El Castell on the Llano River was recently featured in this article by San Antonio Magazine.

By Rosie Ninesling for San Antonio Magazine, June 13, 2023

This eclectic small town offers scenic Hill Country views, spirited (literally) sermons, and swimming holes lined with sandy beaches.

If you’re not careful, it’s easy to miss. After taking Highway 87 deep into the Hill Country and going past Fredericksburg, Castell, Texas first appears as a small conglomerate of buildings: a circle of cabins, a gift shop, a steepled Methodist chapel, and a trading post.

Its population? Seven—but don’t call it a ghost town. Step inside The General Store, and you’ll likely meet all the locals, many who have no problem sipping a Lone Star or two with you at the bar. With live music every Saturday, a boozy “Drinking with Jesus” church service on Sundays, and endless outdoor attractions from fly-fishing to gravel-grinding, Castell is rapidly transforming from a sleepy Texas town to a Hill Country getaway without the crowds. Ready to plan your trip before the secret’s out? Check out our travel recs below.

What To Do

Onsite kayaks are available to rent from El Castell, as well as bikes perfect for gravel grinding (cyclists flock to this town for a reason). Nearby Enchanted Rock is well worth the 30-minute drive, but make sure to take County Road 105 for the scenic route. After a day of hiking, do as the locals do, and cool off at Schneider’s Slab, a favorite swimming hole that offers crystalline waters, stretches of sandy beaches, and plenty of space to pop up a tent and picnic. Fly fishing has become so popular that Castell’s own personal guide, Cari Ray, is opening her own shop in early fall, which will be stocked with supplies, gifts, and more. At night, don’t forget to look for shooting stars; the area boasts some of the darkest skies in Texas.

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