Nacogdoches (First Texas City)

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Nacogdoches, the heart of Texas, is the oldest city in the Lone Star. Also, it’s the capital city of Nacogdoches County due to its unique location and rich history. It lies roughly in the middle of Houston, Dallas, and Shreveport.

The small city of Nacogdoches has an extensive history, which is quite evident in its streets, buildings, and museums. Most of the population is young and career-oriented. That’s why the whole city feels dynamic and alive. There are plenty of landmarks to see, nice places for a vacation, and work opportunities.

Trees In Pecan Park in Nacogdoches Texas are in nice rows. - Texas View

About Nacogdoches Texas

Thousands of years ago, Texas has only one city; Nacogdoches. The Caddo Indian tribes were the first settlers and stayed in that piece of land till 1716. In that year, the Spanish missionaries arrived in the new land. Several wars with French and Spanish troops eventually transformed the city.  

Today, Nacogdoches is the capital of the County, it has well-respected educational institutions, the residents are mostly young and most of them have received university degrees. The city is a hub of medical services, and it provides fresh produce for most of Texas. It’s also a touristic destination for all its historic and cultural sites.

Facts About Nacogdoches

  • Location: In East Texas, southeast of Tyler, and north of Houston
  • County: Nacogdoches
  • Land Area: 27.66 sq mi
  • Zip codes: 75961-75965
  • Population: 32,147
  • Crime rate: 29 per 1,000 people
  • Average Temperature June: 80.2 °F
  • Average Temperature January: 47.1 °F
  • Universities: Stephen F. Austin State University
  • Airports: The A.L. Mangham, Jr. Regional Airport
  • Best hotels: The Fredonia Hotel
  • Best Restaurants: Clear Springs Restaurant

What’s Nacogdoches Known for?

The oldest city in Texas, Nacogdoches, is known for its various historic landmarks. It’s believed to be the land where settlers lived 10,000 years ago. The Caddo Indians build their villages there, and it’s where the Nacogdoches tribe lived for ages. The Spanish settlers set foot in that spot around 1716. There’s a lot to see in this city.

  • Sterne Hoya Museum.- An old house that Nicholas Adolphus Sterne built in 1830.
  • Old University Building – It was built in 1845, which makes it one of the oldest university buildings in the state.
  • Millard’s Crossing – A renovated historical village and museum complex.
  • Lanana Creek Trail.- Lanana Creek trail is one of many hiking trails in the city. It was initially a Native American path, which adds to its historical value.
  • Railroad Museum – Shows the history of railroading in Nacogdoches, in addition to a model Train exhibit,
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People From Nacogdoches

  • Jim Collins.- Songwriter and performer, born in 1956.
  • John Arlington “Shotgun” Hargis – Basketball player, born in 1986.
  • Garland Roark – Author, lived from 1904 to 1985. His most famous work is Wake of the Red Witch, which later on became a movie.
  • Joseph William Kennedy.- Great chemist who was the co-discoverer of plutonium, worked on the Manhattan Project’s Los Alamos Laboratory. Lived from 1916 to 1957.
  • Alana Hamilton Stewart – Actress and film producer, worked briefly as a model. Born in 1945.
An old buildingin downtown Nacogdoches Texas. - Texas View

Where Is Nacogdoches, Texas?

The Pineywoods city, Nacogdoches, lies in Deep East Texas, the buzzing part between Upper East Texas and South East Texas. It’s located about 60 miles southeast of Tyler and 140 miles north of Houston.

Nearby Locations

  • Shelby
  • Houston
  • San Augustine

Nacogdoches is fully accessible from all sides. Further south is Beaumont County, then the Gulf of Mexico. To the west, there’s Dallas, and Southward, there’s Houston and then Austin. An eastern trip would reach Louisiana, and up north, there’s Arkansas

Layout of Nacogdoches

Nacogdoches is roughly a circle, with the SFA university and Pecan Acres Park at its heart. From there, main roads spread out in all directions and join the looping highway at its perimeter. Residential, historical, commercial, and green areas are evenly dispersed throughout the city.

Areas in Nacogdoches

  • Fredonia Hill
  • Bonita Junction
  • Redfield
  • Swift
  • Orton Hill

It’s worth noting that Nacogdoches supplies the agricultural needs of many neighboring counties and cities. Additionally, there are several medical and recreational services that this city provides exceptionally well. That’s why neighboring areas are constantly connected with Nacogdoches.  

Getting About Nacogdoches

Nacogdoches is a buzzing city of agriculture, tourism, education, medical services, and business. The city of 30,000 residents often gets daily influxes of thousand more from neighboring locations. That’s a good reason why there are various forms of transportation and there’s easy access to all parts of Nacogdoches.

On Foot

Walking around Nacogdoches is always a treat for the senses and an excellent way to get to know the city. There are tens of trails that go through the historic, scenic, and commercial sites. Additionally, since Nacogdoches houses several educational institutions, students are often moving together on foot. It’s the norm in many parts of the city.

Public Transport

Using the Local bus service is often the easiest way to move around Nacogdoches, especially if you’re from out of town or have arrived by plane. It’s provided by Brazos Transit District, and most often, it’s reliable and fully available.

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Trains are also an option. Where Union Pacific rail is mostly used in commercial transport, and it runs primarily between Shreveport and Houston.  

Driving

With a multitude of highways looping around Nacogdoches, and others connecting its north to its south, and its west to its east, a car becomes a big plus. Traffic isn’t a substantial problem in the city, and neither is finding a parking spot.

a path in the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden located in Nacogdoches Texas in spring bloom. - Texas View

What to Do in Nacogdoches

Nacogdoches is famous for its historic sites, and there are plenty of these, so people often plan ahead and reserve more time for site seeing. Additionally, the city has some iconic trails that are both scenic and rich with exploration. The waterways are also wonderful to see all the nice places around Nacogdoches.

  • Site seeing  
  • Hiking in trails
  • Local entertainment

Most of these activities are available through organized tours. Alternatively, the city authorities are always available to offer guidance and arrange site visits. However, people who are more familiar with the area might explore on their own.

Explore the SFA Mast Arboretum

The vast gardens of SFA contain more than 7000 different plants. This was a project that the college students took on in 1985, and since then, the garden kept on expanding. Currently, there are 10,000 acres of aromatic and rare flowers that you can see while taking a walk on this charming trail.

Visit the Splash Kingdom Water Park

Water slides, fun pools, and tons of outdoor activities make for a great outing, especially for the little ones. The splash Kindom Water Park is one of the best in the area. It’s often possible to go there since the weather tends to be warm most of the year.

The Fredonia Hotel & Convention Center

Hotel residents are lucky to experience all the amenities and luxuries throughout their stay. The vintage setting, outdoor swimming pools, and fascinating rooms are wonderful for tourists. Fortunately, other guests are always welcome in the hotel for fine dining, glam shopping, or holding business meetings in the conference rooms.

Check Out The Cole Art Center

The Old Opera House, which was built early in the 188s, now houses the works of painters, poets, actors, theatre performers, and many other artists. The Cole Art Center hosts films, art exhibitions, and community activities. These are all fine cultural events worth watching.     

Have Fun at The Pecan Acres Park

The sunny weather of Nacogdoches calls for outdoor activities and fun in the sun. the Pecan Acres park has vast green areas where visitors can play disc Golf, Touch football, and frisbee, in addition to many other group sports.

There’s a kids’ area for the little ones, a bike trail, and various places for dogs. The park is also close to the Farmer’s market, College Campus, and the Creek.

Where to Eat

  • El Ranchero Restaurant.- Mexican food, a friendly place, and fresh ingredients.
  • Napolis Italian Restaurant – An off-road quiet restaurant with tons of food choices and a rustic ambiance.
  • Brendyn’s BBQ – BBQs in Texas are legendary, and this one is the real deal.
  • Sam’s Southern Eatery.- This is where people go for soul food. Huge portions and great prices.
  • Clear Springs Restaurant – Warm friendly surroundings for dining in. Exceptional seafood, with some vegan options.
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Where to Stay

  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites.- A luxurious hotel for a glam holiday.
  • The Fredonia Hotel – At the heart of Nacogdoches, glam and fun, perfect for couples, and also good for business meetings.
  • Victorian Inn & Suites – Motel, seasonal swimming pool plus individual hot tubs, pet friendly.
  • Motel 6 Nacogdoches.- Close to various downtown destinations, an outdoor swimming pool, and facilities for disabled guests.
  • Hardeman House – Bed & Breakfast, lovely garden views, Nice and quiet.

Nacogdoches FAQs

Is Nacogdoches a good place to live?

Most people looking for a fresh start focus more on fully metropolitan places. That’s where remote locations like Nacogdoches tend to be forgotten. This is changing, though, as the city is growing rapidly, and providing better opportunities.

People can get big houses for affordable prices, there are some good schools, all services are available, and the surroundings are quite scenic.

Is Nacogdoches safe?

The overall crime rate in Nacogdoches is higher than the national average and even some other cities in Texas. However, looking deeper into these figures shows that the percentage of violent crime is much lower than petty theft and similar infringements.

Generally, Nacogdoches is a safe city, with prospects of improvement as the economy gets better.  

Is Nacogdoches worth visiting?

The historical wealth of the oldest city in Texas is worth visiting. Besides, there are plenty of hotels, eateries, and shopping spots that make the trip an absolute pleasure.

Individuals coming on business, couples looking for a romantic getaway, or families on vacation would all find plenty of fun activities and accessible accommodations.  

References

Author Profile

Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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