Taking care of your Loved One Is What We Do BEST!

It's no secret, most of us would like to stay in our own home as we age. Yet, sometimes our loved ones just need a little extra help to remain comfortable at home. That's where Always Best Care can help....we are dedicated to exceeding expectations....always

Please submit form to schedule a

Personal Care Consultation

Local Magic Personal Care Consultation

Please submit this form below and we will chat shortly!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Home Care In Junction, TX

Home Care Junction, TX

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, completing daily tasks like showering and enjoying activities such as visiting the historic Kimble County Historical Museum gets harder without someone by their side. Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Junction, TX is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Junction, TX

location Service Areas

The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.


“I work for this team and it's a wonderful team , great communication and support for our clients, their family members and our caring team of staff .”

Antoinette G.

“Ken and Bonnie are wonderful people to help care for your loved ones. their staff was so caring to my mother and so nice to my family I highly recommend them to take care of your loved ones. I think there ought to be more than just five stars to give them”

Mark A.

“I am a past client of this provider Ken and Bonnie were wonderful to work with. They were able to provide my mother with care and a very short notice. Their staff was some of the most caring people that I've ever met. Not only were they wonderful to my mother but also to my family. I would highly recommend using them.”

Mark A.

“For those who are searching for qualified caregivers for their loved ones, contact Ken Thomas at Always Best Care Senior Services. Mr. Thomas provides an authentic and professional guiding hand when discussing available services for your precious senior family members. When it is time for a beloved senior to receive assistance, Mr. Thomas understands the importance of providing trustworthy and quality support.”

Melissa C.

“Ken leads his Always Best Care Senior Services Agency with compassion for his clients and their families. He is a local senior care expert and leader in his community. If you are need of assistance in navigating your local senior care options, then do not hesitate to give Ken a call!”

Kelly B.

“Kenneth is kind, patient, experienced and knowledgeable. We are thankful to him for all his efforts and for going above and beyond.”

Chae S.

“Very professional and welcoming people so I would definitely recommend my friends and family to Always Best Care in Boerne.”

Laurie K.

“The owner is so understanding and supportive of how I want my loved ones cared for. He and his staff actually listen to what I would like done for my parents. Very thoughtful, very professional and very caring. It’s such a relief to have help in caring for my loved ones”

Kristen B.

“Kenneth is knowledgeable and trustworthy. I can’t recommend him enough. You’re in good hands with Kenneth.”

Chae S.

“ALWAYS BEST CARE is certainly a warm & caring business owned & operated by Ken Thomas. I certainly would recommend them for you or your loved ones excellent care.”

Shirley S.

“I will be forever grateful for the love you showered upon us and my grandmother”

Jill &.

What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Junction, TX?


Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.


When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.


The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.


At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Junction, TX

Types of Elderly Care in Junction, TX

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Junction, TX
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Junction, TX
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite local activities, such as visiting Schreiner Park with friends while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Junction, TX
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. So, if you've always wanted to eat at the local Isaack Restaurant or visit BRAMBLETYE Historic House, don't feel bad. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Junction, TX

Benefits of Home Care in Junction, TX

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

Request More Information vector

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Junction, TX, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors.

Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like a nursing home. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

 Elderly Care Junction, TX

Affordable Care

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your TX's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.
 Senior Care Junction, TX

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers.

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Junction, TX understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.

Respite Care Junction, TX

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Junction, TX

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Some of the most popular assisted living communities to consider in our area include the following:

  • Mountain Villa Assisted Living
  • Hill Country Preferred Senior Care, LLC
  • Grand Brook Memory Care of Allen at Twin Creeks
  • Brookdale Junction City
  • Maharlika Resourses Inc
  • Carl Junction Residential Care Facility
Home Care Junction, TX

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Junction, TX

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Always Best Care Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way


A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive


Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Junction, TX 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

 Elderly Care Junction, TX

Latest News in Junction, TX

More Bad Drought News: End Not in Sight

JUNCTION — More anthills than blades of grass are visible in some of the cracked earth around Junction. The year-long drought has plagued the town — as it has the rest of the state — and for a painful, six-week stretch, Junction banned all outdoor watering.Some 4.5 inches of rain earlier this month increased the flow of the Llano River, two forks of which meet at the town. But the water is still pretty low — and four p...

JUNCTION — More anthills than blades of grass are visible in some of the cracked earth around Junction. The year-long drought has plagued the town — as it has the rest of the state — and for a painful, six-week stretch, Junction banned all outdoor watering.

Some 4.5 inches of rain earlier this month increased the flow of the Llano River, two forks of which meet at the town. But the water is still pretty low — and four panelists at the Texas Water Symposium last week brought some unwelcome news to the townspeople: It’s not going to get any better anytime soon.

“As the state climatologist, people ask me, ‘When’s it going to rain?’” said John Nielsen-Gammon, one of the panelists, who is a professor of meteorology at Texas A&M University and the state's climatologist.

The answer, according to Nielsen-Gammon, is “eventually,” but chances are the drought will last another year, possibly even another decade.

The weather, or lack thereof, can be attributed to La Niña, a cyclical weather pattern resulting in cooler waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Meteorologists say that although La Niña had faded by the summer, it has now returned and is strengthening.

In the past 12 months, Texas has seen 11.1 inches of rainfall on average, according to Nielsen-Gammon, and it broke a heat record for the country that was previously set during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Texas AgriLife Extension Service estimates the cost of the drought to be about $5.2 billion, and that estimate — already out of date because it was compiled two months ago — doesn’t include the impact to several kinds of crops and the forestry industry.

Junction, known as the land of living waters, has seen some of its streams dry up. In August, town officials say, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality told Junction to cease outdoor water use of any kind when the town of Llano downstream reported it was close to running out of water.

The restrictions have since eased. Joe Robbins, the water and wastewater superintendent at the Junction water plant, said that the TCEQ recently clarified that a blanket ban on outdoor watering was not in fact required, and that Junction residents could go back to watering one day per week and using hand watering as necessary.

However, “we went about six weeks without any type of outdoor water, not even hoses,” said Kimble County Judge Andrew Murr. “People were taking water from their baths and using it to water their lawns.”

When the football field dried up, Murr said, parents and locals concerned children would get hurt on the harder ground put out a call for help and began hauling water from donors who had wells outside of town.

In Texas, water rights are issued by the TCEQ in order of seniority — a sort of first-to-settle, first-in-line system. Entities whose claims were put in relatively recently can be required to reduce their water use when more "senior" users (like the town of Llano) run low.

Bill Neiman, owner of Native American Seed, which grows and sells seeds for plants native to Texas and its surrounding states, said he stopped using outdoor water on his farm July 13, several weeks before TCEQ showed up at his door to impose restrictions.

“Here we are thinking, ‘Sure was a dry winter last year, but at least we have water,’ but spring comes around and we’re like, this is super serious,” Neiman said. “As the drought became more and more obvious, we realized the impact of the bigger picture and began to voluntarily reduce our consumption.”

Neiman showed TCEQ officials around his property, kicking up dust from the dry ground. While manicured lawns in big cities were dying, his native plants were still alive, he said, adding that native plants can survive droughts, although they do not produce fruit. The plants provide an alternative to grasses such as St. Augustine that consume a lot of water. Neiman said that a majority of water consumption in cities goes toward watering lawns.

“The strangest thing about this whole deal was here we are trying to provide alternatives, but we get our water cut,” Neiman said.

Although the drought cost ranchers and landowners heavily in livestock and lost income, there are some opportunities to come of it, said John Baccus, a wildlife ecologist and professor with Texas State University.

“We can change the way we manage land,” Baccus said. “Since droughts are somewhat common, we need to manage for drought instead of managing for a maximum number of animals.”

Learning to reduce to what is necessary to survive is important if droughts become the “new normal” in Texas, as Nielsen-Gammon expects may happen.

In Junction, handheld watering resumed on a schedule, but the issue of water rights still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of some — and worries about the continuation of the drought run even deeper.

“If we continue to take away from the agriculture producer, when are we going to get to that point where we’re importing more food supplies than we’re producing ourselves?” said Roland Trees, a rancher in Real County who raises livestock and game.

Trees, who is on the water board of his county, says he lost some exotic game in the drought.

“It’s kind of worrisome, especially in our business, where we rely on the land,” he said. “Without any [water], we’re not able to grow anything.”

As the drought continues, Junction officials say they are looking for other water options. "We draw our water from the South Llano [River], so we know that we’re not really in the same situation as people are downstream from us, but we do have plans," said Vivian Saiz, Junction's secretary. "We’re testing a couple of wells, so that’s kind of our backup plan. We're researching groundwater."

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

Texans need truth. Help us report it.

Independent Texas reporting needs your support. The Texas Tribune delivers fact-based journalism for Texans, by Texans — and our community of members, the readers who donate, make our work possible. Help us bring you and millions of others in-depth news and information. Will you support our nonprofit newsroom with a donation of any amount?

Yes, I'll donate today

Read More

Meet the redhead who's been serving up food, friendliness for 50 years in Junction, Texas

Junction, Pop. 2,574. It's where the Texas Hill Country overlaps the rugged beginnings of West Texas. Where the North and South Llano Rivers meet, giving the town its name. Northwest of Kerrville, right up Interstate 10.One of Junction's longtime, best-known residents is a petite, perky, hardworking redhead named Helen Wallace. Anyone here who doesn't know her doesn't get out enough.My family had spent two days tent camping at South Llano River State Park just outside town. We fawned over more deer than we've ever seen (cacti a...

Junction, Pop. 2,574. It's where the Texas Hill Country overlaps the rugged beginnings of West Texas. Where the North and South Llano Rivers meet, giving the town its name. Northwest of Kerrville, right up Interstate 10.

One of Junction's longtime, best-known residents is a petite, perky, hardworking redhead named Helen Wallace. Anyone here who doesn't know her doesn't get out enough.

My family had spent two days tent camping at South Llano River State Park just outside town. We fawned over more deer than we've ever seen (cacti and yucca, too), trekked trails and saw scenic vistas both lush and desertlike. We gazed upon the flitting beauty of nature in the park's bird-watching blinds and enjoyed an afternoon of river tubing — all while doing our best to sidestep legions of red harvester ants.

We decided to drive into town last Wednesday morning and check out Isaack Restaurant (a.k.a. Isaack's) before packing our U-Haul trailer for the five-hour trip back home to Arlington. As we walked up to the diner on Main Street/U.S. Highway 83, Helen was out front on a smoke break.

A few minutes later, she dropped by our table next to one of the front windows and asked the four of us what she could get us to drink.

We knew from the restaurant's huge throwback neon sign, touting air-conditioned comfort, that the place was a treasure for residents and travelers alike. Before Helen came back with our drinks, I knew she was, too. I asked her what she could tell us about Isaack's history.

Breaking News

Get the latest breaking news from North Texas and beyond.

Or with:



By signing up you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

"I've been here 50 years, so I know pretty much everything," she said, proudly.

Helen has worked on and off — mostly on — at Isaack's since 1967, two years after marrying a fellow from Junction and moving here from East Texas. This go-round, she's been waiting on patrons for 27 years. A sprightly 74, Helen raised her three kids in Junction.

Jabo Isaack, who was from Louisiana, opened his cafe in 1950 but sold it after a couple of years. Since Helen started, she's worked for five owners — including one of the former waitresses, Jennifer Sides, who bought the restaurant 11 years ago. It's full of vintage metal signs, antiques and knickknacks that give it personality. But I figure a good bit of that really comes from Helen, all 5-foot-2 of her, tops.

The menu is packed with a mix of dishes, including enchiladas, tacos and fajitas, plus sandwiches, salads, seafood and chicken fried steak. Breakfast is served all day starting at 6 a.m.

Helen, with a food stain or two on her white blouse and red apron, took our orders: grilled ham and cheese, turkey/bacon club sandwich, Western omelet, open-face hot roast beef sandwich. And she shared more history with us.

I wanted to know about the cool roadway sign. Classic, old-timey signs, which often long outlast their businesses, have always fascinated me. When you drive through small Texas towns, where folks still work overtime to keep some of their nostalgia intact, you can't miss 'em on the main drag.

Helen told us that Isaack's sign landed a $5,000 makeover a few years back. Its mustachioed chef even got a mechanical left arm so he could beckon to passing motorists. Sadly, his arm stopped moving after two months, our historian/waitress declared, trying to keep from laughing at the thought of it.

We weren't the only ones asking questions — Helen wanted to know about us, too. When we told her we live in Arlington, she brought back a memory of the time years ago when she took her 13-year-old daughter, Brenda, to Six Flags Over Texas.

Helen made us feel far more welcome than the ants working furiously only feet from our cramped, lopsided tent at the state park. She's the face of the warmth and hospitality you'll find in towns off and on the beaten path all over Texas.

While we were waiting for Helen to bring us lunch, I noticed an older fellow slowly riding a motorcycle past the restaurant. I didn't see him turn into the parking lot. Quickly, Helen was behind the register, helping him pick out a new Isaack's coffee mug — because all the words had faded off the one he bought during a ride through Junction some years back.

We've camped at several state parks in Texas and Oklahoma, but this was our first time at South Llano River. As we left the restaurant, I told Helen we enjoyed our short adventure so much, we'll probably be back next year and would see her then.

"If I'm still here," she said, smiling as I gave her a hug.

Something tells me Helen will be right where we left her. If your travels happen to take you through Junction, you oughta stop by and see her.

The Trailist: A kayak trip on the Llano River upstream of Junction

One of the subtle beauties of the Texas Hill Country is the transition to more drought-tolerant trees and plants as travelers progress from east to west. To me, the Llano River feels like the first West Texas river San Antonio residents can reach within a day’s drive of the city.For weeks, the river’s flow has been meager, but recent rains across Central Texas have busted the worsening drought and left many rivers flowing strong again. A group of us decided to paddle the Upper Llano River upstream of Junction on Memorial D...

One of the subtle beauties of the Texas Hill Country is the transition to more drought-tolerant trees and plants as travelers progress from east to west. To me, the Llano River feels like the first West Texas river San Antonio residents can reach within a day’s drive of the city.

For weeks, the river’s flow has been meager, but recent rains across Central Texas have busted the worsening drought and left many rivers flowing strong again. A group of us decided to paddle the Upper Llano River upstream of Junction on Memorial Day.

The Llano often has a braided channel more akin to the Pecos or the Devils rivers than the nearby Guadalupe River. It forms countless mini-channels and islands of sun-bleached limestone rocks, held together by small trees and native grasses and flowers.

Upriver from Junction, the Llano is basically a series of long, flat pools with short sections of shallow, fast-water riffles where it’s easy to take a wrong turn. In the shallows, the river flows clear enough to watch fish and turtles swimming along its rocky bottom.

Upper Llano River – First Highway 377 bridge to Junction

Offers: Paddling Location: First bridge on Highway 377 upriver from Junction (30.362014, -99.889150) to Highway 481 bridge, shortly before dam (30.487478, -99.762308). Camping and access with overnight or day use fee at South Llano River State Park (1927 Park Road 73, Junction, TX 76849). Trail miles: 17 river miles. Restrooms: Toilets and potable water at Schreiner Park and state park.

Another difference between the Llano and other Hill Country rivers is the wide-open sky arcing overhead. The bald cypress trees that cast shade over the Guadalupe, the Frio, and the Medina rivers are absent from the Llano, replaced by sparser sycamores and pecans.

In between the trees, we noticed fields of wildflowers, especially the red and yellow Mexican hats that seem to be thriving this year. We also for the first time this season found ripe, purple dewberries growing along the banks.

We had cool, cloudy weather on our Memorial Day paddle, with occasional squalls blowing through. But beware an afternoon on the Llano River during a hot summer day, when the sun can beat down relentlessly. Even if temperatures are low, sunscreen, a hat, and long sleeves are a good idea on this stretch.

Southwest Paddler, generally a good starting place for Texas river info, recommends a minimum flow of at least 65 cubic feet per second (cfs) at the Junction river gauge. Having done this section a few times, I would recommend a more enjoyable flow of at least around 100 cfs to avoid any dragging. We paddled on May 31 with the river at 180 cfs.

The plan was to meet at 9 a.m. under the Highway 481 bridge near Schreiner City Park in Junction, which offers public parking with easy river access. We would then put in at the first Highway 377 bridge 17 river miles north. We figured it would the five of us about eight hours to paddle back to Junction.

Sometimes, these trips don’t go as planned. One of our crew had a small hole in the hull of his boat, which was steadily filling up with water at about nine or 10 miles into the journey. It kept dragging lower and lower in the water, slowing him down.

Fortunately, he and the other experienced paddlers had brought along a piece of sophisticated, high-tech leak prevention technology: bubble gum.

I had never heard this before, but apparently, you can actually make a decent impromptu patch for your plastic kayak by shoving as big a wad of chewed bubble gum as possible into the leak. It worked well enough that our friend was able to mostly plug his leaky kayak, at least well enough to get him through the last two miles.

In the end, we cut our trip about 5 miles short by pulling out at the entrance road to South Llano River State Park. If you plan on a 12-mile trip that involves putting in or taking out at the park, make sure to make day-use reservations ahead of time because the access road and bridge over the river fall within park boundaries.

From there, two of the group walked the roughly 5 miles back to the car, while the other three waited with the gear at the park, finishing all the snacks we had packed for the rest of the journey. It took the walkers about two hours to make it back to the car and reunite with the loungers.

Sometimes, it’s more fun to quit a little early, rather than spend your afternoon struggling with a hull full of bubblegum.

This story has been updated to accurately reference Highway 377 as the road with Llano River access.

Ranch owners needed for axis deer survey in Texas

Multimedia ReporterExperts from Texas Tech University are working with landowners near Junction to get a better idea of how many invasive axis deer are in the area and how the species can be better managed to reduce the impact on agriculture and native white-tailed deer.The research is an extension of Dr. Matthew Buchholz’s dissertation on axis deer.“In Junction, they go right up to the edge of town. They are a significant issue,” Buchholz said in an ...

Multimedia Reporter

Experts from Texas Tech University are working with landowners near Junction to get a better idea of how many invasive axis deer are in the area and how the species can be better managed to reduce the impact on agriculture and native white-tailed deer.

The research is an extension of Dr. Matthew Buchholz’s dissertation on axis deer.

“In Junction, they go right up to the edge of town. They are a significant issue,” Buchholz said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network. “Herds of several hundred are not that uncommon in the area. Near South Llano River State Park, I’ve personally seen a herd that was probably 300 to 350 individuals.”

Junction isn’t the only area impacted by the growing axis deer population.

“We did record changes in the vegetation communities that could have impacts on the health of the ecosystem primarily along the river,” Buchholz said. “South Llano River is considered ecologically significant by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department because it holds a number of endemic species, including Guadalupe Bass.”

Buchholz said any negative impacts on the health of the ecosystem near the river impacts land use around Junction and likely downstream.

“With the impacts we recorded from axis deer, they do have some potential substantial impacts that could have major concerns going downstream,” Buchholz said.

Axis deer can also displace native white-tailed deer.

“Axis are socially dominant to white-tail and will displace them from high value sets, such as optimal habitat. This could include supplemental feeders anywhere that basically has any kind of high value to the two species,” Buchholz said.

Displaced white-tailed deer are then pushed into areas with fewer, or lower quality, food sources.

“As axis densities continue to increase, they could have substantial impacts on keeping white-tail densities and also producing these quality white-tail that a lot of landowners and hunters are trying to get,” Buchholz said.

As axis deer take over areas with better resources for deer, they can also destroy a habitat.

“One axis eats about as much as one-and-a-half white-tail,” Blake Leslie, research coordinator at the Llano River Field Station, said. “With these exploding numbers that we’re seeing, it puts a piece of property at a very high risk for habitat destruction as far as good availability and quality of forage.”

Axis deer also negatively impact agriculture.

“Axis are probably closer in competition with sheep and goats than anything else, and particularly along these river systems where axis primarily occur, there is some sheep and goat agriculture in those riparian habitats,” Buchholz said. “Axis come in, and they can wipe out a hayfield relatively easy.”

Axis deer are not native to Texas. They were brought here from India by a landowner.

“Axis were introduced in 1932 into a high fence property in Kerr County,” Buchholz said. “Via intentional releases—both to high fence properties and low fence—and also escapes, there’s been a large increase in the free-ranging population.”

Although there have been prior surveys, researchers don’t really know how many free-ranging axis deer there are in Texas.

“Axis have a really high reproductive ability,” Buchholz said. “They can have a fawn every nine months. Fawn survival is through to be very high—potentially in the 70 to 80% range.”

In comparison, white-tailed fawn survival is heavily dependent on precipitation.

“In a good year, white-tail survival may be 40%,” Buchholz said. “So, axis fawn survival could be twice what white-tail is. It allows for their population to grow very quickly.”

Axis deer also tend to live longer. The oldest doe recorded was 15 years old.

With hunting, an old white-tailed doe in the area may be seven to eight years old.

To get a better idea of axis deer numbers in the area, so they can better be managed, the team is looking for ranch owners who are willing to allow spotlight surveys on their property.

“As part of his (Buchholz’s) research project, he created some very detailed protocols for how we’re going to be doing these spotlight surveys,” Leslie said. “Initially, nearly all of them were conducted on county roads. Now, we’re looking to transition from county roads to surveying on ranches.”

Leslie said there have been surveys in the past, but those likely drastically underestimated the number of axis deer.

“We are actively looking for people who own ranches in the Junction areas,” Leslie said. “Getting support from local people is going to become more and more important to what we’re trying to do out here with the spotlight surveys and a number of the other projects that we’re going to be starting soon or have already started.”

Interested landowners from the Junction area can contact Leslie at the Texas Tech University campus in Junction or by emailing [email protected].

20+ Best Things to Do in & Around Junction TX

In the heart of the Texas Hill Country is the small town of Junction, Texas, where nature lovers are welcomed by its untamed beauty. Often called “the Land of Living Waters,” there are beautiful landscapes speckled with natural bodies of water all around, perfect for lots of fun water activities.While its biggest attraction is the river and water activities, Junction has some interesting historical museums, parks for picnicking, and other adventures, all which make for an entertaining and relaxing weekend getaway.We...

In the heart of the Texas Hill Country is the small town of Junction, Texas, where nature lovers are welcomed by its untamed beauty. Often called “the Land of Living Waters,” there are beautiful landscapes speckled with natural bodies of water all around, perfect for lots of fun water activities.

While its biggest attraction is the river and water activities, Junction has some interesting historical museums, parks for picnicking, and other adventures, all which make for an entertaining and relaxing weekend getaway.

We had so much fun spending time in and around Junction, Texas, including some spots you’re not going to find anywhere else (we love finding hidden spots like these).

With our latest edition of our Texas Travel Guide, you can take an exciting vacation every weekend without breaking the bank and still have more to do! And in just one trip, the guide pays for itself! You’ll be amazed at all the hidden gems, international influence, and wacky attractions you’ll find all over Texas!

Not ready to purchase quite yet? We wanted to make this guide as accessible as possible, so we’ve shared our 1st edition of our guide, 50 Texas Trips Under $50. Click the button below to get yours for FREE!

Get Your TX Travel Guide

Float the Llano River

South Llano River State Park offers an exhilarating tubing experience along the crystal-clear waters of the Llano River. With its gentle currents, small rapids, and the scenic view, tubing down the South Llano River is a fun way to cool off in the summer heat while enjoying the beauty of nature.

The park provides tube rentals and designated launch points, or you can bring your own and enter at one of the multiple entry points along the two-miles of river frontage. Also along the river, there are small “pools” of water where you can just sit, relax and enjoy the water.

Go Hiking

While you’re at South Llano State Park, be sure to check out one or more of the hiking or mountain biking trails. With nine different nature trails, ranging from a half-mile to four miles, the scenic views are phenomenal, and you’ll get a different adventure with each one. The trails will take you through giant woodlands, across canyons and plateaus, and onto overlooks where you can see out over the hill country. Keep an eye out for different species of birds, lizards, white-tail deer, porcupines and more.

Kayak with Paddler’s Porch

Another great way to enjoy the Llano River is to rent a kayak from Paddler’s Porch and take an unforgettable kayaking journey that covers six miles of scenic nature that is not on the well-known parts of the river.

After an invigorating day on the water, indulge in a well-deserved meal at their restaurant, serving salads, sandwiches, Tex-Mex and more. As a bonus convenience, a shuttle service is available for a fee, transporting you back to Boones Crossing or other various launch points.

Visit Boones Crossing

Boones Crossing is a great place along the Llano River where you can launch your kayak, tube, or just swim in the refreshing waters. The park also provides a serene environment for hiking, fishing, picnicking, or just relaxing, amidst the tranquil surroundings.

Find this Secret Spot

We found a “secret adventure” where you can kayak or canoe to the falls. You can find parking by the second river crossing (30.3449706, -99.9020585). You must bring your own kayak and it’s anywhere from a 2 to 2.5-hour trip upstream and back. Along the way you’ll encounter several small rapids and some great spots to stop. Just make sure to stay in the river to avoid stepping onto private property.

Check Out the View

Lover’s Leap (30.4774113, -99.7592325) is a lookout point with a phenomenal view of the rolling Texas hills surrounding Junction. You’ll have to park and make the hike up, but the view from the top is well worth it. Be cautious of the edge since it’s a bluff covered in foliage, making edge difficult to see if you aren’t paying attention.

?Soak in a Natural Hot Tub

One more must-stop for enjoying the water is the “Hot Tub” in one of the nearby towns of Menard. Swim in nature’s jacuzzi, named for the way the water bubbles up.

More Things to Do in Junction

If you’re looking for something else, in addition to all of the water activities, here are some fun options:

Where to Eat in Junction

Speaking of eateries, when hunger sets in, there are multiple options along Main Street or around town, so you’re sure to find something to take care of those cravings. Here are a few to check out:

Go Two-Steppin’

For a little nighttime fun, put on your dancing boots and head over to London Hall. This iconic dancehall serves as a hub for locals and visitors to gather and do a little two-stepping. With its spacious wooden dance floor, rustic charm, and energetic atmosphere, the London Dance Hall invites you to kick up your heels and twirl to the music.

Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or a beginner, the friendly locals encourage everyone to join in the fun on the dance floor. So grab your partner, embrace the Texas two-step, and immerse yourself in the Texas tradition of country dancing at the London Dance Hall.

Camp by the River

If you need a place to stay, the Tree Cabins RV Resort offers a perfect blend of comfort, tranquility, and a touch of rustic charm. Situated right on the Llano River, you’re steps away from casting a line or pushing off the shore in a kayak. The cabins are spacious but do not include linens, so be sure to bring some along. Spend the evening gazing up at the stars as you reminisce about the fun adventures of the day.

Things to Near Junction

Looking to lengthen your next road trip or turn your day trip into a weekend getaway? Check out these neighboring towns:

Things to Do in Junction: Final Thoughts

Junction is a perfect example of an underestimated, small Texas town. Located in Central Texas, just an hour from Fredericksburg, is the perfect destination if you’re looking to lose yourself in nature or to escape from the every day. It’s natural beauty is superior, but be sure when you visit, you leave it better than you found it. This way, future generations can continue to discover its hidden magic.


This website publishes news articles that contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The non-commercial use of these news articles for the purposes of local news reporting constitutes "Fair Use" of the copyrighted materials as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law.