2016 Gulf Stream Innsbruck
2016 Gulf Stream Innsbruck
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Packed with historic buildings and excellent museums, Jefferson is a charming city in East Texas that serves as the seat of Marion County. It was founded in 1841 as the rising levels of the Big Cypress Bayou enabled commercial riverboat travel to the region and, by 1845, had become one of the most important ports in Texas.
Jefferson has managed to retain the ambiance of its 19th-century heyday, with a large number of heritage-listed buildings within its streets. Its proximity to Shreveport in Louisiana and the major airport at Dallas/Fort Worth makes it a great choice of location to rent an RV while exploring the natural and historic sites of East Texas.
Book a motorhome rental in Jefferson and make the 20-minute drive east to the Caddo Lake State Park, which encompasses one of only a few natural lakes in Texas. The lake was created by a huge log jam known as the Great Raft and is now protected within an 8,253-acre tract of cypress swamp. The park is incredibly popular with anglers and home to more than 70 species of fish, together with white-tailed deer, raccoons, and armadillos.
Drive in the other direction from Jefferson, and you’ll arrive at the Lake O' the Pines, which sprawls across more than 16,000 acres surrounded by towering pine trees. It’s another favorite fishing hub, with largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie all for the taking while being surrounded by picturesque parks where you can just soak up the lakefront views. Head to Johnson Creek Park to take a dip at one of its swimming beaches or explore beautiful Brushy Creek Park.
Jefferson can also be used as a base for visiting the Davy Crockett National Forest, which is named for the legendary pioneer. It encompasses more than 160,000 acres of woodlands and wildlife habitat, with the Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area one of its most popular areas. Take a dip at the swimming beach and cast a line from the fishing pier or embark on the 20-mile-long Four C National Recreation Trail that accesses the magnificent Neches Bluff Overlook.
Pick up your RV rental in Jefferson and head to the Diamond Don RV Park, which lies alongside the Diamond Don race track to the northeast of Jefferson. This self-serve RV Park overlooks the bayou, with campers welcome to use their generators on site.
Alternatively, you can make the 10-minute drive south to the Cypress Valley RV Park in Marshall, which is the closest full-service RV park to Jefferson. It’s pet and big rig-friendly, with 57 full hookup sites that allow you to access the park’s complimentary Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, and a small fishing pond.
A short drive east of Jefferson will land you in Karnack, which is home to the Pine Island RV Park overlooking the Big Cypress Bayou. This picturesque campground comes complete with Wi-Fi and firewood, as well as picnic tables and a boat dock just across the road.
Or, you can make the 10-minute drive south to Marshall where there’s a Walmart where you may be able to set up for a night or two with the manager’s permission.
Park your RV rental near Jefferson and explore on foot, stopping first at the Jefferson Historical Museum to gain an insight into the people and events that have shaped the town. It occupies a stately building that once housed the courthouse and post office while today it showcases paintings, furnishings, and homewares that reflect life in the region. It’s just a short stroll from the Museum of Measurement & Time, which is packed with historical timepieces, and Singleton's Virginia Cross House - an excellent example of early Texas Greek Revival architecture.
If you’re a fan of Gone with the Wind, don’t miss a visit to the Gone With the Wind Museum, which features one of the world’s largest private collections of memorabilia associated with this famous story. The exhibits include displays focusing on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Margaret Mitchell and its adaptation as a film starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. Browse the more than 100 foreign editions of the book that are on display, as well as vintage movie posters, magazines, dolls, and autographed items.
You can enjoy a ride on the Historic Jefferson Railway, a narrow gauge railroad that follows the course of the Big Cypress Bayou. It travels through a tract of densely forested pine woods, with views of the first artificial gas plant in Texas, a historic sawmill, and the remnants of a blast furnace. The 45-minute rail journey also passes by one of the few Confederate powder magazines to remain from the 1860s that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Jefferson is home to a couple of supermarkets where you can pick up grocery supplies, as well as a handful of fast food restaurants and eateries for dining out. There are also gas stations if you need to fill up your camper rental in Jefferson.
Whether you’re visiting Marion County for its fine museums or fishing lakes, book an RV in Jefferson and start exploring!