Washington County East TX towns worth visiting for an excellent history boost and a lot of fun!
It’s full-on history in Washington County, which comprises favored East Texas towns to visit with a load of history in each – and it’s not just Texas history. Did you know that Washington County was named for the first president of the United States – George Washington? Did you know Washington, Texas, is the birthplace of Texas? Today, we are diving into these East TX towns worth visiting in Washington County.
Though you’ll find these small towns in Washington County in the Prairies & Lakes Region in the Texas State Travel Guide, they are all but East Texas treasures.
Washington County is located in southeast central Texas, between Austin and Houston, a short drive from College Station and about a little over a 3-hour drive from Dallas. The town of Brenham holds the highest merit and is the county seat of Washington County. The Brazos River runs in these parts, with many creeks flowing in, such as East Fork Mill Creek and Yegua Creek and many more. Put these East TX towns on your travel bucket list today!
Welcome to the Birthplace of Texas!
4 East TX Towns Worth Visiting In Washington County
From tours of the past to learning more about our forefathers, historic home tours, art walks, and wineries popping up, there is the history of Texas and so much fun for the whole family in Washington County. This area would make a great road trip any time of year.
1. Brenham, Texas
Brenham, TX, is an East Texas treasure filled with historical sites, local history, and the best ice cream in the country! Though I talk a lot about Brenham being known as the home of Blue Bell Creameries, the town is so much more than a cup of ice cream. Brenham won the right to house the Washington County Courthouse.
But, hey, if you’re going there, you must go by the ice cream parlor and grab your favorite flavor for only $1 a scoop (and no tax)!
What To Do In Brenham, TX
• Blue Bell Creameries
See how ice cream is made at Blue Bell Creameries – Home of Blue Bell Ice Cream. Don’t forget to visit the ice cream parlor to scoop up ice cream in a cup for only one dollar. Closed on weekends. Getting Blue Bell ice cream for only $1 a scoop is a huge highlight in the town, but so is watching them make the ice cream from the observation deck. A visiting center also tells the story and the history of Blue Bell. You’ll be able to see videos from the past and ice cream cartons from your childhood.
• Brenham Heritage Museum
• Explore Historic Downtown Brenham
Shopping is a big part of downtown, including Texas-inspired products and gifts. You’ll find many restaurants, entertainment venues, and quaint places to stay overnight.
• Chappell Hill Lavender Farm
Cut your own lavender (in season) at Chappell Hill Lavender Farm (in Brenham but 8 miles to Chappell Hill)
• Flying Horses Antique Carousel
Ride alongside your kids on this fully restored antique carousel from the past. It’s one of only six classic wooden carousels in Texas and is one of the oldest. $1 a ride.
• Brazos Valley Brewing Company
Family and your family dogs are welcome here. Enjoy the taproom serving local craft beers, seltzers, cider, and wine—food truck, playground, and dog-friendly outside.
Where To Eat In Brenham, TX
- Lone Star Southern Grill
- BT Longhorn Steakhouse
- Mescalito Coffee Shop
- LJ’s BBQ – Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas (may sell out)
- Truth BBQ – Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas
Places To Stay In Brenham, TX
Far View B&B
I’ve been to Brenham a couple of times, but the latest was for a dear friend’s funeral, where my mother and I stayed at a bed & breakfast inn. We love to stay at B&B’s for the wonderful breakfasts. It was okay – the breakfast was great, and the grounds were so warm and inviting, but the older man that owns it needs a better attitude if you ask me. He complained a lot.
Bella’s Bungalow B&B
Good Days Quest House B&B
Scenic Hill Retreat Vacation Rental
There are 5 to 6 Hotels in Brenham
Highlights – Festivals – Events In Brenham
- Brenham Maifest – May
- Washington County Fair – September 16-23, 2023 (Oldest County Fair in Texas)
- Texas Arts & Music Festival – October 21 & 22, 2023
- Hermann Furniture Christmas Magic – November 3-5, 2023
- Brenham Christmas Stroll & Lighted Parade – December 2, 2023, 6 pm
2. Burton, Texas
A town filled with history, shopping, and historic buildings, and visitors go when the antique shows come around.
What To Do In Burton, TX
- Visit the graves of the early settlers at Mt. Zion Cemetery and Historical Chapel.
- Feed and pet over 100 alpacas at Peeka Ranch Alpacas.
- See railroad memorabilia at the Railroad Depot Museum and Visitor Center. Free.
- Take a guided tour of how cotton is processed at the Texas Cotton Gin Museum. Fee charged.
- Go by Saddlehorn Winery during the Texas Wine Trail or anytime it’s open.
Where To Eat in Burton, TX
- Burton Short Stop
- Los Patrones Mexican Grill
- Blue Willow Cafe
- White Horse Tavern
Places To Stay in Burton, TX
Pigs Fly Round Top
Highlights – Festivals – Events In Burton
Texas Ranger Day in March
The Cotton Gin Festival in April
Big Star Texas Night – at the historic La Bahia Turn Verein and dance hall – November 11, 2023, 6-11 pm
Christmas at the Depot in December
3. Chappell Hill, Texas
It is a small town with so much to offer, with bluebonnets scattered all over town in the springtime. A booming downtown with shops and boutiques, various dining options, and even a bar or two. All that and two popular festivals bring many visitors to the town each year. While road-tripping here, be sure to see the scenic view on FM 1155 north of Washington.
What To Do In Chappell Hill
- Visit the Chappell Hill Historical Society Museum.
- See heroes from the Texas Republic at Masonic Cemetery.
- Take a tour of the Main Street Historic District.
- Have a wine tasting at Texas Star Winery at 10587 Old Chappell Hill Road
Where To Eat In Chappell Hill
- Bevers Kitchen
- Chappell Hill Bakery & Deli
- Chappell Hill Sausage
Places To Stay In Chappell Hill
- Hackberry Hill Guest Cottages
- The Cottage At Chappell Hill
- Southern Rose Ranch B&B – named Country Living’s Top Ten Amazing U.S. Farm Stays
- Chappell Hill Luxury RV Resort
Highlights – Festivals – Events In Chappell Hill
• More than 25 Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks
• Chappell Bluebonnet Festival of Texas – April 2024
The Chappell Hill Bluebonnet Festival is the Official Bluebonnet Festival of Texas. The festival features spring wildflowers, food, festivities., and of course, bluebonnets!
• Wildflower Drive
In the spring, drive the 80-mile round-trip circuit through Washington County and view all the wonderful spring wildflowers, such as Texas bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, thistles, purple coneflower, verbena, and many others. If you time it just right, you can catch the Bluebonnet Festival in April.
• Chappell Hill Chamber Independence Day Parade
July 4th, 10 am
• Chappell Hill Chamber Airing of the Quilts
September 9, 2023, 10 am – 4 pm.
• Annual Scarecrow Festival
October 14-15, 2023
4. Independence, Texas
The town of Independence was named to honor the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico, with several tours offered there. It’s also the home of Baylor University, which was then moved to Waco in 1886.
What To Do In Independence, TX
• Antique Rose Emporium
An 8-acre garden featuring antique roses, perennials, herbs, wildflowers, and a gift shop. Free.
• Home Tours
View two of the earliest homes of Washington County and a one-room schoolhouse. The Independence Historical Society offers these tours on selected weekends. Call before you go at 979-251-9227. Fee charged.
• Old Baylor Park – Ruins of Baylor University
See the pieces left behind by Baylor University.
• Visit Texas Baptist Historical Center
For places to stay and eat in Independence, see Brenham.
5. Washington, Texas
In March of 1836, Washington, a small, run-down town, sprung up somewhere next to the Brazos River and became the birthplace of Texas. So, as you can see, there is quite a bit of history in these parts. It’s a must-visit place for any Texan historian. My grandson and I went on a tour, and they spoke about what my son was learning in the 5th grade. That was a fantastic parent moment for me.
What To Do In Washington, TX
• Washington-On-The-Brazos State Historic Site
Start your visit at the Visitor Center to check out the exhibits and what all there is to do, then go from there. You will want to visit the site where the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico was created and signed.
See the exhibits, set out on the walking trails, sign up for a guided tour, peruse the gift shop, and bring a picnic to enjoy overlooking the Brazos River.
• Barrington Plantation State Historic Site
See demonstrations of what it was like living on a working cotton farm and how settlers lived back then. Participate in picking cotton and viewing the oxen at work. We had a fun time here, and they even let us take home fruit from the trees.
• Star of the Republic Museum
Where To Eat In Washington, TX
- Asian Cajun Bar & Grill
- Juanita’s Restaurant – hamburgers
- Santee’s Cafe
Places To Stay In Washington, TX
- Mustang Creek Hideaway – 1 home sleeps four on Airbnb
- Coyote Moon Ranch BNB
- Private Live Oak Resort (clothing-optional!)
If you’re out this way, maybe check out things to do in East Texas.
These four +1 East TX towns are close enough together to make a nice Texas History vacation for you and your family.