Nacogdoches is a historic city in East Texas that was founded in 1779 by the Spanish pioneer and settler, Antonio Gil y’Barbo.
The town was originally inhabited by the Caddo tribe, till it was colonized by the Spanish in the early 1800s.
The city is well-known for its role in the Texas Revolution, as it was the site of the 1832 Battle of Nacogdoches.
Also Read: 33 Charming Small Towns to Visit in Texas
In the 19th century, Nacogdoches became a center of trade and commerce, and it was even briefly the capital of East Texas.
Today, the city is home to a thriving community of artists and musicians, as well as a number of historic landmarks, including Old Stone Fort Museum.
With its vibrant culture and rich history, Nacogdoches is a truly unique place to visit.
Also Read: 18 Best Things to do in East Texas
Best Things to do in Nacogdoches, Texas
Nacogdoches is known as the “Oldest Town in Texas”.
Visitors can explore the city’s rich heritage at sites like the Stone Fort Museum and the Nacogdoches Railroad Depot Museum.
Nature lovers will enjoy hiking and biking trails in this vibrant city.
And for a taste of the local flavor, be sure to check out the many restaurants and shops downtown.
Here are our favorite things to do in Nacogdoches, Texas.
Take a stroll through Historic Downtown Nacogdoches
Nacogdoches is known for its beautiful old downtown area.
The brick streets are lined with historic buildings, charming shops, and restaurants.
The Historic Town Center and Main Street are especially pretty.
Admire the historic buildings such as the Fredonia Hotel and the Old Nacogdoches University Building, which was once used as a Confederate hospital.
The city has worked to preserve its unique history and character and the beautifully restored buildings are a delight.
The downtown historic district is the perfect place to experience the charms of small-town Texas.
Step inside the Nacogdoches Visitors Center
The Charles Bright Visitor Center, located downtown, is the perfect place to start your exploration of Nacogdoches.
It is managed by the Nacogdoches Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Inside, you’ll find a museum with exhibits on the city’s history and culture as well as early settlers.
There’s also a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs of your visit.
Stop by the visitor center to pick up a map of the city and get some helpful tips on the best things to see and do in Nacogdoches.
Step back in time at Millard’s Crossing Historic Village
Millard’s Crossing Historic Village is a living history museum in Nacogdoches, Texas.
The buildings in the village include a log cabin, Victorian houses, a chapel, and a general store.
Visitors to the village can take guided tours of the buildings and learn about life in early Texas.
The village also hosts special events throughout the year, such as an Old-Fashioned Christmas celebration.
Admire the blooms in the Azalea Garden
The Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Nacogdoches, Texas.
The garden features several varieties of azaleas, as well as camellias, Japanese maples, dogwoods, and magnolias.
Visitors can also enjoy a variety of birds and butterflies, which are drawn to the garden by the abundance of flowers.
The garden is open year-round, but it is especially lovely in the springtime, when the azaleas are in full bloom.
Explore the Stone Fort Museum
The Old Stone Fort Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of Texas.
The museum is housed in a replica of the Spanish fort that was built by Antonio Gil y’Barbo.
The museum contains a wealth of exhibits on the history of Texas, from the early days of European settlement to the present day.
Visitors can learn about the various cultures that have shaped Texas over the years, and see how the state has changed over time.
Hike the Lanana Creek Trail
The Lanana Creek Trail is a beautiful hiking and biking trail that runs through Nacogdoches.
The trail follows the winding Lanana Creek for seven miles, passing through forests, meadows, and wetlands.
Nature lovers will enjoy seeing a variety of wildlife along the trail, including birds, deer, and turtles.
The trail is also a great place to take in the autumn colors.
The Lanana Creek Trail is one of the best places to experience the natural beauty of Nacogdoches.
Admire the historic Sterne-Hoya House Museum
The Nacogdoches Sterne-Hoya Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of Texas.
The museum is named after two of the most important figures in early Texas history: Adolphus Sterne and Charles Hoya.
Adolphus Sterne was one of the first Europeans to settle in Texas, and even financed the Texas Revolution.
The museum houses a wealth of artifacts from these two men and their families, as well as a large collection of documents and books related to the early history of Texas.
The house also has other historic significance: Davy Crockett once stayed here and Sam Houston was baptized here as a Catholic and thus became eligible to own property in Mexican Texas.
Learn about early Texas life at the Durst Taylor House Museum
The Durst-Taylor Historic House and Gardens is a house that has been around since 1835, making it the second oldest building in Nacogdoches.
This historic site sits very close to the El Camino Real de los Tejas (The Kings Highway) which was used during colonial times.
On a visit, you can see the historic house as well as buildings in the grounds including a smokehouse, sugarcane mill, and the blacksmith shop.
The buildings are in an excellent condition and can be seen on a free tour.
Visit the Nacogdoches Railroad Depot Museum
The Nacogdoches Railroad Depot Museum is housed in a restored 19th-century train depot.
The museum contains exhibits on the history of the railroad in East Texas, as well as a model train display.
Visitors can also learn about the depot’s role in the Civil War.
Enjoy fishing at Lake Nacogdoches
Fishing is a popular pastime at Lake Nacogdoches, and the lake offers a variety of fish for anglers to try their hand at catching.
Common species include largemouth bass and sunfish.
The lake is also home to crappie, catfish, and trout.
Visit Lake Nacogdoches East Side Park to enjoy a fun day of swimming, fishing, and picnicking.
Walk through the beautiful Oak Grove Cemetery
Oak Grove Cemetery is the final resting place for many of Nacogdoches’ founding fathers and early settlers.
It is also one of the largest cemeteries in East Texas.
The cemetery’s history dates back to 1826, when it was established as a burial ground on the outskirts of town.
Today, it is a picturesque park where visitors can stroll among the live oak trees and reflect on the lives of those who have gone before.
Among the notable graves is that of Thomas Jefferson Rusk and Franklin J. Starr.
Beat the sun at Splash Kingdom Timber Falls
Splash Kingdom Timber Falls is a water park in Nacogdoches, Texas.
The park has a number of slides and attractions, including a lazy river and a wave pool.
The park also has a number of food and drink options, as well as a gift shop.
This Splash Kingdom Water Park is especially popular in the summer.
Enjoy a picnic at Banita Creek Park
Banita Creek Park is a serene oasis located in the heart of Nacogdoches, Texas.
The park features a wide variety of plant life, including towering oak trees, native wildflowers, and lush ferns.
A winding creek runs through the center of the park, providing a peaceful place to relax and reflect.
Visitors can also enjoy a variety of amenities, such as a walking trail, picnic tables, and play areas.
Play disc golf at Pecan Acres Park
Pecan Acres Park is a large park located on the outskirts of Nacogdoches, Texas.
It is named after a large grove of pecan trees.
The park features a disc golf course, as well as a number of other amenities, such as a play area, pavilions, and picnic tables.
The park also has a number of miles of trails that are perfect for walking, hiking or biking.
Pecan Acres Park is a great place to enjoy the outdoors.
The oldest town in the Lone Star State offers tons of East Texas architecture, amazing scenery, and plenty of attractions.
If you’re looking for a slice of Texas history, Nacogdoches is definitely worth a visit.
What are your favorite things to do in Nacogdoches, TX?