Remarkable and fun RV trip at Lake Caddo

We had a remarkable and fun RV trip at Lake Caddo State Park. Our last visit to this area was at a terrific family Christmas many years ago, one of the best Christmases I remember. This time around, it was a summertime trip.

Caddo Lake State Park

Remarkable RV trip to Caddo Lake

We do not often camp at RV parks, but all of our state park stays have been excellent experiences. Our stay at Caddo Lake State Park turned out to be another of those fun and enjoyable experiences.

RV campsites

Remarkable RV trip to Caddo Lake

The RV sites are surrounded by trees and have all the usual amenities: a picnic table, fire ring, water, electric hookups, a lantern post, and a grill. The RV spots are roomy, and when the sun goes down, zillions of fireflies can be seen blinking in the trees.

What can you do at Caddo Lake State Park?

We spent most of our time outside of the park, exploring the surrounding area, but the park offers hiking, paddling, boating, and fishing. A fishing license is not even required in the park if you are fishing from shore. Also, rental cabins, tent camping, and picnicking are available.

Poison Ivy!

The park is also covered with poison ivy — everywhere! Our campsite was surrounded by it, so we couldn’t stray from marked paths. This is something to be aware of ahead of time, especially when walking your pets. We were cautious and fortunately did not develop any rashes.


Yes, there are alligators in this lovely and mysterious cypress-covered swampy area. However, we did not see a single one, not even on our boat tour of the lake. This is not a recreational swimming lake.

History of Caddo Lake

Remarkable RV trip to Caddo Lake

It is believed that Caddo Lake was created when a massive log jam north on the Red River backed up floodwaters. East Texas’ river ports were destroyed when the log jam was removed, causing the shape and depth of the lake to change.

Much of Caddo Lake’s fragile ecosystem was damaged in the early 1900s by oil derricks constructed on the lake. The state park was established to preserve the wetlands and marshes from further damage. Caddo Lake, however, does contain the largest cypress forest in the US.

Historical and haunted Jefferson

Remarkable RV trip to Caddo Lake

Haunted Jefferson Hotel

During the mid-1800s, Jefferson was a significant river port city and the sixth-largest city in Texas. After the log jam broke free and riverboats could no longer access Jefferson’s port, the city’s population plummeted, and Jefferson’s Golden Era came to an end.

This town attracts many visitors from nearby Dallas and other metropolitan areas, and I’ve enjoyed the charms, history, sights, and exceptional hospitality here many times. Most buildings in Jefferson are historical and/or reported to be haunted, providing hours of fun exploring.

I have visited Jefferson many times to stay in the haunted hotels, experience the very entertaining ghost walks, and tour the magnificent homes.

Events in Jefferson

There are charming homes to tour, ghost tours to take, and even haunted hotels to spend the night in. Special events are always happening in Jefferson, from the Texas Bigfoot Conference, Fall History Haunts and Legends, Candlelight Tour of Homes, Mardi Gras, and many more.

Shops, sights, and restaurants we visited

Jay Gould Railcar

Jay Gould, the shady but prominent railroad developer, has a colorful Jefferson connection. A story is told that the City of Jefferson rejected Gould’s offer to build his railroad through town, reasoning that Jefferson was a riverboat town and did not need a railroad.

Gould’s response to this rejection, legend says, was to state that “grass would grow in our streets, bats would roost in our belfry and Jefferson would cease to be.” The town did, however, purchase Gould’s railcar, and it is on display downtown today.

Jefferson General Store

This General Store could probably stand alone as a tourist destination. While it is no longer a hardware store, it has an old-timey atmosphere and décor. This store has an old-fashioned soda fountain, and sells all manner of souvenirs, candy, jewelry, clothing, hats, and even preserves. I have made numerous purchases here.

Port Jefferson Outpost

This was a discovery for us this trip. While it is similar to the Jefferson General Store, they are two completely different shops. We enjoyed the best old-fashioned chocolate malts here.

Joseph’s Riverpoint Barbeque

Be prepared to wait a bit to place your order here, but I promise the food is well worth the wait. Also, you might want to plan an early lunch because a few menu items were already sold out by 12:30! Our sliced beef sandwiches and potato salad were oh so good and very reasonably priced too.

Auntie Skinner’s

This historic 1850s building is a biker destination bar and restaurant. They serve good food and provide live entertainment on weekends. Many significant events take place at Auntie Skinner’s throughout the year.

Jefferson Historical Museum

This delightful museum is housed in Jefferson’s former Federal Courthouse and Post Office building built between 1888 to 1890. The history of Jefferson is very well exhibited and explained here. We learned more than a few historical facts about the area as we wandered through the two floors and basement.

Lost Pines Lodge

This restaurant, located right on the river in Karnack, serves great catfish in a beautifully scenic setting. We enjoyed a great meal here.

Boat tour on Lake Caddo

Remarkable RV trip to Caddo Lake

We had the most pleasantly relaxing boat tour on Caddo Lake with our fantastic guide, John Winn. John told us lots of factual information about Caddo Lake and shared many great stories with us as we leisurely toured the lake in his boat.

We learned that Caddo Lake covers 26,800 acres of water. We traveled down named water highways through the cypress thickets, and I assure you I would have been lost forever in about three seconds if I had been on my own in that boat.

Caddo Lake State Park contains the second-largest naturally formed lake in Texas and the largest cypress forest in the world.

Remarkable RV trip to Caddo Lake

John was a terrific and very knowledgeable guide!

Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant

Remarkable RV trip to Caddo Lake

Ammunitions plant located in the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge

This Army ammunitions plant was constructed adjacent to Caddo Lake, an extremely isolated area, in 1942. This plant operated for 55 years manufacturing munitions. This plant was built on over 8,000 acres of land. It was almost a city with its own power, water treatment plants, and even railways for moving materials.

The plant produced over 393,000,000 pounds of explosives (TNT) here. In 1988, as a result of the US and Soviet treaty to end the nuclear arms race, the first US missiles were destroyed at this ammunitions plant. The facility soon was no longer needed.

Today the ammunitions plant is a restricted and abandoned area inside the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Parts of the area were declared an EPA Superfund site in 1990. It was too hot for us to hike to the abandoned buildings, but we will return in cooler weather to investigate more.

Remarkable RV trip to Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake State Park, Jefferson, and the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge are unique places to visit. It is a great place to enjoy many outdoor activities, wander through Jefferson’s historical and haunted buildings and shops, and learn about this East Texas paradise.

We will return here again and again.

Remarkable and fun RV trip at Lake Caddo

2 thoughts on “Remarkable and fun RV trip at Lake Caddo

  1. Have added Jeffersom to my bucket list on our ne t Texas trip.

    1. It is a great town to visit, shop in, tour, and get a little bit scared in. Lots of history too.

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