23 Best & Fun Things to Do in Bandera (TX)

Looking for the best and fun things to do in Bandera, TX?

Bandera is a city in Texas, and it is located northwest of San Antonio. Bandera is nicknamed the “Cowboy Capital of the World.”

Bandera is a town used as a staging area for the well-known cattle drives in the 1800s.

Bandera is a Spanish and Polish word that means “Flag,” it was named because of the red banner that was flown in the area to mark the boundary between Spanish and American hunting areas.

Bandera is the County seat of the Bandera County in Texas, the city population at the last census in 2010 was 857.

As shown on a sign on Main Street in Bandera, the city was founded by Polish Roman Catholic immigrants. One of the oldest churches in Texas, St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, was built by the immigrants who founded Bandera.

Even till now, a lot of the city residents are descended from Polish immigrants. During the later half of the 19th century, the city was on the Great Western Cattle trail.

Now let’s get started on the top things to do in Bandera, Texas.

Things to Do in Bandera

1. Medina River

Medina River
Credits: Regan Bender / Shutterstock
Medina River

The Medina River starts in Bandera County and covers over 120 miles in the Texas Hill country.

The river is spring-fed, and it acts as a kind of dividing line between two different ecosystems on its banks in the eastern and western areas, respectively.

It is one of the calmest rivers in the whole of Texas and a great location for fun activities like canoeing, kayaking, or even just floating in a tube.

The water feels better when the weather is warm, mainly around late spring to sometimes in the fall. Because of the summer heat, the water level can recede below the normal level.

The river is also known as Rio Mariano or Rio San Jose. Most of the river course is owned and operated by the Bexar-Medina-Atascosa Water District, and the water district helps farmers and ranchers in the area.

This river is a place to have fun, relax and just be free, and it’s open to the public.

2. Hill Country State National Area

Hill Country State National Area
Credits: BFS Man [CC BY-SA 2.0], Wikimedia Commons
Hill Country State National Area
The Hill Country State National Area is located about 10 miles on the southwest path in Bandera. This State National Area has preserved over 5,000 acres of land in the Hill Country.

This State National Area consists of hills and is full of unique breathtaking Texas Live Oak trees, grasses, and many other interesting things.

The difference between this National Area and a state park is that this area is kept wild on purpose, and this area also offers lots of wildlife exhibitions.

More than 150 different species of birds live in the area, including endangered species like the black-capped vireo, the golden-cheeked warbler, and other endangered species.

There are a lot of available exhibits like Rock squirrels, wild Turkeys, Rabbits, white-tailed deer, armadillos, and many others.

Address: 10600 Bandera Creek Rd, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

3. Bandera Natural History Museum

Bandera Natural History Museum
Credits: Diann Bayes / Flickr
Bandera Natural History Museum

One of the top fun things to do in Bandera, TX, is spending some quality time at The Bandera Natural History Museum, a 14,000 square foot building located on 8 acres of land in the Hill Country area.

The museum was opened in 2011 and was named the Bandera Exotic Wildlife Museum. The name was later changed in 2016 to express their goal better, which is to help visitors understand and appreciate the world’s natural beauty by educating, events, and exhibitions.

One of the major and most popular exhibits at the Museum is the 17- foot tall giraffe. They also have a 2,000-pound jade tiger available on display. Other exhibits include leopards, kangaroo, mounted tigers, grizzly bears.

Life-sized sculptural dinosaurs are also available outside the Museum with different play stations for children. The Museum is also known for its “Sensory Safari,” an exhibit specifically made for visually challenged guests, and the sensory safari allows them to experience animals through sounds and touch.

The Museum site is also a gift shop, patio, and a café.

Address: 267 Old San Antonio Hwy, Bandera, TX, United States.

4. Frontier Times Museum

Frontier Times Museum
Credits: BFS Man / Flickr
Frontier Times Museum

The Frontier Times Museum helps Bandera County by Preserving both the cultural and the historical heritage of the City.

The Frontier Times uses educational programs, collections, and also exhibits to tell the history of Bandera since the 19th century. The Museum was built in 1933 by a local newspaper publisher, and the Museum was expanded two years later, in 1935.

The building itself is historical as it was built with different components that can be traced back to around the 1870s.

Exhibits in this museum are unique events or objects like an old Corn Cob believed to have been around for over 2,000 years, a goat with two heads, and Bandera County’s first Piano.

The Museum also has art exhibits and collections, and the Museum also educates on the history of the Medina River located in Bandera.

A visit here will open you to history, definitely one of the top things to do in Bandera, Texas for history lovers.

Address: 510 13th Street, Bandera, Texas 78003, United States.

5. St. Stanislaus Catholic Church

St. Stanislaus Catholic Church
Credits: BFS Man / Flickr
St. Stanislaus Catholic Church

As was written earlier, St. Stanislaus Catholic Church was founded by the Polish Immigrants around the 1850’s. The nunnery, which also acted as a schoolhouse, was built around the 1870s and was later restored as a historical site in 2016.

The stone cabin was named as a Texas Historic Landmark designation. The current Church was built in the 1870s, and the current steeple has been there since 1906.

The glass windows were a donation from the parish families in the 1940s. The parish is still used as a place of worship and has been renovated many times. The church is part of the archdiocese of San Antonio.

Address: 311 7th Street, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

6. Dixie Dude Ranch

Dixie Dude Ranch
Credits: Martin Burns / Flickr
Dixie Dude Ranch

Did you ever have a dream or fantasy of being a cowboy? Dixie Dude Ranch will help your dream come true.

Dixie Dude Ranch is located in Bandera, and it is an old ranch dated as far back as 1902. William Wallace Whitley founded it.

The over 700- acre ranch currently offers weekend lodges for visitors from anywhere in the world. They entice visitors and tourists with the opportunity to be fully free and enjoy their hospitality.

Beautiful cabins have been erected at their headquarters for guests to stay. The ranch is full of fun and exhilarating activities like cowboy cookout-style meals, horseback riding, hayrides, and much more.

Address: 833 Dixie Dude Ranch Road, Bandera, Texas 78003, United States.

7. Western Trail Antique Marketplace

Western Trail Antique Marketplace
Credits: Light7X8 / Shutterstock

The Western Trail Antique Marketplace, based in Bandera, is a marketplace with many unique products, like Western wear, Furniture and architectural items, Cowboy boots, Jewelry, Painting, Artwork, and many other antiques. The marketplace has a landmass of over 22,000 square feet, and over 50 vendors trade antique items in the marketplace.

A historic, two-story building currently houses the marketplace, and the building is said to have been built In the 1860s.

The first set of elevators in Texas is also in the building, and the elevators have been there since the late 1800s. The marketplace has a resident Cat on site, named TeX; it grew up in the marketplace and can be seen frequently around the Marketplace.

Address: 200 Main Street, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

8. Flying L Golf Club

Flying L Golf Club
Credits: Mikael Damkier / Shutterstock

The Flying L Golf Club‘s Popular, award-winning golf course is located in the Texas Hill Country.

In over 6,646 yards, this golf course has 18 holes to play, and it’s open to every golfer of any level and age. It also has beautiful scenery and surrounding with beautiful rolling hills, Oak trees, and breathtaking green terrain.

The golf course will give you a wonderful challenge no matter how skilled you are. The golf course also has a driving range, a putting practice green, and a chipping practice green.

Add the Flying L Golf Cub to your list of things to do in Bandera, Texas.

Address: 675 Flying L Drive, Bandera, Texas 78003, United States.

9. 11th Street Cowboy bar

11th Street Cowboy bar
Credits: Diann Bayes / Flickr
11th Street Cowboy bar

Some know the 11th street cowboy bar as the biggest little bar in Texas, located off the main street. If you’re looking for a place ideal for Country Western dancing, this Bar is your answer.

The old building has a front porch, a nice, open backyard, and a dance floor. Both Visitors and the City’s residents go to the Bar to listen to live music, drink beer or join any jam session available that night.

The bar is famous for its interior decoration, and because of that, it has been featured in some National TV shows. This Bar is another great place to have fun in Bandera, Texas.

Address: 307 11th Street, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

10. Go horseback riding with Juniper Hill Stables

Juniper Hill Stables
Credits: gabati / Shutterstock

Bandera is a nice city for horseback riding, and you can get to play out your dream of being a Cowboy in the city.

There is also a lot of empty, free land you can ride horses around in and many stables that rent out horses.

Let’s take a look at Juniper Hill stables, and they offer a private, safe environment for horseback riding. You get to enjoy the view of the area on horseback and feel the wind as you ride on grassy hills.

The space reserved for horseback riding in the Juniper Hill Stables is over 80.5 kilometers filled with trails and beautiful paths you can explore.

Bandera offers a release from reality, a chance to indulge your fantasies of being a Cowboy, enjoy horse riding in Bandera.

This makes what to do in Bandera, TX, for some exploration, quite a perfect addition to your bucket list of fun things to do in Bandera.

Address: 9061 Bandera Creek Road, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

11. Bandera City Park

Bandera city park is located in the center of Bandera, and it’s known for its peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.

Many fun activities can be held at the city park, like Picnics, Barbeque, and others.

You will also have the option of fishing and swimming, and this city Park is your go-to for Outdoor fun activities.

This park has beautiful surroundings and a peaceful feeling in the air. It’s a perfect place to let your mind run free and to relax.

The park doesn’t allow unleashed pets in the area, and it also discourages loud music.

This is one of the best things to do in Bandera TX, you can find inspiration, freedom, and memorable experiences in this park.

Address: 1102 Maple Street, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

12. Bandera General Store

Bandera General Store
Credits: Paul Schultz / Flickr
Bandera General Store

Bandera General Store is your stop if you’re looking for a gift, souvenir, or you just want to shop. You get to shop for cowboy and cowgirl accessories like hats.

They also have stuffed animals, cowboy boots, Bandera t-shirts, and other products for children.

The store contains products you can only find in Bandera. The store was built in 1907, and it was once used as a movie theater.

The Bandera General store is the only bookstore in the city apart from the city’s Library. Visit the Bandera General Store and shop for not just groceries but also your Cowboy and Cowgirl products.

Address: 306 Main Street, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

13. Bandera Beach Club

Bandera Beach Club
Credits: Vitalii Nesterchuk / Shutterstock
Bandera Beach Club

Bandera Beach Club is your stop for fun river experiences, and you get to ride in a boat and experience kayaking in Texas. You also get to enjoy the beautiful views as you ride on the river.

As was written earlier, the Medina River is one of the Calmest rivers in Texas, so it is one of the best ways to relax and have a great day outdoors.

Bandera Beach Club is over 116 miles and is full of adventures. They have great, professional and nice staff, and they also offer services for both single person and groups.

This is one of the fun things to do in Bandera, Texas. Non-stop fun awaits you.

Address: 1106 Cherry Street, Bandera, TX, United States.

14. Brick’s River Café

Brick's River Café
Credits: pada smith / Shutterstock

Brick’s River Café is one of the best breakfast restaurants in Bandera. It’s a family-owned and run business, and they prepare all kinds of American dishes in special ways.

This restaurant has a very rich menu, filled with delicious meals. Dining at this café is always fun.

Examples of meals on their menu are Chicken wings with hot sauce, Cheeseburger and fries, Pork Chops, and dessert options like Cheesecake, Bread Pudding, Chocolate Pie, and many other unique varieties.

The café was opened in 2006 and has been operational in Bandera since then, and they also offer cocktails, beers, and other beverages with meals to make it complete nutritionally.

Address: 1205 Main street, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

15. Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar Nightclub

Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar Nightclub
Credits: Virrage Images / Shutterstock

Ready to let go and be free for a night? The silver Dollar Nightclub is your destination. The Silver Dollar Nightclub is where both visitors and the city residents meet to party and have a good time.

This nightclub is full of fun with drinks designed to make your night more enjoyable. Leave your houses or accommodations and have fun at the silver Dollar Nightclub.

This Nightclub is the oldest honkytonk still in operation in the city.

Address: 308 Main Street, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

Texas has quite some cool attractions and activities to explore, here is a list of fun things to do in Abilenethings to do in Rockport, and things to do in Amarillo for a fun exploration.

16. Cross G Ranch Trail Rides

Cross G Ranch Trail Rides
Credits: malei / Shutterstock

Bandera is the Cowboy capital of the world, so there are many ranches and horseback activities in the city. Another Ranch on our list is the Cross G Ranch Trail Rides, and this ranch has different terrain for fun horse riding.

The ranch has a reservation policy, meaning you need to have a reservation to ride with Cross G Ranch. The Ranch is located away from public view, and it’s a fully private establishment. They offer rides according to the rider’s abilities.

Their horses are also well trained, and you get to meet a riding instructor, Ron Griffith, who will teach you how to overcome different challenges on the ride.

The Ranch also has ravines, hills, creeks, valleys, areas with wood, high plateaus, and beautiful views. They accommodate 10 riders at most with a minimum age of 6 years.

The Ranch is open every day of the week except on Sunday. Before every ride, you’re supplied with an insulated bag to keep your properties.

Individual beverages are allowed on the ride as far as it isn’t alcoholic, and no alcoholic drinks are allowed on the ride. You can experience horse riding like the older days on the Cross G Ranch.

Address: FM 470, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

17. Bandera Gun Club

Bandera Gun Club
Credits: riopatuca / Shutterstock

A gun club in Bandera, what more could one need? All cowboys should know how to shoot a gun, right?. The Bandera Gun club is a locally operated shooting range.

The gun club was established in August 1987 and has grown ever since. It has expanded and has over 900 members currently.

You get to go and shoot with professionals who’ll instruct, correct, and educate you on shooting. The Club was founded in 1987, so it also has a lot of history you can learn.

They have amazing facilities and stock and helpful staff members. Add to your list of things to do in Bandera, TX, and go have fun at the Bandera Gun Club.

Address: 809 Farm to Market Rd 1077, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

18. Suzoo’s Wool Works

Suzoo's Wool Works
Credits: Mykola Ivashchenko / Shutterstock

Suzoo’s Wool works is currently owned and managed by Jenn Kulick, and the store has been around for over 20 years now. The current owner, Jenn, graduated from Clark University.

She began dying yarn in 2009, and in 2014, became a store owner and a professional dyer. In 2014, she moved to Bandera to continue her work.

In 2019, she joined Brenda Seidenstecker and Kathy Mews for the Fiber Art part of the Texas Competition “Make it with wool”. Her shop is currently the official provider for the Shave’ Em to Save ‘Em.

Visit Suzoo’s wool works to see different wool exhibits and learn about the interesting history of the business.

Address: 584 Highway 16 South Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

19. SB Western Silver and Knives

SB Western Silver and Knives
Credits: ULKASTUDIO / Shutterstock

The SB Western Silver and Knives is a silversmith based in Bandera, Texas. The SB Western Silver and Knives was established in 2011, and they opened a storefront in 2014.

The founders, Shayne and Cindy Beckham, have been based in Bandera since 1999. They try their best to create handmade items in different western styles.

Shayne Beckham is the sole designer and silversmith of the business, and all his work is unique in different ways. He works by designing quality items that speak of the customer’s personality.

He crafts each silver item with his unique style. Though he is capable of other kinds of art, he prefers silver crafting.

Visit this silversmith store to see beautiful silver items like jewelry, necklaces, and more beauty accessories. They also have a collection of beautiful silver knives that is worth seeing.

Address: 330 Main Street, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

20. Bandera County Library

Bandera County Library
Credits: LeicherOliver / Shutterstock

The Bandera County Library has the largest book collection in the whole of Bandera, it is also called the Albert and Bessie Mae Kronkosky Library.

The library has been open to the community since 1932, and the library building was an ongoing project during the great depression era.

The building was later remodeled in the 1970s and enlarged to create more room in 2002. The Library is an official historical landmark.

The enlargement done in 2002 was made possible by Albert and Bessie Mae Kronkosky’s generous donations.

Lots of books with different genres, it’s a great place to also do research. It also has a tranquil and learning atmosphere.

The Library is another place to unwind and lose yourself in either fantasy, romance, or a nice mystery novel. It’s a place worth visiting in Bandera, Texas.

Address: 515 Main street, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

21. Outlaw Outfitters Horseback Adventures

Outlaw Outfitters Horseback Adventures
Credits: mariait / Shutterstock

Outlaw Outfitters Horseback Adventure is another horse riding adventure. With this horseback adventure, you get to have a memorable experience that will be remembered throughout one’s lifetime.

They have Breathtakingly beautiful horses, who are also well trained. While riding the horses, you also get to marvel at the scenery. They have a different kinds of rides for different skill levels.

They have 1-4 hour rides, Lunch rides, Sunset rides, All day excursions. It’s a fun-filled experience, and you get to see the best views in Texas on horseback.

The Outlaw Outfitters Horseback Adventure has been in business for over 20 years. You get to experience being a Cowboy for a day, and they have the best instructors and teachers to help you ride better.

The Outlaw Outfitters Horseback Adventure is 5,400 acres of horse riding fun adventure, and You get to experience incredible views and lovely hills.

This makes what to do in Bandera, TX for horse lovers, quite a recommended addition to your checklist of things to do in Bandera for fun. This is a fun and unique adventure you can only have in Bandera, Texas.

Address: Deerwood Cir, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

22. Rancho Cortex Day Trips

Rancho Cortex Day Trips
Credits: Labrador Photo Video / Shutterstock
Rancho Cortex Day Trips

This is a dude ranch based in Bandera, they offer lasso lessons, Ranch day trips, trail rides, hiking trails, and many other fun activities.

You can have fun day and night and stay at one of the cabins set up. They also have a fitness program for personal trainers, guided hikes, water aerobics, and nutrition guidance.

They offer many great activities like Horseback riding lessons, ranch day trips, trail rides, hiking, guest ranch, weight loss retreat, health retreat, wellness retreat, and Many others.

The ranch can also be booked for family holidays, company retreats, fitness holidays, family reunions, church retreats, and other group activities.

The Rancho Cortex Day Trips offers a lot of unforgettable adventures and exhilarating fun.

Address: 872 Hay Hollar Road, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

23. TJ’s @ The Old Forge

TJ's @ The Old Forge
Credits: Jacek Chabraszewski / Shutterstock

This is a restaurant based in Bandera, and the Old Forge Building is one of the most beautiful in Texas. It’s a two-story building, and it covers over 5,400 square feet.

The Restaurant’s goal is to create a memorable experience for customers by giving them good food and drinks and long-lasting friends.

The Old Forge is a restaurant and bar in Bandera, and the restaurant has a modern western atmosphere. It has a bar on each floor of the two-story building, and it also has an Outdoor sitting option for those who want to eat and enjoy the weather.

The Restaurant also has a TV for entertainment, both upstairs and downstairs, and it mainly shows famous sports events ongoing at the time.

They have a full menu, including Burgers, Sandwiches, Seafood, Pasta, Steaks, and many other delicious meals. They also have vegetable options like lettuces, fresh vegetables, and many others.

The Old Forge also hosts events like a wedding reception, reunions, and many more events involving groups of people.

For fun things to do in Bandera, TX, add this to your checklist of places to visit in Bandera. Visit TJ’s @ the Old Forge for great meals and wonderful entertainment.

Address: 807 Main Street, Bandera, TX 78003, United States.

Explore other cities in Texas, check out our guides on things to do in Brownsville, things to do in Nacogdoches and things to do in Bastrop for a fun time

Plan a Trip to Bandera

Have you compiled your list of places to visit and activities to engage in when visiting Bandera?, or are you just going to try all on this list of things to do in Bandera? Bandera offers a lot of fun and adventure, and it’s an experience that won’t be easily forgotten.

Do have a fun vacation in Bandera, TX.