On the Road
There's always something new to discover in Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas
Staking its claim as the actual oldest town in Texas, Nacogdoches is rich in history, hospitality, and charm. It’s a place where you can stroll downtown’s iconic red brick streets, hike miles of historic trails that once served as trade routes for Native Americans, go antiquing, or break for tea in a Victorian mansion.
Here are a few of the reasons why the city is commonly known as one of the top tourist destinations in Texas.
You can shop local — a lot
Antiques, cool art, trendy clothing, artisan jewelry — it’s all in the bag at Nacogdoches' significant collection of locally owned specialty shops and antique stores in the highly walkable historic downtown.
While downtown, have a spot of tea at Pemberley's at the Jones House; the lovely café is inside a historic Victorian property.
You can eat like a local
There’s an eclectic list of restaurants in town, and while you can’t go wrong with any of their menu items, here’s an insider list of what the locals order.
The Butcher Boys have been slinging burgers since 1977 and their burgers have been voted the best in Texas, so do yourself a favor and put them to the test. Honorable mention goes to the homemade chicken fried steak and hand-cut rib-eyes.
At Auntie Pasta’s, go for the chicken Capone with artichoke hearts. Dolli’s Diner has all the classic, old-fashioned faves but you should get the migas.
The onion ring tower at Clear Springs is a fried work of art, and for brunch, look no further than 1st City Cafe in the newly remodeled Fredonia Hotel.
Get the good libations
Nacogdoches is home to four must-visit drink locations, including Fredonia Brewery, a micro-brewery with a 2,400-plus retro can collection that you can see in their tap room while you sample a 9 Flags Amber or Banita Blonde.
The Naca Valley Vineyard is surrounded by wild muscadine grapes, honeysuckle, purple wisteria, and pine trees; it’s a beautiful setting in which to enjoy Texas vino in the tasting room.
While you’re shopping downtown, pop into Red House Winery for their award-winning sips, or head to Front Porch Distillery for artisan craft spirits with everything from rum to barrel-aged whiskey.
You can also get in on the Wine, Whiskey, and Brew Tour, which shuttles you to all four places in one evening.
Experience history firsthand
As you’d guess for the oldest town in Texas, Nacogdoches boasts countless historic landmarks, museums, and more.
Head to the Caddoan Mounds State Historic Site, home of Mound Builders of Caddoan origin who lived in the region for 500 years beginning around A.D. 800.
The Lanana Creek Trail once served as an Indian footpath; its six-ish miles weave through thickets of paw-paw, dogwood and scarlet blooming buckeye.
The Old Nacogdoches University Building was constructed in 1859, and it’s the only original building of a university chartered by the Republic of Texas that’s still standing. You can also visit its museum onsite.
On the campus of Stephen F. Austin University, the thrice-built Old Stone Fort has been a trading post, a private home, a church, a jail, and a saloon — but never a true fort.
Millard's Crossing is a charming, reconstructed historic village. And the town’s oldest structure still in its original site is the Sterne Hoya House Museum & Library that dates back to 1830.
Channel a garden state
Nacogdoches is also known as the Garden Capital of Texas for its impressive array of beautiful gardens, from compact pocket parks to the native landscapes at historic sites, and the extensive network of gardens and trails on the SFA campus.
Don’t miss the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden — it’s the largest azalea garden in Texas, with 11 acres in a loblolly pine forest. While there, you’ll see more than 550 varieties of rhododendron, 100 varieties of camellia, more than 200 varieties of hydrangea, Japanese maples, and more.
Learn more about this historic town with natural beauty and a modern edge at Visit Nacogdoches.