ranch Park.
Pick Beer or Wine in Bell Springs
Drive to Bell Springs Road on the north side of Dripping Springs for a rare chance to visit a winery and a brewery in just one stop.
A spread of 10+ acres on this part of the city is home to the Bell Springs Brewing Co. and its neighbor Bell Springs Winery.
The brewery’s unique tap house offers pints, flights, and beer to go, plus meals like flash-fried Brussels sprouts from its full-service truck.
Bell Spring Winery, on the other hand, offers wine-tasting plus chef-prepared meals.
This small-production winery also offers a Prohibition-style wine bar, Sidecar Tasting Room, on Old Fitzhugh Street in downtown Dripping Springs.
View Amazing Artworks at the Dripping Springs Sculpture Garden
Drop by Bell Springs Road and follow the Carved Stone road sign to Dripping Springs Sculpture Garden.
More than 60 art pieces are displayed at the Sculpture Garden proudly developed by the local artist couple Michelle and Phil Hoggatt.
The natural parklike setting of the Sculpture Garden serves as the gallery of the couple as well as other sculptors in the Texas Hill Country area.
Besides displaying beautiful art, the Hoggats’ place has also grown popular for visitors and local residents seeking relaxation and communion with nature.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Enjoy an Adventure at Pedernales Falls State Park
This park is less than 30 minutes drive via West Fitzhugh Road from Dripping Springs.
Sprawling at 5,212 acres, the Pedernales Falls State Park is a superb destination for outdoor adventures amid scenic vistas and dramatic rock sceneries.
The park’s trademark Pedernales Falls is a sight to behold, comprised of a series of small cascades and waterslides flowing over slanted limestone sheets and chutes.
The water-based recreational activities of this state park are far below the falls downstream of the Pedernales River.
Visitors have to be vigilant, though, when going swimming, tubing, or wading on the river, as it is prone to flash floods.
Fishing and birdwatching, as well as hiking and horse riding, are also enjoyable at the Pedernales Falls State Park.
The park features 19.8 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking, 10 miles of equestrian trails, and 14 miles of backpacking trails.
Its historical treasures and natural wonders, plus the city’s wineries and craft breweries, are more than enough to send visitors flocking to Dripping Springs.
Add to this magnets the vibrant music scene and unique shopping experience in Dripping Springs, and visitor traffic to this city can go heavy any time of the year.