15 Best Things to Do in Hemphill, TX

Hemphill, Texas
Roberto Galan / shutterstock.com

A scenic city in Sabine County, Hemphill is filled with naturally beautiful attractions.

Hemphill is teeming with lush pinewood forests and rich lake reservoirs you can explore.

The city is also busy during the summer months, with tourists enjoying a visit to nearby Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn lakes.

Aside from sweeping natural locations, Hemphill features many historical sites like its local courthouse square and the old county jail, which now houses a library and museum.

See more sights and discover the best things to do in Hemphill, Texas:

Visit the Fascinating Sabine County Jail Museum

Exterior view of the Sabine County Jail Museum
Renelibrary, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Situated on 1 Highway 83, the old Sabine County Jail Museum at Hemphill Square was originally a county jail built in 1904 and operated until 1982.

Aside from prisoners from the local county, it also held prisoners from other countries without jail facilities.

Two hangings were held at this jail; the first was recorded in 1909 and was made a public event.

The former jail now serves as a museum and houses the Virgie Speights Memorial Library, both of which are directed by the Sabine County Historical Commission.

Inside, you'll find rare books and interesting exhibits like the piece of rope that was used during the first hanging.

You'll still see the trapdoor inside Sabine County Jail Museum.

Enjoy the Lakeshores at Toledo Bend

Spanning over a thousand miles of lakeshore area, Toledo Bend is surrounded by the Sabine National Forest's unspoiled woodlands.

The reservoir flows between Texas and Louisiana and offers the best fishing location for bass, bluegill, and crappie in the southern region.

It's also a popular location for fishing tournaments hosted by various clubs.

You'll find both private and public spots that offer enjoyable water recreation activities.

Discover the surrounding lake area on a boat or kayak, take a dip, go sightseeing, or hunt in the woodlands.

Your family can enjoy a picnic by Toledo Blend, or you can plan for an overnight camp at the grounds.

Drop by the Patricia Huffman Smith NASA Museum

The Patricia Huffman Smith NASA Museum was opened in 2011 to showcase Columbia's space exploration, from its first launch to its concluding mission, Mission STS–107.

It was established through the generosity of the late Patricia Smith's husband Albert "Al" Smith, the families of the STS–107 Crew, and NASA.

Columbia was NASA's first orbiter fleet, which started its voyage in 1981.

The museum walks visitors through the space shuttle's historical missions, glimpses of its recovery, and the STS–107 Crew on its final mission.

You'll see various artifacts donated by NASA, personal items given by the STS–107's family members, and a special area to commemorate crewmembers who lost their lives in the tragedy.

Located on Sabine Street, the Patricia Huffman Smith NASA Museum is an exciting place you can visit to learn more about the Columbia space shuttle.

Browse Books at the J.R. Huffman Public Library

The J.R. Huffman Public Library was established in 1994 and is located in downtown Hemphill.

The library was started as a joint effort of the local community, the Temple Foundation, and the contributions of Al and Pat Smith.

The Dr. W.T. Arnold, Sr. Theater was added to the library's facility in honor of Dr. William Thomas Arnold, Sr.

He served the community as a town physician for several years.

Browse for books in the library catalog, and you might find something interesting in their collections.

From classic to modern genres, there is something for everyone to read and enjoy.

Other services offered by the J.R. Huffman Public Library include document services, free WiFi connection, and computer and notary services.

Go for an Adventurous Hike at the Trail Between the Lakes

You'll find the Trail Between the Lakes in the southern part of the lush Sabine National Forest.

The 28-mile hiking trail takes you through the forest starting from Toledo Bend's Lakeview Recreation Area.

Your scenic hike ends on State Highway 96 near the Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

Trek the woodlands and enjoy the views of towering pine trees, go birdwatching, or explore various flora native to Hemphill.

You can also use the Trail Between the Lakes for horseback riding.

Shop for Items at the El Camino Real Sale on the Trail

The El Camino Real Sale on the Trail is a great bargain event that happens in Louisiana, Texas, and six cities in between.

This annual yard sale happens every first Friday and Saturday of May along the historic El Camino Real de Los Tejas.

Drive along the 100-mile trail that starts from Natchitoches, then head west to Nacogdoches, Texas.

Shop till you drop as rows of local sellers and businesses offer a variety of new and used items at the sale.

Whether you're a shopaholic, into collecting items, or just looking for some fun during the weekend, this is an event you'll surely enjoy.

While you're at the El Camino Real Sale on the Trail, you'll also get to see the beautiful sceneries and historical markers along the way.

Explore the Outdoors at the Indian Mounds

In 1984, the Texas Wilderness Act declared around 34,000 acres of National Forest areas to be converted into wilderness areas.

The 12,000-acre Indian Mounds was among the state's National Forests established by this act.

The area is known for its large population of southern pine beetles and is now carefully maintained due to infestations in the past.

There are plenty of hiking trails you can follow, most of which will lead you to natural and pristine locations where you can unwind.

Collecting berries, nuts, and cones are allowed only for personal consumption.

You can also enjoy the Indian Mounds through other activities like fishing, hunting, and horseback riding.

Enjoy a Family Camp at Lost Frontier RV Park and Marina

Are you planning to have a camping getaway with the family?

Lost Frontier RV Park and Marina offers a stunning location in Carrice Cove at the Toledo Bend Reservoir.

You can enjoy many fun outdoor activities like fishing, swimming at the pool, and wading at the splash pad.

Park your RV at the site or spend the night at one of the cabins.

You can also drop by for a day tour and eat at Lost Frontier's bar and grill.

They serve fantastic food and drinks you can enjoy either indoors or in an al fresco setting.

Order seafood specialties like Grilled Shrimp Plate, Fried Shrimp Platter, and Grilled Cajun Fish.

Try mouth-watering steaks like the House Cut Ribeye and Ribeye Ranchero and other menu specials like burgers, starters, and side dishes.

Have fun with your family at Lost Frontier RV Park and Marina.

Set up Camp at Sabine National Forest

River bank of Sabine National Forest
Piotr Kalinowski Photos / Shutterstock.com

Sabine National Forest spans more than 160,000 acres of pinewood areas.

Partly bordering the states of Texas and Louisiana, the timberland lies on the western side of the Sabine River.

The location serves as a natural habitat for threatened and endangered bird species like the Bald Eagle and Red-cockaded woodpecker.

Spot some forest wildlife like squirrels, white-tailed deer, woodcocks, quail, wild turkeys, and doves.

There are developed campgrounds you can use for a minimal fee.

Alternatively, you can camp in more secluded areas with designated sites throughout the forest.

You'll enjoy the pine forest views at Sabine National Forest.

Taste Delectable Sweets at Pineywoods Pie Co.

A charming bakery on Sabine Street, Pineywoods Pie Co. is your go-to place for delicious dessert cravings.

They specialize in homemade pies, customized cake designs, cookies, and assorted cake flavors.

Try slices of blockbuster treats like turtle cheesecake, Key lime pie, coconut cream pie, and strawberry rhubarb crumbles.

Indulge in chocolate flavors with slices of chocolate crack pie, chocolate chip walnut cookie, and brownie bowls.

Whether you're dropping by for dessert or taking something home as a gift, Pineywoods Pie Co. is undoubtedly a sweet stop you shouldn't miss.

Have a Workout at Muscle House Fitness

If you're looking for a place to have a workout while you're in the city, Muscle House Fitness on Sabine Street has all you need to stay in shape.

They have stacked weights, abdominal and cardio workout equipment, and hydraulics to keep you toned, burn fat, or maintain a regular exercise routine.

The gym has excellent modern treadmills, Smith machines, stationary bikes, crossover machines, elliptical, free weights, and more.

You can avail of special promos with discounts when you come in a group.

Visitors can opt to join fitness classes or get a personal fitness trainer.

Muscle House Fitness also offers sports training for boxing and weight lifting.

Grab a Tasty Barbecue Meal at Hemphill BBQ

For a taste of good barbecue, you'll never go wrong with Hemphill BBQ on Old Sabinetown Road.

This restaurant has been around the city since 2004 and has become a local favorite of the community.

Drop by to order their daily sandwich plate specials or delicious regulars on the menu.

You'll get loads of tasty dinner servings with choices of ribs, ham, pork, turkey, beef, chicken, and boudin sausages, or order them by the pound.

Add side orders, baked potatoes, and drinks, then have pies and caramel apple cheesecake for dessert.

Satisfy your appetite at Hemphill BBQ.

Tour the Historic Gaines-Oliphint House

The Gaines-Oliphint House is a must-visit historical site along Highway 21.

This landmark is part of the El Camino Real de Los Tejas National Historic Trail.

It was built in 1818 for businessman James Gaines's in-laws and was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

It's the oldest log house structure in Texas and the only remaining structure at the Gianes' plantation.

Visit one of the earliest Anglo structures built before the Republic was established.

If you love history and architecture, a tour of the Gaines-Oliphint House will be worthwhile.

Enjoy Coffee Treats at Sabean's Coffee, Creamery & Gift Shop

Sabean's Coffee, Creamery & Gift Shop is a charming local coffee shop on North Oak Street.

This 1920s-themed caffeine stop was opened by Carla Morgan in 2018 and has become a favorite hangout for locals in Hemphill.

Treat yourself to a hot cup or iced espresso flavors like Americano, Black Eye, and Breve.

Sip on specialty frappes and lattes, or try Italian sodas and Red Bull kickers for something different.

Sabean's Coffee, Creamery & Gift Shop also offers non-coffee beverages like chai tea, green tea, and London fog tea.

You can also drop by for breakfast or order salads, soups, paninis, and croissant sandwiches on the menu.

After a meal, you can check out items by Kendra Scott jewelry, Swig Life Products Pink Panache jewelry, and other novelty items you can take home for souvenirs.

Discover Books, Coffee, and Music at Serenity Books & Gifts

The combination of books, coffee, and music makes Serenity Books & Gifts unique.

From a simple dream of owning a local bookstore, the McDaniel family finally started the business in 2016, with additions of the coffee shop and music store later.

The store on Worth Street has plenty of books you can purchase at reasonable prices, or you can trade them and get half the price.

After browsing some books, you can enjoy a cup of Black Rifle Coffee with your choice of latte, cappuccino, or espresso served hot, iced, or frozen.

Don't forget to check the music store for brand new or used instruments, guitar accessories, and supplies.

You can also find vinyl records or sell them at Serenity Books & Gifts.

Final Thoughts

Hemphill is a city with natural and historical sites you can discover and explore.

Surrounded by picturesque lakes and undisturbed forest areas, this city invites visitors to go on great outdoor adventures.

The downtown area is also filled with rows of local restaurants and unique shops your family will enjoy.

Visit this city, and enjoy the best things to do in Hemphill, Texas.