A Day Trip To “The Cowboy Capital Of The World” Bandera, TX

Horses tied in front of the 11th St Cowboy Bar
11th Street Cowboy Bar
Bandera’s town motto says it all; this is truly “cowboy country” right down to the horses tied up to the hitch’n rail outside the 11th Street Cowboy Bar and the smell of barbecue in the air.  The town has a distinct “old west” feeling to it.
Bandera is about 55 miles northwest of Hidden Valley RV Park in the heart of Texas Hill Country.  The fastest way: go up I-410 to to Exit 12, TX Hwy 16 and head northwest.  The more scenic route would be to take I-35 south to Exit 140.  Take 1604 Loop north to Hwy 90 and go west.  Take US 90 to Hondo and turn right on TX Hwy 173 and go north to Bandera.


Our first stop in Bandera was to get something to eat.  I had done some research on the internet and discovered that Busbee’s BBQ had some good reviews so we decided to check it out.  We are really glad we went to Busbees’s hungry because not only was the food great, but our chicken and turkey sandwiches were huge.  Busbee’s serves up some of the best barbecue we have had in a long time.

The Menu and Food at Busbee's BBQ
Busbee's BBQ

 Our next stop was the Bandera Visitor Center.  The ladies there gave us a lot of information about the local area including a complete list of places to stay.  There are a lot of B&B’s around Bandera as well as several ranches that have accommodations.  Check the “Places To Stay” page on the Bandera web site.


Next, Joyce wanted to check out the shops along Main St.  We hit them all including The Cowboy Store, where you can buy, you guessed it, cowboy and cowgirl garb. Then it was Just Bling’n In Bandera.  If you like glitter, then this is the place to go.
Western Fashion at Gunslinger's
Boots Galore at Gunslinger Dry GoodsThen we spied GunslingerDry Goods.  Do you need a great pair of jeans or a new shirt, a new hat, some great boots or something to put on the mantel in your house that shouts Texas?  Then this is the place for you.  We had a great time talking to Annette and just looking around the store.  I do have to warn you, this store is stocked with some really great, quality merchandise and the prices reflect it.  I saw some beautiful shirts that if I ever win the lotto, I’m going to get some.  However, at $179 each, well....

Unusual Ceiling Decor at the Cowboy Bar
Check out the Ceiling decor

All of that shopping really made us thirsty so we headed over to the 11th St Cowboy Bar, "the biggest little bar in Texas."  Y’all want a watering hole that really scream’s Texas?  Ya found it here!  When you go in the bar, check out the ceiling.  Wednesday is steak night at the Cowboy Bar where you can grill your favorite cut of meat yourself under the Texas stars.  Joyce and I are going here on March 19th to do some dancin’ to The Scott Taylor Band.

Bandera County Courthouse
Bandera County Courthouse

There is a lot more to do in this area besides eat, shop and drink.  Although we didn’t have time to see everything in Bandera on this trip, we’re saving the Frontier Times Museum, the Bandera County Courthouse and other shops for our next visit in March.  All of this assumes we can stay out of the 11th St Cowboy Bar and Busbee’s.

So, during your next visit to San Antonio or Hidden Valley RV Park, if you want a great way to spend a day just loff-er-in’, check out Bandera, TX.  Please add your comments below about your favorite Bandera spots and new attractions as Bandera continues to grow. 


Submitted by Barry and Joyce Crocker, workampers, full-time RVers, world travelers, cruising experts and aficionados of eateries, drinkeries, and new places to see and things to do.
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