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Cowboy Capital of the World FAQS

Why is Bandera the Cowboy Capital of the World?

Bandera is the Cowboy Capital of the World for numerous reasons. Bandera was the staging area for the Great Western Cattle Trail. We have had numerous rodeo cowboy champions. The area dude and guest ranches provide visitors a glimpse into the cowboy lifestyle. We invite you to visit the Western Heritage Park in downtown Bandera to learn more.

How do I choose a dude or guest ranch for my visit to Bandera?

All of the area dude and guest ranches are locally owned and operated and each has their own personality. There is a range of accommodation styles, activities offered, etc. We encourage you to view the properties individual websites to help you narrow the choices. Once you have done this, contact the individual ranches and tell them a little about yourself and want “you” expect. For example, We are a family of four with children ages 6 and 14. The 6 year old is anxious to ride horses and be a cowboy; the 14 year old just like to lounge around and watch YouTube. We are looking to have some quality family time.” The property that gives answers best suited to your needs is most likely your best choice. There is are no right or wrong ranch. Remember the ranches are locally owned so they have the flair of their hosts and just as you do not want to make the wrong choice, the ranch does not want an unhappy guest.

Do I have to have cowboy boots and a cowboy hat to ride horses?

No you do not have to have either. But it is extremely important to remember that cowboys choose boots and a hat not so much as a fashion statement as protective gear. The boots protect both the feet and the legs from being scratched from brush along the trail. And the hat protects the cowboy from the sun or rain. It is best to at least wear a good pair of athletic style shoes with an enclosed toe and a head covering such as a baseball cap.

What is a honky tonk?

In the Bandera, the Cowboy Capital of the World, we use the term “honky tonk” to refer to our live music venues featuring country western music, western swing, occasionally rock-n-roll and even Cajun. First and foremost at the venues is the music and dancing. Many a child has grown up on the dance floor being taught the Texas Two-Step or Waltz by their parents or grandparents. The tradition continues. Although alcohol is served, it is the sense of comradery between friends and neighbors that is the highlight. You won’t remain a stranger for long.

Does Bandera have public transportation?

Bandera has limited cab/taxi service. With advance notice rides can be arranged to and from the San Antonio International Airport. In town and around the county you can call the local number for a pick-up.

Why don’t more people accept pets? Most of the ranches have dogs.

It is true that most of the ranches do have dogs. These dogs are familiar with the sounds, sights, and smells of the country. Most “city” dogs have never encountered a horse, an armadillo, a rabbit or a myriad of other critters to be found while out exploring. We have several kennels that offer excellent service.

What’s the best time of the year to visit Bandera County?

Bandera County is blessed to have four seasons to enjoy. During the winter months we experience some mild freezes in the evenings and then during the days it becomes sweater weather. It is best to dress in layers during the winter so that you can peel the layers off as the temperature rises. It is extremely rare for us to suffer a prolonged cold spell. In fact, many Winter Texans, folks from our northern states and even Canada, choose to winter in Bandera. Mid-March, and often times earlier Spring begins. The Texas Hill Country begins to have that glorious spring green and the temperature remain fairly moderate until mid –May with the unset of summer. Summer time is a time of lazing by the rivers or enjoying the lake. It’s the time to enjoy the early morning and the glorious sunsets. Beginning late September to early October, fall begins to take shape. Fall foliage reaches its peak normally around the end of October to early November. The weather remains mild usually all the way through to the end of December. So as you can see, outdoor activities are available year-round and of course all of our attractions and ranches are open year-round.

What’s a dude? What’s a dude ranch?

In today’s slang a dude can be used for a name for anyone or refer to anything that is cool. However in the old west, a dude referred to a person that had moved from the city to the west and did not know how to function in the frontier. In Bandera, the term refers to a person that is not familiar with the cowboy lifestyle and a dude ranch is a ranch that welcomes dudes to come and experience that lifestyle for a time. Today we most refer to our ranches as guest ranches and their visitors as guests to denote that they are places where they can relax, enjoy, and experience a taste of the old west in modern surroundings.

Is Medina Lake a constant level lake?

Medina Lake is not a constant level lake. All of the water that fills the lake comes from the Medina River whose headwaters are in Bandera. However, the lake was built a little over a 100 years ago as an irrigation lake for Bexar, Medina, and Atascosa Counties that are south of Bandera County. Bandera County does have a County Park that is accessible for recreation and has a boat launch. There are several other outfitters offering services at the lake.

What is a chicken fried steak?

A chicken fried steak has nothing to do with chicken except share the same type of batter. It is tenderized piece of beef steak that is dipped into milk and egg and then dredged in seasoned flour to create a batter coating. Once the meat is coated it is deep fried just like fried chicken is. It seems like today you can find almost everything “chicken fried” from ribs to pork loin to bacon.
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