Athens, Texas is small southern town, just a short drive away from Tyler and Dallas.
Located in Henderson County, the town of Athens was established in 1850. It was named by the stepdaughter of one of the founding fathers. Dullcette Aceriette believed it would be the cultural hub of Henderson County, and named it Athens, in honor of the famous city in Greece.
The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is located in Athens. Here you can take fly fishing lessons, where they will teach you everything a beginner needs to know about fishing. They also offer hunting education, teaching you hunting safety and offering tips and tricks. The state fish art competition is held here, where children can submit a drawing and some information on the Texas state fish, and possibly win a cash prize. All entries are given a Strike King fishing lure. It has one of the largest hatcheries in Texas, and helps to release millions of bass, catfish, and other fish back into the lakes. There is also an aquarium, with hundreds of freshwater fish, and several different sections to explore and learn about. The fishing hall of fame honors several heroes of fishing. Finally there is the wetlands tour, which is also wheelchair accessible.
Another fun thing to do in Athens is go to The East Texas Arboretum and Botanical Society. There are a few attractions here, including the Little Red Schoolhouse, which is a little red building, modeled to look like a schoolhouse from the 1800s. It is available for touring by reservation. Another attraction is the Wofford House, which is the oldest home in Henderson County. It has recently be restored and furnished, serving as a small museum. In the Discovery Barn, we are taught about life on farms in East Texas in earlier days. It is decorated with antique farm equipment. There are hundreds of flowers on site, several different gardens to enjoy, and many semi rugged trails to travel on.
One of Athens’ best attractions is the Athens Scuba Park. You can rent equipment (or bring your own) and scuba dive in the spring fed, clear warm water lake. Courses are available before you go diving for the first time, where they teach you safety and technique. Once you learn the ropes, you can dive from one of eleven diving piers to find several sunken wrecks. Among these wrecks is a sixty foot Hawker 600 Jet to explore. There are three different thirty foot sailboats, a DARE bus, and even Clint Eastwood’s film crew’s party boat, all available for underwater exploration. Night diving and treasure hunts are activities done here. RV sites with electricity and campsites are offered at the Scuba Park.
There are several great places to eat in Athens. Railway Cafe is one of the most popular places; it serves mostly American food, and has one of the best hamburgers in East Texas. The Jalapeño Tree is the best Mexican food restaurants in Athens. Finally the Cherry Laurel Bakery serves yummy baked goods.
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