Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park America’s Best Idea: National Park Getaway
JOHNSON CITY, Texas – There’s plenty to see at this peaceful destination in Texas Hill Country. The Johnson Settlement, Lyndon B. Johnson’s Boyhood Home, and the LBJ Ranch represent three eras in American history: the post-Civil War age of the cowboy; the 1920s of Johnson’s youth; and the mid-20th century, when Johnson served in Congress and the White House, where he supported civil rights, antipoverty measures, and education.
At the Johnson Settlement, Texas Longhorns graze, twitch their tails, and show off their namesake headwear to visitors kept safe by corral fences. Like the Johnson Settlement, home to the president’s grandfather during the mid-19th century, the LBJ Ranch also features hoofed and lowing attractions – Herefords in this case. In addition, this working cattle ranch includes the Texas White House, as the Johnsons’ home came to be known, which welcomes visitors to certain rooms, including the president’s office.
While the ranch channels the 1960s, LBJ’s Boyhood Home takes you back even further, to the 1920s. The home is furnished in styles of this decade. And, it’s not only the park’s sites that tap into the past, but also the objects and exhibits. The visitor center displays campaign memorabilia and White House china and presents President Johnson’s biography and achievements. The president’s automobiles—his 1934 Ford Phaeton, his Amphicar, and more—await car-lovers in the airplane hangar near the Texas White House.
Families considering a getaway to the park might want to time their visits to coincide with Family Fun Weekend. On October 11 and 12, children and adults can join walk/run events of varying lengths and bicycle through the ranch with the president’s daughter Luci Baines Johnson. The park also offers families holiday splendor and fun with the illumination of Lyndon Johnson’s hometown.
But it doesn’t have to be Christmastime for visitors to LBJ National Historical Park to be dazzled. Artifacts and architecture, bovines and bike tours, Texan ranching and U.S. history—all are here, ready to impress.