CHEROKEE COUNTY —
Don't forget Texas state parks, which offer programs throughout the year, as well as fun stuff to do.
Discover more at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s website, www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks. Each listing describes programs that are offered a particular park, including those located in and around Cherokee County.
These include Mission Tejas State Park, 12 miles west of Alto, Tyler State Park in northern Smith county and Martin Creek State Park, southwest of Tatum.
Mission Tejas State Park
Located off Texas Highway 21, at 120 State Park Rd. 44, the park offers camping, picnicking and hiking, as well as the restored Rice Family Log Home. Constructed between 1828 and 1838, the residence served as a stopover for immigrants, adventurers and local residents traveling the Old San Antonio Road across pioneer Texas, according to the park's website. Mission Tejas Park was built in 1934 as a commemorative representation of Mission San Francisco de los Tejas, the first Spanish mission in the province of Texas, which was established in 1690. There is a $2 park entry fee for visitors ages 13 and older. Contact the park office at 936-687-2394.
Tyler State Park
Visitors to the park, north of I-20, off FM 16 at 789 Park Road 16, will find an array of things to keep them occupied. The spring-fed lake is utilized by both swimmers and fishermen; the 3/4-mile Whispering Pines Nature Trail is open to hikers. There also are bike trails and camping available at the park. Visitors ages 12 and older pay a $5 visitor fee. For more information, contact the park office at 903-597-5338.
Martin Creek State Park
Activities at the park – 9515 CR 2181D, off Texas Highway 43 – include year-round fishing, camping, wildlife observation and photography, picnicking, boating, water skiing and swimming; backpacking and hiking. To learn more, contact the park office, 903-836-4336.
Lake Jacksonville Recreational Area
Located approximately three miles north of downtown, the 1,325-acre lake maintained by the City of Jack-sonville features 10 screened shelters there, as well as seven camping sites with water and electricity and 10 RV pads with water and electricity. In addition, there are three boat ramps on the lake and restroom facilities with showers for campers. Two public swimming areas feature picnic tables. To learn more, visit the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce website, www.jacksonvilletexas.com, or call the city at 903-586-3510 or 903-586-4160.