East Texas has lots of places that draw tourists, and since we live here we should be checking them out too.  We've got ideas about five great places to visit that you may have forgotten about.

Some of these places are a short drive away, and others might be right there in your backyard.  What would you add?

5 East Texas Attractions We Should Visit This Summer

1. Texas State Railroad.  You might think of the Polar Express that runs during the holiday season, but the Texas State Railroad keeps the cars going all year.  It feels like you're riding on a piece of history in those early-1900 coaches, and you'll see some East Texas scenery too.  You'll pass over 24 bridges during the three-hour ride, and you'll see the Rusk and Palestine depots.

2. Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.  If you're looking for things that might help hold the attention of your kids for more than five minutes, this could be it.  You can see how the fish hatchery works, and learn more about freshwater sport fishing and how to preserve water resources in Texas. It's run by Texas Parks and Wildlife and it's four miles east of Athens.  5550 F.M. 2495, Athens, Texas 75752

3. Lake Sam Rayburn.  It's just outside of Jasper, and it's the largest reservoir fully contained within the state of Texas at 114,000 acres. You can fish, cruise around in your boat, ski, and get a really awesome sunburn.  Crowds will be headed there for the 4th of July week, so plan ahead and get there early.

4. Love's Lookout in Jacksonville.  It's summer in Texas and it's hot, but if you want to venture out this is a great place for a picnic or a hike.  And it's proof that Texas isn't all flat.  It's at an elevation of 713 feet, and on clear days you can see as far as 30-35 miles.  Take your girlfriend up there and propose guys!  This is a romantic spot to do it.  At 8am in the summertime before the sun starts beating down and ruining your social media pics.

5.  Nacogdoches.  Now is a good time to visit if you want a good seat at one of the bars or restaurants around the Stephen F. Austin campus since most of the students are gone for the summer.  We might not have to wait quite as long for wings and a beer at Frogs on North Street.  The rich history in Nac is part of the draw too, and Tripsavvy.com says it's a blend of history, Spanish design and Southern charm that make it a great place to visit.  Nacogdoches was established in 1779.

If you travel somewhere you might run across some great scenery, bits of history, and some killer chicken wings too, but you could save yourself a whole lotta money and enjoy all that stuff right here in East Texas.  Not to mention the museums and waterparks and places to shop.

We'll watch for your pics on social media.