A man stands with his hands in his pockets in a large field of grass with tall trees in the background

Photo by Brandon Thibodeaux

While there are two natural caves in Boerne, Cascade Caverns and Cave Without a Name, Brandon McClelland only knew about the latter growing up. He went on field trips in elementary school to Cave Without a Name but was introduced to Cascade Caverns in 2019 when he found it online and went for a visit. His tour guide, Lynnrae Smith, made the adventure fun and interesting, and the limestone cave itself stuck with him. “I had never seen that much water in a cave before,” he says. When McClelland was looking for a summer job before starting college at the University of Texas at San Antonio, he applied to be a tour guide. “I was pretty antisocial at that time, but it broke me out of my shell, and I’ve been here since,” he says.

Born and raised in Boerne, 31 miles northwest of San Antonio, McClelland, 21, has been leading cave tours for three years. He’s met visitors from all over the world, including Japan, Spain, and Russia. “Now I’m a lot more comfortable talking to people on the daily,” McClelland says. He guides visitors through the over 100-million-year-old underground calcite formations and points out the 3-inch-long dark blue and gray salamanders unique to the cave.

True to their Boerne roots, the majority of McClelland’s family has stayed in the area, even as they’ve seen the town grow. “It’s definitely not the small town it used to be, but it’s not like it’s a gigantic city either,” he says. With a population around 20,000, the size feels right to him, and he has an eye on being part of the community’s future. While finishing his degree in psychology, McClelland has completed the Junior Cadet program, volunteering more than 100 hours with the Boerne Police Department. “My main goal is to work for them one day as a police officer,” he says.

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McClelland’s Boerne Picks

Main Street

“If people haven’t been to Boerne before, I always send them down Main Street because there are lots of shops, antiques stores, boutiques, and restaurants,” McClelland says. Local boutiques like the Pearl Antler and Of a Muse offer clothing and gifts, not too far from the town’s Main Plaza. For a coffee break nearby, McClelland recommends stopping into The Dienger Trading Co., which was constructed in 1884.

 

Sauced Wing Bar

Specialty sauces like honey Sriracha, voodoo, and sticky garlic make Sauced a go-to for chicken cravings. McClelland always orders the boneless mild buffalo wings with fries and mozzarella sticks. Beyond wings, Sauced is a perfect spot to grab a burger and watch a game, and the dessert menu includes fried peach pie.


Cascade Caverns
226 Cascade Caverns Road

Cibolo Nature Center

There are plenty of outdoor activities in Boerne. Within the town limits McClelland recommends Cibolo, which has 6 miles of trails, areas to picnic and birdwatch, and includes part of the cypress tree-lined Cibolo Creek. Behind the Main Plaza, the trailhead for the Cibolo Trail leads to a paved 3-mile path for running and biking.

 

Dog & Pony Grill

The back deck at the Dog & Pony is a good spot to catch local tunes. “They have live music on the weekends,” McClelland says. More than just a place to get hot dogs and chicken-fried steak, the venue also offers dance lessons and a dog park.

 

Boerne City Lake Park

A mile northwest of town, the 100-acre park offers lake access for fishing, boating, and kayaking. “The lake is pretty popular. I know they have to turn people away in the summer because it gets so packed,” McClelland says. Open 365 days a year, the park has picnic tables, fire pits, and an 18-hole disc golf course.

 

Dickens on Main

The holidays are prime time for Boerne’s Main Street, as two events, the Christmastime Weihnachts Parade and Dickens on Main, draw large crowds. Last year more than 57,000 people turned out for Dickens. “They have vendors, food trucks, and small businesses selling artwork or candles or whatever they make,” McClelland explains. The full street closes, shops stay open late, and a large stage in the plaza features performances. “Last year they had a guy carving ice with chain saws,” he says.

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