Taking in the sights downtown on a horse and longhorn tour
A cowboy gallops through a dude ranch on his horse
The county courthouse, built with local limestone in 1890
Old saddles at the Frontier Times Museum
Mockingbird eating berries in Texas Hill Country
Driving a covered wagon, Old West-style
Old-time gas station reflecting a bygone era
Simple chapel in the countryside outside town
- Major Airports:
- San Antonio (SAT)
Absorb the cowboy spirit in Hill Country
How the Name Was Earned
Bandera’s nickname of Cowboy Capital of the World is not a boast. Visit the Historical Plaza and you will learn that Bandera served as a “staging area,” or starting point, for the Great Western Cattle Drive in the 1800s. A monument on the courthouse lawn pays homage to the many world champion rodeo cowboys who have called Bandera home. In the summer months, you can experience the thrill of an eight-second ride as you watch young cowboys hone their skills at weekly rodeos. Visit the Frontier Times Museum to learn more about these cowboys. Every Saturday afternoon, the Bandera Cattle Company brings these bygone days to life with historical re-enactments.
Some say the reason Bandera is the Cowboy Capital of the World is because of its many dude ranches. Local ranches have been welcoming guests since the 1930s and introducing folks from around the world to the cowboy way of life. Many a greenhorn has arrived here and within just a day or two is sitting tall in the saddle, has perfected his or her swagger and learned to toss a lasso, too. Sitting under the stars around the campfire, wranglers share stories and teach their guests the language of Yee-Haw.
The Texas Two-Step
For a town its size, Bandera offers more live music per capita than just about anywhere. From afternoon jam sessions at local honky-tonks to dancing on sawdust-covered floors in the evening, there is live music every night of the week. Don’t expect to see line dancing. The cowboys and cowgirls here dance the Texas Two-Step and waltz and will gladly teach you to do the same.
Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar Saloon is said to be the oldest continuously operating honky-tonk in Texas.