East Texas is known for its pine trees, its azaleas and roses, beyond the shear beauty of the East Texas landscape, there are many destinations within East Texas that qualify as 'must see'! These must see places aren't only for vacationers visiting our beautiful part of the great state of Texas, these places are also for locals too!

Among the places on this list is a drive thru safari to the east of Jacksonville, in Recklaw, that my family really enjoys visiting a couple of times each year.  Cherokee Trace Drive Thru Safari is home to numerous wildlife from around the world in which you drive thru the countryside observing these animals in nature, not in cages. They're free roaming and quite spectacular! There are many choices for you and your family on our following list that includes family centered activities to adult activities.

When you're trying to come up with a plan with the family for a weekend event, or visiting East Texas and wanting to know what there is to do here, consider these following 'must see' East Texas destinations!

  • Caldwell Zoo

    2203 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. - Tyler

    903.593.0121

    Plan to spend a couple of hours walking around this 85 acre zoo exploring wildlife from all corners of globe.

    Caldwell Zoo via Facebook
  • Cotton Belt Depot Museum

    210 E. Oakwood St. - Tyler

    903.595.7232

    Your kids will not want to leave this one of a kind train museum sitting along side the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad! There is railroad memorabilia along with several model train exhibits in operation.

    Thinkstock
  • Tyler Rose Garden

    420 Rose Park Dr. - Tyler

    903.597.3130

    It's fitting we have a rose garden in the rose capital of Texas! Visitors can walk through and get swept away thanks to the aroma of beautiful roses of all varieties and color in bloom.

    Matt Cardy, Getty Images
  • Tyler State Park

    789 Park Rd. 16 - Tyler

    903.597.5338

    Spanning over 900 acres north of Tyler, this state park offers patrons numerous biking and walking trails, fishing, camping, hiking, paddle boating and more!

    Google
  • Tiger Creek Refuge

    17552 FM 14 - Tyler

    903.858.1008

    Committed to the preservation of life for tigers, lions and leopards, Tiger Creek is the home for abused, neglected and unwanted tigers and other big cats. More than 40 big cats live on this refuge.

    Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge via Facebook
  • Kiepersol Estates Vineyard

    3933 FM 344 East - Tyler

    903.894.8995

    This local winery is changing the perception that wine just doesn't come from northern California! Kiepersol grows and produces artisan wines that are manufactured and sold right here in East Texas!

    Thinkstock
  • Brookshire's Wildlife Museum & Park

    1600 WSW Loop 323 - Tyler

    903.534.2169

    An educational destination for kids of all ages! This museum has more than 450 mammals, eptiles, birds and aquatic animals on display from Africa and North America. The museum is free and also has a huge attached playground for the kids to explore.

    Google
  • Discovery Science Place

    308 N. Broadway - Tyler

    903.533.8011

    A destination for any kid! This museum hosts interactive exhibits for everyone, like the dino dig, TV station, rock climbing wall, playing the role of a banker, baker, grocer, a trial lawyer, judge, bailiff and more! This is so much interactivity happening within the Discovery Science Place.

    Google
  • Gregg County Historical Museum

    214 N. Fredonia St. - Longview

    903.753.5840

    Displaying Gregg County's rich cultural history, this museum displays antiques along with historical photos and so much more as its related to the history of Gregg County, Texas.

    Gregg County Historical Museum via Facebook
  • Longview Museum of Fine Arts

    215 E. Tyler St. - Longview

    903.753.8103

    With a mixture of permanent and traveling exhibits, the Longview Museum of Fine Arts plays host to so much more throughout the year.

    Mandee Montana
  • Longview World of Wonders

    112 E. Tyler St. - Longview

    903.212.4969

    An imagination playground for kids of all ages! The kids, and adults too, can build it in the invention garage, shop in the market and opening soon an interactive exhibit about energy and coal, natural gas and oil with many more activities too.

    Longview World of Wonders via Facebook
  • Cherokee Trace Drive Thru Safari

    1200 County Road 4405 - Jacksonville

    903.683.3322

    Spanning more than 300 acres, this drive thru safari features dozens of endangered and exotic animals in a natural setting.

    Cheokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari via YouTube
  • East Texas Oil Museum

    1201 S. Henderson Blvd. - Kilgore

    903.983.8295

    Centered within the heart of East Texas oil country and close to the worlds richest acres (in number of oil derricks), this museum takes a look at how the oil industry shaped the East Texas economy after the oil boom of the 1930's and beyond.

    East Texas Oil Museum via Facebook