Getting on the Water in East Texas
Rivers, lakes, wetlands, and bayous crisscross East Texas. They're a distinctive aspect of the Piney Woods landscape, offering plenty of options for fun in, on, and under the water.
Canoeing on Caddo Lake
Caddo Lake is as unique as they come, and once you see it, you will never forget it. The lake's surroundings are a network of waterways with bayous, sloughs, wetlands, and ponds, all looking built for a peaceful paddle. A canopy of bald cypress trees clothed in Spanish moss frames everything.
Caddo Lake State Park has more than 50 miles of paddling paths in and surrounding it, and canoes may be rented from the park. Overnighters can pick from basic campsites, screened shelters, and even historic cottages, while day visitors can go hiking and picnicking.
Diving at Athens Scuba Park
East Texas is the place to go if you've never scuba dived to a sunken jet. Visit Athens Scuba Park, a full-service diving resort with 35 submerged wrecks and 11 dive piers set around an eight-acre lake. Visibility is usually around 35 feet, although it can go up to 70 feet.
Expect to have all of your needs met—they have all of the necessary equipment, training, classes, and (night-diving!) excursions. It's also easy to be on the lake morning, noon, and night thanks to their tent and RV campsites.
Athens Scuba Park
Fishing on Lake Fork
If you like bass fishing, you've probably heard of Lake Fork, which is located 50 miles north of Tyler on the Sabine River. It has some astounding numbers: There are 315 miles of shoreline and 34 of the top 50 largest largemouth bass in the state. Are you looking for a trophy bass? You've arrived. (Crappie and catfish are also plentiful.)
Anglers aren't the only ones who come to Lake Fork. Skiing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming are all available on its vast seas. Birders will not be disappointed.
Paddling the Neches River
The Village Creek Paddling Trail, which runs along a segment of the Neches River, is one of the most rewarding in the state. Egrets and herons emerge from the flatwater, and streams, oxbow lakes, and sloughs are lined by cypress and hardwood trees. Furthermore, the path is divided into portions that are easy to reach, making day visits a breeze.
The Neches flows through Big Thicket National Preserve, which is known as the "biological crossroads of North America," with more species than any other similar-sized area on the continent. The route has five entry places, ranging from a few miles east of Kountze to Lumberton's Village Creek State Park.
Camping at Bouton Lake
The majority of the lakes in Texas are constructed reservoirs, however Bouton Lake in the Angelina National Forest is one among them. It has long attracted quiet fisherman and respite-seeking campers due to its small size and serene nature.
Bouton Lake Campground is a no-fee, primitive campground that aims to be as rustic and private as possible. Hike the Sawmill Trail through the bottomland hardwoods and into the cypress forest, swim, paddle, and picnic, and don't worry about your neighbors—there are just seven total campsites.
Swimming at Daingerfield State Park
This state park advertises a "cathedral of trees," which is not misleading. Daingerfield is peaceful and personal, with each visitor sharing space with pines, red oaks, walnuts, maples, and dogwoods—in the fall, you'll swear you're in New England.
It's all centered around a spring-fed lake with excellent swimming (boats are allowed on the water, but the speed limit is 5mph). The park offers rents paddleboats, paddleboards, canoes, kayaks (single and tandem), and flat-bottom boats, in addition to meditation floats.
Daingerfield State Park Lake
Splashing into Lake Tejas
Lake Tejas, in Colmesneil, is much more than a lake. With diving towers, sandy beaches, fishing and cannon-balling docks, water volleyball, covered picnic tables, and typical summertime fare from the Tejas Grill, it doubles as an old-school waterpark. Rent inner tubes and paddleboats, or bring your own kayak or canoe to locate a peaceful spot all to yourself.
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