You’ve probably head of Athens, Greece or maybe Athens, Georgia but have you ever heard of Athens, Texas? Athens, Texas is 75 miles south east of Dallas and 36 miles south west of Tyler and it’s home for 12,710 folks and the center for lots of fun things to see and do.

Athens Greece

Athens Texas City Hall

Athens calls itself the “Black-Eyed Pea Capital of the World”. It was also selected as one of the first “Certified Retirement Communities” in Texas; and was named after Athens, Alabama by one of the early residents who came from there.

Camping at Purtis Creek State Park

Athens is also the official “Home of the Hamburger” because history claims that a man known as Uncle Fletcher Davis created the first hamburger in the late 1880’s at a small cafe on Athens’ downtown square. According to legend, Uncle Fletch took his sandwich to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis where the sandwich was first introduced to the world. The McDonald’s Hamburger University has given this historic evidence their stamp of approval and in 2006 a bill was introduced into the Texas Legislature to make Athens, Texas the “Original Home of the Hamburger!”

Garden Valley Golf Club
Texas State Railroad train ride
Hunting at Gus Engeling WMA

Athens is central to many of East Texas’ outside activities and things to do, some of which include fishing, boating, hunting, hiking, golfing, plus wildlife watching and nature photography and lots more. Below are just of few of reasons to visit Athens:

  • Golf – Athens is surrounded by some excellent golf courses and our favorites are Pinnacle Golf ClubPine Dunes, and Garden Valley
  • Fun Attractions – everyone will enjoy the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch (a world-renowned animal sanctuary), Athens Scuba Park (an all-inclusive underwater park), Texas State Railroad (a vintage train ride through the piney woods), a drive through safaris at Grapeland Safari and Cherokee Trace Safari, and the eight ziplines at Adrenaline Rush Zip Line Tours
  • Shopping – shopping doesn’t get any better that what you’ll find at Canton’s First Monday Trade Days, one of the biggest flea markets in the US
  • Hiking, Biking, & Hunting – there are four nearby Texas Wildlife Management Areas – Gus Engleling WMA, Richland Creek WMA, Big Lake Bottom WMA, and Old Sabine Bottom WMA – most of which are excellent for hiking, camping, fishing, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, hunting, biking, and more
  • Events – in and around Athens you’ll find a wide variety of local events that range from the rose festival to the Hamburger Festival, some of which include:
    • Dogwood Trails Celebration in Palestine (March, April)
    • Derrick Days in Corsicana (April)
    • Old Fiddler’s Contest and Reunion in Athens (May)
    • Tailwind Regional (hot air) Balloon Fest in Canton (May)
    • Jacksonville Tomato Fest (June)
    • “The 1836” Chuckwagon Race & Events at the Diamond B Ranch (April)
    • Uncle Fletch Hamburger Festival in Athens (September)
    • Corsicana Air Show (September)
    • East Texas State Fair in Tyler (September)
    • Kerens Cotton Harvest Festival (October)
    • HogFest in Ben Wheeler (October)
    • Canton Main Street Autumn Festival (October)
    • Edom Art Festival (October)
    • Hot Pepper Festival in Palestine (October)
    • Rose Festival in Tyler (October)

With all of that to do, you should plan on making it a weekend or longer adventure exploring Athens and we can highly recommend a stay at Morrow Lake Cabin – a two bedroom cabin on a private lake!

Have fun exploring Athens.

Mike Sharp
Author: Mike Sharp

I have a passion for travel and outdoor activities, and now I'm enjoying retired life. I will continue my traveling, golfing, boating, and enjoying life all across the great state of Texas.

Join the Texas Outside newsletter