You've probably been there, but some say it's a big waste of time and it's the worst tourist trap in Texas.  Do you agree?  We've got some ideas about great East Texas sites to visit instead.

Part of the greatness of a tourism destination, is offering so much space and activity that it keeps people interested for at least a half day, and maybe two or three days.

That's one of the drawbacks of The Alamo, according to The Insider, because it's just not that big and most visitors have seen it all and done it all within an hour.  Been there?  Me too, and I might agree.  Experiencing the history of the battle site is pretty neat, but it doesn't take too long and after a couple of pictures and reading an historical plaque or two, you start thinking about the Riverwalk and where you're going to eat.

Still, it's an important part of Texas history and worth the trip at least once, right? With managed expectations.  Maybe that's the key.

That got us thinking, what are the best stops in East Texas for tourists?  Here are some ideas to help make the most of summer.


East Texas Arboretum and Botanical Society - over 100 acres of appreciating nature.

Athens Scuba Park - a  35-foot deep, 8-acre spring-fed clay pit at the park is on the grounds of the old Harbson-Walker brick factory.


First Monday Trade Days - One of the biggest flea markets in the US that draws nearly a hundred thousand visitors each month looking for home decor, furnishings, antiques, clothing, crafts, jewelry, gifts, and collectibles.


Gladewater Museum - The museum is in the building known as the Ellen Bauman Community Building. It was built in 1939. and covers East Texas settlers and history.


Cherokee Trace Drive Through Safari - It's a wildlife park with over a dozen exotic and endangered species.  The 300-acre preserve has paths for a self-guided tour through the animals' natural habitat.



Gregg County Historical Museum - The largest exhibits are the Buddy Calvin Jones Caddo collection and the Arthur Northcutt Brown Military collection.


Ellen Trout Zoo - New babies are being born all the time, they've got the Tiger Cam, and the 50th Anniversary celebration coming up June 17th.


Blue Turtle Productions via YouTube

The Caddo Mounds State Historic Site - It was the home of Mound Builders of Caddoan origin who lived in the area for 500 years beginning about 800 AD. The 93 acre site in Cherokee County west of Nacogdoches was opened in 1982.


Jason Eisenberg | TSM

Caldwell Zoo - Tyler is full of great places to take the kids and explore, but if you're in the mood for anteaters, zebras, flamingos, and penguins, this is where you have to go.  The Attwater's Prairie Chickens have hatched, and now is a great time to see those before they get big.

The point is, Texas has plenty of great places to visit that tourists should be checking out besides The Alamo.  And maybe a few of us in East Texas haven't even fully explored these spots yet.  Summer is the perfect time to get going on this list!