Do you want to be a cowboy? That’s an easy order to fill in Bandera, Texas, nicknamed “The Cowboy Capital of the World.” In this community, located 50 miles northwest of San Antonio on TX 16, you can’t throw a horseshoe without hitting a tourist ranch, rodeo arena, western clothing store, or dance hall.
Bandera’s western heritage is a big draw for today’s travelers, but its roots go back to the days of the founding of Texas. Bandera Pass, located twelve miles north on TX 173, was the first site of numerous battles between the Spanish conquistadors and the Apache and Comanche Indians. According to a local legend, a flag was placed here to mark the border between the forces.
Today, the atmosphere of the Wild West lives on both in the city and in the surrounding tourist ranches. Whether you want to be a “cowboy” for a few days at a tourist ranch or just grab some boots and dance to Western tunes on Main Street, Bandera has plenty of opportunities to get in touch with your inner cowboy.
ranches type: Bandera is known for its many tourist ranches, the perfect way for you and your family to experience life as a cowboy for a few days. Properties like Flying L Guest Ranch, Mayan Ranch, Dixie Dude Ranch, and Twin Elm Guest Ranch will keep you busy with horseback riding, hayrides, fishing, cookouts, and more. It is not necessary to have previous riding experience to enjoy the stays. Guest rates typically include three meals a day, as well as Western entertainment and even supervised children’s programs. During the peak summer months, expect a minimum stay at many ranches.
detours: Bandera is also synonymous with rodeos. A favorite that takes place every Tuesday and Friday during the summer is at Twin Elm Guest Ranch. For professional action, check out the Cowboy Capital PRCA Rodeo, which takes place in May.
Honky Tonk: Another city might call them nightclubs, but there’s nothing fancy about Bandera; This city is proud to call its downtown bars honky tonks. Live country music can be found most nights. One of the best known is the Arkey Blue silver dollar. Don’t miss the sawdust covered floor (to encourage lots of boots). Also on Main Street, the Dancehall Cabaret has rocked with the sounds of country music for seven decades and often hosts many big-name acts.
Jeans on Main: During the warm weather months, downtown Bandera is transformed with a Saturday event called Cowboys on Main. Scheduled from 1 pm to 4 pm on Main Street, the event features cowboys on horseback, storytellers, ropers, musicians and much more. The event is sponsored by the Frontier Times Museum’s Living History Project. Save some time for a visit to the Frontier Times Museum. The museum dates back to 1927 and is a good place to learn more about Bandera’s early days through cowboy paraphernalia, Native American arrowheads, and prehistoric artifacts.
For more information about vacationing in Bandera, call the Bandera Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800.364.3833 or 830.796.3045.