The Bird & Butterfly Inn

The Bird & Butterfly Inn

The Bird & Butterfly Inn

AAA Rated Top Romantic Bed and Breakfast in Texas – Read Reviews

Jasper Journeys: Scenic Drives in East Texas

Lakes, Forests, and Nature - Just a Short Drive Away!

Lakes, forests, and nature – just a short drive away! East Texas is full of diverse and beautiful landscapes. The region’s famous “piney woods” blanket the region with vast hardwood forests, and rivers and reservoirs add to the unique scenery. Far from the arid deserts that make up much of south and west Texas, east Texas is part of the historic Texas Forest Trail, encompassing over 800 miles and covering 35 counties, with Jasper in the southeast. Our East Texas bed and breakfast is perfect for setting out on afternoon drives exploring this part of the state, where the views out your window will range from endless clear blue water to miles of dense forest, with stops in little towns along the way adding to the adventure of the open road.

trees by the lake

A Lovely Loop Around Lake Sam Rayburn

When you arrive in Jasper, you’ll find scenic water everywhere, from the beautiful Angelina River just outside your Bird and Butterfly room or cabin to two massive reservoirs in our backyard, in the form of Lake Sam Rayburn – literally minutes away – and the Toledo Bend Reservoir just a short drive to the Louisiana border. Both lakes anchor the national forests around them, the Angelina and Sabine, respectively, with hundreds of thousands of acres of pine, beech, oak, and maple trees, making the forest views breathtaking as you drive through the area.

For a day drive loop around Lake Sam Rayburn- start on Sam Rayburn Parkway (Recreational Road 255), which hugs the southern shore of the reservoir for a couple of miles before you’ll make a left on Farm Road 1007 as it heads north, with views of inlets and estuaries along the lake’s edge. At Highway 96, head north with a detour to Brookeland, a tiny but charming town near the water. Break up the drive by getting some to-go lunch at Texas Joe’s Backporch BBQ, one of our favorite barbeque restaurants in/around Jasper, and savor some tender ribs, brisket, baked beans, and potato salad. After all, a trip to Texas isn’t complete without some BBQ, and you can take it right across to Mill Creek Park, where you’ll have gorgeous views stretching out across the lake

To see even more of Lake Sam Rayburn’s impressive 3,400 square mile footprint, continue north on 96 to Pineland. Make a left on FM Road 83, traversing the Angelina National Forest. You’ll cross the northern tip of one of Rayburn’s most prominent inlets, where the topography varies from wide-open waterways to marshes and swampland – keep your eyes peeled, as you may even see an alligator in the distance as you pass by the Ayish Bayou area. After another 10 miles, when you get to Highway 147, head south back towards the lake. One of the most memorable stretches of this driving loop comes next when you cross the 2.5-mile expanse of the Lake Sam Rayburn Bridge, built in the late 1950s during the same time that the reservoir was being developed. Enjoy the spectacular views of never-ending blue water on either side as you cross the bridge and making your way back to Highway 63, where you’ll hang a left and head back to 255. You’ll arrive at our East Texas bed and breakfast just in time to relax around the firepit in our new outdoor kitchen space.

empty country road in east texas

Another reservoir – equally picturesque, and another great drive

For a variation of a drive heading north from Jasper, take Highway 96 north to Pineland, but instead of heading west on FM Road 83 (as you would if doing the loop mentioned earlier around Lake Sam Rayburn), head east. Stop in Hemphill for some sustenance; for a mid-drive espresso pick-me-up, hit Sabean’s Coffee and Creamery, then resume your journey to the banks of the Toledo Bend Reservoir. Relax on the shore at Lowe’s Creek Park, which offers views across the reservoir. At 185,000 acres, Toledo Bend is larger than Lake Sam Rayburn, but as the Texas/Louisiana border runs right down the middle and half of it in Louisiana, Sam Rayburn still holds the record for the largest in Texas. Cruising along Toledo Bend before heading back to Jasper, you’ll look across the water to our easterly Cajun neighbors. As you drive, watch for mesmerizing birds like peregrine falcons, white pelicans, and ospreys, which all frequent the sprawling Sabine River Basin. On your way back, make one more stop in Hemphill and visit our friends at Pineywoods Vineyard for a great glass of wine and a bite to eat before heading back to the B&B.

Head South Into the Heart of the Big Thicket

There’s still more nature to be found! Take 63 south to 190 and head west out of Jasper to 287 South, which will take you into the Big Thicket National Preserve. Here you’ll find everything from swamps and savannas to rare birds and in the fall months, views of blazing orange and yellow foliage. Take breaks during the drive to do hikes on the always-popular Kirby Nature Trail winding through ancient cypress groves or the Pitcher Plant Trail, where you can get an up-close view of the carnivorous plants that make their home here. On the way back to Jasper, stop and take in the views at Martin Dies Jr State Park on the banks of Steinhagen Reservoir, where the beauty of the Piney Woods is on full display.

Stay with us, where scenic drives await you in practically every direction from our East Texas bed and breakfast!

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view of the entrance of the 1901 Cabin
Hats and pictures on the wall of the 1901 cabin
Pullman room bathroom with two sinks, lots of antique mirrors and a make up table
1901 Cabin - decoration details