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Tyler State Park: The Hidden Gem of East Texas

East Texas may not seem like a bucket list destination to visit. Still, this region of the state of Texas is actually quite interesting and filled with activities. Whether you are road tripping across the Lone Star State, making a day trip from Dallas, or looking to add another Texas State Park to your list, we highly suggest checking out Tyler State Park.

Located 20 minutes north of Tyler, Texas, in Smith County, Tyler State Park boasts a mecca of East Texas recreation. Featuring a spring-fed lake, incredible pine trees, and miles of trails, Tyler State Park offers the perfect getaway for those looking to immerse themselves in the outdoors. The park was actually built by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers between the years 1935 and 1941.

Climate & Nature at Tyler State Park

Tyler State Park is nestled on the western side of the Pineywoods ecoregion, near the edge of the Post Oak Savannah ecoregion. This makes it a vibrant place for a wide array of flora and fauna and gives the park a humid, subtropical climate. The area receives around 44 inches of rain annually, with an average winter temperature of 46 degrees and an average summer temperature of 80 degrees.

What to Do at the Park

Managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife, this state park is ideal for those looking to be active outdoors, whether that's fishing, biking, sunbathing, or walking on nature trails; you are sure to find it at this sprawling park.

Water Activities

The 64-acre spring-fed Tyler State Park Lake is one of the main attractions in the park and offers multiple ways to enjoy its cool waters. There are fishing piers around the lake, and no license is needed. The park even rents fishing equipment for those who do not have their own. The main fish found in the lake are catfish, crappie, bass, and trout.

Boating is another popular way to spend time at the park. The park offers boat rentals for canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and paddleboats. There is also a boat ramp for those who bring their own boats (motors are allowed, but there is a 5mph speed limit). For those who just want to get in the water, the swimming area is the place to hang for fun in the sun!

Land Activities

RELATED: Lake Travis: Texas' Hidden Gem In Plain Sight

Tyler State Park offers 13 miles of trails for those looking to explore the expansive park. From the more leisurely Whispering Pines Nature Trail (1 mile) or Lakeshore (2.1 miles) trails to the more challenging C Loop (1.5 miles) or D Loop (2.1 miles), there is bound to be a hiking trail to suit your needs. The trails are a great way to bird-watch, geocache, or look for spring and summer wildflowers. After your hike, enjoy lunch at one of the picnic tables in the picnic areas.

Bring your mountain bike to discover the area on two wheels. Apart from Lakeshore, Whispering Pines, and Blackjack trails, all other trails are open mountain biking and biking.

Camping at the Park

If you want to really experience Tyler State Park in all of its glory, we suggest staying overnight! The park offers multiple options for campers to sleep under the stars, including full hookup campsites, campsites with electric hookups, campsites with water, as well as six cabins, and twenty-nine screened shelters.

Important Information

Tyler State Park is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM but often reaches capacity. It is encouraged to make reservations online. For day-use at the park, the fee is $6 per adult and free for children under 12. To support the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, you can purchase an annual pass for $70 to enter all Texas State Parks.

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