Travel these days is weird, right? We’re all itching for a real vacation, but crowds and enclosed spaces can feel stressful. Our advice for vaccinated* folks planning their first post-lockdown getaway: choose a road trippable destination, pick a spot with plenty of outdoor options, and – most importantly – start with Fredericksburg, Texas.
This quaint, historic town in the heart of Texas wine country ticks all of our boxes, including some we hadn’t thought of. For example, Fredericksburg, Texas’ history of independent guest houses – as opposed to bustling hotels – dates back to its founding 175 years ago this year, so there are some amazing rental homes to choose from. (And if you visit before May 2022, be sure to read up on all the fun events planned for the town’s big birthday celebration.)
Where better to keep 6 feet apart than in a state famous for its love of wide open spaces and in a town with charming open-air museums, lounge-worthy patios, a breezy main street and hundreds of wineries just 1.5 hours outside of Austin.
To get you started, here are our five favorite ways to vacay outdoors in Fredericksburg, Texas.
Planning to visit Fredericksburg, Texas? Check out the dreamy little guesthouse – complete with hot tub – we stayed in on our trip.
* As of publication, the CDC advises that domestic travel is safe for fully vaccinated individuals who mask, social distance and follow other safety precautions.
Wineries of Fredericksburg, Texas
Texas Hill Country is home to more than 400 wineries – enough to satisfy even the thirstiest oenophile (except for maybe Maloney’s mom ;). Fredericksburg, Texas offers the perfect homebase to explore the region, or just taste Texas’ unique varietals and genre-busting blends with dinner or at the town’s many tasting rooms.
We opted for views of the vines at two nearby wineries. Signor Vineyards boasts acres of beautiful Texas grapes, beautifully landscaped grounds and so much outdoor seating, you won’t have to sit anywhere near another person. Nearby, the family-run Narrow Path was a highlight of the whole trip. Two words: vineyard dogs. We got the low-down on Texas’ hottest new grapes – tannat! You heard it here first – and snuck in a few snugs on the patio.
This tiny “town” – just a short drive from Fredericksburg, Texas – is so fine that it inspired a song. If you haven’t heard the 1976 classic by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson stop reading and go listen!
You’ll find an iconic post office, a dance hall, a bar, several outdoor stages, some cats, a few chickens – and that’s it! Folks from across the country flock to Luckenbach for top-notch country music in an atmosphere that looks like it’s straight out of a Western. Watch the motorcycles roll in and sip a longneck Lone Star as you listen to a six string on a sprawling, tree-shaded patio. It doesn’t get more “Texas” than that.
Outdoor dining in Fredericksburg, Texas
When the weather’s as nice as it (usually) is in Fredericksburg, Texas, you end up with a LOT of outdoor dining options. Start with a cup of small batch coffee roasted in-house and a selection of inventive, locally sourced breakfast items on Caliche Coffee’s back patio.
It’s definitely worth the trip to eat at the locally beloved Das Peach Haus, where you can dine outside under pine trees next to a peaceful lake. You can even sign up for a cooking class or do some shopping. The Fischer & Wieser family just celebrated their 50th Anniversary sharing locally made food products in Texas Hill Country. Don’t sleep on their house-made Cherry Pomegranate Habanero sauce. Trust us!
Near downtown, Navajo Grill has an enormous, covered patio that offers outdoor dining anytime of year. The menu features sophisticated Hill Country classics paired with craft cocktails and an extensive wine list. (We’re still dreaming about the stuffed quail.)And, for dessert, there are sweet spots scattered throughout the heart of Fredericksburg main drag. Grab a famous pastry-like German pretzel from Pritzer Sweet Shop to-go as you wander
Main Street shopping
Downtown Fredericksburg offers shoppers everything from antiques to pet goods in an easy-to-walk, 9-block stretch along Main Street. Start a few blocks west of Marketplatz, the town square.
Artisans, A Texas Gallery has a vast and varied collection of Texas-made art from dozens of makers. Stop in for the most unique gift or souvenir.
Small-batch soap company San Saba has so much more than soap. One of our favorite purchases is an antibacterial mask spray that smells delightful.
You don’t have to go all the way out to a vineyard for wine. Becker Vineyards on Main has a large shop full of locally made gifts to go along with its many, many bottles .And chocolatier Lecia Duke, owner of Chocolat, is solely responsible for bringing liquor-filled chocolates to the U.S. Pop in during a slow time, and catch a little of her fascinating story. Don’t forget to bring us back a box of booze-filled chocolates.
Historic parks abound in Fredericksburg
Travel back in time at the Sauer-Beckman Living History Farmstead, where friendly folks in period outfits show you what rural life was like for Texas-German farm families in the 1800s. Reenactor-docents tend the pig, sheep, chickens and other animals on the operational farmstead and demonstrate old timey ways to do everything from bake cookies to make cheese.
Learn about the colorful history of our 36th President, whose family donated 600 acres of their land for the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. Johnson, born and buried on the Hill Country compound, dubbed it “the Texas White House” and spent about a quarter of his presidency there. Don’t miss the walk-in gift closet, where he kept a stash of electric toothbrushes, among other goodies, to hand out to visitors. “Walk through” the home on a new virtual tour to see historic artifacts like the kitchen TV where the staff learned President Kennedy had died and live (or relive) your wildest 60s wallpaper fantasies.