Texas Hill Country
Forget about tumbleweeds. Set in the heart of Texas, this region is beloved for its lush countryside, which stretches toward San Antonio and Austin with rolling hills and miles of wildflowers. Yes, you'll feel the spirit of old Texas, with all its Mexican influences, but in the Hill Country, that's all softened by the European flavors of the Germans who settled here. Sit in a beer garden, and enjoy a sandwich and fresh country air, or drive to Luckenbach, made famous by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Hill Country residents tend to be both conservative and churchgoing (about 80 percent in Fredericksburg are registered Republicans, and 75 percent describe themselves as having a religious affiliation), and they're happy to brag (this is Texas, after all) about everything from the region's lavender farms and burgeoning wineries to Enchanted Rock, the second-largest natural granite dome in the United States.
- Vibe: Old West bravado mixed with European charm
- Population: While plenty of small towns dot this area, some of the best-loved are Fredericksburg (10,873), New Braunfels (51,804), and San Marcos (50,373)
- Median housing price: $126,000
- Average number of sunny days: 228