Day Trippin’: Caddo Lake, Texas
Caddo Lake, on the Texas-Louisiana border, is Texas’ only natural lake and has a beauty and mystique about it that you don’t find at your run-of-the-mill lake. Maybe a nearly three-hour drive is a smidge long for a day trip; you can always stay the night out there or grab a room in Tyler or Longview on the way home (or even head to Shreveport for a night of gambling). Either way, it’s worth the trip.
Caddo Lake isn’t your typical lake, where there is a vast expanse of water to speedboat or Jet Ski around. There are a few open areas, but this bayou lake has cypress trees growing out of the water creating intricate waterways that you can kayak, canoe or boat through. (Caddo Lake is also nestled in one of the country’s largest cypress forests.) The waterways double as a fisherman’s delight. The lake has abundant wildlife both in and out of the water making it a great bird watching destination. Sitting amongst the cypress trees provides a serene and secluded ambiance and mystique. It is often said that Caddo Lake has the uncanny ability to cast a spell on its visitors.
If getting lost amongst the cypress with wild alligator milling about doesn’t exactly sound like your idea of a good time, take a tour. Several companies in the area offer paddlewheel steamboat tours (although going by man-powered canoe is my favorite way to experience this natural gem). You can also rent a jon boat or hire a fishing guide.
Image via Shady Glade Resort
Surrounding the lake are several short hiking trails as well as ample space to set up a picnic. There are numerous lodges on the lake as well, should you decide to stay the night. Just don’t be playing any dueling banjos and watch out for Bigfoot! (No joke, Caddo Lake has had a number of Bigfoot sightings). This might be a fun one to visit near Halloween if you’re easily spooked and enjoy it.