I remember when I was a youngster growing up in East Texas. Like many, I dreamed of traveling and even moving to more "exciting" places.

I dreamed of big cities, exotic locales, ANYWHERE but the place with which I was familiar. It's funny. The older I get, the more grateful I am for this lovely place in which we live, work, and play.

And it's not just me.

I can't tell you how many friends, both old and new, with whom I'm spoken who've said similar things. Once we have the opportunity to explore other places, at least some of us are thankful in many ways to live in East Texas.

That's not to say we don't love visiting other locations all around the world. We do! And we'll continue to do so. But inevitably, once our various adventures and vacations come to an end, driving back into the lush landscapes and calmer life awaiting us in East Texas brings on a a sigh of relief.

Sometimes it takes venturing away for a little while to realize how good we have it here in East Texas--and how much we may take for granted.

So what do I love most about living in East Texas? So many things. I love the common courtesy between neighbors, the sense of community, the gorgeous landscapes, the seasonal changes, the incredible food, living close to family---so many things.

Other things people said they generally love about living here: 

Get our free mobile app

L.A. Resident and Tyler native Chris Rocha loves Caddo Lake.Wendy Elliott of OKC misses the trees, the hills, and the feeling of spring. Melissa Morgan loves the Texas State Railroad and the Fredonia Hotel in downtown Nacogdoches. Lindsay Nichols of the Woodlands says she misses everything about East Texas.

Kelly Barnett has fond memories of driving backroads in the Red Clay Hills and hanging out with friends. Patricia Garza adores Janie's Cakes. (Yum.) Audra Kisamore adores being to live your life completely without having to travel too far. (Amen.)

Shelley Miller-Rodgers loves the neighborly vibe, fishing, the Lufkin Zoo--many things. Stacie Cearley adores the trees. Jen Cook emoted about the food, the scenery, the diversity, and along with Dell Hollingsworth--the people.

Aimee Crump loves the smell of the Tyler Rose Garden. (Ah, the roses.) Casey Anderson of Colleyville said he loves "getting lost in towering pines and the mystery that comes with it." (Same.)

Let's take a photo journey through some of the most beloved aspects of this area from East Texans (or who grew up or spent a good amount of time here) who've been kind enough to chime in and share with us some of THEIR favorite things about living in East Texas. And please feel free to add to the list in the comments.

30 Things We Love About Living in East Texas

YUM: Check Out These 12 Mouth-Watering Eats And Treats Coming To The Texas State Fair

Townsquare Tyler-Longview Townie Awards Recipients