Nestled in East Texas between Trinity Rivers and the Neches is Henderson County.
The city of Athens is both its county seat and largest city.
It’s a transitional region between East and Central Texas consisting of two lakes—Cedar Creek Reservoir (northwest) and Lake Palestine (southeast).
The population of Henderson County, Texas, in 2021 is 82,874, having a growth rate of 0.44% in the past year based on the latest census data.
Henderson was named after James Pinckney Henderson, the Republic of Texas’s first attorney general and secretary of state for the public.
The county has so much to offer locals and visitors who want a family getaway or to explore other places to wind out and relax.
Check out the most incredible things to do in Henderson County, Texas.
Enjoy Unlimited Fishing at Purtis Creek State Park
Fishing is the best time to bond with the family at Purtis Creek State Park’s 355-acre lake located on Farm Road.
You can catch largemouth bass, a catch-and-release fish, but you can also take home catfish and crappie.
The family can do more than fishing because you can geocache, hike, bike, camp, boat, and picnic.
You can bring your own boat, kayak, or canoe, and the lake administrators can take care of fishing equipment, including the rods, reels, and tackle boxes for park use.
Purtis Creek State Park offers 59 beautiful campsites, all equipped with electricity and water, 13 rudimentary hike-in sites, and five walk-in tent sites.
If you feel like shedding some sweat, you can hike or bike and embark on the 4.1-mile Wolfpen Hike and Bike Trail, the 1.7-mile Beaver Slide Nature Path, or the Solar Trail.
The park also has a shop that sells outdoor equipment, supplies, gifts, bait, and ice.
Discover an Underwater World at Athens Scuba Park
If you’re looking for a different kind of adventure, Athens Scuba Park is the best place to go.
Located on North Murchison Street, Athens, this park is a world-class dive site that captivates SCUBA divers from the U.S. and around the world.
It is well-known for underwater wreckages of buses, boats, and airplanes.
There are also caves and other spots fitted for training new divers and recreational diving from the warm waters with an average visibility of 35’, reaching up to 70’.
The refractory bricks used natural white clay for making fireplaces dating back to the late 1800s up to the 1960s.
Athens Scuba Park has thrilled its visitors since its opening in 1987.
Enjoy Fishing at the Winchester Park
Situated ¾ miles south of Hwy 31 on Highway 315 is the stunning Winchester Park established in the early 1990s.
This approximately 50-acre park is the hub for Brownsboro, Murchison, and Chandler softball and baseball competitions, with more than 700 youth participants.
Winchester Park offers many family activities, such as fishing at Winchester Fishing Pond.
Those below 17 years old don’t need a fishing license.
Fishes you can catch include channel and blue catfish, flathead catfish, and bluegill.
Note that swimming and boating in this lake are not allowed.
Defy the Heights at New York, Texas ZipLine Adventures
Defy acrophobia and try a different adventure at New York, Texas ZipLine Adventures.
This thrilling zipline adventure will move you from one tree top to another with a 30-mile view from each platform.
Located in Larue, the New York, Texas ZipLine Adventures offer 6 ZipLine Tour and their latest 9 ZipLine Challenge Tour, with the longest 1500 ft. line and two cable sky bridges steering to a 40-foot zip tower.
While riding the zipline, you can see different wildlife in the trees while some forage on the ground.
After up to 2 hours of zipline adventure, you can grab a bite at the picnic area.
Each tour is available for individuals or groups aged five and beyond.
Enjoy the Rides at Whatz-Up – Seven Points, Texas
Whatz-Up Family Fun Park is the best place to take your family during weekends.
Located on E Cedar Creek Pkwy, Whatz-Up – Seven Points is a multiplex of amusement venues, including a rock climbing wall, laser tag, batting cages, kiddie cars, an arcade, and bumper cars.
There are also pool tables, miniature golf, and a 160-inch HD television screen when you want to watch football games, movies, and special events, including the world boxing championship.
The park also serves food and soft drinks, pizzas, chicken strips, corn dogs, hamburgers, and much more to satisfy your hunger and craving.
Visiting the Whatz-Up Family Fun Park requires no reservation.
Fish at the Chandler River Park
Situated in eastern Henderson County on the Neches River’s west bank lies Chandler River Park, approximately a mile east of Chandler at the Hwy 31 bridge crossing.
Tourists, boaters, picnickers, paddlers, and bank anglers will love the park, with its 2,650-foot north river frontage and 3,000 feet to the south for bank fishing.
Likewise, it’s an inlaid point for the Chandler Upper Neches Paddling Trail.
Anglers can expect to catch spring white bass from February to April, while blue and channel catfish are present every summer.
But you can catch largemouth bass and sunfish all year round.
There are also parking spaces available for cars and trailers on the highway's south side.
Make a Big Splash at Waterpark At The Villages
Enjoy a one-of-a-kind water adventure with the family at Waterpark At The Villages located on Singing Wood Lane, Flint.
This monstrous waterpark offers countless fantastic rides and adventures, making it the perfect spot for a family vacation.
You can float down the river, enjoy the water slides, or wade at the wave pool.
The family will also find it irresistible to avoid trying the windy tubes or climbing over the rope bridges.
This 19,000-foot climate-controlled, glass-enclosed recreational area ensures every visitor will have a memorable day at the waterpark.
Discover Pleasurable Activities at Caney Cove Resort
Caney Cove Resort is a family-friendly campground located on Travis Pkwy, Malakoff.
The resort features 65 spacious and shadowed sites by the water with complete water and electricity connections.
Most of the campsites are pull-throughs with 30/50 amp connections, including a grill and a picnic table.
You can still experience the pleasure of an RV park (even if you don’t have one) because the resort offers huge wooden cabins by the lake, each accommodating eight people.
More fun activities await the whole family, including swimming, playing volleyball, fishing, or waterskiing.
Lap Up Water Activities at the Cedar Creek Reservoir
The Cedar Creek Reservoir completed its construction as a water source for Fort Worth and several other local zones in North Texas.
The reservoir straddles the Henderson and Kaufman Counties.
With a surface area of 32,873, a length of 18 miles, and a width of two miles, the Cedar Creek reservoir shoreline extends 220 miles from point to point with a maximum depth of 62 feet.
It consists of three islands.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department manages Cedar Creek Reservoir as Wildlife Management Areas for aquatic birds.
Locals and visitors can explore and enjoy diverse activities in the lake, including fishing, boating, water sports, birdwatching, and more.
Visit the George Watts Memorial Park
The George Watts Memorial Park is the second biggest park in Mabank, Texas, spanning 43 acres.
Located on West Walnut Street, Park Pl E, Mabank, the park features a concrete walking and running path that extends for nearly 3 miles.
Challenge your family members or friends to a ball game at the soccer fields, baseball fields, or on a sand volleyball court.
Seek shelter from the sun in the park’s covered pavilions and use the picnic tables when it’s time to eat.
Your kids can play in the park or see one of the Little League baseball games.
Behold the Beauty of East Texas Arboretum and Botanical Society
There’s nothing more beautiful than the natural beauty of the East Texas Arboretum and Botanical Society.
Located on Patterson Rd., Athens, the arboretum offers more than a hundred acres of pristine beauty.
You can’t help but be mesmerized by the rippling stream, archaic wooden bridges, and vibrant flower gardens.
There are also covered pavilions, vintage houses and barns, and vibrant flower gardens.
Different animal species, such as hummingbirds, deer, buntings, and roadrunners, among others, also call it their home.
The historical Wofford House Museum moved to the arboretum several years ago and currently commemorates early pioneers, furnished with artifacts and a seasonal garden.
Explore Exhibits at Henderson County Historical Museum
Located on N. Prairieville St., Athens, the Henderson County Historical Museum consists of collections that offer an exquisite but thorough view of Colonial and early 20th-century living in Henderson County.
It offers free admission.
The museum’s main structure, the Faulk and Gauntt Building is an outstanding example of late-Victorian commercial architecture.
Its construction began in 1896 and used a reddish-brown brick using a brick-laying pattern called “English bond,” where the brick’s short (headers) and long sides (stretchers) are interspersed in rows.
Among other things, this two-story museum houses Civil War items, family bibles, a whole Victorian bedroom, pharmacological paraphernalia, Caddo pottery, and a 19th-century general store circa replica.
The Henderson County Historical Museum also houses a schoolroom with toys and books, items from the early days of boys' and girls’ scouting, and medals and uniforms from World War I and II.
Have a Good Time at Tom Finley Park with the Family
Tom Finley Park, in Gun Barrel City, is accessible via Cedar Creek Parkway.
This family-friendly park offers various activities..
You can swim safely in the designated area along a sandy beach or have your kids have some fun in the playground.
Shaded picnic tables and grills are also available where you can cook your favorite hotdog, sausage, lamb chops, or chicken.
Enjoy full access to the fishing pier and catch fish with family or friends.
Birdwatching is another enjoyable activity you can do at the park.
Watch different species of aquatic birds while you wait for the fish to take your bait.
That said, Tom Finley Park doesn’t allow pets or night camping.
Have a Taste of Excellent Wine at White Fox Vineyards
You’ll find the best wines in Murchison at White Fox Vineyards.
Founded in 2015, the vineyard is a family-owned specialty winery shop that makes hand-crafted local wines.
They don’t only produce great-tasting muscadine wines but also an assortment of other fruit and grape wines.
These best-selling wines include Texas Red, Texas Strawberry, Texas Dessert Wine, Texas White Muscadine, Texas Sparkling Blueberry, and Texas Red Reserve.
The seating areas and wine garden provide a spectacular view of the vineyard and constantly welcome live music from local and original artists.
Prepare to Scream at Hallowed Grounds Haunt Park
Do you have the courage to face your fears?
When you visit the Hallowed Grounds Haunt Park, you’ll be screaming at the top of your lungs.
Or you can simply enjoy their spooktacular exhibits of the whole Spiva family.
Check out the main attractions: The Hall Asylum, The House of Wax, and Grimrot’s Festival.
After that scary experience, have fun at the carnival games in the parking lot.
Get a good scare with family and friends at the Hallowed Grounds Haunt Park.
If you have had enough of the bustle and hustle of the city, why not take a trip to a place where you can relax and do things you love to do?
Take care of your mental health and destress, either by yourself or with family or friends, in this corner of Texas.
Start packing your things and discover the most incredible things to do in Henderson County, Texas.