The Highland Lakes
The famous Highland Lakes of Texas, located in the central part of the state, attracts nature lovers, water sport enthusiasts, families and couples alike. The beautiful rolling hills, sweeping lakes, majestic natural setting and warm, and Texas hospitality have marked the Highland Lakes as a popular destination for tourists all over the world.
Our diverse climate makes it possible to enjoy springtime wild flowers like the bold, red Indian Paintbrush and our state flower, the Texas Bluebonnet growing in meadows and alongside the roads. In the fall, you’ll see lovely, vibrant hues of red, yellow and orange leaves as they change color as the Texas Hill Country transitions to the cool, crisp winter season that is perfect for brisk hikes and cozying up to the fireplace. Water lovers and fisherman will enjoy our vast, clean lakes during our warmer months, while nature lovers will appreciate the towering oak and cedar trees and abundance of wildlife on display in the numerous parks and hiking trails. Seasonal fruits, local wineries and talented local artisans and chefs create enticing, unique products and food items that round out the wonderful array the Texas Highland Lakes have to offer y’all!
Below you will find everything the Highland Lakes have to offer in our corner of the Texas Hill Country from lodging to attractions and even a fully interactive map of the Highland Lakes.
The History of the Highland Lakes and Texas Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country was formed about 30 million years ago by a giant earthquake. The violent quake forced limestone and granite layers to the surface and buckled the earth to form the rolling hills and valleys the Texas Hill Country is now famous for. The Balcones Escarpment is the surface expression of the fault line that makes up the Eastern boundary for the Texas Hill Country region.
7 lakes make up the Highland Lakes, which include Lake Travis, Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake, Lake LBJ, Lake Marble Falls, Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake. These lakes are managed by the LCRA and were built to supply water and electricity to the surrounding communities, as well as manage floods. However, they are also fabulous recreation lakes that are ideal for boating and fishing, as well as make for spectacular viewing of our brilliantly colored sunsets and spectacular star gazing far from the city lights.
Today, the Highland Lakes offer visitors spectacular natural settings, fun-in-the-sun water activities, wineries, and unique lakeside accommodations. From family resorts to charming bed and breakfasts with Texas flair, our locally owned and operated accommodations provide comfortable and delightful base camps to explore the lakes, hills, and natural beauty of this special region.
The Highland Lakes, cliché though it may sound, really does offer something for everyone, and the lodging options are no exception. From full service hotels and resorts, to rustic cabins and cozy vacation homes and romantic bed and breakfasts, our lodging and accommodations options will ensure you sleep soundly on your getaway. If you’re planning a lakeside vacation, there are a numerous waterfront lodging options and several to choose from that are near the lakes. There’s also several accommodation options that will keep you close to the conveniences of town, while others will place you in the rolling hills to enjoy the scenic landscape. The variety of activities and destinations will surely give you plenty of getaway ideas, and all you have to do is choose your perfect home away from home!
There are an assortment of restaurants in the Highland Lakes to satisfy any palate. Choose from these locations for a directory of restaurants near the area where you are visiting.
Boat rentals, ski-dos and accessories like water skis and inner tubes are plentiful at each of the Highland Lakes! You should be able to find a nearby rental location no matter where you are staying, as well as gas facilities. Aquatic rentals include kayaks, canoes, motor boats, pontoon boats, jet skis, party boats and house boats. You can also rent water skiing, wake boarding and inner tube equipment. No matter what water activity you want to do, you’re guaranteed to find a rental location for hours of fun on the lake.
Click here for a directory of Highland Lakes boat rental locations.
The Highland Lakes are well known among anglers for providing great fishing for a variety of species. Fishing conditions vary by lake so you’ll need to check fishing conditions for the type of fish you want to catch, but there are large populations of Large Mouth and Guadalupe Bass, Catfish, White Bass, Sunfish Striped Bass and Crappie. The Texas Parks and Wildlife web site provides helpful tips for fishing and hunting in the Texas Hill Country.
A number of guided fishing and hunting excursions can be booked for those wanting to go directly to the best fishing and hunting locations to up their chances of making a great catch.
Click here for a directory of Texas Hill Country Fishing and Hunting resources.
Golfers will enjoy the diverse golf course offerings that the Highland Lakes have. The varied landscape creates challenging and enjoyable courses, whether you want a stimulating, technical game or a relaxing, fun course that adds enjoyment to your vacation getaway. Our slice of Texas Hill Country has two highly rated courses, as noted by GolfersGuide.com.
Click here for a directory of Highland Lakes Golf Courses in Burnet County.
Wine lovers can enjoy nearby vineyards and wine tasting year-round at local award-winning vineyards. Our regional vineyards are gaining recognition as high quality, award-winning varieties of wine, and has fast become one of the most popular wine regions in the country. Spicewood is home to several vineyards and makes for a nice day out wine tasting, while other wineries are located near a lake, making for a great addition to a day of playing at one of the Highland Lakes.
Some of the vineyards have delicious dining on-site, while others welcome picnickers to bring a lunch to enjoy with a refreshing glass of wine and picturesque vineyard settings. Many of our local vineyards are also participants in the annual Austin Wine Festival, creating the perfect weekend getaway to explore the Texas Hill Country wineries and vineyards, while enjoying the natural beauty of the area. Check the individual wineries website for special events, like food and wine pairings and grape stomping.
Click here for a directory of Highland Lakes Wineries and Vineyards in Burnet County.
The Highland Lakes are blessed with a number of beautiful parks, recreation and hiking areas. These parks feature different amenities including camping, picnicking, boat launches, volleyball courts, hiking, horse back riding and windsurfing.
Click here for a directory of Texas Hill Country parks.
The Texas Hill Country offers some very unique treats that can’t be found anywhere else. Visitors can take advantage of a unique river boat cruise offered by Vanishing Texas River Cruise that showcases native Texas wildlife, waterfalls, world-class bird watching that includes seeing wintering Bald Eagles that nest nearby. The unusual caverns at Longhorn Caverns are definitely worth a visit, because they are both beautiful and interesting. Star-gazers and budding astronomers should pay a visit to the Eagle Eye Observatory, where unobstructed views of the constellations and planets are breathtaking (check the schedule, as it is only open to the public once a month).
Local festivals take advantage of sharing our natural resources and Texas hospitality with our visitors. Every April, Burnet hosts the annual Blue Bonnet Festival. In Marble Falls, don’t miss the annual Lakefest, where drag boats race at speeds topping 200 miles an hour! Bertram hosts the Oatmeal Festival every year the weekend before Labor Day, a festival that began as a spoof on the numerous chili cook-offs that were used to entice the “city folk” to visit rural communities, but it still holds it’s own as a traditional Texas-style festival. Kingsland is home to AquaBoom every 4th of July weekend, a 5-day festival with strong community roots that includes parades, live music, sporting competitions, food, arts and crafts. Spicewood is one of the hosts of the annual Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival , pairing fine food and amazing wines.
For more events, see our page on Highland Lakes activities.
Below is a map of the Highland Lakes and the lodging and attractions available there. You can zoom in and out or move around this map using your cursor. To view the information for a location or business, just click on its icon.
Be sure to get directions to any of these locations from the businesses themselves. Do not rely on these map markers as many of them only show the general location of the business.
View Highland Lakes Map in a larger map
Interested in a specific location in Burnet County? Check out our visitor's guides for Bertram, Burnet, Granite Shoals, Kingsland, Marble Falls, and Spicewood.
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