Texas is known the world over for its wide-open spaces, vistas of prairies, and tumbleweeds interspersed with border cities and oil rigs that push tall skyscrapers high into the bluest, clearest skies you will ever see. The scents of summer bluebonnets and smoking meats alongside the coldest beer you will ever taste just make your inner cowboy or cowgirl want to pull up a stool in the nearest saloon and set a spell. One of the best places in the entire Lone Star State to do just that? It’s a short drive south from Austin into the beautiful and historic Lockhart Texas.
Engage Your Inner History Buff
Whether you are a Civil War historian or a serious foodie, there is something everyone will enjoy happening in Lockhart all year long. Stroll around the picturesque downtown and tour the Caldwell County Courthouse and Jail Museum. Envision rowdy trailhands riding their steers through town with pistols blazing and a stern sheriff with handlebar mustache maintaining law and order while you learn the vibrant history of this unique community.
Positioned on both the Chisholm and Independence Trails, Lockhart was a renowned destination in the Wild West era of the early 1800s. During the westward expansion, the town’s residents interacted with the Comanche nation, and they both squabbled frequently over water and land rights. During the Civil War, Lockhart was a heavily fortified Confederate stronghold, and these influences can still be seen today in the period architecture and surrounding green spaces.
Experience Truly Great Texas Barbeque
Known throughout Texas as the Capital of Barbeque, Lockhart is home to some of the nation’s best pitmasters steeped in family recipes and tradition. Rumor has it the coals at Smitty’s Market have been burning continuously for over 30 years without being extinguished. Saunter into the world-famous Original Black’s Barbeque, which has been a Main Street staple since 1932, seeing Texans through the Great Depression and many historic events since. Kreuz Market aims to please hungry cowfolk and city slickers alike with its butcher paper smoked sausages and ribs that fall off the bone, claiming their coals have been simmering for well over a century despite the new façade and location.
Explore the Local Shops
Once you have eaten your fill and loosened your belt buckle, wander into some of the most unique storefronts you will encounter in the Lone Star State. Gear up for your trail ride at the local ranches at Rollfast Ranchwear. You might even catch the proprietor signing a few vinyl records since Ben was a founding member of the Rollfast Ramblers (one of Texas’ best Western Swing bands). Stop in the Apothecary and stock up on family-friendly organic toiletries that are guaranteed to sluice off the trail dust in fine fashion. Mom can even slip into something a little more comfortable from Inta Mint boutique—once the kids are all settled into their gorgeous suites at the Ellison House B and B.
Enjoy the Texas Scenery
What if you are more of a naturalist type and want to go explore the Texas landscape on foot? Check out the Lockhart State Park, which offers some four-season family fun and hiking opportunities right near town. Be sure to swing into the Chaparral Coffee Company, Lockhart’s lone coffeehouse and bakery, for some sweet treats and soothing sips after your day in the hot prairie sun.
With so much to do, and nearly always some kind of festival or rodeo going on, Lockhart has plenty to offer Texans who are looking to relocate to that little piece of down-home outside of the metropolitan Austin area. Whether it’s for the day, a quick weekend away, or a permanent move, Lockhart is looking forward to welcoming you with open arms and a grin as big as this wide-open state. See you soon buckaroo!