15 Best Things to Do in Sweetwater, TX

Sweetwater, TX
Michael R Ross / shutterstock.com

You might not expect it, but one of the hotspots for renewable energy is Sweetwater, a municipality in Texas and the seat of Nolan County.

The municipality hosts the state’s largest wind farm, Roscoe Wind Farm, which has turned this sleepy little place into the major wind power generation center in the Western hemisphere.

Today, people call Sweetwater the “Wind Turbine Capital of Texas.”

As a wind power leader, Sweetwater has also generated several related jobs.

Just in Nolan County, wind power created roughly 1,330 direct wind-related jobs, generating nearly $18 million in yearly landowner royalties and more than $12 million in local school taxes.

Besides renewables, Sweetwater is also known for hosting special events that attract tourists.

Since 1958, the Sweetwater Jaycees has hosted the largest rattlesnake roundup in the world.

This event runs alongside the Sweetwater Rifle and Pistol Club’s gun and coin show, founded in the 1940s.

Do you want to know more about Sweetwater, TX?

Here’s a list of the best things to do in Sweetwater:

Spend the Day at Newman Park

Stone arch entryway of Newman Park, with park rules and hours.
Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you just want to relax outdoors in Sweetwater, visit Newman Park.

The 117-acre park began operations in 1934 and has since become the city’s crown jewel in outdoor recreation.

During your visit, you’ll find several activity options, from an Olympic-sized swimming pool and outdoor fitness trail to a Frisbee golf course.

Stone bridge of Newman Park, with red-coloured railings.
Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also play baseball and tennis there.

Likewise, the park hosts a display of static aircraft and military equipment.

When you feel hungry, you can enjoy a cozy lunch at the shaded picnic areas.

Shaded picnic area of Newman Park, with stone posts supporting the red and white coloured roof.
Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Common

Learn Local History at the Pioneer City County Museum

Did you know that the Pioneer City County Museum was once a funeral home?

The museum operates inside the Ragland House, a funeral home that has been operating for over 30 years.

Three families have also lived there.

Today, the Pioneer City County Museum features various historical displays and collections, housing more than 500,000 artifacts.

These artifacts tell the history of the Sweetwater community beginning from 15,000 B.C.E.

Likewise, the museum has joined forces with community organizations like The Woman’s Forum, Sweetwater Intermediate School, and the AVID program of the Sweetwater High School.

Together, they have launched community education programs and helped improve accessibility for people with impaired vision and hearing.

They also did the same for people on the autism spectrum.

Enjoy the Outdoors at Lake Sweetwater

The city of Sweetwater owns and operates the nearby Lake Sweetwater, which has a capacity of 4.5 billion gallons when full.

Likewise, the lake is enormous, spanning 7,000 feet at its widest distance and covering roughly 760 acres when full.

From 1929 to 1930, Sweetwater built the lake at a cost of about $450,000.

Sometime later, the Civilian Conservation Corps built the lookouts, the golf course, and the clubhouse around the lake.

Open amphitheatre stage made of stone in Lake Sweetwater Recreation Area built by the Civilian Conservation Corps
Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visitors could access the lake area below the dam, which had an open amphitheater, a baseball field, and two fish hatcheries.

Today, the lake is open to sailing, boating, fishing, golfing, and camping.

You might even want to check out real estate around the area if you’re thinking about settling there.

Stock up at the Lake Sweetwater General Store

The only store at Lake Sweetwater is the Lake Sweetwater General Store, sitting right next to the public boat ramp near the dam’s east end.

So, if you find yourself running low on supplies on your lakeside camping trip, drop by the general store first.

You can buy various supplies there, including soft drinks, light groceries, and fishing equipment.

After buying supplies, you can park your RV or pitch your tent next to the store.

You’ll enjoy a restful sleep along the lakeshore, which comes fully equipped with water and electricity hookups.

Study Aviation History at the National WASP WWII Museum

During World War II, more than a thousand women received fighter pilot training at Sweetwater’s Avenger Field.

The US Army recognized the need to train more pilots after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, which left a gap in the number of trained male pilots.

So, 28 civilian women pilots volunteered to fly the newly built trainer planes to flight schools in the South.

These 28 women became the US’ first female pilot squadron.

Between November 1942 and December 1944, 1,074 women received training in Sweetwater.

They flew all manner of airplanes, towing gunner targets, transporting equipment and personnel, and flight-tested new planes.

In 2002, former WASP Deanie Bishop Parrish and her daughter Nancy Parrish built the National WASP WWII Museum in recognition of the pilots’ contributions to the war effort.

The museum now stands on Avenger Field.

Today, the museum houses artifacts taken from former WASPs and four training aircraft.

See a Conventional Show at the Sweetwater Municipal Auditorium

Exterior of the Sweetwater municipal auditorium.
CletusDitto, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1926, Sweetwater built the Sweetwater Municipal Auditorium.

Over the years, this facility has stitched together a storied history, filled with civic meetings, pageants, noteworthy concert performances, and even boxing matches.

Today, the Sweetwater Municipal Auditorium hosts a number of shows every year, with the full support of the local community.

For example, the theater’s APPLAUSE Series features a Western Heritage show, a Lift Every Voice concert, a Broadway Revue, a Christmas show, and a Musica Latina show.

Likewise, private parties can reserve the auditorium for corporate meetings, church, and civic organization gatherings.

Catch a Bloody Show at the World’s Largest Rattlesnake Round-Up

Sweetwater hosts a bloody spectacle every March, the World’s Largest Rattlesnake Round-Up.

This show attracts roughly 25,000 visitors every year, pouring an estimated $8.3 million into the local economy.

How does the World’s Largest Rattlesnake Round-Up work?

This event started in 1958 as simply an effort by the townspeople to eradicate the local population of western diamondback rattlesnakes that killed livestock and pets.

Residents gather thousands of snakes and bring them to the festival grounds.

During the round-up, people weigh the animals, identified as male or female, milked, killed, and skinned.

Visitors can try their hand at skinning the snakes, whose skins the residents turn into leather.

After skinning the snakes, residents also deep-fry the snake’s flesh for consumption.

Recently, the Rattlesnake Round-Up also added a Miss Snake Charmer beauty pageant for the young girls in the area.

If you’re curious and you’ve got a tough stomach, you might want to check out this unique Sweetwater festival.

Watch Rodeos and Horse Shows at the Nolan County Coliseum

People inside Nolan County Coliseum
Richard Lewis Moredoc / Shutterstock.com

If you’ve ever wanted to watch a rodeo or horse show, you might want to visit the Nolan County Coliseum in Sweetwater.

Likewise, companies prefer to host their corporate events or trade shows at the coliseum because of its size.

The coliseum has enough space to accommodate large groups while remaining flexible enough to cater to the specialized requirements of smaller groups.

Moreover, the facility can seat about 3,500 people, all but guaranteeing that every public event will be a smash hit.

You can also watch shows in comfort because the coliseum has air-conditioning and heating.

Practice Your Swing at the Lake Sweetwater Municipal Golf Course

If you’re itching to practice your golf swing at Sweetwater, there’s no better place for you than the Lake Sweetwater Municipal Golf Course.

You’ll find the 18-hole course at Lake Sweetwater, spanning 6,185 yards of green from the longest tees for a par of 71.

Since 1932, the golf course has provided days’ worth of entertainment for golfers looking to practice or to have a good time with friends.

After a round of golf, you can head to the nearby snack bar for some refreshments.

You can also stock up on golf supplies at the pro shop or have your club repaired at the repair center.

Enjoy a Game of High School Football at the Mustang Bowl

Empty football stadium in broad daylight.
Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On the other hand, if you’re a fan of high school football, you need to head over to the Mustang Bowl, a historic football stadium in Sweetwater.

The Works Progress Administration built the stadium in 1939, making the building the oldest stadium in the area that’s still in use.

Likewise, the Sweetwater community has also done its part in maintaining the stadium and modernizing its amenities over the years.

You can stop by to watch a football game every Friday night in the fall.

If you’re a football fanatic, try to schedule your Sweetwater trip around then.

Sit Down with a Book and a Brew at the Argos Brewhouse & Bookseller

In 2017, a trio of Sweetwater residents—Jeff Allen, Jared Houze, and Rod Wetsel—opened the Argos Brewhouse & Bookseller.

They named the unique place after the Greek mythological figure Odysseus’s pet dog in Homer’s Odyssey.

Likewise, they billed this place as a “new business unlike any other.”

The Argos Brewhouse & Bookseller also operates from a building constructed in 1903.

In order to honor this history, the founders kept the original hardwood floors and took their granite countertops from the county courthouse.

True to its name, this place lets guests order a glass of beer and grab a book from the shelves.

The founders intended the bookstore for the community’s use, so you can fish out any interesting book to read while sipping your drink.

Spend a Night at the Bar J Hitchin’ Post RV Park

In 2015, the Bar J Hitchin’ Post RV Park opened to the public, providing various amenities and a family-friendly atmosphere for campers with RVs.

This campground should be ideal for tourists who want to spend a quick weekend at Sweetwater, whether to join the annual World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup or other events.

You can also go to Lake Sweetwater or the city’s museums from this campsite.

Conveniently located near the popular TA Truckstop, this RV park also lets campers grab a nice hot meal or join a buffet complete with a salad bar and dessert.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Grab Unique Pots at Lati’s Pottery Pig

The first things you’ll notice while driving up to Lati’s Pottery Pig are the 13-foot chickens standing along the south side of the highway.

These chickens should signal you that you’re heading for a unique and interesting time at this store in Roscoe, Texas, just ten minutes away from Sweetwater.

During your visit, you’ll find shelves stocked with Mexican pottery, metal sculptures, and gift items.

You can also find animals roaming around the grounds, such as Tootie, the friendly store cat with a penchant for perching on visitors’ shoulders.

Likewise, the show pig Mr. Whitey also lives behind the shop.

The owners’ daughter, Latimer, likes to show off the pig to guests interested enough to ask.

Grab a Bite at the Blackland Smokehouse

If you’re still in Roscoe, you’ll need to find the Blackland Smokehouse to get some top-shelf brisket and barbecue.

The owners, Amanda and Cole Fullwood, kept the name after buying the joint in 2014.

Both had looked forward to getting out of the cotton farming industry and got interested in running a barbecue joint.

Today, the restaurant offers spacious facilities, with a wide dining room in front and a warehouse space filled with picnic tables in the back.

You can also find the restaurant’s food truck parked back there, where you can see how they cook your beef while waiting to retrieve your order.

From the menu, you can grab the four-meat platter filled with perfectly tender and exquisitely seasoned meat cuts.

Likewise, you can try their beef brisket and jalapeno sausage links and wash them down with a peach cobbler for dessert.

Enjoy Nature at Oak Creek Lake

This time, drive 30 minutes from Sweetwater to reach the city of Blackwell, Texas, where you can visit Oak Creek Lake.

The city designed the lake to be a power plant lake when they built it in 1954, and today it has become a majestic oasis in the middle of the Texas Big Country.

During your visit, you’ll find several lodging options, restaurants, and nearby area attractions like Fort Chadbourne and the Historic Coke County Jail.

You won’t go wrong using Oak Creek Lake as your base of operations for more adventures in nearby areas.

Otherwise, you can just stay there and fish for the entire weekend.

Final Thoughts

Sweetwater, TX, offers various attractions—from the conventional to the macabre—to interested tourists.

If you’re in the mood to spice up your adventures, pay this city a visit.

Venture into the Texas Big Country and immerse yourself in nature and history.

Book your Sweetwater trip today!