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The Nacogdoches Destination is located in eastern Texas, bordering a section of northwestern Louisiana. The region is named after Nacogdoches, which is also known as "The Oldest Town in Texas," and the current county seat of Nacogdoches County.[1] The city itself was established in 1779 and was named after a tribe of Caddo Natives that originally lived in the area.[3] These people are believed to be the region's first inhabitants as remains of their settlements date back about 10,000 years ago.[1] The Nacogdoches Destination is also known for the Sam Rayburn Reservoir, a manmade lake that supplies water to the cities of Beaumont and Lufkin.[7] Angelina National Forest works in conjunction with the reservoir, offering fishing, boating, camping, angling, and sightseeing. [8] Together, these areas serve as two of the major Nacogdoches Destination attractions. The climate in the area is often described as "hot and oppressive," with humid, muggy summers. Winters are milder, rarely reaching below 38 degrees Fahrenheit at their coldest. As such, tourists are recommended to visit the area in the spring or early autumn, as heat and humidity are significantly lower than in the summer.[2]

What Nacogdoches is known for

The Nacogdoches Destination is a region located in eastern Texas, sharing a border with northwestern Louisiana. One of the more prominent parts of this destination is its namesake, the city of Nacogdoches, named after a Nacogdoche tribe of Caddo natives encountered by the region's settlers.[1] The town is also known as "The Oldest Town in Texas." Nacogdoches was incorporated as a town in 1779 and later as a city in 1929.[3] It is currently the home of Stephen F. Austin State University, and USA Today holds it as one of "The Friendliest Towns in America." As of the 2020 census, the city's population was estimated to be 32,147 people.[1] Additional cities and towns in the Nacogdoches Destination include Lufkin, Jacksonville, Carthage, Henderson, and Kilgore.

Multiple attractions are available in the Nacogdoches Destination. Some are located in the city of Nacogdoches itself. For example, the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site is the site left by the Caddo people who used to inhabit the area, and the site includes several mounds serving as homes, a temple, and even a burial ground. Other attractions include the Ellen Trout Zoo, which has about 500 animals, the SFA Planetarium, and Lake Nacogdoches East Side Park. Additionally, several museums, [and] wineries, [or]and distilleries can also be found in Nacogdoches, as well as antique stores, restaurants, and annual concerts.[4]

Another attraction found in Nacogdoches Destination is Sam Rayburn Reservoir. While its main function is to provide water for Lufkin and Beaumont, the lake is also a recreational site. Several parks and access points [and parks] for boat launches are available. Most of them are managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, while others are managed by Jasper County, the U.S. Forest Service, or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The lake's access points allow guests to launch their boats and participate in related aquatic activities. Fishing is a common activity at the reservoir; fishermen and anglers may expect to catch largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, white bass, or catfish. Some areas around the lake also allow camping at managed facilities.[7] During the winter, visitors can access places to ski.[8]

Angelina National Forest covers a significant part of the Nacogdoches Destination. The 153,179-acre forest serves as an ecosystem management land, meaning it is utilized to provide habitable space for wildlife and the conservation of natural resources. Angelina National Forest is also a recreational area; Sam Rayburn Reservoir serves as a primary location for fishing, canoeing, and boating. Visitors to the forest also participate in camping and hiking, with two designated recreational spots—Caney Creek and Sandy Creek—offering space for such activities.[8]


The Nacogdoches Destination is, for the most part, flat and comprised of prairie or forest. There are few bodies of water in the area, namely the lakes and reservoirs in the northern and southern parts of the region. A large portion of the expanse contains acres of farmland, which are typically found outside towns and cities or along roads.

The climate in the Nacogdoches Destination is usually humid and warm. Summers are described as "hot and oppressive," with humidity reaching about 94% and temperatures peaking at the low 90s. Contrastly, winters do not often fall below 38 degrees or rise above 60 degrees. Humidity is also significantly lower, usually staying below 24% from mid-October to the end of April. While humid, the Nacogdoches Destination does not receive much precipitation; the dry season lasts just over nine months, with September being the driest month. At its peak, the wet season sees a 29% chance of precipitation on a given day, with at least .04 inches from late April to mid-July on average.[2] The region receives about 50 inches of yearly precipitation. Snow is not common; about 0.1 inches of snowfall occurs yearly.[1] With these factors and based on the tourism score for the area, the recommended "best time" to visit the Nacogdoches Destination is mid-April to mid-June and September to October for milder weather and lower humidity.[2]

Local plants in the Nacogdoches Destination include a variety of trees, such as southern sugar maple trees, water oak, American mistletoe, and Carolina laurelcherry. Varied grasses and shrubs are also found throughout the region. Some of these include southern sugar maple trees, water oak, American mistletoe, and resurrection ferns. Many rodents and amphibians are native to the area as well, such as raccoons, fox squirrels, eastern gray squirrels, nine-banded armadillos, Virginia opossums, green treefrogs, southern leopard frogs, and gulf coast toads. More animals include white-tailed deer, eastern copperhead snakes, and common box turtles.[5]


Humans have inhabited certain areas in the Nacogdoches Destination for around 10,000 years. Some of its earliest inhabitants are believed to be a Nacogdoche tribe of Caddo Natives, the namesake of the city of Nacogdoches and its corresponding region.[1] The Caddo Natives are known for the mounds they built in the areas they settled until the Spanish began building "missions" in the area.[3] The Caddo people lived in the region until the early 1800s.[1]

It is rumored that the settlement of Nacogdoches by Natives began with a chief who sent his twin sons in opposite directions to settle their own tribes. One son, Nacogdoches, was white-skinned and blond, and he traveled three days to the west to become the leader of his own tribe. The other son, Natchitoches, was dark-skinned and dark-haired, and he rode three days east to settle his own tribe as well. The legend recounts that a trade route was established between the places where the two brothers had settled, and many people traveled between both areas. Today, Natchitoches, Lousiana, and Nacogdoches, Texas, carry the names of the twins from the legend. The road traveled by their people is known as the El Camino Real, or Old San Antonio Road.[6]

Nacogdoches, Texas, was established in 1779 by Don Antonio Gil Y’Barbo, making it the oldest town in Texas. Where most of Texas has been under six flags throughout its history, Nacogdoches has had nine: Spain, France, the Guiterrez-Magee Rebellion, the Dr. James Long Expedition, Mexico, the Fredonia Rebellion, Lone Star, the Confederate States, and the United States of America.[3] Nacogdoches remained a town until it was incorporated as a city in 1929.[1]

While regarded as one of the most historic towns in Texas, Nacogdoches serves as an educational community, with Stephen F. Austin State University accounting for the majority of employment in the city. The city currently operates in politics, healthcare, lumber processing, and manufacturing as well and serves as the county seat of Nacogdoches County.[1]