Had enough of the house? Ready to celebrate your freedom? Then it’s time to hit the road to the great outdoors—and no place does natural like Nac. A jewel on the Texas Green Belt, Nacogdoches is home to mile after mile of creek-side hiking and biking trails, secluded lakes, and stunning gardens, all just an easy road trip away. What better time to get outside and enjoy yourself in a safe, responsible way?
Nestled under the canopy of a towering forest, Nacogdoches is minutes from two of the largest reservoirs in Texas, both boasting international reputations for sport fishing and water recreation. It’s some of the area’s smaller lakes, however, that capture the hearts of kayakers, swimmers, and naturalists alike. Surrounded by three national forests, Nacogdoches is a favorite base location for excursions to take in some of the of the state’s most spectacular beauty.
And while we’re talking beauty, Nacogdoches has been designated the Garden Capital of Texas. The Ruby Mize Garden is the largest azalea garden in the state and boasts much more than the popular spring bloomers, including a wide-ranging showcase of native and non-native maple varieties that put on a show throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Adjacent to the Garden you’ll discover the Mast Arboretum on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University as well as the East Texas Native Plant Center, the focal point of the Tucker Woods trail system.
If you prefer to do your touring from the comfort of your car, your options are manifold in the oldest town in Texas. Self-guided driving tours offer an array of opportunities, including a windshield view of Texas historic sites, barn quilts, flowering gardens, Native American mounds, and so much more. For the more adventurous, the rolling terrain, wandering creek ways, and wooded trails around Nacogdoches present an ideal backdrop for single-track mountain biking that will challenge riders of almost any level.
An early morning paddle on Lake Naconiche just may put you on the water with no other company aside from the occasional otter, whitetail fawn, or nesting osprey. This county-maintained body of water is a hidden treasure for anyone who loves the outdoors, is home to more than a hundred bird species, and has very limited development along its forested shoreline.
If you’re ready to take a hike, the Lanana Creek Trail and Banita Creek Trail will give you all you want and then some. Numerous trailheads allow access to the system on either side of the downtown district, to the east and the west. The trails generally hug the two historic streams and run in a north to south direction, offering diverse terrain and degree of difficulty. For a less strenuous hike, sections of the trail system run through city parks and the SFA campus, offering an opportunity for a pleasant stroll.
No matter your level of activity, getting outdoors is a matter of emotional health, especially now. If you’re ready for the natural get away that’s not far away, Nacogdoches is calling. Named one of the top ten destinations in Texas, this unique treasure can help restore your sanity and your soul. Help planning your escape to freedom is as close as the Visit Nac app or VisitNac.com. If it’s the great outdoors you’re looking for, it’s Nac, naturally.