an empty dock at the Mineola Nature Preserve in East Texas
Author: Carol Fall

Author: Carol Fall

I own Fall Farm Country Inn, a boutique bed and breakfast in East Texas. I love sharing my recommendations to exploring this wonderful area!

BEST Outdoor Things to Do in Mineola Texas & Neighboring Towns

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    During your country getaway to East Texas, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful weather, thousands of blooming flowers, fishing, annual festivals, family-friendly activities, and so much more!

    There are many outdoor things to do in Mineola Texas and in its neighboring towns – just a short drive (most are just 10-30 minutes away) from Fall Farm Country Inn!

    Keep reading to discover how to best enjoy the outdoors in Mineola—you may never want to leave!

    an empty dock at the Mineola Nature Preserve in East Texas

    Mineola Nature Preserve

    One of the best outdoor things to do in Mineola Texas is to enjoy this beautiful nature sanctuary—it’s the gem of the town!

    The Nature Preserve is open daily, from 7:30 AM until sunset.

    The Mineola Nature Preserve is nearly 3,000 acres, filled with scenic East Texas wetlands, woodlands, ponds, flora, and native wildlife. The tranquil preserve provides a relaxing escape to nature, where you can enjoy quite a few things outside in the fresh air. Plus, the preserve is kept very clean, and everyone you run into is bound to be friendly, kind, and courteous.

    One of the most popular activities at the preserve is hiking. The area offers a network of hiking trails, of easy to moderate difficulty. The main trail runs along an old railbed, offering a unique historic perspective on the area, and heads south toward the Sabine River. You can follow it all the way, or branch off to explore any number of offshoots from the primary path.

    Besides hiking, the Mineola Nature Preserve:

    • has primitive campgrounds available.
    • is the “Birding Capital of East Texas.” There are plenty of birdwatching stations throughout the sanctuary.
    • has multiple fishing ponds, with benches where you can sit and enjoy the view.
    • has a lovely garden to wander, featuring native plants.
    • offers equestrian trails and The Derby Pavilion for horseback riding.
    • has an archery range and an area to play disc golf.
    • is a great place to canoe or kayak the Sabine River.
    • has fun trails for mountain bikers of all levels.
    • is a wonderful spot for a family picnic!
    • is the perfect place to spend an evening under the stars.

    If you’re worried about cell and internet service while exploring the area—the Nature Preserve offers complimentary Wi-Fi, and most visitors have no issues using their cell phones.

    Iron Horse Square and Railroad

    Iron Horse Square is one of the best outdoor venues to visit in Mineola, especially for families!

    Located between Front and Commerce Street in Downtown Mineola, the historic area features an old Union depot (now a working Amtrak station and railroad history museum) that’s been remodeled to match its original design from 1906.

    Take a free ride on the Mineola Mini Train (it looks like a little Union Pacific train!) every second and fourth Saturday, from April through September.

    If you visit from May to October, you can also enjoy the Saturday Farmers Market and other events held in their outdoor pavilion.

    Head to the Square in September to check out the annual Mineola Iron Horse Heritage Festival, where Mineola welcomes fall through a variety of fun, family-friendly activities!

    Wood County Arboretum

    Wander through Wood County Arboretum’s beautiful property, which has more than 20 acres of gardens, trails, and forest. If you visit during the spring, you’ll be treated to hundreds of blooming Texas wildflowers and their annual plant sale, which is held each May.

    The arboretum is also well known for the picturesque Stinson House. The historic home, built in 1869 and surrounded by a white picket fence, makes a fantastic backdrop for photos in all seasons, with lovely plants and flowers in the spring and summer, changing leaves in fall, and snowfall in the winter.

    Old Mill Pond Museum

    Another of the best outdoor things to do in East Texas is to enjoy the scenic, 20-acre park that surrounds Old Mill Pond Museum. While you’re there, you can take a walk through the trees, have a picnic near the pond, and feed the local turtles and fish.

    The nature park also features various outdoor historic displays and artifacts, such as antique vehicles and tractors, and a working mill.

    elephants at the Caldwell Zoo in East Texas near Mineola

    Caldwell Zoo

    In nearby Tyler (only about a 30-minute drive from Mineola) is the Caldwell Zoo, which has been a popular travel destination for over 70 years. Enjoy the outdoors with your family while you see and learn about more than 3,000 animals, like exotic birds, cougars, lions, elephants, flamingoes, snakes, and more!

    Plus, you can have a delicious lunch with panoramic views while dining at the on-site Chakula Cafe’s patio.

    Visit Tyler’s Gardens

    Also in Tyler are several gorgeous gardens. Tyler is famous for its roses in particular. Its nickname is “The Rose Capital of America”.

    If you’re planning on visiting the rose gardens, peak blooming seasons are twice a year, in both mid-late May and October.

    • Tyler Municipal Rose Garden — This stunning, 14-acre rose garden features thousands of rose bushes and more than 200 varieties of roses. There’s also a museum and gift shop.
    • LeGrand Rose Garden — Wander through this lovely garden complete with many flowers, like azaleas and roses, shade trees, and benches to sit and enjoy the view.
    • Pyron Garden — This is a private garden, but it opens to the public every year during the annual Azalea and Spring Flower Trail. The yearly event draws in thousands of visitors, who come to enjoy Tyler’s beautiful blooms while walking a 10-mile path.

    Visit each year during October to attend Tyler’s amazing Texas Rose Festival!


    Golf in Mineola

    If you like to golf, Mineola will not disappoint! Play a round of golf under the Texas sun at these two great, East Texas golf courses:

    • Mineola Country Club — This semi-private club has a challenging nine-hole golf course with a small amount of bunkering, plenty of hills, and water on many holes. After your game, have a delicious meal paired with a wine, beer, or cocktail at their restaurant.
    • The Links At Land’s End — Enjoy a scenic drive across Lake Fork before arriving at this waterfront golf course, which also includes a driving range, chipping green, and putting green.

    Fish at East Texas Lakes

    East Texas is the perfect place for anglers, with fantastic fishing spots like Lake Fork, Lake Holbrook, Lake Winnsboro, and Lake Tawakoni:

    • Lake Fork — Nearly 30,000 acres, Lake Fork has an abundant supply of crappie, largemouth bass, and white bass, as well as other varieties of fish including bowfin, channel catfish, and gar. If you get lucky, you’ll catch a bass larger than their current record, which weighed just over 18 pounds!
    • Lake Tawakoni — This East Texas lake is close to 40,000 acres. It’s a fantastic fishing destination, but also offers plenty of opportunities for bird watching, hiking, camping, and mountain biking.
    • Lake Holbrook — Lake Holbrook is a very popular spot for anglers hoping to catch largemouth bass. Head there to fish during spring, fall, and winter for the most success.
    • Lake Winnsboro — This lake is stocked with a good variety of fish, including largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, and catfish. It’s most known for its high catch rates.
    Bass Fishing

    More Seasonal Outdoor Activities in East Texas

    Mrs. Lee’s Daffodil Garden

    In nearby Gladewater is this beautiful daffodil garden, which covers almost 30 acres and contains thousands of blooms. Walk along the garden’s lovely four-mile trail to see views of woodland valleys, scenic lakes, wildflowers, an idyllic farm, and a replica of an antique log cabin.

    It is best to visit Mrs. Lee’s Daffodil Garden while the daffodils are blooming, which happens each year in March!

    Winnsboro Autumn Trails Festival

    Neighboring Winnsboro, which is about a 30-minute drive from Mineola, has welcomed fall annually for nearly 70 years! This autumn festival is celebrated each weekend in October and features plenty of events, including a classic car show, an antique car parade, an arts and crafts show, and several rodeos and pageants.

    Blueberry Ridge Farm and Pumpkin Patch

    The first organic blueberry farm in the Lone Star State turns into a paradise for pumpkin picking every autumn! Pick your favorite pumpkins at their seasonal pumpkin patch.

    Families will enjoy other outdoor fall activities hosted at Blueberry Ridge, too, including hayrides, pumpkin decorating, scavenger hunts, rodeo games, picnicking, scarecrow dress-up, hiking, and horseback riding (by reservation).

    The Whatley Plantation Christmas Tree Farm

    Just 9 minutes from Mineola is this fantastic family-owned and -operated Christmas tree farm. Pick out and take home your favorite, real Christmas tree. Enjoy candy and holiday cookies while you wander the idyllic, wintry farm, which is open weekends only after Thanksgiving.

    The Unique History, Places, & People of Mineola Texas - celebrating 150 years in 2023

    Make the Most of Your Stay in Mineola Texas

    Enjoy these fantastic outdoor things to do in Mineola while staying at Fall Farm Country Inn. Our lovely boutique bed-and-breakfast offers a comfortable and conveniently located place to stay while you have your best country getaway yet.

    Aside from things to do under the warm Texas sun, East Texas is jam-packed with terrific dining options, boutiques, antique shops, and so much more!

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