Midway Island is over 4,600 miles from the hills of Fredericksburg, Texas, but you’d never know it from visiting the Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site. This is the town where Chester Nimitiz was born in 1885—a man who go on to lead the Pacific Fleet and accept the symbol of Japanese surrender at the end of World War II. Though the Texas Hill country looks nothing like the blood-stained atolls and islands of the Pacific, the museum that bears the Admiral’s name is the closest thing civilians get to feeling like they’ve actually been there. Set inside the refurbished walls of the historic Nimitz Hotel, the Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site is part of the National Museum of the Pacific War that spans seven of Fredericksburg’s acres.
The Conning Tower of the USS Pintado sits right outside the building, and a Japanese tank and miniature submarine accompany a collection of over 5,000 items that were used in the War of the Pacific. In 1976, in a symbol of friendship between the two nations, the Japanese government gifted the museum with the Japanese Garden of Peace—and it provides a calming sanctuary from the intense wartime exhibits. The museum is the nation’s only spot dedicated exclusively to the War in the Pacific, and as it continues to grow each year with exhibits, documents, and donations, has gradually become one of America’s best and most comprehensive military museums.
The Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site is open from 9am-5pm daily, with the exceptions of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Christmas Eve. Admission is $14 for adults, $7 for children, and children 5 and under are free. WWII veterans may also visit for free, and tickets are good for 48 hours.