Only 20 minutes from Jefferson is a place unlike any other place in Texas. A lake that is more swamp, then lake. More of a collection of bayous and sloughs, then an open body of water. Caddo Lake is a mystical place that is home to gators, wetland birds, beavers, turtles, and many other critters. It is a place where mythical creatures such as Sasquatch and the Boggy Creek Monster hide among the Bald Cypress trees dripping with Spanish Moss. It is a place that will imprint itself on your soul. A place where you will need to come back to over and over again.
A recreation paradise, you could spend hours winding your way through the islands of trees by kayak or canoe. If you want to hear some history, sit back and enjoy a guided tour of the boat channels on a wood burning steamboat, and after a long day of playing, sit back and sip a cool beverage on the patio of one of the restaurants that line the river.
To help you plan out your Caddo Lake adventure, here is a list of different tours and activities on this natural wetland.
Graceful Ghost Steamboat Tours on Caddo Lake www.gracefulghost.com or call 1-877-894-4678. Travel back in time to the days that the stern wheelers plied the dark waters of Caddo Lake. Enjoy an 1.5 hour tour of Caddo Lake on a wood burning paddle wheel and hear the remarkable history of these ethereal waters. Steamboat tours of Caddo Lake are Tuesday through Saturday 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm and reservations are recommended.
Captain Ron’s Gator Park and Petting Zoo www.captainronsgatorpark.com or call 903-789-2100. There is no where else in East Texas where you can feel your heart pound as you feed a gator. If you need something a little tamer, then enjoy feeding the petting zoo animals such as goats and pigs and peacocks. Captain Ron’s Gator Park and Petting Zoo is a fascinating place full of animals that you would not ordinarily see.
Caddo Lake State Park http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/caddo_lake/. Caddo Lake State Park has been described as the Crown Jewel of the Texas Parks and Wildlife system. This is the best place to rent and launch kayaks and canoes. In addition to the kayaking and canoeing, you can enjoy fishing, swimming, picnicking, hiking and nature studies. Park is open 7 days a week.
Paddling Trails http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/boat/paddlingtrails/inland/ Ten paddling trails are open on both the Big Cypress Bayou and Caddo Lake. All trails are designed to be day trips and are clearly marked with trail markers.
Johnson’s Ranch http://www.johnsonsranch.net/ or call 903-789-3213. It should not suprise you that the oldest inland marina in the state of Texas would be on theFull service marina (and oldest inland marina in Texas) on Caddo Lake.
Billy Carter’s Guide Service http://www.caddoguideservice.com or call 903-789-3213. If you are looking to have a more intimate and adventurous tours of Caddo Lake, then let us set you up with an outfitter. These outfitters will take you deep into the swamps in Go Devil boats that seat 2 to 4 adults. Billy Carter is one of Caddo Lake’s most experienced guide. In addition to to sightseeing and photography tours, his team can also take you out for duck hunting, fishing, birding, and night time gator hunts on Caddo Lake. Reservations are required.
Caddo Lake Outback Tours and Guide Service http://www.caddolaketours.com or call 903-789-3384. Here is another option if you are interested in a Go-Devil boat tour. Caddo Lake Outback Tours specilizes in nature tours, scenic tours and photo tours getting into parts of the lake and swamp that other larger boats can’t reach. Reservations are required.
Crip’s Camp http://www.cripscamp.com or call 903-789-3233. If you are wanting to rent a boat and go out on Caddo Lake by yourself then Crip’s Camp will be your place to rent. The good folks at Crips Camp can also set you up with a fishing guide as well. And next time you see our Tom, ask him about his breakfast here. It’s a classic story.
Big Pine Lodge http://www.bigpineslodge.com or call 903-679-3655. After a long day of boating, hiking and playing, it is now time to eat. Big Pines Lodge is rebuilt from the original that burned down in 2009. Some of their specialties are catfish and steaks.
Riverbend Restaurant Call 903-679-9000. Sit on the deck hanging over the Big Cypress Bayou and watch the boats float up and down the river. This newcomer to Uncertain Restaurant scene serves fried catfish and other East Texas classic cooking. Riverbend Restaurant is located on the bend of the Big Cypress Bayou where it flows into Caddo Lake.
Uncertain General Store and Gifts Call (888) 325-5459. You know that a restaurant that serves entrees such as “Sweep the Swamp” pizza has to be serving up some serious swamp food.