There are some amazing things to do in Fredericksburg, if you are planning a trip there, do take a few extra days to enjoy everything this charming town has to offer.
Located right in the middle of Texas Hill Country, the lovely town of Fredericksburg is a popular tourist destination. Established in 1846, the town was named after Prince Frederick of Prussia.
Fredericksburg offers visitors first-class accommodation and plenty of entertainment. Yet the town still retains its country feel and its German heritage shines through.
If you’re planning a trip into the Texas Hill countryside, don’t miss out on a great stopover. Try out some of my top 10 activities in Fredericksburg.
You can shop in quaint stone buildings, visit war museums, and enjoy traditional German food and beer. There are more than fifty vineyards serving world-class wines and splendid vistas. Then, there’s a quaint little country town containing just two buildings and plenty of live entertainment.
Cycling, horseback riding, and hiking are all popular pastimes. No matter what your interests are, you’ll find something that appeals to you in this small town. So, here is a complete guide to the things to do in Fredericksburg, Texas.
1. Wine Tasting in the Vineyards
Fredericksburg is right in the middle of the beautiful Texas Winelands. This is one of the biggest attractions in the area, so don’t miss out. Plan a relaxing excursion into the countryside.
More than twenty wine tour companies offer a variety of trips including full and half-day outings to some of the more than fifty wineries in the area.
Alternatively, take the Wine Road 290 shuttle service and visit a few of the farms along the route in your own time. The hop-on-hop-off service visits 16 farms and leaves Fredericksburg every ten minutes.
Depending on your destination, you can sip wine on the patio of a farmhouse as you savor their cheeses and Charcuterie or just wander through the vineyards and stopover in the tasting room. Some wine farms in the area also offer luxury accommodation so you can choose to spend the night.
If you can’t make it to a vineyard, you can still taste some of the delicious varieties made in the area at a winery like Kalasi Cellars in downtown Fredericksburg.
2. Make Your Own Posy at Wildseed Farms
If you love wildflowers and butterflies, don’t miss a trip to Wildseed Farms. Here, the largest wildflower farm in the country dedicates 200 acres of land to wildflower farming. Plan your visit from March through October when the flowers are in full bloom. A half-mile walking trail has seating areas along the way, so take a leisurely walk and soak in the views.
When you’ve finished wandering the fields of flowers, head off to the Market Center to browse through the Blossoms Boutique Store. It sells so much more than just flowers and seeds. You’ll find delicious ice-creams, and souvenirs on offer too. Order an ice-cold draft and a snack on the Brewbonnet Biergarten patio. There is also a wine-tasting room at Wildseed Farms if you prefer wine.
The farm is open every day of the week and charges no entry fee.
3. Treasure Hunt on Main Street
Fredericksburg has such a pretty Main Street. Here beautiful, historic stone buildings line the wide leafy street. Inside these buildings, you’ll find an array of shops selling anything from clothing to jewelry and artwork.
Whether it’s a quiet drink or a delicious German meal you seek, look no further than Main Street. It’s a delightful place to spend the day and when the sun sets, the residents come out to play.
The street is divided into two parts the Magic Mile shopping center and the historic West Main Street. The MarktPlatz or town square splits the two. The MarktPlatz is where the community comes together to celebrate and enjoy life.
The square is filled with picnic tables, pavilions, and lawns. During the warmer months, it is abuzz with activity as the farmer’s market offers local arts and crafts and homegrown produce up for sale. Live music floats through the air along with the delicious aroma of local cuisine.
The Vereins Kirche Museum takes pride of place in the square. The church was the first public building in the city. In its day, it served as a church, town hall, and school. The building was demolished in 1896 and rebuilt in 1935. Today, it houses relics of the first Europeans to settle in the area.
4. Explore the Past at the Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park
Celebrating the life of the 36th president of the USA, the Lyndon B Johnson National Historic Park is a 20-minute drive from Fredericksburg. Here, you’ll find enclosures filled with white-tailed deer and longhorn buffalo.
You can visit the former president’s childhood home, the ranch house, and the family cemetery. The visitors center has interactive displays and memorabilia from Lyndon Johnson’s presidency.
You’ll find a dogtrot cabin beside the Visitors Center. Built in 1840. It’s filled with furniture from the 1870s. Amble over to the 1918 farm, where people dressed in period clothing act out the daily chores from the early 1900s.
The state park also includes hiking trails and picnic spots. Pack a fishing rod and tackle or bring along your swimsuit and cool off in the on-site facilities. With fun for the whole family, a visit to this park is surely one of the best things to do in Fredericksburg, Texas.
The park is open between 9 am to 5 pm daily.
5. Wait for Sunset at the Old Tunnel State Park
The Old Tunnel is an abandoned railroad tunnel built in 1913. After the tunnel closed in 1942, millions of Mexican Free-Tailed bats took up residence in the tunnel. They are joined by thousands of Myotis Velifer bats. The park is popular amongst hikers and bird lovers. Book ahead of time between May and October and you can stay after dark and watch the bats come out of hiding.
For visitors, the tunnel is off-limits. Nevertheless, the park has some lovely wild trails and the flight of three million bats at sunset each day is quite spectacular. The flight of the bats is very popular so book well in advance and ensure that you don’t miss this most unusual experience.
6. Sing Country at Luckenbach
You can’t miss a visit to Luckenbach if you’re in the area. Located 13 miles from Fredericksburg it consists of a dance hall and another building used as a saloon, post office, and general store. Legend has it that the dance hall is the home to country music.
One of the first German settlers to the region established Luckenbach as a music venue in the mid-1800s. More than one hundred years later, Willy Nelson and Waylon Jennings released a song named Luckenbach Texas. The town is host to live music concerts on most evenings to this day. On any given Sunday visitors can bring their own musical instruments and take to the stage. There is an RV camping ground close by so you can plan to stay over.
7. Discover History at Fort Martin Scott
Two miles from downtown Fredericksburg, the twenty-one buildings that make up the Fort Martin Scott Museum are well worth the visit. The fort was established in 1848 during the conflict with the indigenous people. It was the first US outpost built on the Texan frontier.
In the early 1850s, the settlers began to migrate further westward and the army barracks became redundant. The buildings were abandoned by the military in 1853. The land was subsequently sold and used as a farm. The only part of the fort that still remains is the guardhouse.
Still, there is plenty to see from the officer’s housing to the barracks, kitchen, military hospital, and blacksmith. Most of the historic buildings have been beautifully restored. They are filled with memorabilia, bringing back the lifestyle at the time of the battles for territory.
Take a journey into the early 1940s when the world was at war and US was fighting in the South Pacific. The National Museum of Pacific War has thousands of relics from the war. The museum honors the more than 100,000 US soldiers who lost their lives fighting the war against Japan.
Admiral Chester Nimitz, who led the US Pacific forces was born in Fredericksburg. Within the Admiral Nimitz Historic Ballroom, you’ll find the Peral Harbor exhibit, a tourist favorite. The outdoor Plaza of Presidents honors US presidents that fought in World War II. The Museum hosts regular battle re-enactments that bring the war to life.
The six-acre complex contains a Japanese submarine, cannon, airplanes, and tanks. It stands in honor of the men and women who lost their lives in the Pacific theater during World War II
Carve out some time to visit the Japanese Garden of Peace next door to the museum. It was a gift given by the people of Japan to the people of America in 1976. It was built by Japanese craftsmen with money collected in Japan. The garden is full of symbolic meaning. Raked gravel symbolizes the ocean. Stones and plants represent Pacific islands and a flowing stream tells how water returns to the Ocean.
9. Explore German Culture at the Pioneer Museum
Covering three and a half acres and including eleven buildings in downtown Fredericksburg, The Pioneer Museum brings to life the German heritage of the town. The museum was once housed in the Vereins Kirche, moving to the historic Kamilah house in 1955. Buildings include a school, a blacksmith, and a barbershop.
The 300,000 artifacts in the museum portray the rich history of this German settler town. The self-guided tour starts with a movie that tells the story of the German settlers, putting everything into perspective. Taped stories and guides automatically switch on as you enter the various buildings.
If you time your visit well, you may get to see locals dressed up in traditional dress. Several times a year, the Historical Society organizes events where locals tell stories, sheer sheep and make soap, cornhusk dolls, and ropes in the ways of old. You and the kids can join in the fun and learn some old skills at the same time.
The museum is open between 10 am and 5 pm, Monday to Saturday inclusive.
10. Rock Climb at the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
The pink granite dome known as the Enchanted Rock is visible for miles. The largest pink granite mountain sits atop the Llano Uplift, just 17 miles from Fredericksburg. The park that houses the rock covers 1,640 acres. A source of local interest for thousands of years, you’ll find some of the best rock climbing in the state right here.
Ancient artifacts lay scattered across the park which has eight miles of trails winding their way through the park. Scattered across the park, you’ll find plenty of interesting exhibits. Picnic tables invite you to stop and enjoy a meal.
You can also spend the night out camping. While you’re there take in some of the best night sky views in Texas. You can buy firewood at the campsite.
If you plan on rock climbing, you’ll have to check in at the park headquarters before you set out. Pick up a route map while you’re there and remember the trails with the exception of the Loop Trail close half an hour before sunset.
10 Top Things to Do in Fredericksburg
If you’re planning a trip to the historic town of Fredericksburg, I hope you’ve found my guide useful. Fredericksburg with its German heritage is steeped in history. The proud townsfolk have preserved their heritage well.
The surrounding countryside also has so much to offer from hillside vineyards to fields of wildflowers, miles of country trails and some of the best rock climbing the state has to offer.
Guest Author bio: This article was a contribution from Lorena Maia, a blogger, and traveler. Lorena and her husband Greg love history, discovering new towns and hidden gems. They currently live in Australia and have lived in America and Europe before. Read their stories at TravelCroc.com.