Filled with iconic history, award-winning restaurants, and a stunning downtown area, Fredericksburg is a convenient stop off of Interstate 95 for travelers journeying between Richmond and Washington D.C. or beyond. When planning a trip (or even a quick detour) to this historic Virginia city, make sure these five Fredericksburg destinations are on your to-do list!
—GARI MELCHERS HOME & STUDIO AT BELMONT—
An early 20th century American artist, Gari Melchers was one of the most successful painters of his time. He lived with his wife in Fredericksburg and built a studio on the property so that he could produce his artwork in the comfort of his own home. Today, the Gari Melchers Home & Studio at Belmont, a National Historic Landmark, houses the largest collection of his paintings and drawings in the world, with over 1,600 total artworks on display throughout the studio and art gallery. After perusing the incredible artwork, visitors can stroll through the restored gardens and peaceful walking trails on this Fredericksburg estate.
—RIVER ROCK OUTFITTER—
Get active and explore the Rappahannock River during your Fredericksburg vacation with a visit to River Rock Outfitter, an outdoor shop that rents kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. The shop also sells gear for kayaking and paddleboarding, as well as fishing, hiking, camping, and climbing accessories. When booked ahead of time, rock climbing, fly fishing, kayaking, photography, and stand up paddleboarding lessons for every age and experience level are available at River Rock Outfitter.
—HISTORIC KENMORE PLANTATION & GARDENS—
Historic Kenmore Plantation & Gardens is a late 18th century estate built by George Washington’s sister and her husband, who was a wealthy merchant and planter in the Fredericksburg area. Sitting on the Rappahannock River, this Georgian-style brick mansion reflects the opulence of Pre-Revolutionary War Virginia and the status of a Fredericksburg merchant in that era. Take a guided 45-minute tour through the home, and then head outside and walk through the gorgeous gardens and grounds at your leisure.
—A. SMITH BOWMAN DISTILLERY—
Stop by A. Smith Bowman Distillery to tour a working distillery that has been making spirits in Virginia since 1935, opening right after Prohibition ended in the Commonwealth. The distillery was moved from its original location in Northern Virginia due to rising real estate and property taxes and opened the expansive Fredericksburg location in 1988. During your tour, you’ll get to see the entire micro-distilling process up close, from the massive copper stills to the small batch bottles of the spirits, including bourbon whiskey, dark Caribbean-style rum, vodka, and gin. Tours are free and start on the hour during daily business hours.
—HISTORIC DISTRICT SHOPPING—
Fredericksburg’s National Historic District contains over 350 original 18th and 19th century buildings. Within four blocks of this historic neighborhood, you’ll find over 100 shops, restaurants, and boutiques, making it a convenient walking area for those looking to peruse local businesses.
After visiting all five of these Fredericksburg destinations, you may have worked up an appetite. Dine at one of these nearby restaurants for an excellent meal to cap off your visit.
Need more ideas for restaurants, historic destinations, and other activities to fill your itinerary during your Fredericksburg vacation? Check out even More Things to Do in this historic Virginia city.