I love living in East Texas. No matter where I head outside of town, there’s generally beauty everywhere! Whether it’s a ranch full of horses or a field of Texas bluebonnets, there’s pretty everywhere! East Texas is great for budget friendly family activities too! There’s so much history here too that it makes homeschooling a breeze and field trips plentiful! Whether you’re headed this way for vacation or you happen to live here too, take a look at the list below. I think you’ll find these 7 budget friendly things to do in East Texas right up your alley!
Now by no means should you consider this list exhaustive. In fact, I have a folder of upcoming homeschool field trips that is three times this list. East Texas is a very wide area so while you’re planning to visit these attractions, be sure you search for others too! There’s so much to do here that you’ll never get tired!
Canton First Monday – Looking to do a little deal hunting? Canton First Monday Trade Days is perfect for that! Dating back to the 1850’s, this once a month event is HUGE! You’ll have tons of fun and find yourself some awesome deals at the same time! Want to stay more than a day? They also offer camping as well for the entire 3 day period!
Texas State Railroad – Jump on the Texas State Railroad in your choice of engine! The Piney Woods Steam Excursion departs from Palestine and the Piney Woods Diesel departs from Rusk. The steam engine train has been choo-chooing along since the the late 1800’s and is a great way to see some of that beautiful scenery I mentioned earlier! When booking your ride tickets, you can choose from 1/2 way or round trip. Adult tickets start at $25.00 each and kids tickets start at $15.00. Babies are free if they can be carried in an adults arms.
Grab your fishing pole – Fishing for Largemouth Bass is a national past time in the US and East Texas is home to three of the top bass lakes in the country! Head to Toledo Bend, Lake Fork, or Lake Sam Rayburn with your tackle box and pole and get ready to bring in some mighty large fish. Most of the lakes in East Texas are full of bass, so if these three are on the busy side, you can’t go wrong with most of the lakes in this area.
Stop and Smell the Roses – Tyler, Texas is known as the “Rose Capital of the World” adn the Annual Texas Rose Festival proves it! You can see thousands upon thousands of roses in every color imaginable! In addition to the festival, there is the Tyler Rose Garden and Museum. Their municipal city garden has over 40,000 rose bushes in 500 different varieties and is free to the public!
Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge – Just north of Tyler is Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge that has rescued big cats from private owners and zoos. They have 35 rescued big cats on the 140 acre preserve that you can visit. They have a 45-minute guided tour and then you can roam around the property and check out this refuge. This is one of the places we plan on taking a homeschool field trip to and my Emma can’t wait!
East Texas Gators & Wildlife Park – If tigers aren’t your thing, head over and check out the alligators in Grand Saline. They have hatchlings and adult gators plus other animals that are a little friendlier including a petting zoo and an aquarium. There is a nominal entrance fee, but with so much to see and do here, it is totally worth it! (We’re headed here for a field trip too and yes, I’m planning on being skeezed out the entire time. Gators freak me out!
U-Pick Blueberries – In June and July, gather up the family and over to Blueberry Hill Farms in Edon. Grab a basket and have fun picking (and eating) fresh blueberries. They even have a cute country store and bakery where you can take home a homemade blueberry pie!
If you’re headed toward Dallas or Austin, we’ve got you covered there too! Check out 7 Budget Friendly Things to Do in Dallas and 7 Budget Friendly Things to do in Austin! They’re packed with super fun things to do!
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