Sonora, TX: A Hidden Gem to Visit on the Next Family Staycation
By: Molly Wolchansky
Sonora is one of the smallest cities in Texas, ranging only 2 square miles in total area, which is probably why most of you have not heard of it. The population of the town is just over 3,000 people, and it is located in the western part of the Texas Hill Country, where some of the world’s most beautiful natural attractions can be found. If you are looking for a relaxing place with some fantastic scenery that is not overcrowded in the least bit, Sonora is the place to go.
Where to Stay
Because of its size, no matter where you stay, it is going to be close to everything.. Sonora has some smaller, chain hotels available for casual accommodation at an affordable price. The good news is that they are pet friendly, so you are welcome to bring your dog friend along with you for the ride. If you are wanting to stay at a place that is not a hotel, there are a few choice Airbnbs where you can rent out the entire house. If you are feeling adventurous, you can always go camping at the RV Park and Tent Campground that is located on Mayfield Ranch. There are working bathrooms and showers, which is a definite plus.
What to Do
The Caverns of Sonora
The Caverns of Sonora is recognized as one of the most beautiful caves in the world. The cave was discovered around 1920 when the Mayfields’ dog chased a raccoon into its opening. After the discovery was made, the Mayfield Cave was born. The cave is open for tours of all kinds, and people can go 155 feet underground to view the beauty of the crystal formations. The tours last between one and two hours. If you are looking forward to the caverns taking up more of your day, you can embark on the Discovery Challenge Tour, which is a guided four-hour cave adventure for families of up to six members. The cave was formed between 1.5 and five million years ago, so spending a few extra hours exploring and learning about the cave formations would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Eaton Hill Nature Center and Preserve
The Eaton Hill Nature Center and Preserve is a hiking trail that spans two miles and offers a mix of many different types of wildlife, flora, and fauna. For those who love animals of all kinds, get ready to spot deer, jackrabbits, frogs, birds, lizards, and more. You can spend the day with your family hiking and exploring, and you can eat lunch in one of the park’s designated picnic areas. While you are at the preserve, you can also drop by the Nature Center, a building that has exhibits of all types relating to the wildlife of the area. While you are there, you can even view a real mammoth tusk that was locally excavated.
Downtown Historic Walking Tour
While in Sonora, you can take a self-guided walking tour through the historic downtown area. One of the stops along the way is the Miers Home Museum, which was built in 1888. This museum contains memorabilia that pertains to Sonora’s past, so it is a perfect place to visit if you are wanting to know more about the city.
Where to Eat
Sutton County Steakhouse
This spot opens at 6 a.m., so it is a great place to visit for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can grab a lot of dishes here, such as chicken fried steak, grilled salmon, chicken parmesan, and more. In other words, if you are looking for it, they probably have it. If you are not sure of what to order, you can always try something on their buffet.
JL Bar Ranch & Resort
This place holds all type of events, such as concerts, company retreats, and more. Its private facilities make it the place to book when searching for an upscale venue to host an event. Every Tuesday and Thursday night, the restaurant holds a reservation-only dinner, with a price per plate. You can make reservations through their website. They also have a reservation-only brunch with ever-changing, weekly menus. If you are wanting a fancy meal to eat one weeknight or Sunday morning, this is the place to make your reservations.
Annabel’s on Main
Annabel’s is located in downtown, which makes it the perfect place to visit during your tour of the area. This cafe is only open between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., so be sure to go during the lunch hour. Here you can get sandwiches, salads, and more, which makes it a family-friendly, affordable venue.