Thank you to Boerne CVB and The Kendall for providing us with accommodations.
It’s still so hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that it’s July. That we have actually entered summer, or “sprummer” as I like to call it 😉 It feels just like yesterday we were going on spring break, and all the sudden I woke up and it was the first day of summer. Due to Covid-19 our annual 4th of July trip to Virginia, where Grant’s whole family from near and far gets together at their cabin in the mountains along Craig Creek, was cancelled. So I started racking my brain for a safe travel option for just our family and I knew the Texas Hill Country was the way to go. I’m most familiar with Austin since I went to college there, but I was hoping to explore some place new and Boerne, Texas popped out at me.
Grant had been there briefly for work and enthusiastically said what a cool town it was, and after doing a little digging on the Visit Boerne site, I was sold. I heard back immediately from the visitor’s bureau and it took me a few weeks to pull the plug because I still wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to be traveling with kids right now. Most things were opening back up at half capacity around TX and we’d been very responsible as a family (wearing masks, limited social interactions, worked from home, etc.), so I decided to surprise Grant for his birthday with a trip for the 4 of us to Boerne 🙂 I’m excited to share a fun travel video I shot during our stay along with tips on how to travel responsibly with kids right now, as well as our fave recommendations on what to eat, where to stay, and things to do in lovely Boerne, TX!
Boerne, TX Hill Country – Travel Video
Tips on How to Travel Responsibly with Kids
- Set Expectations: We always explain to them any time we go somewhere right now, that the virus is still out there and we just have to be careful. Limit touching things, your face, and try to keep your distance from people. It’s not about scaring them, it’s just letting them know that being responsible is the right thing to do & you’d be surprised how much they get that.
- Masks Are Cool: Just like anything with kids, if you make it a habit they’ll get used to it quick. Our son is 6 and technically not required to wear a mask, but Grant got him used to wearing one so now he just accepts it as something we do. Plus my sister in law found these adorable Cubcoats kids masks and they love them! Full disclosure – Cha Cha doesn’t cooperate as well as her big bro, but we try 😉
- Keep Hands Clean: Our kids totally know the drill – if they’re not washing their hands, they’re sanitizing them. Especially when we’re out in public. We keep hand sanitizers in both cars, in the diaper bag, and Grant always has one in his back pocket pretty much at all times. The kids know if we ask for “hands” – they both stick em out and love to get squirted, especially Cha Cha 😉
Where to Stay in Boerne, TX
- The Kendall Hill Country Inn: The minute I looked up this beautiful, historic inn – I knew we had to stay there. It’s charm and sophistication alone had me in love at first sight, and then the amazingly friendly staff just made our stay the best it could possibly be. They were so professional and made us feel completely safe with all of the Covid-19 measures they were taking, not to mention their stand alone, private suites are perfect for social distancing. The location also couldn’t be any better, just a block from Main Street and all the awesome food and shopping on Hill Country Mile.
- St. John’s Suite: This heavenly suite is quite possibly the most unique hotel stay I’ve ever experienced. The decor alone made me want to redecorate our whole house when we got back home – the bathroom y’all! Garrett literally begged to take a bath in the big claw foot tub at least three times a day 🙂 The bed was like sleeping on a cloud and it had more than enough room for the four of us. Privacy isn’t exactly easy with two kids, but we were able to stick them together at night on the sleeper sofa and close the door, so it worked.
Things to do With Kids in Boerne, TX
- Cibolo Creek & Cibolo Nature Center: This was our first stop right after checking into the hotel, and it was the perfect place to let the kids explore after a four hour drive 😉 It’s a short trail walk to the prettiest, most picturesque creek I’ve ever seen. The trees alone had me in awe and the kids were so excited to jump right in! It’s not crowded and there are several areas for the kids to splash, jump, and swim around. I recommend bringing water shoes, and I even enjoyed wading in the water 🙂 Next time we will definitely spend another day there exploring the trails, fishing, and swimming.
- River Road Park: We actually just stumbled upon this beautiful park across the street from Little Gretel, where we ate dinner our first night (see more below). The kids loved seeing all the ducks, turtles, and running along the trail which stretches almost the whole length of River Rd.
- Saint Tryphon Farm & Vineyards: We visited this lovely, family-owned vineyard on our second day in Boerne, that was so kind to host a wine-tasting for the hubs and me. It was also the perfect place to let the kids run around outside through the vineyard, and even got to say hello to some of the farm animals. They’re operating at limited capacity so it wasn’t crowded, but they still recommend calling ahead to make a reservation. p.s. I highly recommend the rosé 😉
- Boerne City Lake Park: We were so excited to visit the lake for a quick dip on Monday before we left town. It’s open 7 days a week from 7 am – 7 pm. When we stopped by the visitor’s bureau, they told us that after paying for parking (which is $10 & totally worth it), if you turn right and go all the way around to the parking lot you’ll be able to walk right to this little pebble beach that’s perfect for the kids! The best part was how few people were there and they don’t allow motorized watercraft so it’s super peaceful and low-key.
- Cave Without a Name: So we were planning on visiting the cave, since it came highly recommended by the visitor’s bureau, but we didn’t end up fitting it in. It’s about 20 min from Boerne, and you need to call ahead to make a reservation for a tour. I was excited to take Garrett to his first cave, but with Charlotte being an unpredictable toddler – we decided to opt out and wait until she’s a little older. If you do visit with kids, just know there’s a fair amount of stairs to climb and a little chilly so bring a light jacket or hoodie.
Where to Eat in Boerne, TX
- The Dienger Trading Co: Funny story – Grant had actually been to The Dienger and brought me back a shirt that I’ve had for a couple years, but I had no idea of its significance until now 😉 We were so graciously hosted for breakfast by Rafael – who I realized is actually a fellow Italian, pronounced Raffaele, so we totally bonded 😉 Their breakfast was amazing and no wonder since they source most of their food from local vendors – the sausage y’all! I also got a yummy iced mocha latte, that I went back for the second day on our way out of town because it was that good 🙂
- Salty & Sweet: I mean it when I say this little spot is a treasure full of the best salty and sweet treats your little heart desires. I literally may have eaten 3 pretzels, between my own and finishing off the kid’s, the first night we were there. Then we bought some bags of fresh popcorn to take back to the hotel room, while the kids snagged some yummy candy. The next night we treated the kiddos and ourselves 😉 to some of their homemade ice cream. The owner happened to be there and I mentioned how much we loved their pretzels, so he just gave us the last two since they were closing – I mean, how nice is that?
- Black Rifle Coffee Company: Grant has been a huge fan of Black Rifle coffee for a while now, so when I saw they opened their first brick and mortar store literally a couple of blocks from The Kendall – I knew we had to go! Their coffee will definitely put some hair on your chest, as my dad used to say, but my favorite part – their breakfast sandwiches and muffins are some of the best I’ve ever had. I even snagged a really cool t-shirt for Grant and a mug for his sister on our way out, but you can also shop them here.
- Little Gretel: Since the city of Boerne was founded by German immigrants over 150 years ago, and Grant is a huge fan of authentic German cuisine, I knew we had to find a local restaurant to try. Little Gretel was recommended as having the most authentic food, being Czech owned, and it did not disappoint. The kids even loved their ginormous burgers and Grant was in heaven with his sausage plate and sauerkraut. They have a nice big patio to dine on with a view of River Road Park – if we didn’t have the kids with us we probably would have enjoyed a traditional German hefeweizen or two 😉
- Black Board BBQ: This hidden gem came recommended by the owner, Silouan, of Saint Tryphon wines since it’s on your way to their vineyards. I owe him big because we ended up stopping off at Black Board on our way back to town and wow, just wow. I think Grant may have died and gone to heaven for a bit while we were there. The owner Jake Gandolfo, who I later learned is also a fellow Sicilian and was a contestant on MasterChef, was humbly working the register and welcomed us with a whole slew of menu recommendations to which we obviously said “Yes, please.” 😉 I can’t recommend this joint enough, and not to mention they were featured in Texas Monthly (a once sister magazine to my former employer LAmag).
- Compadres Hill Country Cocina: I’m still super bummed that we never actually got to taste the smoky goodness of Compadres tacos 🙁 They actually just opened their first restaurant after having a highly successful run as a local food truck. Y’all, let me just put it this way – they’re so good, they sell 30 lbs of meat in half a day and have to close up shop til the next day. That’s the sad story the owner, who’s a veteran and oh so nice, had to tell us when we tried stopping by for dinner. Next time, for sure!
- Peggy’s on the Green: Peggy’s is actually the highly-acclaimed restaurant located at The Kendall Inn which boasts a beautiful view of the Cibolo Creek trail. We debated a couple of times treating ourselves to a nice dinner there, but opted out due to a rambunctious toddler 😉 Their Sunday Brunch was definitely tempting and next time we plan to visit sans kids so we can enjoy the finer things Boerne has to offer 😉
Where to Shop & Stroll in Boerne, TX
- Hill Country Mile: There’s just something about a city’s Main Street that gets me every time. Maybe it’s the quaintness, or maybe it’s because it reminds me of a simpler time. Either way, Boerne’s Hill Country Mile may be my favorite one yet. It was uniquely designed with antique shops sprinkled in between newer local restaurants and shops that makes it a fun little morning stroll.
- The Dienger Trading Co: Did I mention The Dienger is huge? Right now only the bistro and boutique are open, but the boutique has shopping enough for the whole fam. I loved their women’s clothing and super cute homegoods, and Grant even found a cool hat he liked. The kiddos would have had a field day in their toy section but we have a pretty strict “no touch” rule right now, so sorry kids 😉 Definitely worth a browse though after grabbing a quick bite in the bakery/coffee shop.
- The Boerne Bookshop: We happened to stumble upon this local bookshop, a little off the beaten path behind the Richter Tavern. Grant and I both love browsing book stores, especially when traveling. He was pleasantly surprised when the helpful staff was able to find a book he’d been looking for, and the kids were so content playing in the children’s section. Definitely worth a stop in.
- Hillje Music Center: If you’ve been following me for a while then you probably know what a big music family we are, especially our son Garrett. So the moment he saw a music store down the street from the inn, he was hooked. They’re closed on Sunday, but we had to promise to take him there first thing Monday morning when they opened. They so graciously let him handle some of the instruments, including a pricey banjo that Grant very carefully helped him play. A very sweet person from Hearts’ Home Acoustics also reached out to me on Instagram saying they’d love to have Garrett in their store the next time we’re in town – count us in!
OK wow, now after recapping our whole trip, I kinda can’t believe we squeezed all that in over just a few days! Not to mention, the visitor’s bureau told us there’s even more to do the next time we come – safe to say we can’t wait!! If you’re local to Texas or planning a trip to the TX Hill Country, I definitely recommend adding Boerne to your list of places to visit. Also, you’re in luck because they’re currently running a sweepstakes for a 2-night stay along with a ton of other fun experiences. Good luck!!