In the minds of many people, Huntsville, Texas, has the unfortunate distinction of being associated primarily with the state prison at which Texas' Death Row inmates are executed. Despite that unsavory association, Huntsville actually sits in a gorgeous part of the state, surrounded by the tall pines of East Texas, adjacent to the Sam Houston National Forest. It's a city full of history and dotted with stately old mansions hundreds of years old, and it's the home to Sam Houston State University.
Huntsville is proud of its heritage as one of Texas' oldest cities, and as the homestead of Texas hero Sam Houston. As general, Houston led the decisive victory over Mexican forces at the Battle of San Jacinto. Then he became the first President of the Republic of Texas. He lived in Huntsville, and his homestead today is the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, on the campus of the university.
Visitors to Huntsville will see signs of Houston all over the city; in fact, they'll see Houston himself in the form of a 67-foot-tall statue towering over the Huntsville Visitors Center on Highway 75. It's the largest statue in the world of an American hero. And Houston's burial place is in the historic Oakwood Cemetery, located at 9th Street and Avenue I.
In addition to the national forest, other outdoor activities in Huntsville revolve around Huntsville State Park, whose entrance is just south of the city; and the Blue Lagoon, an artesian-spring-fed pool that is popular with divers.
Several lakes, including Livingston, Raven and Gibbons Creek, are convenient to the city and offer excellent fishing and boating opportunities.
Sam Houston State University athletic teams are big draws in Hunstville, with team sports playing most of the year. And the university runs the Raven Nest golf course, a very highly regarded course.
And as for the prison: if you really want to explore its history, visit the Texas Prison Museum, which tells the story of the Texas prison system dating back to the 1840s (it's actually a very interesting museum).
More Huntsville Attractions
Huntsville golf courses
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Huntsville is in east Texas, approximately 70 miles north of Houston and 65 miles east of Bryan-College Station. Interstate 45 provies auto access to Huntsville on a north-south route, while various U.S. and state highways enter at other points (including U.S. 190 and Texas 19 and 30).
The small Huntsville Municipal Airport is not served by any of the passenger airlines. The closest airports are Houston's George Bush International and Easterwood Airport in Bryan-College Station.
View Huntsville on the map (link opens in a new window)
Huntsville Visitors Bureau
City of Huntsville official website
Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston National Forest
Huntsville State Park
Walker County Fair and Pro Rodeo
Huntsville Item newspaper