Fabulous Lake Palestine is approximately 15 miles southwest of Tyler, Texas, and has a shoreline that spans several counties. Visitors love the gorgeous waterfront and easy access to their favorite watersports. If you’re looking for a place to stay, you can enjoy lake views from a Lake Palestine vacation rental — prices in this area tend to be affordable. You’ll have instant access to great fishing, swimming, jet-skiing and more. If you’re planning a Texas vacation and looking for some fun family activities, Lake Palestine’s surrounding areas offer plenty of options, ranging from adrenaline-filled zip line racing to educational museums. For some great ideas, check out this list of our top ten favorite family activities in the area.
1. The Waterpark at the Villages Resort
For a fun-filled day complete with water slides and swimming, take a short drive from your vacation rental to The Waterpark at the Villages Resort, located just a few miles outside of Tyler. Open to the public, this indoor, climate-controlled park offers multiple slides, a wave pool, an out-of-this-world playland for the kids and several food service options. Let your kids burn off some energy while you relax and float along in the “Lazy River.”
2. Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
Combine education and entertainment with a visit to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. With aquarium life swimming in over 30,000 gallons of water, a Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, educational exhibits and more, your family will have a great time learning all about marine life. Stroll the grounds and exhibits on your own, or sign up for a guided wetland tour or fly-fishing lesson. Take your newly learned skills back to the lake at your vacation rental.
3. Caldwell Zoo
The Caldwell Zoo in Tyler spans across 85 acres and provides a home for a variety of animals and endangered species. Take a walk through the African Savannah exhibit to get up close and personal with the giraffes and elephants, or head over to the North America exhibit and check out the mountain lions, black bears, and bison. After visiting some of the most amazing creatures in nature, your family is sure to have plenty to talk about when you head back to your vacation rental at the end of the day.
4. Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari Park
For a unique view of animals from all over the world, visit the Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari Park, and take a self-guided tour through 300 acres of the preserve in the comfort of your vehicle. Feed the animals with complimentary food pellets, or shoot photos and video for lasting memories of your experience. From local alligators to bison and deer from India and Canada, this one-of-a-kind park in Tyler offers the full safari experience just a short drive away from your vacation rental.
5. Brookshire’s World of Wildlife Museum and Country Store
Take a trip back in time and go on a safari in the same day when visiting Brookshire’s World of Wildlife Museum and Country Store. This unique museum houses over 450 wildlife replicas as well as a country store that displays old-fashioned candy and other grocery items from the 1920s. Admission is free, and the museum also offers a playground for the kiddos and a picnic area, so you can enjoy some outdoor time with your family before heading back to your vacation rental.
6. Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge
Located in Tyler just minutes away from your Lake Palestine vacation rental, the Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge houses over 40 rescued lions, mountain lions, leopards, and tigers. Visit this 150-acre wonderland and take a guided tour of the grounds and facility, or brave it on your own on a self-guided tour. The cats reside behind a two-layer fence to ensure visitor safety, so you’re more than welcome to snap photos or get a little close to watch the animals play.
7. Tyler State Park
If you’re looking to take some time away from your vacation rental home and get back to nature, Tyler State Park has everything you need for some outdoor fun. Spend a few hours fishing at the park’s 64-acre lake, or round up some camping gear and spend the night on the campgrounds. For some outdoor recreation, hike over 13 miles of trails, including the Whispering Pines Nature Trail, a historic area that was created by the Civilian Conservation Corps over 70 years ago.
8. Discovery Science Place
Science can definitely be fun, especially when you’re learning about dinosaurs and robots. Give your kids a dose of education while they’re on vacation by taking a short trip to the Discovery Science Place in Tyler. Check out the “Dino Dig Pit” for some dinosaur one-on-one, then pop over to the robotics exhibit and use robot arms to maneuver through a maze of plastic balls and blocks.
9. Adrenaline Rush Zipline Tours
If you’ve been relaxing just a little too much at your vacation rental and need to pick up some momentum, an Adrenaline Rush zip line tour should get you right up to speed. With kid-friendly courses and beautiful surroundings, Adrenaline Rush gives you a birds-eye view of nature as you zip over lakes, ponds and tree tops. The course features over seven zip lines to choose from, with the “Adrenaline Rush” line boasting 1700 feet of length for the daredevils in your group.
10. East Texas Gators and Wildlife Park
If visiting a gator farm is on your vacation to-do list, East Texas Gators and Wildlife Park has you covered. Visit gators up to 14-feet long as they splash in the water, or put your brave face on and hold a baby gator or python. The park also houses a variety of birds and exotic animals, as well as a duck and swan pond. When you’re finished viewing the gators, stop by the park restaurant for some delicious home-cooked fish filets, and be sure to take any leftovers back to your vacation rental.