Jefferson, Texas is a historic town located in the Piney Woods region of East Texas.
It is named after the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson.
Founded in 1841, Jefferson was once one of the busiest ports in the state and an important trading center for goods such as cotton, lumber, and livestock.
Also Read: 18 Best Things to do in East Texas
The town is home to several historic buildings, including the haunted Historic Jefferson Hotel, which was built in 1851 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Other notable landmarks include the Confederate Monument, which honors those who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, Marion County Courthouse, and the Post Office.
Today, the town is a popular tourist destination, known for its antique shops, restaurants, and bed-and-breakfasts.
Visitors can explore the historic downtown area, take a riverboat cruise, or visit one of the many museums.
Whether you’re looking for history or just a fun Texas weekend getaway, Jefferson has something to offer everyone.
Best Things to do in Jefferson, Texas
If you’re looking for things to do in Jefferson, Texas, you’re in luck.
This historic town is full of interesting things to see and do.
Jefferson is also home to many restaurants, bars, and shops, making it a great place to spend a weekend.
Here are our favorite things to do in Jefferson, TX.
Understand Jefferson’s history
This historic town was once the capital of the Republic of Texas, and today it offers a taste of the Old West with its quaint shops and charming Texan architecture.
The main street is lined with buildings that date back to the 1800s, and many of the original buildings are still in use today, including the old jailhouse and courthouse.
There’s also a wealth of museums and historic sites to explore, making Jefferson a great place to learn about Texas history.
Take a stroll through Downtown Jefferson
This Texan small town still retains its rich history and antique charm.
Visitors to the town can stroll through the historic brick-paved streets and well-preserved Victorian homes and buildings.
Take the time to read the historic plaques all over downtown Jefferson historic district.
You will also find several interesting murals and artwork dedicated to Jefferson’s past.
See the exhibits at Jefferson Historical Museum
The Jefferson Historical Museum, located in the former federal courthouse, is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of Texas.
The museum contains an extensive collection of artifacts from the early days of the Republic of Texas, including items related to the Texas Revolution and the battle of San Jacinto.
The museum offers a fascinating look at the city’s past, from its days as a bustling river port to its decline in the late 19th century.
Exhibits include a replica of a 19th-century riverboat, Civil War artifacts, as well as artifacts from the city’s days as a center of the cotton trade.
In addition, the museum houses a research library with an extensive collection of documents and photographs relating to Jefferson’s history.
Ride the Historic Jefferson railway
The Jefferson Railway is a historic railroad that offers a unique glimpse into the past.
The railway is located in Jefferson, Texas, and it offers rides on restored vintage trains.
The trains are powered by steam engines, and they offer a variety of different routes.
The railway also has a museum, which features exhibits on the history of the railroad.
Ride the rails on a historic train, explore the museum, and learn about the impact that the railroad had on Jefferson, Texas.
Souvenir shop at the Jefferson General Store
The Jefferson General Store is a historic landmark in the small town of Jefferson, Texas.
This quaint store offers an array of merchandise, from antiques and vintage items to locally made goods and gifts.
The store is located in the heart of downtown Jefferson, and it’s easy to find.
Just look for the big red sign!
The store is also within walking distance of other popular attractions, such as the Jefferson Davis Museum and the Excelsior House Hotel.
Tour the ‘Atalanta’ – Jay Gould’s Private Railroad Car!
The Atalanta Jay Gould Railroad Car is a historic landmark in Jefferson, Texas.
The luxurious car was built in 1888 for the exclusive use of financier Jay Gould and his family.
The car is a luxurious example of Victorian-era rail travel, with elegant features like stained glass windows, velvet upholstery, and mahogany paneling.
The car also featured a dining room, parlor, bedroom, and kitchen.
The Atalanta became a favorite of Gould’s family, and they often used it for leisurely trips around the country.
The car is significant not only for its luxurious design and construction but also for its connection to Jefferson’s history as a major railroad hub.
The car is located in front of the historic Excelsior House Hotel and can be seen on ticketed entry.
The address of this historic attraction is 211 W Austin St Jefferson, TX 75657.
Tickets to see the car can be purchased at the hotel.
Do not forget to check out the haunted and historic Excelsior Hotel while you’re here.
Take a ghost tour of the historic downtown at night
One of the best ways to explore Jefferson is on spooky ghost tours.
The small town is said to be one of the most haunted places in Texas and Downtown Jefferson is particularly creepy at night.
During your tour, you’ll hear tales of ghosts, murders, and other eerie happenings in Jefferson’s haunted houses.
You’ll also get to see some of the most haunted places in town, such as the Excelsior House Hotel and the Grove.
Geek out at the Museum of Measurement and Time
The Museum of Measurement and Time is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of timekeeping.
The museum is located in Jefferson, Texas, and it houses a private collection of clocks, watches, and other timekeeping devices, as well as tools and instruments used for measuring distance, weight, temperature, and more.
Visitors can learn about the evolution of timekeeping devices from early sundials and hourglasses to modern atomic clocks.
The museum also features interactive exhibits on topics such as telling time, calculating speed and distance, and understanding temperature.
See movie artifacts at Gone With the Wind Museum
One of Jefferson’s most famous attractions is the Gone With the Wind Museum.
The museum is dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of Margaret Mitchell’s classic novel, Gone With the Wind.
It houses an extensive collection of memorabilia from the iconic novel and film.
Visitors can see original costumes, furniture, and other artifacts from both the book and movie.
The museum also features interactive exhibits that bring the story of Gone With the Wind to life.
Visit the famous Oak Cemetery
Oak Cemetery is one of the most beautiful and historic cemeteries in Texas.
It is nestled among the live oaks and cypress trees of East Texas.
Founded in 1844, the cemetery is the final resting place for many of Jefferson’s early settlers.
See the famous Howe Truss Train Trestle
The Howe Truss Train Trestle is a historic landmark in Jefferson, Texas.
Built-in 1884, the trestle was once part of the Jefferson and Cypress Bayou Railway.
The railway was an important transportation link for the city of Jefferson and the surrounding area.
Today, the trestle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Jefferson.
It is a popular destination for photographers and history buffs alike.
The park around the bridge is also great for a stroll and has beautiful fall colors in November.
Go antiquing in Jefferson’s historic downtown
Jefferson’s historic downtown is a great place to find unique and interesting items.
The area is home to many antique shops, as well as art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.
Downtown Jefferson is the perfect place to spend a day browsing for treasures.
Spend Christmas in Jefferson
Jefferson is one of our favorite places when it comes to Christmas destinations in Texas.
Christmas in Jefferson is magical and amazing.
The whole town is lit up in beautiful holiday decor and the stores are bursting with gifts of all kinds.
However the highlight is the Jefferson Candlelight home tour and you can see beautiful mansions decorated in lavish style.
Jefferson also has the nararted Christmas train ride to keep the kids happy.
Enjoy a riverboat cruise on Big Cypress Bayou
Big Cypress Bayou flows through Jefferson, Texas, and is a popular destination for boaters, fishermen, and nature lovers.
Visitors can enjoy a leisurely riverboat cruise with Turning Basin Riverboat Tours.
During your cruise, you’ll enjoy the beautiful scenery and learn about the history and ecology of the bayou.
Hike at Caddo Lake State Park
Caddo Lake State Park is a beautiful state park located on the border of Texas and Louisiana.
The park is home to bald cypress trees, Spanish moss, and wildlife.
Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, canoeing, and bird watching.
The park also has a campground for overnight visitors.
Whether you’re looking for history or just a place to relax, the historic city of Jefferson has something to offer everyone.
What are your favorite things to do in Jefferson, Texas? Let us know below!