East Texas weekend getaways are just around the corner!
East Texas is among the favorite destinations for family vacations with Texans (me included) – and fair reason. The scenery is green, the weather is a little hot but doable because of the shade from the tall pine trees, and the natural beauty all around is hard to find anywhere else. I do hope you enjoy these East Texas weekend getaways. I’ve been to many of these places.
Plan your road trip to East Texas for fabulous golf courses, national parks, historic sites, and natural beauty that the Piney Woods offers daily. There are plenty of other outdoor activities in this part of the Lone Star State if these activities are not what you’re seeking. See below.
Related: Things To Do In East Texas
Welcome To East Texas Weekend Getaways
A weekend trip could be all you need to make the most of your time in East Texas. Below are seven (7) of my favorite weekend getaways in East Texas and a hidden gem I came across.
Related: 12 Best RV Campgrounds In East Texas
1. Make Caddo Lake An East Texas Weekend Getaway
Caddo Lake has quaint cabins and is an East Texas popular destination any time of year. Caddo Lake State Park is a wonderful state park with cypress trees all around. Find a tour guide to take you on a boat tour on Caddo Lake. I went on one a couple of years ago, but the person I took the tour with is no longer in business. If anything, there are hiking and biking trails for your enjoyment.
Made in the Shade kayak rentals in Jefferson is a great place to shop for hippie-style stuff. They also rent kayaks for the day.
2. Holly Lake Ranch (Near Tyler)
An East Texas hidden gem in the piney woods roughly 2-hrs from Dallas is where you’ll find Holly Lake Ranch. It’s an unincorporated private and gated community with a golf course where an adorable 2-bedroom lake resort cabin is for rent called Hank’s Hideaway.
The cabin is equipped with amenities like home. Enjoy a wood-burning fireplace, a screened-in back patio with a gas fire pit to watch the wildlife go by, and an open concept kitchen perfect for hosting friends and family. These are just a few of the amenities that are my favorite.
The cabin is within walking distance from the two main lakes – Lake Greenbriar and Holly Lake. Holly Lake is a no-wake zone where you can fish, kayak, paddleboat, or canoe. You’ll want to see it all for yourself. Check out Hank’s Hideway on Houfy. FYI – Houfy is a vacation rental site for homes, condos, cabins, and more.
Tyler is only 30 minutes away, boasting antique and vintage shops, wineries, and a local farmer’s market.
3. Jefferson – Quaint Small Town
Jefferson is a great place for romantic getaways with all the bed and breakfast inns in town and those yummy breakfast meals you get served each morning. It’s hard to resist those homemade omelets and pancakes with fresh fruit.
If you’re into local haunts, you might want to book a Historic Jefferson Ghost Tour, or if riding horses is your thing, there is wonderful horseback riding in Marshall (the next town over) with Karma Farms.
Big Cypress Bayou is the name applied to a series of wetlands at the western edge of Caddo Lake, making up part of the largest Cypress forest in the world.
Explore historic downtown either by walking or on a golf cart. Don’t forget to get your picture taken by the iconic blue truck from the General Store. It’s a popular photo thrill! Rent a golf cart and stroll Main Street, perusing the antique shops. Rent golf carts from Made in the Shade kayak. Visit historical homes and museums, and you can choose between historical walking tours or taking a ghost tour at night. Either one sounds nice.
There are lots of chances for outdoor activities, including fishing, boating, swimming, and horseback riding in Marshall (the next town over).
4. The Texas State Railroad In Palestine, Texas
The Texas State Railroad is one of the popular attractions in Palestine that offer train rides through the Piney Woods. I highly recommend doing this at least once. You’ll get to view the natural beauty of East Texas, and if you plan your trip just right, the Dogwoods will be out. They usually start popping out in April. When we were there this past April (2022), they were about a week to two weeks late in blooming, so the above photo is pretty much what we saw.
If you get the chance, go by the farmer’s market they have on Saturdays. It’s located by the visitor center. I found some nice things and put a smile on some girls’ faces when I brought a bag they made from a dog food bag for a fundraiser – it made my day …and theirs.
If romantic weekend getaways are what you’re seeking, consider the Ranch At Walston Springs and look into their romantic cabins. I stayed here earlier this year, and the adorable cabin I was in was decorated in sassy gunslinger decor, and the homemade breakfast each morning was worth the stay.
5. Big Thicket National Preserve – Kountze, TX
Hiking, canoeing, Ranger programs, backcountry camping, cabins to rent, and more is what you can expect at Big Thicket National Preserve. If I had all the time in the world, I’d go here to enjoy the outdoors.
6. Tyler State Park
Tyler State Park offers family fun kayaking and canoeing on Lake Tyler, staying in screened cabins, exploring nature, and viewing wildlife. I have one memory here when I took my first son and niece when they were eight years old. That was so long ago, but I still remember how much fun we had. Consider Tyler State Park as one of your East Texas weekend getaways.
Travel Tip: Depending on which way you’re coming from, visit the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens to see exhibits, learn about fish, and see hatchery and educational programs. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 am–4 pm, and Sunday, 1 pm–4 pm.
7. Visit The Oldest Town In Texas
Nacogdoches is the Oldest Town in Texas. Did you know that? The historic downtown is full of historic buildings and great shopping. I have yet to visit, so I don’t know much about the town. But I hear the history is worth a trip, especially if you are a Texas history buff.
Make it a weekend stay in East Texas.