As a 20-year veteran travel editor, I am often asked where friends and family should go in the great state of Texas. Without a doubt, my first suggestion is always Fredericksburg. A small German Hill Country town, easy to get to from most places in Texas, it has just about everything you need for the perfect weekend or short-term vacation.
I do have to say that it is very much geared toward adults, rather than children or teens. With its vast selection of wineries, and even a few breweries, most folks visit the Fredericksburg area for these (over 21) reasons.
Get Away at the Hideaway
Camp Hideaway is a great home to rent for the purpose of visiting Fredericksburg and all that it has to offer. Situated on a gated property just about 10 minutes outside of town, the Ranch House (sleeps eight), with its beautifully appointed interior, features four bedrooms, each with a king to double bed, and its own bathroom. This house has everything a group or family needs for comfort and relaxation: a large open kitchen, dining table for eight, open living room with large flatscreen TV and laundry room with washer/dryer. The hero of the house is the backyard with a covered patio, open fire pit, hot tub, putting green, and — most importantly, a private pool.
The master bedroom is large and in charge with luxury bedding and a bathroom fit for a queen, with an outdoor shower! The other three bedrooms are tucked away in the corners of the house, cozy and comfortable.
Enjoy fixing big tasty meals for your group here, gathering around the fire pit at night with a great bottle of wine, and kids of all ages will enjoy relaxing at the pool.
Sip and Savor
Nearby is Highway 290, “The wine road of Texas”, so enjoy visiting a few wineries while you’re in town.
In Johnson City, on Highway 290, visit Farmhouse Vineyards, located in a charming farmhouse with an outdoor patio and chic airstream trailer for private tastings. They pour 100% estate wines, meaning all grapes are from Texas. The owners started as growers, a farming family in the High Plains of Texas, and now they produce 23 varieties. Enjoy their 2017 Proving Ground, 60% Cabernet, 32% Merlot and 8% Petite Verdot. If you are a red connoisseur, you will love their 2016 GSM Reserve, a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. Their 2018 Sirah Syrah comes from a French grape, popular in California, that grows well in the Texas heat.
A little farther down 290 you’ll find Hilmy Cellars, led by winemaker Michael Barton. We were blown away by these wines. Hilmy, which comes from the owners’ last name, offers a beautiful white, their 2020 Albarino, which has a fantastic surprising nutty flavor; it is one of the best values out there at only $26 per bottle! Their 2021 Tejas Blanc is a combo of Roussanne and Marsanne and also a steal at $26 per bottle. You just can’t go wrong with their Sangiovese, the Carignan, or the very delicious 2019 Right Bank which is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Petite Verdot.
One of the most unique and interesting wineries I’ve experienced in Fredericksburg, Slate Theory, is a new kid on the block being only seven months old. This winery is really making its mark, pun intended. Owner Randy Jones, who hails from the oil and gas industry in Midland, with seven kids, is producing 100% Texas wines. Make sure you make a reservation to experience a private tasting down in their cave, which took three years to build. The apex of coolness and comfort in a hot Texas summer and an unforgettable vibe, the cave is where it’s at! You’ll taste their Viognier, the 2021 Roussanne, which is their version of a Chardonnay with the flavor of sliced almonds and cashew. This grape can handle the Texas heat better than the Chardonnay grape. You’ll also taste their 2021 Cincault Rosé, 2018 Barbera and 2017 The Manic. Don’t be thrown off by the dark skull on their label, but instead be curious about it.
Pro tip: make sure you visit Vaudeville in Fredericksburg, a luxury homes store with the most delicious bistro downstairs. Open for lunch seven days a week and only for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays, you can thank me later.
Check out our interactive itinerary!
Marika Flatt is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine and was named “Outstanding Austin Communicator” 2021 by Women Communicators of Austin. Flatt was the voice of the Weekend Trip Tips on NPR’s Texas Standard for five years pre-pandemic and is a regular travel contributor to TV shows across the state.