East Texas Attractions and Things to Do
Athens Area Attractions
Located west of Tyler at the intersection of Texas Highway 64 and Texas Highway 19 is the City of Athens in Henderson County.
Popular Athens area attractions include the widely known and visited Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC), combining outdoor education with a production fish hatchery. 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.
The East Texas Arboretum & Botanical Society provides over 100 acres of natural East Texas nature and beauty. 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. For more information, visit the website of the City of Athens.
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 City of Athens Department of Tourism offers a scenic driving trail for visitors to take this fall season to view the fall foliage of East Texas. Henderson County has breathtaking scenic highways and byways that are identified on the easy to follow interactive map. The 55-mile self-guided driving trail begins and ends at the Athens Partnership Center, located at 201 W. Corsicana Street.
|about Athens attractions and things to do at TripAdvisor|
First Monday is considered the largest free flea market in the United States, and is held on Thursday - Sunday preceding the first Monday of each month.
Up to 100,000 visitors can shop there in a given weekend.
Visit our new site
for details about First Monday venues, market dates, parking, lodging, dining, attractions, the City of Canton and much more information!
The City of Carthage is located in Panola County, Texas, near the Louisiana border. It is located at the intersection of U.S. Highways 59 and 79.
The city is known as the Gas Capital of the United States, and the home of the famous Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Panola College is also located here.
Annual events include the East Texas Oil & Gas Blast, the Piney Woods Quilt Festival and the Rodeo Jamboree.
Edom Attractions and Things to Do
Edom, Texas is just a short drive west of Tyler towards Ben Wheeler and Canton at the intersection of FM 279 and FM 314.
It's a lovely small community of restaurants, art galleries and more. It is also the home to spring and fall art shows well known in all of Texas, and the Second Saturday Art Jam.
We love to visit and have lunch at Edom, and attend the Edom Festival of the Arts.
Held the third weekend in April each year is April in Edom, a street fair for all ages.
Fresh blueberries from Blueberry Hill Farms in Edom
The Second Saturday Art Jam, sponsored by 279 Artisans Trail, includes activities such as exhibits of the works of artists, craft demonstrations, children's art, antique and hot rod car shows, and more.
Along the trail visitors will find 11 artists shops representing 50 artists, antique stores, fresh farm produce, three nurseries/garden centers, a motorcycle/ice cream shop, several music venues, two clothing stores, one bed & breakfast, one spa service, and four restaurants.
279 Artisans Trail is a combined effort of artists and businesses along Farm Road 279 between Edom and Ben Wheeler, dedicated to the promotion of arts and culture through education, entertainment, community interaction and trade.
Artisans in pottery, silver jewelry, glassware, macrame, and leather crafts live in town and operate attractive shops. We like to shop at Zeke & Marty, Arbor Caste Birdhouses, and other shops along the main street.
We also make special trips to Blue Moon Gardens nursery just east of Edom. The quality of all of their plants is excellent, and their selection of butterfly and hummingbird-friendly plants is huge.
The grounds themselves at Blue Moon are very well done and make a great place for walks, and the inside gift shop and garden center are not to be missed! Plus, their new outdoor pizza kitchen is beautiful. Blue Moon also offers a variety of interesting and informative classes, with well known regional instructors such as Midge Jackson.
Nearby is the Texas Rose Horse Park which offers a variety of equestrian events at its beautiful location on Texas Highway 110, just off I-20 at Exit 548.
Located just a few miles west of Edom is the City of Canton, the county seat of Van Zandt County, and home of the First Monday Trade Days.
Gilmer Texas Things to Do
The City of Gilmer is located in Upshur County, Texas, northeast of Tyler, south of Mt. Pleasant. It is located on U.S. Highway 271, and also Texas highways 154 and 155.
Gilmer is known for being the home of the East Texas Yamboree, a four-day event held annually during the third weekend of October. It celebrates the popular crop grown in the area, the sweet potato, or the "yam".
Four miles west of Gilmer is Lake Gilmer.
We love to visit Gladewater, just a quick drive north of Tyler on U.S. Highway 271, and only 13 miles west of Longview on U.S. 80.
It's a great place for exploring East Texas history, and is known for its large number of antique stores, antique malls, and festivals.
Gladewater features a number of restaurants and bed and breakfast inns. Well known festivals include the East Texas Gusher Days in April, the Roundup Rodeo in June, and the Arts and Crafts Festival in September.
A visit to the Gladewater Museum is also recommended. Located just north of town is Lake Gladewater.
During February and March each year, the area is treated to millions of blooming daffodils at Helen Lee's Daffodil Gardens ... we have visited the gardens and highly recommend a trip there. View the Lee Daffodil Gardens photo gallery.
Henderson Texas Tourism and Attractions
Downtown features an active Henderson Main Street Program, and has a number of antique stores and historic markers in the National Register Downtown Historic Square. The first building in Henderson was constructed in 1838.
Upscale shopping, eateries, antiques, floral, dolls, custom jewelry and more are found in stores and boutiques downtown. Henderson also has a variety of restaurants and shopping on Highway US 79/259, the main artery through town.
Henderson features a number of activities and events, such as the Heritage Syrup Festival staged during the 2nd Saturday of November, the Antique Tractor Show, Fourth of July parade, and Downtown at Christmas.
It has both spring and fall festivals, and a Christmas parade and home tour. Popular attractions include the Howard Dickinson House Museum, the Depot Museum Complex of nine buildings which houses a county history museum and a children's discovery center, and the Monte Verdi Plantation.
The countryside around Henderson features rolling hills and many lakes, and wildflower trails dot the surrounding area. The trails are usually at their peaks between April 15 - May 31 of each year.
Just west of Henderson is Joinerville, site of the discovery of the great East Texas Oil Field in 1930 at the Joiner Daisy Bradford No. 3 well. A popular historical destination is the Gaston Museum in Joinerville.
Jacksonville Texas Area Attractions and Things to Do
Jacksonville is known as the "Tomato Capital of the World" from a time when the area was a huge producer and shipper of tomatoes. The Tomato Bowl, a WPA project, is the home of the Jacksonville High School "Fightin' Indians" football and soccer teams.
Annual Jacksonville events include the "Tomato Fest" celebration, the ATV Mud Nationals, and the "Tops in Texas Rodeo" in July.
Jacksonville is also home to the ATV Mud Nationals each March at the Mud Creek Off Road Park. Mud Creek Off-Road Park is located approximately 5 miles northeast of Jacksonville along Highway 79, and spans 4,000 acres.
Lake Jacksonville, Texas ... dam and lakeview (photo by the author)
The Tomato Fest is held annually in Jacksonville, the Home of the World's Largest Bowl of Salsa. It is located at the corner of Commerce and Austin Streets. Events include Tomato Eating Contest, Soccer and Fishing Tournaments, Farmers Market, Salsa Contest, Chili's Street Dance, and more, with over 200 vendors!
Lake Jacksonville, built in 1957, is located three miles southwest of Jacksonville and covers an area of 1,320 acres.
It is the city's main water source and a popular destination for boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities, both for residents and tourists. In the area are also located Lake Tyler and Lake Palestine.
Love's Lookout, elevation 713 feet above sea level (photo by the author)
Just north of the City of Jacksonville, Texas is Love's Lookout. At an elevation of 713 feet, it has long been known for its spectacular views to the east, on clear days as far as 30-35 miles.
Love's Lookout Scenic Park is a great place for walking or for family picnics, and includes a 5,500 square foot facility with restrooms, vending machines, an information center and a sheriff's sub-station.
Located nearby is the Lavender RV Park and Lavender Farm. The park has 24 RV spaces that serve even long RVs, both 30 amp and 50 amp with roomy pull thrus. It is located 5 miles south of Bullard off US Hwy 69. The park is only 8 miles from Lake Jacksonville and 9.9 miles from Lake Palestine, and 23 miles from lake Striker, giving easy access to three lakes. A place to park a boat and trailer is available, as are tent camping and picnic areas.
The RV park also has three acres of land dedicated to growing wonderful healing and refreshing Lavender flowers to relax in. Call 903-617-4731 for more information about the RV park, farm or special events.
Also near Jacksonville is the Cherokee Trace Drive Thru Safari, a wildlife park that is home to an amazing variety of wildlife. See over a dozen exotic and endangered species that thrive in an open habitat similar to their native territory. At your own pace, enjoy a self-guided drive through the hills and open savannahs of this 300-acre preserve.
The House of the Seasons, one the many fine lodging experiences in Jefferson, Texas
It is located on U.S. Highway 59 and Texas Highway 49. The Jefferson Zip Code is 75657, and its Area Code is 903. Its population is about 2,000 residents.
Today, the city is a tourism center, with popular attractions including Jay Gould's railroad car, the Sterne Fountain, Jefferson Carnegie Library, Excelsior House, and the bayous formed by Big Cypress Bayou located in and around the city.
A trip to Jefferson is a journey back through time to a bustling 19th century riverport. Jefferson is a great locale with antique shops lining the original brick streets, horse-drawn carriage tours, and boat trips down the bayou.
|at the Jefferson Travel Guide at TripAdvisor|
Experience the Historic Jefferson Railway, home tours, Christmas parade and festivities, the Jefferson Historical Museum, flea markets, rummage sales, and the Graceful Ghost paddlewheel steamboat on nearby Caddo Lake.
|about things to do in Jefferson at TripAdvisor|
Kilgore Texas Things to Do
Kilgore at one time boasted a single downtown city block with the densest concentration of oil derricks in the world. For more information on Kilgore and its impact on the oil and gas industry, we highly recommend visiting the renown East Texas Oil Museum in Kilgore on Highway 259 at Ross Street, on the campus of Kilgore College. The museum depicts the people and towns of the oil boom using a series of dioramas, movies, sound presentations and antiques. For details, call the museum at 903.983.8295.
Each Christmas, Kilgore lights up its derricks, helping the city maintain its title as the state's official "City of Stars." The lights are turned on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving and remain lit until after January 1. Downtown is also the site of the the Crim Theatre, which dates to the 1930s.
Lindale Texas Attractions and Things to DO
Throughout the year, Lindale residents enjoy a wide variety of fun events and recreational opportunites, ranging from a championship rodeo to community parades, golf tourneys, community banquets/galas and live theatre productions. In addition, the community has numerous organized sports teams for youth and adults.
The Old Mill Pond Museum in Lindale is open to the public on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is located at 2900 S. Main Street (Hwy 69).
Nearby Hideaway Lake is a popular residential area and golfing community. One of Lindale's most well-known natives is country star Miranda Lambert. The Miranda Lambert Store & Red 55 Winery located at 100 E Hubbard Street in Lindale has become a popular tour destination for out-of-area residents.
Just to the west of Lindale is the Texas Rose Horse Park, the venue for many well-known equestrian events and competitions through the year.
The world-famous First Monday Trade Days are located in Canton, a quick 30-mile drive to the west of Lindale.
Linden Texas Things to Do
Don Henley (Photo courtesy of www.EaglesBand.com)
The City of Linden is the county seat of Cass County, Texas, north of Jefferson and south of New Boston. It is often called "Music City Texas". It is located on U.S. Highway 59 and Texas Highway 155.
The Linden Courthouse is a National Registry Historic Building. Linden has strong music roots. It is the home of famous musicians like Rock Star Don Henley, Blues Legend Aaron T-Bone Walker, and others.
Music City Texas Theater, located in Linden, hosts music concerts throughout the year and is a highlight of the area.
Longview Attractions and Things to Do
Longview and the surrounding area has a wide range of attractions to visit year-round for residents and tourists as well as those attending business meetings and conventions.
Gregg County Historical Museum in Longview Texas
From museums to outdoor activities, from art and culture to entertainment venues, Longview has it all!
- Gregg County Historical Museum
- Longview Museum of Fine Arts
- R.G. LeTourneau Museum
- East Texas Oil Museum
Area golf courses and clubs
- Alpine Golf Club
- Longview Country Club
- The Challenge at Oak Forest
- Wood Hollow Golf Club
- Southern Hills Golf Club
Other popular area attractions
- Carmike 10 Movie Theater
- Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards
- Fairhaven Vineyards
- Longview Symphony
- Opera East Texas
- Longview Ballet Theatre
|about Longview attractions and things to do at TripAdvisor|
Hot air balloon races in Longview Texas
The Great Texas Balloon Race has earned Longview the official designation as "The Balloon Capital of Texas" by the Governor of Texas.
Balloon Flights begin the National event with a flight over the City of Longview and continue each morning through over Kilgore, Longview and East Texas Regional Airport. Launch and landing sites change each day as they are always determined by wind and the weather.
Balloon Glows at night entertain crowds with an awesome display of color and excitement. One of the most popular things to do at the event as the public is able to get up close and watch how balloons are inflated and operate.
Lufkin Texas Tourism and Attractions
Downtown Lufkin features numerous unique retail and antique shops, eating establishments, professional businesses, and also includes a historic walking tour describing the history of Lufkin.
The First Street Arts Center promotes East Texas artists whose work ideally captures the Piney Woods experience. Through the Center, area artists, writers, poets, and musicians share their talents with the community in a newly-revitalized downtown Lufkin. And don't miss the mural in Cotton Square Heritage Park.
Also popular with tourists is the Museum of East Texas, the Ellen Trout Zoo, the Texas Forestry Museum, and the Temple Theater in the Angelina Center for the Arts on the Angelina College campus.
Marshall Texas Attractions and Things to Do
Founded in 1841, Marshall is a major city in the East Texas economy, and a large supporter of the arts community and historical preservation. It is often called the "Cultural Capital of East Texas".
Marshall is well known for its "Wonderland of Lights," one of the largest light festivals in the country when lit during the Christmas season, and the original and largest Christmas festival in Texas.
Each evening, visitors can enjoy more than a million lights located in hundreds of displays that showcase Marshall’s historic town square and the Street of Dreams.
Attractions include horse-drawn buggy rides, touring buses, ice skating rinks, snow globe, laser light shows, and more.
The Historic Harrison County Courthouse is the center of events, and visitors enjoy the nightly synchronized light and music shows. Festival activities take place throughout the city, but much of them take place in the downtown square. There is no cost to enjoy the synchronized light and sound show on the courthouse.
Marshall has more than 100 historical markers and medallions, such as the T&P Depot marker (see below), with several sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of Marshall's Victorian homes have been restored, and several function as B&Bs. Also fully restored is the Harrison County Courthouse.
Other popular attractions near the courthouse include the Michelson Museum which showcases the work of Russian-American artist Leo Michelson, and the Visual Arts Center where visitors can watch artists practice their crafts, and shop for paintings.
Mineola Texas Attractions and Things to Do
The Mineola Nature Preserve was dedicated in March of 2011, and built at a cost of $1 million. This beautiful location consists of 2,911 acres on Loop 564 along the Sabine River, and has facilities including wetlands, numerous hiking and equestrian trails, bee hives, extraordinary bird-watching, and more for the outdoor enthusiast.
More than a dozen man-made ponds are located on the property as well as walking trails and pavilions.
The preserve is open daily, from 7 a.m. to sunset. It is home to 193 species of birds, wildlife, buffalo and longhorn cattle. Pullen Pond at the preserve includes water habitats and outdoor classrooms that can be used as teaching opportunities: small ponds, waterfalls and dams, a running stream, wetlands, and deep water and shallow water concepts.
Texas Fisheries stock the pond with catfish and East Texas Woods and Waters funded the construction of a fishing pier near the pond.
The Mineola Bigfoot Paddling Trail on the Sabine River is an 11 mile trail developed by the City of Mineola and Texas Parks & Wildlife, along with the Mineola Nature Preserve. The boat ramp is located on US 69 1.5 miles south of Mineola. The site is located on the west side of the road and the north side of the Sabine River. The trail officially opened in October of 2014 during the preserve’s Nature Fest. Details at Texas Parks & Wildlife
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. This popular lake located on the Sabine River in Hopkins, Rains and Wood Counties, 5 miles northwest of Quitman, and north of Mineola. It was impounded in 1980, and today reaches a depth of 70 feet.
|about Lake Fork|
Mt. Pleasant Texas Attractions
The area is known for its outdoor activities, and great fishing on Lake Bob Sandlin and the state park located there. Also available are a number of parks and golfing opportunities.
Other popular attractions include the Larry Lawrence Antique Car Collection, the Legends & Lawless Museum, the Pleasant Jamboree, the Greer Farm & Ranch, Keith Kridler's Bluebird Trails, Heart's Bluff Game Ranch, Sleepy Hollow Daffodils, Whatley Center for Performing Arts, Willow Oak Art Center.
Nacogdoches Area Attractions
Popular Nacogdoches area attractions include antique shopping, art and athletics events at Stephen F. Austin, boating and outdoor activities on area lakes, the Azalea Trail every March, Deep East Texas Fall Foliage Trail, Holiday in the Pines, and more.
The Caddoan Mounds State Historic Site was the home of Mound Builders of Caddoan origin who lived in the area for 500 years beginning about 800 AD. The 93 acre site in Cherokee County west of Nacogdoches was opened in 1982.
Nacogdoches is considered one of the most historic towns in Texas and its rich heritage attracts visitors from around the world.
Held each year is the popular Nacogdoches Azalea Trail in the spring. Over 25-miles of driving trails are carefully marked and mapped, and walking trails cover the stunning Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden on the campus of SFA, the largest azalea gardens in the state of Texas. details
New York, Texas Area Attractions
New York Texas ZipLine Adventures
Another popular outdoor attraction is the New York Texas ZipLine Adventure, located near the community of LaRue, Texas, about 15-20 minutes east of Athens.
Each ZipLine Tour lasts approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Choose between a 6 ZipLine Tour or the newest 9 ZipLine Challenge Tour with a 1500 ft. line with 2 cable sky bridges leading to a 40 foot zip tower.
Tours are available for ages 5 and up. Certain restrictions apply. A "ground school" coaches those new to the sport.
The ZipLine is located at 7290 CR 4328, LaRue, Texas 75770
For more information, call 903.681.3791.
The City of Paris is located in Lamar County, Texas, between New Boston and Sherman on U.S. Highway 82, and also on U.S. 271 and Texas Highway 19.
It is often called the "Second Largest Paris in the World." Following a tradition of American cities named "Paris", a 65-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower was constructed in 1993. It is home to Paris Junior College.
Pittsburg Texas Area Attractions
The City of Pittsburg is the county seat of Camp County, Texas, located between Gilmer and Mt. Pleasant on U.S. 271, and between Winnsboro and Daingerfield on Texas Highway 11.
It is best known as the home of the giant poultry producer Pilgrim's Pride, and the home of racing legend Carroll Shelby. Pittsburg is also the birthplace of Cavenders Boot City.
Whatley Center for the Performing Arts is located at Northeast Texas Community College and includes both a beautiful theatre and an art gallery. The Whatley Center presents a professional performing arts series, college theatre productions and changing art shows during the season September through May.
Rusk Texas Area Attractions
Take a relaxing train ride through the piney woods of East Texas, enjoy unique special events with your family or relax on a romantic evening train on select dates throughout the season! This historic railroad offers steam train excursions that travel 25 miles through the scenic piney woods and hardwood creek bottoms of East Texas amidst a backdrop of rolling hills, nature and wildlife.
Vintage steam and diesel locomotives take passengers across the celebrated rails of the Piney Woods Route between the quaint East Texas towns of Palestine and Rusk on a 50-mile roundtrip adventure. This quintessential daytrip, only a few hours from the metropolitan communities of Dallas and Houston, will create a memory that will last a lifetime.
Texas State Railroad EMD diesel locomotive No. 125 (photo courtesy of the Texas State Railroad)
Passengers aboard comfortable early-1900 coaches, hosted by friendly and informative attendants, travel along gently rolling hills passing over 24 bridges … one over 1,000 feet long. Unusual railroad structures, such as the locomotive turntable located midway, dot the historic route. Music and points of interest compliment the scenic excursion.
The 4-hour train ride, including an hour layover, is just part of the journey. Passengers will have time to savor both Rusk and Palestine depots which have upscale gift shops and historical story boards.
Trains depart on a varied year-round schedule from Palestine or Rusk. Passengers can choose between train rides pulled by diesel or steam locomotives, depending on time of year and day of travel. The popular Polar Express operates in the latter part of the year.
Steam engine No. 316 of the Texas State Railroad (photo courtesy of the Texas State Railroad)
Visit the website of the Texas State Railroad for information on schedules, tickets, groups, special events, camping options onsite, and reservations.
Sulphur Springs Things to Do
Celebration Market is located in the Downtown District and features local grown produce, homemade arts and crafts, homemade goodies, entertainment and more. Children enjoy the splash pad, bubbles, balloons, and hands-on activities.
The community offers a variety of specialty shops and dining opportunities. The downtown district features a variety of local shops, dining experiences, and an overall cultural expression about the community. It features several activities through the year including the 30 East Music Festival, America's Favorite Farmers Market, Relay For Life, Movies on the Square and many other activities.
The Southwest Dairy Museum and Learning Center, located at 1200 Houston Street, exhibits depict all facets of milk production from an early farm kitchen to the modern day manufacturing of milk products. It also houses an old-fashioned soda bar where visitors can enjoy ice cream treats and light lunches, as well as a souvenir shop.
The North East Texas Symphony is active in Sulphur Springs along with the communities of Greenville, Commerce and Terrell.
Texarkana Attractions and Things to Do
- Four States Auto Museum
- State Line Post Office and Federal Building
- Historic Perot Theater
- Regional Arts Center
- Ace of Clubs House
- Museum of Regional History
- Discovery Place Museum
Things to Do in the Tyler Area
Waskom Texas Area Attractions
The Waskom-Taylor City Park (photo courtesy of the City of Waskom)
Waskom is known as “The Gateway to Texas”, located on the eastern edge of Harrison County on Interstate Highway I-20 at the Louisiana state line.
Waskom is home for over 2,000 residents that enjoy living and raising their family in a small town. It features 9-acre Waskom- Taylor City Park with tennis courts, volleyball courts a city fishing pond and other amenities.
Beautiful Caddo Lake and State Park is about a 30 minute drive north on FM9, where you can enjoy fishing, camping, boating and skiing.
Waskom also features several restaurants where visitors can enjoy some of the best eating in East Texas!
Read more about Waskom.