See why we think these 7 reasons to visit Palestine, TX, with kids, will have you returning!
Palestine, TX, is located in East Texas, about 110 miles from Dallas and a 2.5-hour drive from Houston, Texas. It’s home to over 1,800 historical sites, including museums, churches, buildings, monuments, and cemeteries. My two teen daughters were fascinated by the rich history of Palestine! The entire town exhibits historic architecture from the early 1800s through the 1950s. I hope you find these reasons to visit Palestine, TX, with your family as joyful as we did.
My Family’s Top Reasons to Visit Palestine, TX
My family and I had three amazing days in Palestine, and it was one of the most enjoyable towns we’ve experienced. Palestine is the perfect setting to relax and enjoy time together.
1. Palestine’s Historic Sites
We discovered that Palestine is home to one of the thirteen remaining Carnegie Library buildings in Texas and admired the Anderson County Courthouse, which strategically stands on the highest hill in Palestine. Other popular attractions include the Museum for East Texas Culture and The Texas Theatre.
Sacred Heart Church
I loved visiting the Sacred Heart Church on the National Register of Historic Places (above photo). Its architecture is stunning, and it is one of five remaining churches of Victorian Gothic Style of handmade brick in the state of Texas. We were impressed with Italy and France’s beautiful stained glass windows and the “The Transfiguration of Christ” mural, hand-painted in the 1920s and retouched in 1946.
Texas State Railroad Society
My girls enjoyed the Texas State Railroad Society’s presentation at the Railroad Heritage Center. They couldn’t stop talking about the artifacts and memorabilia they saw, including a model train display.
The Texas State Railroad is the oldest heritage railway in Texas, and The Railroad Heritage Center is dedicated to preserving, conserving, and restoring this treasure.
You can travel aboard the historic Texas State Railroad, which offers steam and diesel excursions, and even take a 60-minute round-trip journey to the North Pole in your pajamas at Christmas with The Polar Express™ rides (when available).
2. Outdoor Fun Things To Do In Palestine, TX
Davey Dogwood Park
Natural beauty surrounds Palestine. We loved our drive through Davey Dogwood Park, which features 5.5 miles of paved driving trails in a 254-acre forest. There is no fee to visit the park. Open from dawn to dusk daily, and picnic tables are everywhere.
My family and I were most excited to see the Fairy Gardens and walk and hike together in this green, beautiful setting. You will love the white blossoms of the Dogwood trees. In fact, “Seeing the Dogwood Blooms in Palestine” made #56 on Texas Monthly’s “The Bucket List: 63 Things All Texans Should Do Before They Die.”
The locals say that coming back in the fall when colors transform, is a must!
One of the highlights of our stay in Palestine was attending the Chuckwagon Races, where different teams from all across the Southern states gather to race their horse-drawn wagons. It was so thrilling!
These races happen in April.
3. Restaurants in Palestine, TX
If you’re looking for somewhere to have a tasty breakfast, we recommend the Eilenberger Bakery. My family visited the shop, and we were amazed at the variety and the globally acclaimed recipes they boast.
Pint And Barrel Drafthouse In Old Town
We had a delightful lunch at the Pint & Barrel Drafthouse in Old Town, Palestine. The restaurant provides board games for use, and my teenagers and I challenged each other with a round of Scrabble while my little one played with blocks. The dartboard was a hit, too!
Cream And Coffee
We had a divine time at Cream and Coffee, a stop where you can refuel drinks and eat delectable gelato. Their mango sorbet was a great way to end our afternoon!
The Oxbow Bakery
Dessert Anyone? The Oxbow Bakery is your answer! It was named one of the top 5 places in Texas to get pie by the Texas Highways Magazine, and it’s conveniently located in Old Town Palestine, within a short distance of several restaurants!
Switch Brick Oven Pizzeria And Wine Bar
Switch Brick Oven was the perfect mommy-daughter dinner date. We loved the atmosphere and the best pizza we’ve ever had. The Switch Brick Oven pasta was incredibly delicious, too! Look them up on Facebook.
4. Southern Hospitality In Palestine, Texas
My daughters and I fell in love with the people in Palestine. The staff at the Palestine Visitor Center are friendly and pleasant and provide you with the maps and tools you will need to enjoy Palestine to the fullest!
The Ranch At Walston Springs
Since Palestine has a variety of charming BnB in restored Victorian homes, we decided to stay at The Ranch at Walston Springs, an enchanting 1891 escape in the woods, where we felt spoiled with the best of attention.
Historic Redlands Hotel
If you want to stay in town, the Historic Redlands Hotel is ideal. Jean Mollard graciously offered to tour this elegant hotel, built in 1914, which she has owned for over 40 years. The Redlands Hotel has a restaurant, an art gallery, and a boutique! The Redlands Hotel is one of the only railway hotels with a perfect mixture of modern and antique decor.
5. Unique Shopping Experiences
Our first stop was Braly’s Hardware Store, where they had everything from house paint to porch swings. The rumors about Braly’s being “the coolest hardware store on the planet” are confirmed.
The Palestine Main Street District is fabulous for a leisurely walk with the family. You can explore little antique shops and boutiques like Over Yonder Crafts, Broken Boutique, Duncan Depot, and Wells Creek Crossing, which offer exquisite treasures and vintage finds. And don’t forget Old Town Palestine. There are wonderful places there too to shop.
6. Art is Everywhere!
We explored the Annual Art Tracks, which feature outdoor sculptures throughout Main Street. The historical monuments are interesting, helping kids learn while having fun.
We ended up walking all around town in our quest. I think this would make for quite a fun scavenger hunt!
Science For Learning
Favorite to Tour the NASA Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, led by an incredible scientist (who works on balloon launching and programming). Who would have thought Palestine was home to one of the four sites in the world for launching unmanned high-altitude balloons?
The Curious Museum is a better fit for the little ones to enjoy hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these reasons to visit Palestine, TX. There are many more reasons here – Mother-Daughter Visit To Palestine, TX.