18 Best Things to Do in Nacogdoches, TX

Nacogdoches, TX
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Founded in 1779, Nacogdoches has the distinction of being the oldest formal settlement in Texas.

Given its substantial history, it’s fantastic to see the rich local culture still prevalent in this city today.

Home to many historical landmarks while being surrounded by beautiful trails to discover, you shouldn’t miss out on Nacogdoches as a holiday destination.

Looking to make an itinerary for this small yet fascinating Texas city?

Read on to find out the best things to do in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Check Out the Nacogdoches Railroad Depot

Nacogdoches Railroad Depot
Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The train system used to have a huge impact in many areas in the country, including Nacogdoches.

If you find yourself interested in trains, the train system, and its mechanisms, head over to Nacogdoches Railroad depot.

Nacogdoches Railroad Depot
Photolitherland at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Constructed in 1911, this depot now houses a collection of memorabilia, artifacts, as well as information about the history of this particular depot and the railroads in the city.

There are many interesting things to discover at this old depot-turned-museum.

It’s a wonderful place to explore with the family.

Stroll Through the SFA Mast Arboretum

Another place offering a green haven in the fascinating city of Nacogdoches, spend some time at the SFA Mast Arboretum.

Spanning 10 acres, this Arboretum serves as the home of over 7,500 plant species.

It also has several gardens landscaped in a unique and interesting way.

It was first established in 1985 as a project done by SFA’s pioneer class on landscape plant materials.

Apart from being a great place to visit, it also serves as a place that aims to help in the conservation of plants.

If you want a respite from the busy city life, head over to this place.

Find Out the History of the Old University Building

Old University Building
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

First constructed in 1859, the Old University Building still stands today, having withstood the test of time.

Now, this place has been included in the National Register of Historic Places.

This historic building has had many different roles throughout history.

It once served as a Confederate hospital, then, later on, served as the headquarters of a federal regiment at the time of reconstruction.

It also served as part of a university until it was deeded in 1904 to the Nacogdoches Independent School District.

Until the 60s, it functioned as an educational facility.

Now, it serves as a museum, letting visitors learn about how education was like back in the 19th century, as well as how it was like when it served as a Confederate Hospital.

If you like learning about a place’s history, check this attraction out.

Discover a Tranquil Spot at Piney Woods Native Plant Center

Nestled within SFA’s campus, this garden features a unique display of plants that can take your breath away.

While you’re here, check out the centerpiece of this attraction, the Tucker House.

From there, you can choose to walk through several accessible trails worth two miles, and they go through a fantastic native forest and amazing unique gardens.

To find Piney Woods Native Plant Center, head on over to Raguet Street.

It offers a tranquil spot you and your companions can enjoy.

Learn About Local History at Durst Taylor House and Gardens

Durst Taylor House and Gardens
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover a piece of history and visit Durst Taylor House and Gardens

Considered the second oldest building in the city, this place was built way back in the 1830s.

Here, you can find displays of rooms and facilities used back in its heyday.

These include a functioning smokehouse, a blacksmith shop, and even a sugarcane mill.

It even features a chicken coop and heirloom gardens!

If you want to learn more about this house, you can book a free tour from Wednesday to Saturday.

They also welcome donations if you want to support the conservation efforts of this historical landmark.

Take a step back in time and check out this interesting attraction.

Have Some Family-Friendly Fun at Lake Nacogdoches East Side Park

For a day of fun outdoors, visit Lake Nacogdoches East Side Park.

It’s a family-friendly venue with amenities that can help you do fun activities under the sun.

If you plan to have a picnic, you can use the park’s picnic tables and barbecue pits.

For water activities, you can take a dip at the swimming area or launch a boat at the ramp.

You can even fish here, too, and catch different species of fish, including largemouth bass and sunfish.

This three-acre park has everything you need to spend good, quality time with the family right by Lake Nacogdoches.

Be sure to check it out!

Discover Old Memorabilia at Stone Fort Museum

Stone Fort Museum
StoneFortMuseum, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Despite its name, this place is not exactly a fort.

Stone Fort Museum serves as an educational center for tourists going to Nacogdoches.

Run by students for the city’s local university, you can find a collection of many different items from the 1700s.

You can find interesting belt knives, tools, flint knives, etc. when you visit this place.

Additionally, you can educate yourself about what happened during the Texas revolution, how the residents of his city back then lived, and how they fought.

While small, do consider taking some time and visit this museum.

Follow the Lanana Creek Trail

Apart from the unique buildings and destinations that you can find in Nacogdoches, you can also immerse yourself in nature.

Discover the natural beauty that this area of Texas has to offer by following Lanana Creek Trail.

Measuring more than three miles long, it goes through several parks and gardens in the city.

Pass by the university gardens, a historical cemetery, and Pecan park while walking through the shaded pathway next to Lanana Creek.

You can finish this trail whichever way you want it - whether by walking, running, or cycling.

The trail itself is lined with impressively large pine trees, hardwood trees, and magnolia trees.

While you’re in the city, follow this trail and discover what natural beauty this place has to offer.

Take a Step Back in Time at Sterne Hoya House Museum

Sterne Hoya House Museum
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Constructed back in 1830 by Nicholas Adolphus Sterne, the Sterne Hoya House Museum is the oldest building still standing where it was originally built in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Inside the museum, you can find a collection of memorabilia, particularly items from the Victorian era and the Empire period.

During your visit, you can also find a small reference library that you can use for research about local and state history and genealogy.

Interested in visiting this place?

You can find it on Lanana Street, and you can visit it from Wednesday to Saturday.

They provide free tours, but donations are always welcome.

Look for Antiques at Fortney Home

While in the city, consider visiting Fortney Home right at the heart of Nacogdoches’ historic district.

First built in 1897, this charming house now serves as the home for several collections of collectible items.

Here, you can find architectural collectibles, quirky furniture, outdoor art pieces, and more.

All the items on display here are for sale, so you can go shopping for amazing and unique finds while visiting this place.

The place also conveniently lets you ship the items you bought, so you don’t have to worry about luggage space.

For fantastic pieces of curio, definitely check this place out.

Appreciate Nature’s Beauty at Ruby M. Mize Azalea Gardens

Ruby M. Mize Azalea Gardens
Masud133, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ruby M. Mize Azalea Gardens is considered one of the top attractions in Nacogdoches.

As its name suggests, this place features 8 acres worth of gardens featuring many different types of flowering plants, such as camellias and Japanese maple.

The 7,000 azalea plants from 500 varieties serve as the highlight of this attraction, however.

Witness the majesty of thousands of flowers blooming at once, and have a pleasant, relaxing stroll by visiting these gardens.

If you want to know more about the beautiful plants featured here, you can also go on a guided tour of the gardens.

Consider checking this place out when you visit Nacogdoches.

Stand in Awe of Multiple Historical Buildings at Millard’s Crossing

Take a glimpse of Nacogdoches’ history by setting foot at Millard’s Crossing.

You can find this alluring, reconstructed village nestled on the north side of the city.

It’s a museum complex named after the railroad track that used to cross through the property of the Millar family.

Now, it borders the north side of the area.

When you get here, you can find a wide array of East Texas architecture from the 1800s - from rustic cabins to Victorian-era houses.

A brainchild of the late Lera Millard Thomas, this place aims to preserve the structures, antiques, and memorabilia and display them to share the rich cultural heritage of Texas to any visitors who stop by here.

Learn About Those Who Once Lived in the City at Oak Grove Cemetery

Oak Grove Cemetery
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Some may consider local cemeteries weird and dark attractions to visit.

However, it’s an interesting place to stop by for some, as you can learn about the people who once lived in the community.

Oak Grove Cemetery serves as a popular attraction for tourists visiting Nacogdoches.

This historic cemetery contains many early graves that come from the early Spanish cemetery that moved to this site.

 Oak Grove Cemetery
Robert Z. Selden, Jr., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the oldest graves you can find is that of Father Mendoza, who was laid to rest here back in 1718.

Apart from this, you can also find the final resting place of many soldiers, politicians, and veterans who fought during the Battle of San Jacinto.

It also houses the graves of several legendary Texans, including Thomas J Rusk.

While you may find it odd, take a stroll through this historic cemetery, and you may find that a visit here is more interesting than you think.

Pick Fresh Fruit at The Blueberry Place

Blueberry picking is a unique way to spend some time with your travel buddies or your families.

Head over to The Blueberry Place and experience picking some fresh, plump, and juicy blueberries to take home.

You can find this place at a 10-acre farm, and it opens from May to June.

Everything you need to pick your blueberries is provided here, including the buckets and even a harness to hold the bucket so that you can use both your hands to pick the fruit.

They offer three different types of organic blueberries that you can choose from.

So, when you visit Nacogdoches, try picking fruit at The Blueberry Place.

Spend a Day at Splash Kingdom Water Park

Experience some fun under the sun with your family when you visit Nacogdoches by visiting and spending the day at Splash Kingdom Water Park.

This attraction features multiple water slides and exciting amenities that ensure you and your buddies will have time well spent here.

It has multiple pools and areas where you can hang out and chill outside of the water.

So, don’t forget to visit this place on your holiday.

Shop for Fresh Produce at the Farmer’s Market

Nacogdoches Farmer’s Market
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shopping for tasty, organic, and fresh produce doesn't have to stop when you travel.

While in Nacogdoches, stop by the local Farmer’s Market.

You can find anything here, from juicy fruits and delicious vegetables to seasonal wares and artisanal products.

Occasionally, you can catch some entertainment in the form of live music when you visit this place too.

Check this place out during your holiday.

Have an Exhillirating Time at Zip Nac

For a thrilling adventure, head over to Zip Nac.

Here, you can ride one of five zip lines anywhere between 225 to 900 feet in the air.

If you want some adrenaline and go alone, or if you feel like ziplining with someone, Zip Nac offers both solo and dual rides down a line where you can witness amazing scenery.

Apart from that, it also features a sky bridge measuring 60 feet between lines 2 and 3.

Check this place out and experience an exciting time at Zip Nac.

Get to Know the City at Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau

Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Don’t leave this beautiful city without getting to know it a bit more.

Try visiting the Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau at the square.

Housed in a structure built in 1917 as the city's post office, today, you can find several exhibits sharing what Nacogdoches was like when it was first established.

You can watch informational videos and check out literature about the city when you come here.

Discover Nacogdoches’ heritage by visiting this place.

Final Thoughts

You can discover many things and go on many adventures while at Nacogdoches.

Take the opportunity to do as many as you can while you’re here, and you’ll find yourself coming home with a lot of fun and interesting memories with the people you’re traveling with.