Looking for a quiet retreat to the surrounding woodlands? Then hoof it to the Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest (eight miles southwest of Nacogdoches  at 6598 FM 2782, 936/564-8924, www.srs.fs.usda.gov ). Not quite as compelling at its name implies, the forest is dubbed “experimental” for its crazy variety of tree species planted in the 1940s.
A century ago, the area was logged and abandoned for use as cotton fields, but the U.S. government’s purchase of more than 600,000 acres of East Texas  property—eventually becoming the region’s national forests—allowed for the reforestation of hardwoods and pines that would eventually populate the area.
The Experimental Forest contains three miles of trails with interpretive signs. Visitors and locals regularly traverse the wooded trails to catch a glimpse of the more than 150 species of birds and 80 kinds of butterflies throughout this peaceful site.