Bandera, Texas: Cowboy Capital of the World

Want to be a cowboy? It's a simple order to fill out 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 dude ranch, rodeo hill, western thrift store or dance hall.

Bandera's Western Heritage is a major draw for today's travelers, but its roots are from the basic days of Texas. Bandera Pass, located 12 miles north on TX 173, was the site of countless battles between the Spanish conquerors and both the Apache and the Comanche Indians. According to a local legend, a flag (or bandera in Spanish) was placed here to mark the boundary between the forces.

Today, the wild west atmosphere lives on both in the city and in the surrounding farm ranches. Whether you want to "cowboy up" for a few days at a guy ranch or just grab some boots and dance to western tunes along Main Street, Bandera has plenty of opportunities to get in touch with your inner cowboy.

Dude Ranches: Bandera is known for its many dude 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. You don't have to have any previous riding experience to enjoy the ranches. Typically, guest rates include three meals a day in addition to Western entertainment and even supervised children's programs. During the high summer months, you can expect a minimum stay on many ranches.

Rodeos: Bandera is also synonymous with rodeos. A favorite that is held every Tuesday and Friday through the summer is at Twin Elm Guest Ranch. For professional action, check out the Cowboy Capital PRCA Rodeo, which was held in May.

Honky Tonks: Another city might call them nightclubs, but there's nothing fancy about Bandera; this city proudly calls its downtown bars honky tonks. Live country music can be found most nights. One of the most famous is Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar. Don't miss the sawdust floor (to encourage lots of boot-scootin & # 39;). Also on Main Street, Cabaret Dancehall has shaken to the sounds of country music for seven decades and often has many big name acts.

Cowboys on Main: During the hot weather months, the center of Bandera is transformed with a Saturday event called the Cowboys on Main. Scheduled from 6 p.m. Until. right on Main Street, the event features cowboys, storytellers, trick-ropers, musicians and more. The event is sponsored by the Frontier Times Museum's Living History Project. Save some time at the Frontier Times Museum. Dating back to 1927, the museum is a great place to learn more about Banderas' early days through cowboy gear, 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.