Within America’s immense landscape are countless little hideaway havens that time forgot. When you hit the road and go RVing in Luckenbach, Texas, you’ll experience one of the most special of them all.
From the musicians to the bar backs, everyone does a fine job at making you feel like somebody at this historic watering hole. Here’s why it needs to be on every country music-loving RVer’s bucket list.
Mirth, Music, Mud and Memories
Founded in 1849 by hardscrabble German immigrants, this Hill Country hamlet located just west of Austin was a thriving trading post and post office in its frontier heyday, but by the 1960s had fallen into a sad state of decay. In 1970, after spotting a “Town for Sale” classified ad in the local newspaper, three kooky local characters – led by the effervescent writer and poet Hondo Crouch – bought the few creaky structures that remained from this once thriving hub of commerce.
The trio began to use the nearly-abandoned buildings as a backdrop for anything that smacked of mirth and diversion: ‘Hug-Ins’, a Luckenbach Worlds Fair, Ladies State Chili Bust, the Mud Dauber Festival — and daily sessions of song-picking, domino playing and beer drinking beneath the 500-year-old oak trees. Today, over thirty years later, these events are still celebrated and the pickers are still pickin’ out under the big oak trees. – Luckenbach.com
In between the merriment and friendships borne among rising stars of early Outlaw Country music, one particular ballad written by Waylon Jennings in 1977 put Luckenbach on the radar of country music aficionados:
Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)
The only two things in life that make it worth livin’
Is guitars that tune good and firm feelin’ women
I don’t need my name in the marquee lights
I got my song and I got you with me tonight
Maybe it’s time we got back to the basics of love
Let’s go to Luckenbach, Texas
With Waylon and Willie and the boys
This successful life we’re livin’
Got us feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys
Between Hank Williams’ pain songs and
Newberry’s train songs and Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain
Out in Luckenbach, Texas ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain
Since Waylon’s song soared to number one on the country music charts, Luckenbach has become a destination for fans who want to experience what Hondo Crouch appropriately labeled “The Center of the Universe.” It lives up to the legend, and more.
Seven days and nights a week, Luckenbach is ground zero for amazingly talented up-and-coming country and Americana roots musicians who hold back nothing in the tiny smoke-filled, rustic tavern. Harmonicas, banjos, accordions, mandolins and more all take center stage. In between sets, cowboy poets entertain with tall tales. There’s no cover. Donations keep the music coming.
On weekends you’ll want to get out some cash and your finest cowboy boots because that’s when people from around the Hill Country come together to hit the dance hall floor. There you’ll catch Texas country stars like Rosie Flores and the Almost Patsy Cline Band – along with many others – keeping everyone two stepping long into the night, all 52 weeks of the year.
How to Go RVing in Luckenbach, Texas
Just beyond the dance hall, and only steps away from the bar, is what makes Luckenbach such a great RVing destination: you can park your rig in their giant grassy field and dry camp for less than $20 a night. No matter what size of RV you have, if you are self-contained you’re welcome to stay as long as you like and enjoy some of the kindest people, cold, cheap Texas beer and unforgettable country music that the Lone Star State has to offer.
When you arrive at Luckenbach, park the rig and check in with the folks at the General Store. They’ll take your money for the dry camping and issue you a parking sticker for the rig.
Just use good sense if you arrive during a rainy season; the grassy field can turn to mush in minutes and leave you unable to get out for days. It happened to us once, but even after four days of being unable to leave, we couldn’t think of a better place we’d rather get stuck than Luckenbach, Texas.
See who’s playing in Luckenbach, then point your rig to the Center of the Universe. You’ll be glad you did.