We took a fun trip to East Texas and found a charming city called Tyler. Tyler, Texas is just a couple hours from Dallas, making this a perfect weekend getaway from Dallas, Texas. If you’re looking for a fun little weekend trip away from the city, Tyler is the place to be! It’s great for both adults and kids.
Tyler, Texas is known as the Rose Capital of the United States, and for good reason. They have roses gardens that expand over 14 acres with thousands and thousands of roses, and so many varieties you haven’t even heard of.
But roses aren’t the only thing you can see in Tyler, Texas…
Fun things to do in Tyler Texas
Wine tasting in Texas?! Ok, I’m a California girl, so the wineries I know of are in wine country in Napa Valley, or Temecula areas. I never would have thought that Texas has wineries, so we were excited to learn about Kiepersol Winery.
This winery is on a vineyard where you can take a tour and enjoy a tasting! I’ve actually never been on a real wine tour…(just tasting..ha) so I was really excited to check out the vineyards. We headed to Kiepersol Winery where we were met with our tour guide who sat us down and went over the history of the family owned winery.
And it was fascinating! It was so cool learning about how this family brought wineries into Tyler and introduced a new agricultural option for farmers. We then went to walk around the vineyards, and got to see all the machinery and how they produce their wine.
My favorite part was seeing the room filled with all these wine barrels that are aging the wine to be ready to distribute.
After our tour, we had a chance to go in and taste some of the wines we just learned about. It’s definitely worth an afternoon trip and taking the full tour!
We found some great hiking trails throughout Tyler. There are several trails that are great for hiking and biking, and you can see where they are here.
Getting out an enjoying the outdoors is something we love to do, and Tyler has some really pretty scenery around.
Mural Scavenger Hunt
Tyler has lots of awesome murals all around the city. We took a few hours and drove around checking out the town and looking for some of the best murals around. There were so many creative and impressive designs on the sides and backs of buildings, and some you can see by driving on the main street. This would be a fun game to play while checking out the city.
This trip wasn’t long enough for us to check out the inside of the zoo, but we did drive by it and I made a note to put it on our list for next time. The Caldwell Zoo is “recognized as one of the top small zoo’s in the U.S.” They have over 3,000 endangered wildlife, so there’s sure to be some awesome animals to see there. Always a fun family favorite!
Day Trip To The Lake
What’s a weekend trip without a trip to a lake? At least that’s the thinking in our family. Tyler, Texas has several lakes nearby, and we had to check out a couple of them while we were there of course. Lake Fork is a beautiful lake North of Tyler about a 40-minute drive. It’s a famous Bass Fishing lake in Texas, so that was our big draw to it. If you’d like to stay closer, you can check out Lake Tyler, Tyler State Park, or Lake Palestine as well.
You can go boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking, and even camping around these lakes. Definitely a fun weekend for the whole family! Getting out by the water (or on the water) is always a great idea, especially in the summertime. There are plenty of activities to do on and around the water, and a weekend on the lake can be a whole trip by itself.
What better way to see East Texas than to zip line over it? Tyler has a great zip line course nearby in Larue, called New York Texas Zipline Adventures. They offer a 6-line course and a 9-line challenge course with 2 sky bridges. They also have a 1500ft. zipline as well. This would be an exhilarating way to check out East Texas.
Of course a list of the best things to do in Tyler, Texas could not be complete without the Rose Gardens. Tyler has a world-famous rose garden that is 14 acres! There are “35,000 rose bushes and more than 500 varieties of roses”.
Peak season for the roses is October and May. We were there the end of July, and it was still really cool to walk around the gardens. It’s worth a stop in to enjoy all the different roses…and it’s free!
Bergfeld Park is such a fun place for a family day in the park. They have a “playground, tennis courts & an amphitheater for events & movie nights.” We also saw lots of kids playing in the water at the park as well. Perfect for a hot summer day.
Discovery Science Place
The Discovery Science Place is an awesome science exhibition for adults and kids to learn and explore. They have 3 different exhibit halls full of hands-on activities and learning exhibits. Perfect for a day of fun!
Where to Eat – Restaurants in Tyler, Texas
Stanley’s Famous Pit BAR B-Q
We found the BEST chicken sandwich either of us have ever had. And yes, that’s a bold statement. We had dinner at Stanleys Famous Pit Bar B-Q and ordered the “Mother Clucker Sandwich”. It was ah-maze-ing!! So delicious with great bbq flavors. I almost ordered another one…if only it didn’t fill me up right away.
We both were amazed at how delicious these sandwiches were. The bread, cheese, and chicken made the perfect combo for our new favorite bbq chicken sandwich.
They have an outdoor patio where you can enjoy your food, and they have live music playing on specific days as well, so it’s a really great atmosphere. You’ll want to check this place out…and we HIGHLY recommend the “Mother Clucker”! We will be back, and will be taking all our friends and family with us!
We had a wonderful dinner at the cutest restaurant called The Grove. We opted to sit outdoors where they had lots of lounge set ups, yard games, and live music playing as well. The set up outside was very charming and was an enjoyable spot to hang out after dinner listening to the music, playing a few yard games, and relaxing in the evening, sipping on cocktails.
Their dinner menu was full of great selections which made it difficult to choose what to order. We started with an appetizer of Chicken Fried Texas Quail Tenders and ordered it with an extra spice on top. They were small bites of fried quail with a dipping sauce of Fire Roasted Pepper Ranch and B was loving the spiciness of the topping. We also ordered from their cocktail menu as well, and recommend trying the Old Fashioned.
For dinner, I chose the sage chicken and caramelized onion flatbread and a side of mac n cheese. B had the chicken plate with green veggies as a substitute for the potatoes. It was a lot of food for me, and I ended up taking the leftovers back to the hotel and eating the rest a little later. But it was all quite tasty.
Of course we couldn’t skip dessert though, so I tried their Oreo Cheesecake and it was delicious!
The Grove also has a beautiful greenhouse on the property where they can host special events. It would be the perfect Wedding Reception area as well. If you’re getting married in East Texas and looking for the perfect venue, be sure to check out the space The Grove has to offer.
Where to stay in Tyler, Texas
We had a pleasant stay at a hotel called Sleep Inn & Suites. They had very comfy beds, clean rooms, and a hot breakfast included each morning.
The rooms are nice and cozy with modern decor. They were very clean and have decent space in each room. We had a King room with a comfy king size bed with lots of pillows, which is always a plus. It had a mini fridge and microwave along with a coffee bar set up on the counter, so it was convenient for us to bring back leftovers and enjoy coffee or tea in the mornings before stepping out.
We also had a desk and TV set up across from the bed, perfect for a work trip.
Breakfast each day was a nice full, hot meal. Our favorite was the Texas shaped waffles. Such a fun little touch. They also had a machine that made fresh pancakes along with the buffet of eggs, bacon, and sausage. Of course they had a whole set up of more “continental breakfast” finds that you could grab and go, if you were in more of a hurry.
If you stay at the Sleep Inn & Suites, you get to use the full sized gym across the street for free. Sleep Inn & Suites also has a small gym right by the lobby if you don’t want to leave the property as well.
Don’t forget to check out their literature in the lobby. Here you will find lots of things to do and see around the area, and there are some great coupons available in some of the brochures. It’s like having your own concierge service right in the lobby and you can get all the info you need to make your stay quite entertaining.
Each day, Sleep Inn offers refreshments for their guests in the lobby. There was sweet tea and regular ice tea available for us each day in addition to chocolate chip cookies as well. It was a nice bonus.
They also give you a couple water bottles in your room so you always have a quick refreshment during your stay.
More FUN Things to Do in Tyler, Texas
We had a great few days in Tyler, Texas and are excited for our return. There were lots more things we didn’t have time to do or see, so we have a list of things we want to check out when we come back. Here’s a quick list of other things you may want to check out when in the area…
Farmers Markets –
The East Texas State Fair Farmers Market is open May to July on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Tyler Farmers Market is open May through August on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Rose City Farmers Market (Southside Market) is open April through November on Saturdays.
Check out this big cat sanctuary where you can see tigers, lions and more.
This indoor water park is open year-round! It features tubes, and body slides, a wave pool and lazy river. Plus the rood opens during the summer!
This indoor trampoline park has dodgeball course, foam pits, basketball hoops and more.
A “things to do” list here at Our Kind of Crazy is never complete without an Escape Room. And this one has 7 rooms! For sure on our list to do when we come back.
Tyler Rock Gym-
This rock gym has over 10,000 square feet of climbing walls. It’s open 7 days a week and you don’t even have to be experienced to check it out.
Tyler is home to several golf courses to enjoy. Tons of 18 hole options, a 9-hole and even a 27-hole course are available around the area.
American Freedom Museum-
This would be a great stop for the whole family. This museum is complete with the Hall of Presidents, unique artifacts, a WWII Paratrooper plane, and an interactive museum featuring national military documents. If you’re interested in history at all, this sounds like the perfect afternoon.
If you are in the area from Mid-February to March, you’ll have a chance to check out the 28 acre garden full of millions of golden daffodils…how amazing would that be?!
The Times Square Grand Slam has a whole list of things for you to do. Check out a movie with their relaxing lounge setups, play laser tag with you friends, or host a tournament on their 16-lane bowling lanes. This is the place we would be on a weeknight.