5 Must Do Things in Lufkin

Downtown Lufkin | Courtesy of Angelina Brewing Company

In our Must Do Things Around Greater Houston series, we take a look at Houston’s vast array of communities, neighborhoods and destinations to bring you five fun, tasty, surprising and enticing reasons you should give each one a visit.

Founded in the early 1880s as a stop on the Houston, East, and West Texas Railway, Lufkin is the largest city in Angelina County today; and just a two-hour ride from Houston into East Texas, it makes for a great one or two-day trip.

5 Must Do Things in Lufkin, Texas

  • Take a stroll through historic downtown Lufkin The vibrant downtown district offers a mix of old and new, featuring historic landmarks, renovated buildings, dining and shopping opportunities, and more. Check out the Lance Hunter murals spread throughout downtown, grab a primo drip and a brown butter chocolate chip cookie at Standpipe Coffee House, sip suds at Angelina Brewing Company, hit antique and thrift shops and art studios like Heritage Antiques and Rose Cottage Resale, and enjoy a show at the 431-seat Pines Theater.
  • Visit the Ellen Trout Park & Zoo Sitting on 15 acres of natural forest and vegetation, the Ellen Trout Zoo is home to over 800 species of animals, from hippos and monkeys to jaguars and giraffes. Afterward, explore Ellen Trout Park, where you can take a stroll among the beautiful pines, explore the lake, and ride a mini replica of a pre-Civil War train. Get directions
  • Delve into East Texas culture and history – Housed in the former St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church and a dynamic arts and historical center since 1972, the Museum of East Texas houses paintings and sculptures by East Texas artists, as well as American, Latin American and European masters. Admission is free, though any donations are gratefully accepted. Get directions. The Texas Forestry Museum has been collecting and preserving logging relics since 1957. Today’s exhibits include kids play area Timber Town, a Paper Mill Room showcasing the paper-making process, an Outdoor Train Exhibit featuring a 1908 Baldwin locomotive, a .4-mile Wildscape Trail, and more. Get directions. The Naranjo Museum of Natural History is another worthwhile stop, rocking thousands of fossils including a 26-foot tall Hadrosaur and unhatched dinosaur eggs. Get directions.
  • Take a hike on a picturesque nature trailWithin the city, you can take a jog or stroll on the beautiful Lufkin Azalea Trail, stretching almost two miles from Grace Dunne Richardson Park to Kiwanis Park. Get directions.
  • Explore a national forest – The city of Lufkin is located between two national forests, the Davy Crockett National Forest and the Angelina National Forest. Over in the Angelina National Forest you’ll find Boykin Springs Lake, as well as a hidden gem known as “The Blue Hole” (not to be confused with the more popular Blue Hole Regional Park over in Wimberley). The 12-acre “accidental” lake was created by a dynamite blast in the 1920s, and today, though the watering hole sits on private property, you can still call to schedule a visit by calling 936-875-3305 and take a dip in its crystal-clear waters. And the Davy Crockett National Forest has over 160,000 acres to explore, including the 45-acre Ratcliff Lake.
Courtesy of Naranjo Museum of Natural History

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Brooke Viggiano is a food and lifestyle writer residing in Houston. When she's not contributing to publications like 365 Things to Do in Houston, Thrillist Houston and the Houston Press, she's on the hunt for the coolest happenings in the city. You can follow her musings on Twitter @BrookeViggiano .