I live only 11 miles from Tyler State Park, up in Hawkins, Texas, but I cannot think of a location anywhere else in the country I would rather spend my time. This past May, my son bought us tickets to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, costing us nearly $100.00 per person. Tickets to Universal Studios cost around $69.00 per person. The daily rate for Six Flags over Texas is $49.99. In contrast, a daily pass to Tyler State Park costs $3.00 per person, while an annual pass for the entire family costs $60.00 for one vehicle, or $75.00 for two vehicles. In addition to buying an annual park pass, I ‘own’ a beautiful thousand acre ranch here, as well as other ranches in Palo Duro Canyon, Caprock, and Caddo Lake, as do other Texans who also buy these annual passes. I do not mind sharing my ranches with whoever wants to come to escape the stress of the city.
Like Universal Studios, Tyler State Park resembles a movie studio. By converting from my 65 year old experiences to my 11 year old imagination (which thankfully I have not lost), I can find myself on the movie sets for The African Queen, Strange Cargo, The Great Escape, and Leave Her to Heaven.
Like Disneyland, Tyler State Park can be divided by the imagination into separate lands or kingdoms. I am a transplanted Minnesotan, so occasionally I like to imagine I am in the Boundary Waters Canoe area, with the northern half of the lake serving as Canada and the southern half of the lake serving as northern Minnesota and the Gunflint trail. The southern area near the spillway reminds me of my boyhood home on Lake Emily near Saint Peter, Minnesota. I have never been homesick for Minnesota because East Texas is just like Minnesota, only more so. Regions of the park remind me of various locales in North America: the park road between Red Oak and Dogwood Ridge Camping areas reminds me of Vermont and New Hampshire, while the western side of the dam above the spillway reminds me of the Black Hills of South Dakota or Crater Lake, Oregon.
I can reset my imagination again and picture myself in Europe. The north side of the lake I imagine as Germany, with the Group One camping area serving as Munich. The area behind the swimming area I think of as Stuttgart with the changing rooms serving as the Hohenzollern Castle. I picture the trail northward next to the boathouse as traveling through Rudesheim and the Rhein River valley. As I turn south from the Amphitheater, through the motor home campground, I imagine I am in Frankfort heading down the Autobahn. When I reach the dam, my imagination converts the western side as France, and the lake again serves as the Rhein River, separating Germany from France. As I cross the spillway, turning east, I now find myself in Switzerland, with the picnic ground serving as Berne. Right below the Dogwood Ridge camping area, I have crossed the border between Switzerland and Austria. The Red Oak Campground area I have imagined as Salzberg, and the Hickory Hollow Camping area near the water I have imagined as Vienna. The lake at this point has become Lake Constance, bordering Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland.
Often when I am not enraptured with the sounds of bullfrogs, katydids, and crickets, I can hear strains of music from Strauss, Sibelius, and Hovhaness move through my head. Tyler State Park has served as my health club, prayer closet, meditation room, artist’s studio, and the launching area for several articles, sermons, and lectures. No less than nine sermons have been inspired by Tyler State Park as well as several articles which have appeared in the ETC. magazine.
I consider Tyler State Park a million dollar staycation.
David F. Maas
This is one of our favorits. The restrooms are always clean and the campsites are as well. The tent sites are all nestled in amongst the trees. There are a few tent/trailer sites right on the lake which is a great spot to be, but you have to get in early as they are very popular. There are also cabins to rent and shelter houses available. The trails around the lake are kept clear and makes for a nice nature walk. You can rent paddle boats and canoes if you'd like to be on the water. The swimming area is great if you like to swim There is a sandy beach area and a diving platform out in the water. It's a great place to stay to camp or just spend the day. If you by chance happen to be there on a weekend, the Park Rangers usually have some fun, informative activity planned that is well worth checking out.
Dont use Tyler state park as your first ever real camping experice like i did. I dont like the 10 quiet ordinance they have in place either. I know why they have it, but I felt like I was in college all over again. TSP is for the more experienced camper. Beautiful grounds and the wildlife is amazing!
Beautiful 85 acre zoo that features over 2,000 animals from over 250 species from Africa, North America, and South America
living in natural habitats. A children's petting pen, picnic areas, gift shops, a cafe, and two aquariums are also ...
Amenities:Air Conditioning (In Room). Refrigerator. Iron. Telephone. Television (Cable/Satellite). Microwave Oven. Non Smoking Rooms. In Room Wireless Internet Access. Television.
Daily Maid Service. Safe (In Room). Coffee Maker. Hotel Details:37 Rooms / 2 Floors. Built in 1996. Electronic Key. ...