This article is a part of the 2023 Summer Travel Guide, a sponsored collection brought to you by our travel advertising partners. You can find more summer travel destinations and events here.

We invite you to visit Athens and experience its small-town charm. Known as the Black-Eyed Pea Capital of the World and the birthplace of the hamburger, Athens offers plenty of surprises for you to discover.

Families will enjoy visiting the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, East Texas Arboretum and Botanical Society, Henderson County Regional Fair Park Complex, and the historic Texan Theater. These family-friendly destinations offer activities that will satisfy everyone.

Wine and craft beer enthusiasts will appreciate the four local wineries in and around Athens, as well as a brewery located in the heart of historic downtown Athens. Downtown also offers shopping, art galleries, and the one-of-a-kind Freelancers Cafe, which features a coffee-making robot.

Don’t forget to check out Lake Athens! Boaters, water skiers, jet skiers, swimmers, and plenty of anglers can be found on the lake. With its several coves and bays, Lake Athens is perfect for canoeing, kayaking, or paddleboarding. The lake is known for its Largemouth Bass but also has White Bass, Sunfish, and Crappie.

The premier event in Athens is the Old Fiddlers Reunion, the longest-running fiddle contest in Texas! This year’s Reunion, scheduled for May 25–27, will mark the event’s 92nd year.

In addition to the much-anticipated fiddle contest, there will be two street dances featuring Jake Penrod and his Million Dollar Cowboys on Friday night and Jody Nix and The Texas Cowboys on Saturday night. In between, the Hunt Brothers Bluegrass Band from Guthrie, Oklahoma, will be on the bandstand and leading the jam sessions.

There will also be food trucks and vendors, a car show, a cornhole tournament, a 42 tournament, and a VIP dinner and dance.

Even if you don’t get to Fiddlers, there is plenty to keep you busy in Athens.

The Cain Center

Cain Center is a 49,326 square foot recreational and aquatic center. Amenities include a swimming pool, fitness center, fitness room, racquetball court, full-size basketball court, civic hall, and rental facilities.

Room rentals are available, including a large multi-purpose hall, meeting rooms, civic hall, lounge area, poolside party rooms, and kitchen. Information about rentals, memberships, and other amenities is available on the website.

Cain Park boasts 85 acres of recreational facilities, sports fields, and traditional park and open spaces. The Park has tennis and pickleball courts, softball fields, a fishing pond, a walking trail, picnic pavilions, a disc golf course, and more on the way.

Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center

The Edwin L. Cox, Jr., Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) combines visitation and outdoor education with a production fish hatchery. Its mission is to provide an educational, entertaining visitor experience that promotes freshwater sport fishing and the enhancement, conservation, and stewardship of aquatic resources in Texas.

Developed on a 107-acre site, the facility includes more than 300,000 gallons of indoor and outdoor aquariums displaying dozens of species of native fish, waterfowl, alligators, and amphibians in recreated habitats. There are two casting ponds to practice your skills. Don’t have a pole? No problem! Poles and bait are available to use at no cost; just visit the Anglers Pavilion to check one out. Oh, and you do not need a license to fish inside TFFC.

The Arboretum

One hundred acres of wooded beauty, trees, flowers, and wildlife await your discovery at the East Texas Arboretum. The forest appears to come alive as you meander along two miles of woodland trails. Camouflaged frogs, insects, and even deer often scurry away as you pass. Make your way along winding, spring-fed streams connected by a 115-foot suspension bridge.

Experience life in early Henderson County at the historic Wofford House Museum. Built in 1850, the home was relocated to the arboretum several years ago. It now stands as a reminder of early pioneer days complete with period furnishings, memorabilia, and a seasonal garden.

The arboretum is available to host reunions, meetings, retreats, weddings, receptions, and picnics. Just imagine how beautiful a bride is when framed in the arbors of spring!

Come See Us

Come visit Athens and experience its small-town charm. There’s something for everyone, from family-friendly destinations to wine and craft beer tastings, outdoor activities, and premier events like the Old Fiddlers Reunion.

Visit for more information.