Outdoor things to do in Jefferson, TX, for the outdoor enthusiast.
Jefferson, TX, is located in the beautiful piney woods of East Texas. The town is part of the National Register of Historic Places with some of the best historic buildings, museums, historic bed & breakfast inns, and a charming downtown. If you plan to spend time here, you’ll love these fun outdoor things to do in Jefferson, TX.
The town of Jefferson is considered one of the best weekend getaways for couples and families (though I went solo and loved it). It also has many outdoor adventures for people who love the outdoors. Whether you’re interested in Texas history, outdoor experiences, or shopping, the town of Jefferson has something unique to offer to everyone who visits.
Fun Outdoor Things To Do In Jefferson, TX
For many years, Jefferson was one of the best places, if not the best town to visit, for its fabulous bed & breakfast inns. Back then, it was literally someone’s home. Visitors came to the quaint town of Jefferson in the 80s & 90s to shop at the antique shops and cute boutiques, see the historical sites in town, and, of course, enjoy one of the many bed and breakfast inns –and still today, the same thing. Most B&Bs in town serve an amazing and unforgettable breakfast each morning you are there. Mine did.
People visit the town to enjoy fishing at Caddo Lake, visit the bayou, and tour the town’s history. Or perhaps some folks hoping to find Big Foot among the cypress trees!
B&Bs are still around, and I saw plenty, but not necessarily someone’s home, but rather a house turned into a bed and breakfast with no one living there full time. But of course, if you don’t like staying in a home like this, plenty of cabin rentals and RV Parks are nearby. Great for the fishermen, I suppose.
But if you like shopping in small towns and the outdoor life, I think you’ll find Jefferson exciting. I like it all, and this town has that.
White Oak Manor B&B In Jefferson
I spent two nights and three days in Jefferson and wanted to find fun things to do outside. Though it rained the entire time I was there, I did manage to go on two outdoor adventures I went there to do. But first, let me tell you where I stayed. I loved it, and the breakfast alone is worth booking your stay here!
After searching high and low for a quaint B&B, I chose to stay at the White Oak Manor Bed and Breakfast. I was glad and pleased. The breakfast on both mornings was top-notch. I met a couple staying at the same place, and the owner played his guitar for us on the porch. It was really nice.
Breakfast At White Oak Manor B&B
The above photo is my first breakfast. It’s a German pancake topped with blueberries drizzled in butter and syrup. I’ve never had a pancake made this way—it was delish! At the time of my visit, I was doing intermittent fasting and skipping breakfast, but I wasn’t about to skip this one! The next morning’s breakfast was a stuffed croissant with bacon, cheese, and egg. And I didn’t skip that one either – priorities!
There Are Plenty of Outdoor Things To Do In Jefferson, TX
Below are popular outdoor things to do in Jefferson. You may need more than a weekend to do them all! But these are a few things everyone who visits likes to do.
• Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge
So, I lost a day of activities because of the rain. The rain came out of nowhere and didn’t stop all day. Everything I had planned that morning and into the day got canceled. Instead of just sitting around, the couple I met at the B&B asked if I wanted to tour Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge with them in their car. Through the rain, we managed to enjoy the scenery and the deer we saw, and we also spotted a few birds native to the refuge. There’s an actual marked Auto Tour Route you can take.
• Caddo Lake Bayou Tours
Caddo Lake – an East Texas treasure, is the only natural lake in Texas (our boat tour guide said so) and home to the world’s most significant Bald Cypress Forest with Spanish moss hanging from the trees. There’s something spooky about 400-year-old Cypress trees. I felt like I was in a scary movie as we strolled through the swamp next to a haunted house.
Maybe I stretched that a little, but there have been quite a few movies filmed at Caddo Lake, including The Legends of Boggy Creek and the TV show, True Bloods. Rick, the owner of Caddo Lake Bayou Tours, told us some people saw Bigfoot there. This is a must-see tour when planning a trip to Jefferson, Texas.
• Caddo Lake State Park
Over 26,000 acres of cypress swamp, Caddo Lake State Park is one of the best state parks in Texas, where you can fish on a pier, from the bank, bring your own boat, paddle to Saw Mill Pond and the Big Cypress Bayou, hike, geocache, and camp in tents or historic cabins.
Are there alligators in the park? Yes, there are!
• Tour Jefferson On A Guided Shuttle Bus
Enjoy a 1-hour narrated scenic tour in a covered shuttle from a local. You’ll get a look at some of Jefferson’s most adorned historic homes, bed and breakfast homes, historical structures, and the downtown shopping area while learning about the history of Jefferson. Check out Tour Jefferson.
• Tool Around Town In A Golf Cart
Grab a map and brochures at the Visitor Center and tool around town at your leisure. There are several ways to find golf cart rentals.
- Ask the Visiting Center for the phone number to rent a golf cart.
- You might spot a golf cart on the road or parked with the phone number on it. This is how I knew about it.
- Or – just Google – golf cart rental Jefferson, TX.
Be sure to stop by the Jefferson General Store for a nostalgic souvenir and get a photo of the iconic blue truck parked out front of the store. It’s an Instagrammable thing to do!
• Update On The Historic Jefferson Railway
Oct. 2023 – the owners have retired and are no longer running excursions. The locomotives are FOR SALE. Visit the Historic Jefferson Railway for more information.
• Rent A Kayak Or Canoe
There are several places in town where you can rent kayaks and canoes. Made In The Shade is one place. It is a hippy boutique that sells clothes and funky stuff and rents bicycles, kayaks, and golf carts. Call (903)665-8966 to ensure these are available for rent.
• Haunted Things To Do In Jefferson TX
Ghost Tours, Haunted Houses, Historical Cemetery
The Historic Jefferson Ghost Walk Tour is a 1.5-hour historic haunted walk tour at night through dark alleyways and courtyards, listening to vivid accounts of historical tragedies, murders, and ghostly encounters. It’s the most requested tour in town if you’re inclined to do so. After your walking tour, scope out one of the haunted houses in town. I hear there are a few! And, while you’re at it, visit the historic Oakwood Cemetery.
And don’t forget Caddo Lake – it’s haunted, too!
Are you into ghost stories and other haunted areas? You may want to know about the other local haunts to visit in Texas.
• Take A Carriage Ride Through Town
Check out Jefferson Texas Carriage Rides for a memorable carriage ride through town with your loved one.
• Karma Farms Horseback Riding
I love horseback riding. I always seek out the nearest place to ride where ever I go. There’s something about being on a horse out in nature that I can’t explain. Karma Farms is located in Marshall, TX – just a short drive from Jefferson. They offer trail riding on beautiful Colonial Horses by reservation only.
My horse ride was excellent. It was just the owner and me; she taught me how to lean when going up and down a hill. I also got to trot on the horse. I loved it, and it was an unforgettable ride. Karma Farms has excellent reviews on TripAdvisor.
The Beautiful Jefferson Carnegie Library
The Jefferson Carnegie Library, built in 1907, is part of the Texas Historical Foundation and still stands today as the Jefferson Public Library.
Stay At The Excelsior House Hotel
The Excelsior is the oldest hotel that operates today without interruptions in Texas. Across the street is Jay Gould’s railroad car. If you’re looking for something different other than a B&B, try this place. It’s located on a side street downtown and is within walking distance of all shops.
This is one solo trip that I’ll never forget. East Texas is so beautiful, and I didn’t realize how much history is in Jefferson.