Hays County, Texas is a vibrant and diverse region with a wealth of cultural attractions to explore. Located in south-central Texas, the county is home to the historic Hays County Courthouse, the Hays County Museum, and the White River aquatic resorts. Visitors can also enjoy hunting and fishing, as well as artistic and cultural activities at Texas State University and Wimberly. The county was established in 1848 from land that was formerly part of Travis County.
It was named after John Coffee Hays, a Texas Ranger who worked with General Merriman and Mike Sessom, two of the original settlers. The county's boundaries remained unchanged for almost a century until 1955 when more than 16,000 acres were added to Hays County. Agriculture has been an integral part of the county's economy for many years, with nearly 90 percent of agricultural income coming from livestock in the mid-1960s. However, non-farm incomes such as those from education and training centers have become increasingly important since the turn of the century.
The first railroad line in Hays County was completed in 1880 by the International-Great Northern Railroad, running from Austin to San Marcos and later extended to San Antonio. This helped to bring an influx of tourists to the area, drawn to its caves, springs, and resorts in Wimberley and San Marcos. The Hays County Museum offers stories of notable regional figures such as Texas park ranger Jack Hays, rancher Lizzie Johnson Williams, and wall artist Buck Winn. A small theater screens documentaries on regional history produced by the county historical commission.
Visitors can also explore McKinney Falls State Park or take a look at the flowers, grasses, plants, and trees seen in the area throughout the year. Hays County has been a Republican stronghold since 1980 with presidential candidates winning in virtually every election between then and 2004. However, Democrat Jimmy Carter won a majority in 1976. Hays County is an ideal destination for those looking to explore its rich history and culture. From its historic courthouse to its museums and resorts, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you're looking for outdoor activities or artistic pursuits, you'll find plenty to do in this vibrant region of Texas.