About an hour’s drive from both San Antonio and Austin, the city of Fredericksburg is a popular vacation spot for couples and families in the Texas Hill Country. And with its rich German heritage, growing wine industry, and lots of outdoor areas to explore, it’s easy to see why Fredericksburg has such cross appeal among different types of travelers.
Whether you’re eying it as a weekend getaway destination or a full-fledged family vacation spot, there are a number of ways to approach a visit to Fredericksburg. Here are two different approaches to getting the most out of your Texas Hill Country escape—one with the kids in tow and one for just the adults.
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What to Do in Fredericksburg with Kids
Start at downtown’s Pioneer Museum, where the whole family can explore a log cabin, one-room schoolhouse, and other historic structures that show just how different life was for the German settlers who established the city of Fredericksburg back in the 1840s.
Then, for more time-traveling excitement, head to the National Museum of the Pacific War. This multi-venue site pays tribute to those who served in or supported World War II’s Pacific war effort along with hometown hero Admiral Chester Nimitz, who served as commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean areas. A new interactive children’s exhibit helps young visitors understand what it was like to be an American kid during the war. Three different children guide visitors through their experiences, including a young girl of Japanese descent whose family was sent to an internment camp.
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The kids can also learn about another hometown hero, 36th U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was born just outside of Fredericksburg in Stonewall, Texas. At the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, visitors can explore LBJ’s boyhood home and take a self-guided tour of the LBJ Ranch, which includes his Texas White House and the cemetery where he’s buried.
The nearby Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site is home to the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm, where park rangers dress in period clothing and demonstrate the work involved in life on a farm in the early 1900s. Stroll the park’s nature trail to observe longhorn cattle and American bison; it’s also a great place to admire Texas bluebonnets and other colorful blooms if you’re in town during Fredericksburg’s spring wildflower season.
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If you’re visiting during the cooler months, head to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area for hiking trails that offer great views of the surroundings. The pink granite dome has been attracting visitors for thousands of years, and your family might spot white-tailed deer, armadillos, lizards, and other animals while exploring the area.
During the summer, it’s peach season in Fredericksburg. Visitors can enjoy all kinds of peach-flavored and peach-inspired eats at places like Das Peach Haus, or purchase the fruit itself at farm stands and orchards all around the area.
Make the Fredericksburg Inn and Suites your home base for your family trip. Here you can book a standard room with two queen beds or a suite with a king bed and queen pullout in the living area (and a bathroom with sliding barn doors separating the two spaces). There’s free breakfast every morning, free fountain sodas all day long, and amenities like two pools (one with a slide), a hot tub, and outdoor fire areas to keep the whole family happy and entertained.
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Plus, the hotel sits within easy walking distance of downtown Fredericksburg’s shops and restaurants, where kid-friendly spots include Tubby’s Ice House, Old German Bakery and Restaurant, and Clear River Ice Cream, Bakery, and Deli.
What to Do in Fredericksburg without Kids
Arrange for a grandparent-grandchild skip-gen vacation (or have another trusted adult watch the kiddos) so you can plan a grownup getaway to Fredericksburg. That makes it easier to enjoy one of the Fredericksburg area’s biggest draws—the wine and wineries.
Texas Hill Country boasts more than 100 wineries and vineyards, and there are more than 50 wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms just in Fredericksburg’s Gillespie County alone. Options include old mainstays like Becker Vineyards and Grape Creek Vineyards and newer entrants on the local wine scene like Ab Astris Winery, Ferris and Fletch Wine Co., and Meierstone Vineyards.
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The Fredericksburg area wineries serve both familiar pours and less typical varieties that do well in the Texas climate, so you might find some unexpected new favorites. To explore the wine scene, you can strike out on your own, follow a wine trail, or take a tour to get shuttled from spot to spot.
Wine’s not the only beverage to enjoy in these parts, either. Head to Altstadt Brewery or Fredericksburg Brewing Company to enjoy German-style and other beers, or Dietz Distillery for a cocktail made with the gin or vodka crafted by the son of the family behind Fischer and Wieser Specialty Foods and Das Peach Haus.
For a grownup meal that doesn’t involve chicken fingers or buttered noodles, head to the uber-cool Hill and Vine, where you can get a drink while you wait for a table from “Das Bar Bus” located outside the restaurant; or the Cabernet Grill, which serves Hill Country-inspired cuisine and the widest selection of Texas wines of any restaurant in the country. You can walk right to the latter if you book one of the oh-so-rustically-charming cabins and cottages at the adjacent Cotton Gin Village, which have features like fireplaces, four-poster cedar beds, and front porches.
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You could also consider staying in one of the “Sunday Houses” found throughout the city. These small structures served as second residences for the city’s original German settlers, who would come to town from their farms on the weekends to buy and sell goods and attend church. Many have been converted into highly coveted vacation rentals that blend historic character with modern conveniences. You can find them on vacation home rental sites like Airbnb and VRBO or through local rental companies.
Include time for strolling downtown’s Main Street and its offshoots, where you’ll find boutiques, art galleries, and lots of spots for sipping and sampling. Franchises and chain stores aren’t allowed in Fredericksburg’s National Historic District, so you’ll find locally owned and operated spots aplenty. Treat yourself to some of the indulgent liquid-center chocolates filled with bourbon, tequila, and other spirits at Quintessential Chocolates, book a hat bar appointment at Felt Boutique, and refuel with a cheese plate and glass of wine at the stylish La Bergerie. And while you’re there, raise a glass in toast to spending a little time away from the kids.