Unlike quiet Mission Tejas, Tyler State Park—a retreat also created by the CCC—bustles year-round, especially in the fall when the park’s sweetgums and maples change color. Heavily wooded hills encircle a 64-acre lake, and multiple campgrounds are tucked away in the park’s deep forest.

The park rents kayaks, canoes, and other boats; and swimmers can enjoy the water when the weather is warm. More than 13 miles of hiking and mountain-biking trails wind through the woods and along the lakeshore. Don’t miss the Lakeshore Trail with its fishing piers and water views. At the upper end of the lake on the southeast side, beavers have been hard at work building dams that sometimes flood the trail. The three-quarter-mile Whispering Pines Nature Trail features a children’s wading pool and a 4-foot waterfall both fed by a spring.

Read more about state parks in East Texas

Get more Texas in your inbox

Sign up for our newsletters and never miss a moment of what’s happening around the state.