In northeast Texas lies a freshwater lake named Lake Palestine. Created back in the 1960s for industrial and recreational purposes as well as for municipal water supplies. This artificial lake was formed by the construction of the nearly mile-long earth fill Blackburn Crossing Dam on the Neches River. The first stage of the lake was completed on June 13, 1962, and an enlargement project was undertaken beginning in 1969, which was completed in 1972. In its current incarnation, Lake Palestine stretches more than 18 miles from northwest to southeast. The widest part of the lake is 4 miles across and there is well over 125 miles of shoreline. The storage capacity of Lake Palestine is more than 365,000 acre-feet and it features a recreational area of more than 25,000 acres. The drainage area above the dam covers about 839 square miles.
Lake Palestine is located just 12 miles from Tyler, Texas on Highway 155, and it is situated in the East Texas Piney Woods. It encompasses portions of Anderson, Cherokee, Henderson, and Smith Counties. The water is crystal clear, and it is perfect for boating, fishing, water skiing and a lot more. There are plenty of activities available at Lake Palestine, including facilities for houseboating and camping of all types. There are also spots for RVs with water and electrical hookups, there are plenty of trails for hiking and bicycling, and canoeing and kayaking are also very popular. Many Texans own waterfront homes and there is plenty of lodging available near the lake, including motels, cabins, and bed & breakfast spots.
Palestine Lake is an Angler’s Paradise
Palestine Lake features a number of coves, which provide good protection from the wind and also from the warm Texas summer sun. Of course, the mild winters in this area of Texas make it possible to enjoy Lake Palestine virtually year-round. That is one reason Lake Palestine is the chosen location for many popular camps, such as the Pine Grove Christian Camp, and popular resorts like the Villages Resort. With an average depth of 16 feet, and a maximum of 58 feet, Lake Palestine has a lot of deep water fishing as well as more traditional lake fishing. In addition to great bass fishing, Lake Palestine offers abundant channel and blue catfish, and flathead catfish that provide the best anglers with an opportunity to make a trophy-sized catch.
The main attraction of Lake Palestine, however, comes with fishing. The lake hosts a number of fishing tournaments, particularly largemouth bass tournaments. Both white bass and striped bass are also popular. White bass are especially popular here in the spring, as they run ip the Neches River and Kickapoo Creek. Because of the popularity of fishing, Lake Palestine features a great many private marinas for boat access, as well as campgrounds and other facilities offering docks, boat launch ramps, boat rentals and many other services. Among the most popular facilities are the following:
- Lake Palestine Resort bills itself as “full service” and they certainly seem to be right. They have one of the largest marinas on the lake, as well as a great location in Frankston, Texas, just 15 miles south of Tyler. This resort features the Lake Restaurant bar and grill, as well as docks, a camp and convenience store, a banquet hall and an RV Park with easy pull-thru’s, which is located right on Highway 155. Their marina features secure boat storage facilities and sailboat slips, all with secure access control. There are also restrooms, of course, as well as storage lockers and a fueling station. There are also secure swimming spots and family friendly picnic grounds, playgrounds and accommodations available.
- The Villages Marina features the Marina Grill, as well as boat stalls and docks. In addition, visitors can rent boats or kayaks, and anglers will find a great bait and tackle shop. The marina also features a fueling station and a lot more.
- The Lakeside Getaway Marina on Lake Palestine features many family-friendly facilities, such as picnic grounds and charcoal grills, as well as barbecue pits. For the fishermen, there is a fishing pier, fish cleaning stations, and even electrical charging facilities for boat batteries.
- Big Steve’s RV Park and Marina is located on the south end of the lake, just off County Road 4117. Their facilities include boat rentals, a boat launch ramp, a bait and tackle shop and an RV facility, as well as excellent fishing right off their fishing pier.
- East Texas Boating features a marina with plenty of docking on Lake Palestine, as well as a floating fueling dock, which helps you make the most of your time on the water. There is a boat ramp for easy launching. They also feature a protected swimming area as well as water skiing. They also rent kayaks, canoes and paddle boats for those who would like to do that. During the spring and summer, the Lake Grill is also open for breakfast or lunch from Wednesday through Sunday, as well as dinner on Friday and Saturday.
- Flat Creek Marina is located on the south end of the Highway 315 bridge, and they feature a boat ramp capable of launching any size boat, as well as boat rentals, RV parking and a bait and tackle shop.
There are dozens of other ways to access Lake Palestine, including many public boat launches, mostly provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Among these include
Chandler River Park, Westberry Landing, Saline Bay, Camper’s Cove, Palestine Pines, Kiloland, Cherokee Landing, and Chimney Creek Landing, among many others. There are also a bymber of privately owned and run boat launch facilities.
Lake Palestine Has Something for the Whole Family
Lake Palestine also features the Lake Palestine Campground, which is equipped with all sorts of camping facilities, as well as playgrounds, basketball and volleyball courts, which can make your trip to Lake Palestine a memorable family outing.
With temperate weather and an average 40 inches of rainfall every year, Lake Palestine and the surrounding area offers a lot more than just fishing. Of course, there are other water sports available, like boating, water skiing and much more, but there are also plenty of opportunities for fun off the water. There are a multitude of options for dining and shopping, and plenty of museums and historic buildings to visit, and there are so many hiking and biking trails to satisfy any outdoors enthusiast. There is even a zipline. There are plenty of picnic grounds, including grills for cooking and there are even golf courses, where enthusiasts can hit the links nearly year-round. And of course, with all the surrounding wilderness, birdwatchers and wildlife lovers and photographers will find lots to love at Lake Palestine.