New Braunfels, Texas
For Texans, New Braunfels is a well-known summer getaway. You can go tubing along the Comal River, racing down daring water slides at the Schlitterbahn waterpark, or boot-stomping at Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas. Wurstfest, the town’s annual celebration of German culture, brings in about 100,000 people each fall. (The live polka and yodeling performances are a huge hit.)
For New Braunfels locals, the job market’s strong too, and employment in the city is projected to rise 17% by 2025. Thanks to booming tourist activity, local hotels, retail establishments and restaurants are the city’s top employers, though healthcare, construction and manufacturing boast a good share of jobs as well. Automotive company Continental just announced plans to build a factory in the city, which will add another 130 jobs to the area in the coming years.
Nestled in the heart of Texas Hill Country, New Braunfels is just a 35- to 50-minute drive to either San Antonio or Austin. Fortunately, real estate prices pale in comparison to its larger neighbors. Home prices in the town sit in the mid-$200,000s. Over in Austin? You’ll pay more like $360,000. — Aly J. Yale