Fredericksburg, the quaint town in Texas, is best known for its gorgeous scenery of rolling hills and its charming wineries. The unique history of the town, a final destination for German immigrants to America in the mid-1800’s, also makes it a one-of-a-kind cultural landmark, treasure trove for family exploration and a great spot for roadschooling.
What is roadschooling? It’s nothing more complicated in concept than making travel a part of your child’s learning experience. While some families go for it as a full time pursuit, I love the concept of road schooling for anyone, even families in traditional school environments. For me, planning travel experiences for our family that encourage curiosity and learning makes the trip more memorable and fun for the entire family while either reinforcing or introducing new ideas to our daughter in an experiential way.
Rich in history and topography, Fredericksburg is more than just an adult wine-lover’s getaway. Our family had the best long weekend here relaxing and doing a little roadschooling focused on American history and nature studies. We loved these special spots!
There’s many cute AirBnB rentals and bed and breakfasts right off of Frederickburg’s Main Street, many using the historical Sunday Houses early settlers would stay in when visiting town, but we opted for more privacy and space at Contigo Ranch, a short drive from Main Street. The ranch features new suite-style cottages as well as renovated historic cabins, which we stayed in and loved for both the amenities and uniqueness. It was such a treat to start our day with a fresh breakfast delivery while taking in the sunrise on our porch, then come back home to Contigo Ranch at the end of the day for walks through the pastures, dinner in the comfort of our cabin and stargazing under their clear sky.
Only six miles down the road from Contigo Ranch, this massive pink granite batholith dome (Google gave me just enough when I searched this term to be completely fascinated!) is a wonder. The state park also features 11 miles of hiking trails, making it a great place to explore the outdoors and discover rock formations, plant and animal life.
Fredericksburg Main Street
Many Texas towns are blessed with beautiful town squares and courthouses thanks to the historic Works Progress Administration, but Fredericksburg really does theirs best. The Main Street of town has more than 150 shops, galleries and restaurants to explore, which made it a full day destination for our family to get to walk through and enjoy. We especially loved the The Christmas Store with beautiful hand-blown ornaments, candy from Big Pop’s Popcorn Company, exploring all of the gadgets and gizmos a-plenty at Der Kuchen Laden and the retro vibes at Clear River Ice Cream Parlor. My personal favorite was Dooley’s Five and Ten, which still operates as a traditional five and dime shop with toys and treasures. Bring some cash since they don’t take cards and I promise you’ll find something!
While I find the seizure of American land from Indignenous families and our country’s colonization to be incredibly unromantic, to say the least, studying first hand accounts of the settler’s movement in America has a lot to teach about resiliency, innovation and the power of creating community. The Fredericksburg Pioneer Museum is at the end of Main Street, making it an ideal way to start or end a day exploring in town. We loved all of the buildings on the property, especially the school house, that play recordings from Fredericksburg citizens who have direct personal or family ties to the preserved sites.
Vereins Kirche Museum
This small museum on Main Street has some interesting artifacts as well as a great selection of books on the German settler’s movement to the area. The Markplatz area it resides in has beautiful space to run around, clean public restrooms and a playground in the back for a break from all of the learning and exploring!
Operating for more than 35 years, Wildwood Farms is the nation’s largest working wildflower farm. We loved taking a few of the on-site trails through the 200 acres of blooms. Take home some seeds from the farm’s beautiful gift shops to spread the magic!
Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site
Just a little further past Wildseed Farms is the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site. This area of land surrounding Johnson’s childhood home is beautifully preserved featuring bison, Longhorns, walking trails and wildflowers. We absolutely loved the visit to Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm, where costumed museum volunteers showed us how the German immigrant family that neighbored the Johnson family home lived as early settlers and cotton farmers. The check-in offered us a slew of Junior Ranger guides and information on the area that we enjoyed working on for the rest of our trip!
Lyndon B, Johnson National Historic Site
A right turn out of the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park will take you to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Site, which allows guests to trace the ancestry of the 36th President, from his childhood home and one room schoolhouse to the Texas White House where he worked and entertained dignitaries while in office. We loved getting up close with Johnson’s cattle, learning more about Johnson and Lady Bird’s passion for sharing this part of the country with the world and the transportation area that features the Air Force One Half – the smaller plane Johnson could take from D.C. straight to the landing strip here.
Everybody’s Somebody in Luckenbach! This 1849 trading post became a hub for Texas music thanks to “Willie, Waylon and the boys.” We loved the chance to end the day sitting outside while listening to live music, visiting with the chickens and pressing pennies in the shop.
Depending on the season, don’t miss the opportunity to stop by some of the area’s local farms and orchards for fresh peaches, pecans and more. As a fan of pretty much any Fisher & Weiser product made, Das Peach Haus’ shop and beautiful grounds are a must-do on our next trip!
There’s so much to explore in this little Texas town for families! I hope you enjoy being outside and seeing history up close as much as our family did on this weekend getaway. Have you been to Fredericksburg with kids? What’s your favorite spot?