East Texas simply hasn’t popped up much on my travel radar. I have friends who live out here, and they’ve extolled the region’s many virtues, but other than driving through on my way elsewhere, I’ve not visited the area. Now, exploring Tyler and the Caddo Lake environs, the Bosun and I are getting a look at a pretty neat part of the Lone Star State.
Located on the Texas-Louisiana border, the 25,000-acre-plus Caddo Lake has history, natural beauty, and Bigfoot. Or at least legends of Bigfoot.
Along with cafes offering fried alligator and operators offering interesting pontoon-boat tours of the swampy lake, the woodsy enclave apparently hosts Bigfoot conventions. Jefferson, Texas, even features a Bigfoot statue in a lovely bayou-side park. The place takes its “wood apes” seriously.
Jefferson also hosts antique malls, an old trestle bridge lit with colored lights at night, steamboat and train history, quaint restaurants and boutiques, and a popular ghost tour. On Friday and Saturday nights, it seems dozens of people gather outside the historic Kahn Saloon to chase the paranormal around this charming nineteenth-century hamlet of brick roads and soft pink twilights. The tour ends in what was once an old mill: a building that now houses a musty antiques bazaar. Tour participants stroll through the dark maze of creepy old dolls, wedding dresses, and china with phones ready to capture balls of blue light and grumpy specters.
So if you fancy fun historical “haunts” and find yourself on the Texas-Louisiana border, check out Caddo and the surrounding area. (Book a boat tour in advance. We saw people get turned away; the tours fill up! Also, the go-devil boats are loud. If you want a more tranquil experience, a pontoon boat may be a better option.)