Explore > Texas > Texas Spotlight
spotlight header

Places Welcoming You

gs logo Loyd Park Camping Cabins & Lodge
Grand Prairie, Texas
gs logo Dellanera RV Park
Galveston, Texas
gs logo Island RV Resort
Port Aransas, Texas


The bloom never comes off this Texas flower

Renowned as “America’s Rose Capital,” Tyler is home to beautiful flora, bountiful lakes and Texas-size parks just waiting to be explored. The East Texas community is the perfect combination of small-town charm and larger-than-life Texas pageantry.


Tyler CVB

The Past and Progress

Tyler’s history is tied to, among other events, the American Civil War. A historical marker identifies the former location of Camp Ford, the largest Confederate prisoner of war camp west of the Mississippi River.

Leading up to the conflict, Tyler and the rest of Smith County were home to a number of plantations, with at least one sprawling across some 30,000 acres. Today, some of the plantation homes preserved from Tyler’s Antebellum South share the story of the area’s wealth, conflict and, in the face of changing times, eventual restoration.

The St. Louis Southwestern Railroad, also known as the Cotton Belt Railroad, played a major role in Tyler’s evolution as a destination. By the 1930s, the community was earning a reputation for its cultivation of premium Texas roses, a crop for which it is known worldwide today.

The East Texas State Fair has been a tradition for more than a century. Today, this annual event hosts thousands who come to experience some of Tyler’s best in entertainment, food, livestock and more. And what more does Tyler offer? Try its close proximity to parks and lakes, all of which afford visitors endless outdoor recreation.

Red Roses, Blue Waters

Every October, Tyler hosts the annual Texas Rose Festival, a tradition that since 1933 has placed Tyler within an elite category of its own. Visitors will find Texas-wide grins at this premiere event. Supporting events ranging from historic home tours to performances by bands to the sheer pageantry of the festival make it a worthwhile venture. Explore the flower gardens and trails around town, each meticulously cared for by horticulturalists proudly showcasing Tyler’s flair for roses, azaleas and other floral wonders. There are some year-round venues to enjoy, including Tyler Municipal Rose Garden, featuring 14 acres, 32,000 rose bushes and scores of flower varieties.

Another is the Ina Brundrett Azalea Garden, with varieties widely featured in East Texas. LeGrand Gardens, considered the first “Earth-kind” gardens in the world, comprise the century-old grounds of the Goodman-LeGrand House.

Fun in the Tyler Sun

For summer outings, look no further than Tyler State Park, with its 985-acres featuring a spring-fed lake—perfect for fishing, boating, swimming and camping. There is also a nature trail, lake trail as well as hiking and mountain biking trails. Cabins, picnic areas, a boat launch and an onsite park store for groceries and fishing supplies complete the scene. Seasonal rentals for canoes, paddleboats, kayaks and the like are also available.

Lake Palestine, which covers nearly 26,000 acres on the Neches River, is another great option for enjoying the beauty of the Tyler area. The lake is known for boating, fishing and other water sports. Lake Tyler, meanwhile, offers plenty of room within 4,880 acres for fishing, boating, swimming and other outdoor play. Facilities include marinas and boat ramps. For golfing, choose from several courses in the Tyler area, both public and private.


Tyler CVB

History Abounds

Closer to town, the Half Mile of History is a loop in the heart of downtown Tyler that pays homage to significant people, places and events in the town’s history. Not far away is Discovery Science Place, where the entire family can enjoy more than 200 hands-on activities housed in three exhibit halls. Tyler’s historic residential districts—Charnwood, Azalea and Brick Streets—date back to the 1860s and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. History also unfolds at both the Roseland and Dewberry Plantations, which offer guided tours that explore the area’s Antebellum past.

Visit Caldwell Zoo, which houses more than 2,000 animals in the natural habitats created within its 85 acres. The zoo has a children’s animal petting area, a pair of aquariums and places for impromptu picnics.

Not surprisingly, Tyler has a number of museums. For art enthusiasts, there is the Tyler Museum of Art, considered by some to be one of the premier small-town art museums in Texas. The museum regularly houses world-class traveling exhibitions as well as a 1,500 piece permanent collection. The Smith County Historical Society is the place to visit for collections and exhibits that tell the story of Tyler and Smith County. The museum, located in the Carnegie Public Library, offers free admission.

Kiepersol Vineyards and Winery is 63 acres of Texas vineyards producing red and white wines. Wine tastings, tours and relaxing sips on the estate’s veranda give visitors plenty of incentive to find time to savor this experience.

For More Information

Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau




Texas Tourism