Welcome to Athens
Located west of Tyler at the intersection of Texas Highway 31 and Texas Highway 19 is the City of Athens in Henderson County. Incorporated in 1902, today its population is over 12,000 residents. Elevation is 489 feet above sea level.
Athens is known as the "Black-Eyed Pea Capitol of the World", and is a Certified Texas Retirement Community. The headquarters campus of Trinity Valley Community College is located in Athens.
Athens Area Attractions and Things to Do
The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and the East Texas Arboretum & Botanical Society are major attractions in Athens.
Other attractions include the Henderson County Historical Museum, the Henderson County Fairgrounds, the Athens Scuba Park, the Cain Center and Cain Park, Lake Athens, and the Tara Winery. Cedar Creek Reservoir is located west of the city, and is a popular vacation destination.
||Attractions & Things to Do in Athens
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Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
Popular Athens area attractions include the widely known and visited Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC), combining outdoor education with a production fish hatchery. The Hart-Morris Conservation Center is a popular venue for a variety of activities.
This $18 million facility was built without the use of state funds even though it belongs to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. TFFC houses a hatchery, laboratory, aquarium, and education center focusing on underwater wildlife in the state’s freshwater streams, ponds and lakes.
Dive shows and tram tours are not offered at any other times except for scheduled weekday youth groups making reservations at least two weeks in advance. If all guests present can be accommodated at the times listed above, no additional dive shows or tram tours will be offered for groups.
It is located at 5550 FM 2495, about four miles east of Athens and 75 miles southeast of Dallas.
East Texas Arboretum & Botanical Society
The East Texas Arboretum is home to beautiful formal gardens, covered pavilions, shaded picnic areas, a children's play garden area and an historic home ... and much more! There are over two miles of rugged nature trails to embark on and a paved, partially landscaped 1/3-mile handicap-accessible trail.
The arboretum covers semi-rugged terrain, and contains hundreds of flower and plant species, many native to North East Texas. Several attractions are found at the Arboretum, such as the Little Red School House, the Wofford House, Discovery Barn, the Dream Garden, Veteran's Wall and the Bee Hive.
It is located at 1601 Patterson Road, Athens, TX 75751
- More information at the website of the ... East Texas Arboretum & Botanical Society or phone 903.675.5630
||East Texas Arboretum
Traveler reviews and photos at TripAdvisor
Athens Scuba Park
The Athens Scuba Park is a world-class dive site, attracting SCUBA divers from across the USA, and the world. A 35-foot deep, 8-acre spring-fed clay pit at the park is on the grounds of the old Harbson-Walker brick factory, one of the area's first industries.
The spring-fed warm waters boast an average visibility of 35’ that can peak at 70’.
Natural white clay was excavated for use in making refractory bricks for fire places from the late 1800s until the 1960s.
Opened in 1987, the park features underwater wrecks of buses, airplanes, and boats, plus caves and other locales suitable for both recreational diving, and the training of new divers.
The park is located at 500 North Murchison Street, Athens, TX 75751
Lake Athens is located about five miles east of downtown Athens, and covers 1,799 acres with a maximum depth of 50 feet. Visitors to the lake enjoy fishing, watersports, kayaking and padddleboarding.
The Lake Athens Marina & RV Park provides a wide variety of services and rentals; other facilities are available, such as the Texan RV Park, Windsor Place RV Estates and the Lone Star Camp. Athens Municipal Water Authority owns and operates Lake Athens for municipal water supply, flood regulation, and recreation.
The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is located on the north shore of the lake.
- More information at the website of ... Lake Athens at Texas Parks & Wildlife
Lake Athens at Sunset
More Scenes Around Athens
Athens ... Hamburgers, Heritage and Texas!
|Athens Texas City Hall
||Henderson County Historical Society Museum
The Cain Center
The Cain Center in Athens is a recreation and aquatic center owned and managed by the City of Athens. Renovations began in May of 2020 and an opening date is to be determined. The Cain Center amenities include a fitness center, open fitness room for classes, pool, racquetball court, basketball court/multi-purpose room, meeting rooms, poolside party rooms, and lounge area.
The pool has three areas: lap swimming lanes, a kids play area, and a therapy or aquatic workout area.
The center is surrounded by a beautiful 85-acre park that includes a disc golf course, softball fields, walking trails, tennis court, pickleball courts, and picnic pavilions.
Phone the Cain Center at 903.677.4430 for more information and opening status/hours.
Athens in Autumn
East Texas Arboretum in Fall
The Athens tourism department offers a scenic driving trail for visitors. The 55-mile Athens self-guided driving trail begins and ends at the Athens Partnership Center, located at 201 W. Corsicana Street, in Athens.
The Athens scenic driving tour meanders along the back roads of Henderson County to view fall foliage at several attractions along the way such as NY-TX Zipline Adventures, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, Lake Athens, East Texas Arboretum, and Tara Vineyard & Winery.
Uncle Fletch Hamburger Festival
Athens is reported to be the locale where the American hamburger was invented by Fletcher Davis in the 1880s at his lunch counter on the north side of the courthouse square. Davis cooked a hamburger steak on his flat grill, and then placed the browned patty between two thick slices of homemade toast, and added ground mustard mixed with mayonnaise, Bermuda onion and sliced cucumber pickles.
History proves that Uncle Fletch Davis did invent the Hamburger and shared his invention at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. The Texas Legislature has proclaimed Athens as the Official “Home of the Hamburger.” Each year in September, Athens hosts the Uncle Fletch Hamburger Festival to celebrate the city’s heritage and enjoy a variety of hamburgers, games, live music and more!
Tara Vineyard & Winery
Tara Vineyard & Winery, the oldest winery in Henderson County, is owned and operated by the Pierce family.
Nestled in among the vineyard is the Tara Inn housed in the historic Murchison home, constructed in the 1880s and relocated from downtown Athens and open for overnight guests.
The winery and tasting room is located 8603 County Road 3914, Athens, TX 75752. Phone 903.675.7023
Christmas Park Land of Lights in Athens
Athens enjoys its annual Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting on the square. The annual lighting of the tree and Christmas parade takes place in downtown Athens and is sponsored by the City of Athens.
Christmas Park Land of Lights is family owned and operated, and located at 1500 NW Loop 7, at Patterson Road. The park is more than 1 mile long and has over 4 million lights, including more than 50 different musical scenes and 50 motion controlled lighted scenes in addition to 7 tunnels and 14 arches, and 1500 wood cutouts.
It is located at Loop 7 and Patterson Road in Athens.
- More details at the website of the ... Christmas Park in Athens or phone 903.675.7469
Hotels and Lodging Accommodations in Athens Texas
Athens has several motels, hotels and other accommodations, including:
The History of Athens
Founded 1850. Named for Athens, Greece. Supply and military training headquarters during the Civil War. Black-eyed peas capital of the world.
Map of Athens Texas (Courtesy of Google Maps)
Important Athens Links
Other Athens Area Attractions
While visiting Athens and East Texas, you may want to take other interesting day trips in several directions:
- Canton - First Monday Trade Days, Texas Horse Park, Splash Kingdom Water Park
- Gun Barrel City - Fishing, boating and outdoor activities around Cedar Creek Lake
- Palestine - Texas State Railroad, Davey Dogwood Park, Dogwood Trails Festival, Anderson County Courthouse
- Jacksonville Texas - Tomato Fest, ATV Mud Nationals, Tops in Texas Rodeo
- Tyler Texas - Municipal Rose Garden, TJC Planetarium, Caldwell Zoo, Tyler Museum of Art, Lake Tyler, Rose Rudman Recreational Trail, Cotton Belt Depot, Goodman-LeGrand House
- Lake Tyler - swimming, boating, fishing, skiing close-in to Tyler
- Lake Palestine - Boating, fishing, skiing and camping, just south of Tyler
- Bullard - just south of Tyler, home of wineries and the Freedom Museum
- Edom Texas - Art galleries, Festival of the Arts, Artisans Trail, Blue Moon Gardens
- Mineola Texas - Mineola Nature Preserve, Bigfoot Paddling Trail
- Lake Fork - At 27,264 acres and 315 miles of shoreline, Lake Fork was designed to be a premier bass fishing lake and currently holds records for 34 out of the Top 50 largemouth bass caught in Texas.