Palestine Texas is a historic East Texas city featuring Victorian homes and bed & breakfasts, a variety of attractions, and modern hotels and restaurants.
Over 1,800 historical sites are located in Palestine, the county seat of Anderson County. The city, which has about 20,000 residents, is located at the intersection of U.S. highways 79 and 287, at the center of the county. It is about 47 miles southwest of Tyler via Highway 155, and 150 miles north of Houston. Settled in 1846, it experienced growth during the coming of the railroad era in the 1870s.
Hotels and Accommodations in Palestine Texas
Palestine has several motels, hotels and other accommodations.
Accommodations in nearby Tyler include a Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Select, Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Homewood Suites, Country Inn & Suites, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn, and others.
Palestine Area Attractions
A wide variety of attractions welcome the visitor to Palestine, including the Anderson County Courthouse, the Texas State Railroad, the Palestine Community Forest, and Elmwood Gardens. Davey Dogwood Park is home to more than 200 acres of picturesque roads meander throughout the park.
The park is featured during the annual Texas Dogwood Trails Festival in March and April. Admission is free.
Texas State Railroad
Texas State Railroad station in Rusk (photo courtesy of the Texas State Railroad)
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.
In 1881 prisoners from the East Texas Penitentiary built 1.3 miles of railroad track. In 1909, the final ties were laid, connecting Rusk with Palestine. Over a century later, the Texas State Railroad whisks passengers back in time to when steam locomotives were king and diesel power was in its infancy. Each season, with the spring blooms of Dogwoods or the autumn red of Sumacs, is more sensational because it’s viewed from a train.
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.
Steam engine No. 316 of the Texas State Railroad (photo courtesy of the Texas State Railroad)
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.
Visit the website of the Texas State Railroad for more information on schedules, tickets, groups, special events, camping options onsite, and reservations.
Texas State Railroad's steam engine No. 28 (photo courtesy of the Texas State Railroad)
Inside one of the luxurious Texas State Railroad cars (photo courtesy of the Texas State Railroad)
Vintage Postcards from Palestine
Garrett Motor Company, downtown Palestine, Texas
I. and G.N. General Office, Palestine, Texas
I. & G. N. Railway Employees Hospital, Palestine, Texas
Historic postcard of Tex Ann Motel Palestine, Texas
Reagan Park in Palestine, Texas