Things to do in Fredericksburg

Whether you enjoy touring museums, savoring a glass of wine or a craft beer, or taking in scenic views, you'll find plenty to like about Fredericksburg. There's no shortage of things to do in Fredericksburg, a historic Hill Country town that boasts a proud German heritage. German food, beer, and architecture is prominent throughout Fredericksburg, making it a one-of-a-kind place to visit. Not only that, but it is near one of the most scenic places in Texas, Enchanted Rock. If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the fun to be had in Fredericksburg, don't worry. We've narrowed down a list of some of the top things to do while you're here.

Experience Enchanted Rock

The Texas Hill Country is famous for its scenic beauty, and there aren't many places that typify this better than Enchanted Rock. In fact, the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is widely known as one of the most beautiful places in Texas, and it's easy to see why. The crux of the park is the 425-foot-tall dome of pink granite that towers over the live oak trees, ponds, and streams at its base. Although you can get a good look at Enchanted Rock from one of the various hiking trails in the area, you can't leave without ascending the Summit Trail to the top of the dome. From the top, you'll be treated to stunning views of miles of gorgeous Hill Country terrain.

Although the views are more than worth the trip, they aren't the only thing to enjoy while you're at the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. During the day, you can take some great photos, go rock climbing, and try to spot some of the indigenous wildlife. Stay until after the sun sets and you'll be rewarded with some of the best stargazing in Texas. In fact, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area was designated as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association. If you enjoy being outdoors and you want to experience one of Texas' most scenic places, you owe yourself a trip to Enchanted Rock.

Explore the Fredericksburg Wine Road

Do you enjoy a glass of delicious merlot or a fruity zinfandel? If so, you'll be happy to hear that Fredericksburg is surrounded by award-winning wineries, including Rancho Pointe Vineyard, Becker Vineyards, and Pedernales Cellars. Many of these wineries are located along Highway 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg, a pathway commonly known as the Fredericksburg Wine Road. Tours and tastings are offered at each of these wineries, meaning there are almost too many wines to try and things to see in one trip.

So how do you do it? Perhaps one of the best ways is by signing up for a wine tour, which will whisk you away to a predetermined selection of wineries in the area. Not only can you relax and enjoy the ride, but you won't have to worry about driving back to town. However, if you decide to explore the Fredericksburg Wine Road on your own, we suggest you bring a friend as a designated driver.

Immerse Yourself in Texas German Culture

Like much of the Hill Country, Fredericksburg was first settled by German immigrants in the mid-18th century. These settlers brought with them their culture and architectural styles, all of which gives towns like Fredericksburg an ambience unlike anything else in Texas. Your first step to experiencing this for yourself is to visit a few of the distinctive buildings in town, such as St. Mary's Catholic Church, Holy Ghost Lutheran Church, Zion Lutheran Church, and various storefronts along Main Street. These structures are stunning 19th and early 20th-century examples of the type of Gothic or Romanesque architectural styles commonly seen throughout Europe, right in the heart of the Hill Country.

Of course, no conversation about culture is complete without talking about food. Fortunately, there are quite a few German restaurants in Fredericksburg where you can get your fill on such favorites as jaeger schnitzel and rouladen, as well as a few bakeries that serve pretzels and traditional pastries. Thirsty? Stop by one of the several Fredericksburg's biergartens and work your way through a pint of frothy dunkelweizen or a crisp hefe weisse. If you want the ultimate German experience, check out Fredericksburg's two cultural festivals: Night in Old Fredericksburg in July, and Oktoberfest.

Do Some Bat Viewing

The setting summer sun dims the cloudless sky above a dark tunnel cut into a rocky limestone cliff. Suddenly, millions of small bats explode out of the tunnel and frantically flit about, feeding on the small insects unfortunate enough to be in the area. This might seem like a rare one-of-a-kind event in a tropical jungle or outside of the Batcave, but at the Old Tunnel State Park south of Fredericksburg, it's business as usual.

From May to October, millions of Mexican free-tailed bats reside within the cave, and around dusk they fly out in unison to hunt and feed, making it one of the top bat viewing sites in Texas. You can see this breathtaking sight for yourself from one of the park's two viewing areas or on its primitive hiking trail. If you happen to visit the park outside of the May to October window, you'll still be able to traverse the trail and spot some of the other wildlife, including a wide variety of birds.

Visit the National Museum of the Pacific War

Fredericksburg is the birthplace of Chester Nimitz, the commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet during World War II. Perhaps, then, it's appropriate that Fredericksburg boasts one of the most complete Pacific War museums in the country: the National Museum of the Pacific War. The six-acre museum is located within a former hotel owned by Nimitz's grandfather off of Fredericksburg's Main Street. Step through the front doors and enter a collection that includes colorful displays, photographs, artifacts, and clothing that tell the story of the war's causes, battles, and aftermath.

The complex also includes a memorial courtyard with plaques commemorating the units, ships, and individuals who served; a plaza of presidents who served during the war; and a Japanese garden of peace which was donated by the military leaders of Japan to the American people. If all of that isn't enough, make sure to check out the historical reenactments held at the museum twice a month from March through October. The size and scope of the National Museum of the Pacific War makes it a worthy stop during your stay in Fredericksburg, even if you're not a history enthusiast.

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