On the Road
Frequently referred to as the Bed-and-Breakfast Capital of Texas, Jefferson has been hosting getaways since the 1830s.
But the queen bee of B&Bs is not its only designation. It's also reputed to be one of the most haunted cities in the United States and is known as the official Bigfoot Capital of Texas (there has been a long history of reported sightings!).
And that’s just scratching the surface of this vivacious, historic town and its lore.
The pre-Civil War town also boasts scenic streets, charming restaurants, picturesque landscapes, and more. Which is to say, there are many layers to discover in this must-explore destination.
Make your accommodations a main event
Where you stay can become a big part of your Jefferson adventure. Both quaint, award-winning bed-and-breakfasts and stately historic hotels are par for the course here — and some of these places are even rumored to be haunted.
The Carriage House is a quintessential B&B with its seven cozy rooms appointed with restored antique furnishings, along with a relaxing wraparound porch and fire pits where you can roast s’mores at night.
There are complimentary wine happy hours and the two-course breakfast with mimosas and Bloody Marys is not to be missed, nor is the four-course gourmet dinner served on Fridays and Saturdays.
Jefferson is also home to the oldest hotel in continuous operation in Texas, The Excelsior House Hotel. This gem of a place has been welcoming travelers since 1858, including famous faces like Oscar Wilde, Lady Bird Johnson, and Steven Spielberg.
But if you like a room with history — in addition to rumors of hauntings — book a stay at the Historic Kahn Hotel, which is considered one of the top 10 haunted hotels in Texas.
In its former life, the building was used as a saloon and brothel where violent incidents and other indecencies occurred dating back to 1865. You may just see some ghost hunters and paranormal groups wandering the premises.
Play ghost hunter
If your hotel isn’t haunted enough for you, join the nighttime Historic Jefferson Ghost Walk every Friday and Saturday. By the glow of lantern light, you'll venture through dark alleyways and courtyards listening to vivid accounts of historic tragedy, murder, and ghostly encounters.
Follow the red-brick road
Jefferson’s historic downtown is paved with red bricks that lead the way to a string of browsable antique shops, fudge shops, and boutiques. Make sure to go to the General Store with its soda fountain, old-time toys and gifts, fresh-made pralines, and candy counter.
Have a "Fiddle dee dee!" moment
You’ll be swept up in the epic romance of the Old South at Scarlett O’Hardy’s Gone With The Wind Museum, which boasts one of the largest private collections of memorabilia from the film.
Count the seconds
Super-specific yet fascinating, the Museum of Measurement and Time shows off 550 American clocks along with early surveying equipment like solar instruments, measuring tools, drafting tools, and calculating devices. And don't miss the 1,500 sets of salt and pepper shakers!
Find “elevated comfort food” at 1852 Austin, which doubles as an intimate concert venue with a state-of-the-art stage in the back.
Housed in a historic 19th-century building downtown, Auntie Skinner’s Riverboat Club has been a highlight in Jefferson since 1983.
With straight-up good food and live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays, Auntie Skinner’s is known nationwide as a Western/biker/community bar and restaurant.
Surrounded by a white picket fence with pecan and dogwood trees, the Stillwater Inn is an 1890s Eastlake Victorian home that doubles as a charming dining destination.
Haywood House Restaurant & Cocktail Bar has an interesting backstory as a grand hotel, history museum, and even a personal residence. It now houses both a restaurant and cocktail bar serving Euro-American cuisine with a Southern flair.
Take a tour
Using a city-provided map on a walking tour or on a narrated tour in a nine-passenger golf cart, you’ll see many of Jefferson’s impressive list of 135 state and nationally recognized historic structures.
Most of the homes have been beautifully restored and preserved, with tours available through several of them, including The House of the Seasons with its beautiful Victorian gardens. There are also carriage rides in town for a different way to scope out the scene.
Discover what else makes Jefferson such a charming-quirky place to visit here.