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Get Out & Get Into Texas History

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Get Out & Get Into Texas History


Wanna get away? Of course you do—we’ve all been a bit stir crazy! The question is how to travel safely. Many Texas Historical Commission (THC) state historic sites have expansive grounds that offer both heritage tourism and outdoor recreation opportunities.

If a night sleeping under the stars sounds perfect, two THC sites have campgrounds. Set amongst the Pineywoods of East Texas, Mission Dolores (left) in San Augustine has 32 campsites with full hook-ups, as well as restrooms with shower facilities and two picnic pavilions. The campground at Fort Griffin in Albany features seven sites with full hook-ups, 19 with water and electric hook-ups, and seven tent sites with water only.

Outdoor activities at the approximately 500-acre Fort Griffin include fishing the stock pond or Clear Fork of the Brazos River, hiking Mill Creek, Mountain, and Wohaw nature trails, observing the Official State of Texas Longhorn Herd (right), and walking through the ruins of the frontier fort. The campground also includes restrooms with shower facilities, a playground, sand volleyball court, horseshoe pit, basketball court, and river access for boating. Two flat-bottom jon boats are available for rent.

On the Navasota River, a relaxing and scenic paddling opportunity awaits at the 5.3-mile Limestone Bluffs Paddling Trail, which begins at Confederate Reunion Grounds in Mexia (left). Kayaks, canoes, and shuttles are available at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Fort Parker State Park, where the flat-water trail ends. Other recreational activities at the 76-acre Confederate Reunion Grounds include fishing, picnicking, birding trails, and group camping.

In La Grange and Washington, you can stretch your legs and experience multiple historic sites in a single location. Kreische Brewery and Monument Hill are adjacent sites encompassing about 40 acres. Four trails combine for more than 1.5 miles of hiking through woods and some steep hills. The trails lead to scenic overlooks, the historic brewery ruins, and the namesake monument that marks the tomb of the men who died during the Dawson Massacre and Mier expedition of 1842. Take a picnic basket or backpack as there are ample spots to stop, spread out a blanket, and enjoy a meal or snack.

The Washington-on-the-Brazos complex in Washington includes three historic sites on about 304 acres: Washington-on-the-Brazos, Star of the Republic Museum, and Barrington Plantation (right). The namesake site is the location of the convention of the provisional government of 1836, where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed. Visitors can explore a replica of Independence Hall on the old Washington townsite, Republic of Texas history at the museum, and the small cotton plantation that was the home of Anson Jones, last president of the Republic of Texas. Three hike-and-bike trails offer more than 3.25 miles to explore, and picnicking and birdwatching can also be enjoyed on the grounds.

Many more outdoor pursuits are available at other THC state historic sites. A few more include fishing at Sabine Pass Battleground (below) near Port Arthur, stargazing at Fort McKavett near Menard, gardening and foraging programs at Caddo Mounds, and enjoying the tranquility of the Japanese Garden of Peace at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg.

Discover more about your state historic sites at Before visiting a site, please check its website or call ahead for hours of operation and Covid-19 safety protocols.

Barrington Plantation
23400 Park Rd. 12
Washington, TX 77880
(936) 878-2214

Caddo Mounds
1649 State Hwy. 21 West
Alto, TX 75925
(936) 858-3218

Confederate Reunion Grounds
1738 FM 2705
Mexia, TX 76667
(254) 472-0959

Fort Griffin
1701 N. U.S. Hwy. 283
Albany, TX 76430
(325) 762-3592

Fort McKavett
7066 FM 864 
Fort McKavett, TX 76841
(325) 396-2358

Kreische Brewery and Monument Hill
414 State Loop 92
La Grange, TX 78945-5733
(979) 968-5658

Mission Dolores
701 South Broadway St.
San Augustine, TX 75972
(936) 275-3815

National Museum of the Pacific War
311 E Austin St.
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
(830) 997-8600

Sabine Pass Battleground
6100 Dowling Rd.
Port Arthur, TX 77641
(512) 463-7948

Star of the Republic Museum
23200 Park Rd. 12
Washington, TX 77880
(936) 878-2214

23400 Park Rd 12
Washington, TX 77880
(936) 878-2214

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Published by Texas Heritage Trails LLC