Best Small Towns in Texas to Call Home – Find Your Perfect Match

Rhythm on Thursday, June 6, 2024
Best Small Towns in Texas to Call Home – Find Your Perfect Match

If you’ve ever found yourself longing for a life in a quiet, small community, there are plenty of places in the Lone Star State to consider – our state is known for vibrant metropolitan areas and family-friendly suburbs, but we also boast some of the best small towns in America. We’ve picked three of our favorites here, each with plenty of southern charm.

Small Town Living, Texas Style

Ideal for families, retirement age individuals, and young couples just putting down roots, small towns in Texas come with their own advantages: low crime rates, high standards of hospitality, and the strong community bond that can come from living in a town with a smaller population. But don’t be fooled: life in these ‘burgs isn’t boring, with lots of events and festivals, amazing food and outdoor activities to choose from.

Best small towns in Texas

Fredericksburg (population 11,250)

Typical home value: $566,000 | Average rent (1 bedroom): $1,000

Nestled in the Hill Country between Austin and San Antonio, Fredericksburg is brimming with German heritage, mixed with Texas culture in a way that gives it a unique flavor all its own. Founded by German immigrants in 1864, it still honors the traditions of its authentic German roots.

Local Cuisine

Start your day at one of the many delightful German-inspired cafés. One very popular option is Kaffee Haus, known for its fresh-baked-from-scratch pastries that are so locally famous that the lines can get long on the weekends! Another is Caliche Coffee Bar, known for their Czech kolaches – traditionally a sweet pastry that Texans have made their own, creating savory versions filled with sausage, cheese, and jalapeños.

But breakfast is just the beginning: the town has many restaurants offering not only Tex-Mex but also German specialties, from schnitzels to a pot roast known as sauerbraten. Check out Der Lindenbaum, housed in a beautiful historic limestone building built by German pioneers over a century ago, for classic German specialties.

Wineries and Breweries

At Rhinory, you can savor the best of their wines, inspired by South African vintages, while also meeting (and getting to pet) the vineyard’s mascot, a 4,000 pound rhinoceros, with proceeds from wine sales going to benefit their passion of rhino conservation. Or sample Altstadt Brewery, a unique destination where you can enjoy world class beer, listen to a live band, or take in a beautiful Texas sunset from the Biergarten.

Museums

If you’re a World War II enthusiast, you won’t want to miss the vast gallery spaces of the National Museum of the Pacific War, which includes bona fide relics including tanks and aircraft, along with interactive exhibits. If you prefer your history to be a little older, then check out the Pioneer Museum. Here, you can get a glimpse into the day to day lives of German settlers in the area, including historic homesteads, a one-room schoolhouse, log cabin, and smokehouse donated by the founding families of the county.

Outdoor Experiences

One of the most celebrated local spots for hiking, picnicking, and even overnight camping is only 20 minutes outside of Fredericksburg. Enchanted Rock State Park was once Native American sacred grounds but today is open to the public, built around a very large, pink granite extrusion that extends deep into the earth.

Events and festivals

Weekly Farmers’ Market

Celebrating the abundant agriculture and ranching found in this part of Texas, at the Fredericksburg Farmers Market you can find everything from the region’s famous peaches to bunches of wildflowers to unique artisan wares. The market is held every Thursday during the fall and summer months.

Oktoberfest

For more than 40 years, Fredericksburg has hosted its Oktoberfest, honoring and sustaining the traditions of the immigrants who settled here. Expect great German food, a tremendous selection of beers, live music, and plenty of family-friendly activities.

A Texas-German Christmas

Deck the halls in Fredericksburg, eat and drink to your heart’s content, or tour the German Christmas pyramid, which looks a bit like a windmill decorated with whirling figures that depict Christmas scenes. The celebration lasts for a full month, kicking off with a much-beloved parade.

Healthcare

Methodist Hospital Hill Country was founded in 1971 as a rural hospital with only 20 beds. Today it has more than 800, along with a broad range of specialities including cardiology, cardiovascular care, oncology, emergency medicine, neurosciences, maternity care, orthopedics, and a OB/GYN department that is able to care for the most complex and critical circumstances.

Education

Fredericksburg Independent School District is dedicated to providing a nurturing and stimulating educational environment for approximately 3,100 students across six campuses. With a student-teacher ratio of 15:1, their mission is to guide students to be the best version of themselves and achieve unlimited potential.

Wimberley (population 2,800)

Typical home value: $623,964 | Average rent (1-bedroom): $1,487

Living up to the town motto of “A nice place to visit… a great place to live,” Wimberley is one of the best small towns in Texas thanks to its outdoor experiences, ranging from blue holes for a swim under the hot Texas sun to underground caves, amazing views, outdoor concerts, and movies under the stars. The town is about 45 minutes southwest of Austin. It also has a thriving art scene, which you can explore in the boutiques and art galleries of Wimberley Square.

The Art Scene

The town is renowned for supporting and nurturing local artists, which includes numerous art galleries. Or for a hands-on experience creating your own art, try Wimberley Glassworks, an active glassblowing studio and gallery where you can watch talented artisans shape molten glass into brilliant sculptures, vases, jewelry, and more – or even participate in a glassblowing workshop.

Shopping, Dining, and Music in Wimberley Square

The heart of town is Wimberley Square, a lively hub that is the community’s gathering place. Boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and eateries showcase the town’s creative spirit. From fine art to pottery, handmade jewelry to local crafts, you’ll find it all. And don’t forget to sample the local fare, too, in restaurants that include both casual cafés and upscale restaurants.

Live music in Wimberley is born out of the town’s rich cultural heritage. Intimate coffee shops, wine bars, and outdoor stages can be found throughout the Square, hosting a wide variety of talented local bands and musicians playing anything from country to rock, blues to folk music.

Museum and Native American Exhibits

The Wimberley Institute of Cultures offers a deep dive into exhibits and artifacts from the area’s richly textured past, including its Native American roots and pioneer history. Its mission is to foster interest in the historical, natural and cultural resources of the Wimberley Valley through educational and social programs involving both young and adult members of the community

Outdoor Activities

Swim in a Blue Hole

The outdoor adventures on offer here are one reason that thousands of people visit Wimberley each year. Blue Hole Regional Park is a natural, spring-fed swimming hole lined with towering cypress trees. Here the whole family can enjoy swimming in crystal clear water, sunbathing on the grassy swim lawn, and of course, swinging on the famous rope swings. 

Hiking and Birding

Patsy Glenn Refuge is a 65 acre wildlife sanctuary that is home to many different species of birds, both local inhabitants and migratory birds. It’s perfect for a peaceful stroll along the well-maintained trails while enjoying the marvelous landscapes of the Hill Country.

Kayaking and Fishing

The Blanco River in Wimberley is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with shimmering clear water surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. You can rent cabins and kayaks to explore the Blanco’s gentle currents at 7A Ranch, enjoying the limestone cliffs, wild flora, and fauna. If fly fishing is your passion, whether you’re an expert or just starting out, start out at the The Grateful Angler fly shop to ensure an unforgettable experience going after largemouth and Guadalupe bass.

Wineries and Breweries

If you’re a wine or beer buff, you’ll love living in Wimberley. The wine is local and the vineyards are scenic in Hill Country. From crisp whites to full-bodied reds, the wineries in the area offer a wide selection that’s sure to please any palate. For beer aficionados, craft breweries showcase their skills with a wide selection of IPAs, stouts, or even wheat beers.

Education

Wimberley Independent School District is a highly rated, public school district serving 2,700 students in grades pre-k to 12, with a student-teacher ratio of 16:1. According to state test scores, 49% of students are at least proficient in math and 61% in reading.

Salado (population 2,400)

Typical home value: $459,000 | Average rent (1 bedroom): $1,995

Also known as a meccas for the arts, Salado is charming beyond belief and also famous for hosting festivals throughout the year. The area has long been hospitable to people; archaeological evidence of a paleolithic Native American settlement dating back about 15,500 years has been unearthed here. Located 50 miles north of Austin and 50 miles south of Waco, Salado is an escape from the hustle and bustle of the big cities.

The Art Scene

If you live here, you’ll enjoy year-round enthusiasm for the arts, including unique boutiques and art galleries. One of the most treasured is the Salado Sculpture Garden and Art Trail, where you can admire stunning sculptures set in the gorgeous landscape. Whether your favorite art is visual, culinary, entertainment, or live music, you’ll find something that speaks to you in Salado.

Main Street

The center of the community is the 1.5 mile long Main Street. Here you will find architecturally distinctive shops and galleries, and even working studios where artists ply their craft and display their wares. And surely the Barton House will become one of your favorite local restaurants. Built in 1866, it is one of the most unique places to eat in Central Texas .

Events and Festivals

Throughout the year, there are many festivals to keep your family happily engaged. March’s Wildflower Arts & Crafts Festival features fantastic handcrafted items from all over the state, including jewelry, woodworking, original paintings, and much more. May brings the Salado Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering with its poets, musicians, and storytellers helping preserve the cultural heritage of the American West. In October, you’ll enjoy Sirena's Creekside Carnival, which honors the cherished Native American tale of a native Tonkawan maiden, starting with a parade and including a wild animal zoo show, live music, stilt walkers, and much more. And in November, you won’t want to miss the Scottish Gathering & Highland Games, where you’ll be entertained by bagpipe bands, dancers, and musicians while you cheer on the athletes competing in traditional highland games.

There are many more events throughout the year, we’ve only just scratched the surface of family fun in Salado!

Explore a Native American Archaeological Site

More than 15,000 years ago, Native Americans hunted and camped in the rich and fertile fields of the area, cut through with clear, refreshing streams. The Gault Site, a 75-acre archaeological treasure discovered in 1929, has preserved more than a million artifacts of the Clovis people, a nomadic tribe of mammoth hunters who traveled from Siberia to Alaska and are thought to have been the first people to enter the Americas.

A Legendary Outdoor Amphitheater

Salado’s Goodnight Amphitheater at Tablerock is host to theatrical, musical, and educational events throughout the year. One beloved event is their annual production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but perhaps the most famous is the Annual Salado Legends, held in July and August. Recognized by the Library of Congress for depicting life in the 1850’s, it is Central Texas’ favorite outdoor musical drama.

Healthcare

Salado is home to a Clinic that is part of the world-reknown Baylor Scott & White healthcare system. The care team here includes primary care physicians, osteopathic doctors, and family nurse practitioners who will work together to create a care plan that puts you at the center of your health.

Education

Salado Independent School District is a highly rated, public school district located with 2,336 students in grades pre-K to 12 with a student-teacher ratio of 17:1. According to state test scores, 44% of students are at least proficient in math and 51% in reading.

No matter where you choose to live in Texas, you’ll soon be glad that you call it home! If you’re considering a move to the Lone Star State, visit gotrhythm.com and enter the zip code of the location you’re considering, to see what electricity plans are available to you.

FAQ

What makes a small town in Texas a great place to live?

If you’re looking for the quiet and peaceful life, there are many great towns in Texas to choose from – many of which are within driving distance of large metro areas, or close to the border of Mexico. Whether you choose to live in rural West Texas, the majestic landscapes of Hill Country, the shores of the Gulf, or more, you can find your forever home in a small Texas town.

How easy is it to commute to big cities from small towns?

Texas has a robust highway system that makes it easy to drive from one corner of the state to another.

Are there any tax benefits of living in Texas?

Texas has no state income tax, giving it an edge over other states in the eyes of many working families. There are also tax incentives for starting a business in the Lone Star State, as well as a generous child tax credit. For more information, visit raisetexas.org.

Are sports and physical activity programs widely available in Texas?

Texas is an active and sports-minded state, with recreational opportunities ranging from surfing to soccer, basketball to baseball, rock climbing to mountain biking. Our major and minor league sports teams often host camps for children, and the school systems also make sports a priority. Of course, in Texas football is king, whether it’s a casual game with friends in the park or a development league for kids.

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