Discover How Recreation Amenities in Palestine, Texas, Act as Economic Drivers

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Main News Photo

July is Park and Recreation Month! Parks and recreation not only enhance the health of individuals, they function as economic drivers by creating and fostering attractive, vibrant, and resilient communities like Palestine, Texas.

Research on communities about the size of Palestine has found that amenities such as recreation opportunities are likely as big of contributors to healthy local economies as traditional “business-friendly” measures such as lower taxes and labor costs. Hometowns with a more desirable quality of life experience both higher employment and population growth than similarly situated communities, including those that rank high by traditional economic competitiveness measures. 

Today, people expect better working conditions, better living environments, and communities that meet their lifestyle needs. In response, businesses are searching for locations that meet their needs and provide the quality of life their employees want. The City of Palestine checks all of these boxes.

In Palestine, our quality of life encourages residents to put down roots and entices new families to call us home. This makes for an attractive labor pool for businesses and industries looking to expand or relocate.

Parks and recreation also serve as an economic driver by drawing in visitors. Lake Palestine and our beautiful parks and forests add to the City’s appeal. Here, you can fish for trophy gar or bass, hit a round of golf, explore the 59-acre Grapeland Safari, or take a spin on the Texas State Railroad.

Palestine is known for its authentic Texas charm, vibrant historic Main Street, and acre upon acre of forests. It offers many options to help residents and visitors alike enjoy the great outdoors. Visit the Palestine Visitors Center for lodging recommendations, events, maps, and more! The Center is a worthy stop in and of itself since it’s in a more than 116 year old, restored railroad depot. 

Palestine Area Recreation Events

The 1836 Chuckwagon Race

The 1836 Chuckwagon Race takes place each spring at the Diamond B Ranch in nearby Neches. It includes such things as trail rides, dutch oven cooking classes, cowboy poetry, herding dog demonstrations, hoof care clinics, bullwhip demonstrations, a horse auction, the Wagon Race Calcutta, barn dances, live music, cowboy church, and much more!

Dogwood Trails Celebration

For more than 80 years, this celebration has stretched over the last two weekends in March and the first weekend in April to celebrate and enjoy the blooming of the dogwood trees in Davey Dogwood Park and the surrounding area. You don’t want to miss the Piney Woods Excursion Train at the Texas State Railroad, the Main Street Farm & Flower Market, and much more.

Neches River Wilderness Race

For more than 30 years, water enthusiasts from across the nation and the world have gathered in Palestine the first weekend in August to participate in “The Toughest Little Race in Texas.” The canoe race covers 22 miles of the scenic, largely uninhabited Neches River.

El Camino Gravel Challenge

This gravel grinder bicycle challenge through the Piney Woods of Palestine each September has an enjoyable option for everyone. Participants can ride one day or two with 35-, 70-, and 105-mile route options each day. Those looking for a true challenge can test themselves over two days with the 155-mile or Full Camino 205 options.

Alex Patel YMCA Soccer Complex

Alex Patel YMCA Soccer Complex features 12 lighted fields ranging from U4 to U16. The YMCA Youth Soccer League and the Y Adult Soccer League make good use of this state-of-the-art facility. 


Pine Dunes Resort & Golf Club

This championship, par 72 course is tucked away in the Piney Woods of East Texas and is heralded as one of the best courses in America.

Elkhart Golf Club

This 18-hole course features 6,217 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71 and is located about 12 miles south of Palestine in Elkhart. 

Lake PalestineLake Palestine

Lake Palestine is a 25,560-acre East Texas gem located just 30 minutes from Palestine that offers opportunities to boat, water ski, camp, canoe, hike, bike, and fish. It’s a popular locale for largemouth bass tournaments. Lodging includes RV parks, campgrounds, resorts, cabins, motels, houseboats, and B&Bs.

Palestine Area Forests and Parks

Ivy Payne Wildlife Refuge

The diverse landscape of the refuge includes forested slopes and ravines, bottomland, shortleaf pine savanna, and creeks lined with dogwood trees.

Palestine Community Forest

Nearly 700 acres of pine and hardwood trees offer scenic drives leading to lakes with fishing and picnicking. Sumac, yaupon, and sweetgum trees add accents of brilliant color during autumn. 

Wolf Creek Lake ParkWolf Creek Lake Park

This scenic park tucked away in the Palestine Community Forest offers a perfect setting for hiking, fishing, and picnicking. A tranquil waterfall adds to whatever activity you choose.

Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area

This nearly 11,000-acre area, purchased in the 50s using Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration funds, is open year-round for hunting, hiking, camping, bird watching, and gazing at the stars.

Reagan Park

Established in 1911 from a tract of land known as Micheaux Woods, this park has a Splash Pad for the kids and a Museum for East Texas Culture for all ages. A true sense of community shines through this park because local fundraising initiatives have made many of its amenities possible.

Davey Dogwood Park

The 254-acre park is open year-round and has five miles of hard surface roads, eight miles of unincorporated hiking and biking trails, and scenic views that are particularly spectacular in spring and fall. This park is home to the Dogwood Trails Celebration.

Fairchild State Forest

Eleven miles of trails in the 2,360-acre I.D. Fairchild State Forest offer hikers the chance to sight a small population of endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers. Like other Texas state forests, the Fairchild is a working demonstration forest and has served as a site for numerous silvicultural and research studies: harvest cutting, farm forestry, timber stand improvement, reforestation, tree growth, prescribed burning, and seed production.

Palestine Economic Development Corporation

The mission of Palestine Economic Development Corporation is to promote and facilitate responsible commercial and industrial business retention and growth that expands, diversifies, and strengthens the local tax base while enhancing local amenities and destination attractions throughout the City of Palestine. 

To learn more about incentives and opportunities in Palestine, Texas, contact the PEDC at 903-729-4100 or by email. We are prepared for growth and ready to provide immediate and customized assistance. Explore our available properties here.

Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Category: News