Where Are the Best Parks in East Texas?

Home to a diversity of ecosystems, Texas overflows with national, state and privately owned parks available for us to explore. With the Go Outside series from First Choice Power, we’ll take you all across this great state to visit both well-known public parks and lesser-known spots that are privately owned, but open to the public.

On this journey to discover the best parks our state has to offer, we take you to East Texas. East Texas is home to the Piney Woods, those sky high loblolly pines that tower above the landscape and paint the land green for as far as the eye can see.

Wildlife, fishing, camping and great hiking await out east. Let’s take a look at our favorite spots to spend the day, or weekend if you wish.

Lake Livingston State Park

Where Are the Best Parks in East Texas? | The Light Lab

If you or anyone you know are fishermen, then Lake Livingston is your spot. Bass fish is the catch of the day here, and while May and June are the best season to fish, you can find them year round. With three public boat ramps and a fish-cleaning station, it’s the perfect place to spend the day on the boat with friends and family – just be sure to take your fishing license with you!

If you don’t have your fishing license but still want to fish at the park, just drop a line from the pier – as permission to fish is included with your entry fee to the park! And if you’re feeling competitive, try to beat some of the water body records for fish caught in Lake Livingston.

Lake Livingston is also a great spot to swim, hike, camp, geocache, bird watch and take in nature. Bring a picnic, but be sure to keep an eye out for alligators!

Daingerfield State Park

About one hour southwest of Texarkana is the little town of Daingerfield, home to Daingerfield State Park. In 2011, the park underwent a $5 million renovation. Some of the upgrades include nice bathrooms with hot showers for campers staying overnight!

There are also cabins for rent, and can accommodate large groups up to 15, or smaller groups from 4-6. The views from the cabins are excellent, showcasing views through the pines over the park’s lake. Cabins include a kitchen, coffee maker, refrigerator and air conditioning. You want to book a cabin in advance as they do fill up.

Where Are the Best Parks in East Texas? | The Light Lab

Picking, nature study, fishing and relaxing are a few of the many things to do here. You can also enjoy the water by either swimming or renting equipment. Paddle boards are available to rent from Spring Break to Labor Day, and other boating rentals such as paddle boats, kayaks and canoes can be rented year round.

Mission Tejas State Park

An hour and a half northeast of Huntsville is Mission Tejas State Park, located on the northern edge of Davy Crockett National Forest. A place to camp, picnic, hike and fish, visitors can come to soak up the beauty of the East Texas Pineywoods in this 660 acre park. Head here late March to see the beautiful dogwoods in bloom.

Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934, it is a commemorative representation of Mission San Francisco de los Tejas, the first Spanish mission in the province of Texas which was established in 1690. The park also features the restored Rice Family Log Home built in 1828 and restored in 1974. This historical home served as a stopover for immigrants and adventurers traveling the Old San Antonio Road across pioneer Texas.

Caddo Mounds State Historic Site

Where Are the Best Parks in East Texas? | The Light Lab

While you’re in the area of the Mission Tejas State Park, head to Alto, and visit the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site.

More than 1,200 years ago a group of Caddo Indians, known as the Hasinai, built a village 26 miles west of present-day Nacogdoches. This site was the southwestern-most ceremonial center for what is known as the great Mound Builder culture.

Present day, three earthen mounds rise from the lush Pinewoods landscape, where visitors can learn about the everyday life and history of this ancient civilization. There is a trail loop .7 miles in length, where visitors can walk among this sacred ground, uninterrupted by man made buildings and structures. The historical site also includes a museum.

So what are you waiting for? Gather the family in the car and explore your next favorite state park in East Texas this weekend!

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About 

Born in Australia, Ebony has been in Texas long enough to consider herself a Texan-Aussie. Ebony has been writing for magazines, newspapers, and blogs, for more than 10 years. When she's not writing she's building quilts, growing her own food, or camping with her family somewhere far from the sounds of the city.