What to do in East Texas: Caddo Lake

If you’re looking for what to do in East Texas: Caddo Lake is the answer.

“Where are you from?”


“They just had the Carnival, right?”

“No,” scowl. “That’s Brazil, our next door neighbor.”


The atmosphere on board of the wood paddle steamer cooled down a bit. I do not appreciate it when people mix up Argentina and Brazil, it’s a pet peeve of mine. I turned around and saw Sean smiling. He knows how much this small thing bothers me.

The Graceful Ghost paddle steamer.
The Graceful Ghost paddle steamer.

The captain and the pilot did not stop talking for a second. They talked about the local fauna and flora and history and tried to engage the passengers. They also had a well-studied banter going on between them. I’m sorry to say that I would have liked to be able to enjoy the serenity of the waters and the sounds of Mother Nature.

We were on a tour of Caddo Lake, about two and a half hours east of Dallas. The lake straddles the Texas-Louisiana border and is the biggest natural freshwater lake in the South. Its name comes from the Caddo Indians, a peaceful group who inhabited the area. The US government bought their land in 1835 for $80,000 and the Caddo had to relocate.

Hello, friends!
Hello, friends!

One middle-aged lady kept saying “Where are the gators? ” I want to see the gators” over and over again. I casually said that the alligators were probably hanging out in a quiet spot far away from humans. She didn’t appreciate my comment. I felt like the Grinch Who Stole the Gators.

I actually liked the lake. It was overcast, so the combination of dark waters and Spanish moss hanging from cypresses was the ideal setting for a B horror movie. I half expected the see the Mommy thrashing about among the trees.

Watch put for monsters
Watch out for monsters

The lake is part of the Caddo Lake State Park and many people come here to camp, spend the day, kayak, fish or hike. A lucky few own a house on the shore with their own mooring.

Lake house living
Lake living

After this little excursion, we headed to the town of Jefferson to check in at our B&B and get ready for the evening’s activities.

It's a lot prettier on a sunny day!
It’s a lot prettier on a sunny day!

3 thoughts on “What to do in East Texas: Caddo Lake

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