17 Epic East Texas Towns + Cities to Visit

Featuring the beautiful Piney Woods, unique landscapes like Caddo Lake, and dreamy small towns, it’s safe to say that there are plenty of beautiful places to visit in East Texas!

While non-Texans may think first of the wide-open plains or the charm of the Hill Country when they think of Texans, lifelong Texans know that the beautiful cities and towns in East Texas may just be the state’s best-kept secret.

Here are the best East Texas towns and cities to visit on your next road trip or weekend getaway!

pink azaleas blooming in huntsville, one of the best cities in east texas to visit

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Beautiful Cities + Towns in East Texas

Nacogdoches

Nestled just in the heart of the East Texas region, Nacogdoches, Texas has some of the most unique and authentic experiences. 

Known as the Oldest Town in Texas, it is home to many landmarks such as Stephen F. Austin University, and close to others like a Caddo Mounds.

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A local favorite attraction is the Azaela Gardens, winding paths and hedges that are full of vibrant, blooming flowers.

Take a stroll down the city’s famous downtown strip for a fun day of shopping and dining, or stroll down to the town’s center to check out their Charles Bright Visitors Center.

intricate victorian home in downtown nacogdoches, one of the best places to visit in east texas

Brenham

Full of art, culture, and music, the town of Brenham, Texas is sure to check everything off your next trip’s itinerary.

Stop by the Unity Theatre to see a play conducted by some of the town’s finest actors and actresses, or check out one of their many art galleries.

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After visiting Old Baylor Park, grab a ride at Magnolia Sun Rentals to explore the city in a most unique fashion. 

And, of course, no trip to Brenham would be complete without a visit to Blue Bell Creameries–you can even stop by their on-site parlor for a scoop or two.

The city of Brenham is constantly holding live music and events year-round, so be sure to stay up to date on all that is occurring during your next trip!

black old fashioned ice cream truck as seen in brenham blue bell tour

Marshall

Situated on the eastern edge of Texas, Marshall has everything from a beautiful downtown to one-of-a-kind events to appreciate and explore. 

Start off with a spooky Ghost Hunt at the Gregg County Historical Museum, or hop on a boat for one of Captain Ron’s Swamp Tours.

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While taking in this enchanting East Texas town, be sure to stop by Bear Creek Smokehouse for some authentic barbeque. 

If visiting during the holiday season, be sure to include the city’s Wonderland of Lights on your bucket list–the festival makes Marshall one of the best Christmas towns in Texas!

County courthouse in Marshall, one of the best Christmas towns in Texas, lit up with holiday lights

Jefferson

The quaint town of Jefferson, Texas is one of the oldest and more historic towns in the Lone Star State. 

Full of unique museums and landmarks, Jefferson is the perfect destination for any history buff or outdoor lover (Jefferson is located right next door to Caddo Lake State Park). 

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Take a guided tour of The Grove district or the Jefferson Railway, home to the famous Jay Gould’s railroad car.

Be sure to check out Old Mill Antiques or the Jefferson Antique Mall for some of the best vintage finds!

Jefferson is also famous for its delightful bed and breakfasts that are housed in historic homes, so be sure to check in for a night or two when exploring the best towns in East Texas.

sign advertising pralines sodas ice cream coffee in front of the jefferson general store, one of the best jefferson attractions

Palestine

There may be no better town in East Texas to use as a base for exploring the Pineywoods than Palestine, Texas!

Soak up the sun during a day well spent at Lake Palestine, or take a bike ride through Davey Dogwood Park.

For a walk through time, take a tour of the centuries-old Old Town Palestine to observe the beginnings of this beautiful town.

From locally-sponsored plays at the Texas Theatre to homegrown cuisine, the town’s Main Street District has just about everything to check off on your must-see list. 

Finally, round off your visit by enjoying the main attraction: a ride on the historic Texas State Railroad!

front facade of oxbow bakery in palestine texas

Crockett

Crockett, Texas has some of the most unique attractions that are authentic to East Texas culture.

Take a guided tour through the Houston County Museum to witness the history of both the town and state or stroll through the famous Caddo Mounds just outside of town.

The David Crockett Spring, located where the Texas hero once camped, exhibits some of the town’s most historical landmarks.

Have a picnic at Mission Tejas State Park, or grab a bite to eat and listen to some live music at Camp Street Cafe. 

log cabin at davy crockett spring in crockett, one of the best east texas towns to visit

Longview

With its wide variety of art and its famous World of Wonders, the East Texas town of Longview has something to explore for the whole family. 

The first stop is the amazing World of Wonders, a museum that will truly take you back in time. 

Next, visit the town’s Veterans Plaza to see monuments and replicas commemorating all those who served in the Vietnam War.

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Rent a kayak and paddle through Martin Creek Lake, or hike through the city’s Paul Boorman Trail.

Stop by Pietro’s for some delicious Italian cuisine, or savor your sweet tooth at La Cabane de Dessert.

Finally, savor one of the most unique attractions in East Texas and take a hot air balloon flight!

It may even convince you to return to East Texas for the Great Texas Balloon Race, which is held in Longview each year.

colorful hot air balloon over longview, one of the best things to do in east texas

Huntsville

The city of Huntsville is home to the Sam Houston State Bearcats and some East Texas great attractions!

After stopping by the larger-than-life Sam Houston statue, take a walk through the miles of winding trails in the Sam Houston National Forest or Huntsville State Park.

After your stroll, cool off at the Blue Lagoon with some scuba diving and snorkeling adventures.

When night rolls around, get a table at Tesha Vineyard or catch a show at the Old Town Theatre. 

jeremy storm and ranger storm in front of giant sam houston statue in huntsville texas

Paris

Rather than spending time on a nine-hour flight to Europe, take a trip to Paris, Texas for some one-of-a-kind fun!

Of course, no trip would be complete without a stop in the town square to see the gorgeous fountains and Paris, Texas Eiffel Tower. 

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Float down the river with River Rats Kayaks, or grab a bite to eat at Buffalo Joe’s pub. 

To top off your day, visit Paris Vineyards Winery on the Square to experience the town’s center with some yummy eats and drinks!

Eiffel Tower in Paris Texas with a red cowboy hat on top, belongs on any list of what to do in Texas

Tyler

As one of the bigger cities in East Texas, Tyler makes for a fun weekend getaway in the Piney Woods.

The Tyler Rose Garden and Azalea Residential Historic District are covered head to toe in luscious flowers, and the rose garden is the largest municipal rose garden in the USA!

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After a tour through Tyler’s Aviation Museum, cool off with an afternoon well spent at the beautiful Lake Tyler just minutes from the town square. 

For history buffs and tourists alike, a visit to the Goodman-Le Grand House and Discover Science Museum are fantastic experiences.

white colonial style house in tyler texas with pink azaleas blooming in front. tyler is one of the best san antonio weekend getaways

Bryan-College Station

Whether you’re attending a Texas Aggie Football game, or just looking for some of the best antiques in East Texas, Bryan-College Station is the perfect destination for your next East Texas road trip. 

A day walking through the Bryan Downtown District is a must, with its stone-paved streets lining block after block of antique shops and authentic eats. 

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Spend a day at Wolf Pen Creek Park playing disk golf, laying out a picnic, or catching a concert at their outdoor amphitheater. 

After a day spent out and about, unwind with some of the best pizza around at Gumby’s or RX Pizza.

gazebo in downtown bryan texas

Canton

Canton, Texas has just the perfect shops and experiences for your next trip to East Texas!

Explore the Gervasi Vineyard for some authentic tastes at their wine gardens and bistro. 

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For any sports lover, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is always a must-see!

If you’re planning a long weekend getaway, a stop by Canton’s First Monday Market Days will give you a true taste of a large-scale East Texas antique fair. 

Collection of small porcelain items for sale at a flea market. First Monday Canton is one of the most interesting things to do in Texas for people interested in flea markets!

Conroe

Known for its beautiful lake and Texas Country Music history, the beautiful town of Conroe, Texas is a diamond of East Texas.

Grab a basket at Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm to hand-pick your own fresh fruits straight from the vine.

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The Acre Wood theme park promises fun for the whole family, with acres full of playgrounds, mini-golfing, and even ice skating.

To quench your thirst, visit the locally owned B-52 Brewing Company or Southern Star Brewing to enjoy a fresh brew in the middle of the East Texas outdoors.

Sunset over Lake Conroe Texas

Beaumont

With its interesting attractions and truly East Texas terrain, enjoy a wonderful trip to Beaumont, located just west of the Louisiana border!

The Boomtown Museum exhibits some of the city’s first-built shops and businesses, and the Clifton Steamboat Museum will truly make you feel like you’re walking on water.

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Visit Colorado Canyon for some top-notch mini-golf, or stroll through Beaumont’s Botanical Gardens for some picture-perfect moments.

Local actors are always putting on fantastic plays at the Jefferson Theatre, so be sure to check their listings the next time you are planning your trip!

Beaumont also happens to be home to one of the quirkiest roadside attractions in Texas: a gigantic Dalmatian-painted fire hydrant!

24-foot tall dalmatian fire hydrant in beaumont, one of the weirdest roadside attractions texas

Lufkin

As a true Piney Woods town, Lufkin, Texas is the perfect destination for any nature lover.

Spend a day fishing and swimming at Ratcliff Lake, or take your mountain bike through the winding paths of the Azalea Trails and Lost Arrow Loop.

If you are looking for an indoor adventure, the Naranjo Museum of Natural History as well as the Texas Forestry Museum are sure to impress.

Lufkin is most commonly known for its nature activities, but be sure to check out one of their authentic antique stores on your next visit.

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Livingston

As a beautiful city surrounded by its winding lake and rivers, the city of Livingston is the perfect relaxing getaway.

Livingston State Park is home to one of the most gorgeous lakes in East Texas.

After spending a day relaxing on the lake’s shoreline, grab your friends and family and take some pictures on the lake’s dam.

With the city’s German descent, there are numerous castles to go tour, take pictures, or even stay the night in!

sunrise over lake livingston, home to some of the best houston campgrounds

Daingerfield

The popular Daingerfield State Park is only a small portion of what to see in Daingerfield, one of the best towns in East Texas to visit.

While you’re there, grab some popcorn and catch a show at the Morris Theatre.

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Visit Greer Farm and fill up a basket of fresh blueberries, strawberries, and more-perfect snacks for your trip home.

After a long day out on the town, try some authentic, East Texas barbecue (it’s not like the Hill Country stuff!) at Outlaws.

Map of East Texas Towns to Visit


2 photos of east texas towns, colonial homes with flags and flowers. black and red text reads "17 epic towns in east texas"

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