The Only Texas State Park with an Island

Nature awaits you and your family!
Published: Apr. 26, 2024 at 3:36 PM EDT
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Deep within the East Texas forest in Tatum lies a haven of fun, relaxation, and wildlife. The Martin Creek Lake State Park is calling you and your family for an incredible weekend experience. Will you accept and make the trip?


“We’re the only state park in Texas that has its own island.”

The habitat of Martin Creek is quite special. As Sara Barber, Superintendent, shared with us, the park holds a 5,000-acre lake, various trails through the thick forest terrain, and most distinctly, the island. As you pull into the park’s day-use area, the island itself becomes the focal point of attention. If you want to paddle or boat your way to the island, you’re more than welcome to. Or use the long convenient bridge to begin your island exploration. (More on what the island holds here shortly.)

Way off in the distance, you are bound to notice the large coal lignite power plant behind the curtain of pine trees. Despite its existence near the park, the power plant does not diminish the beauty that Martin Creek holds. The inhabitants here are at peace and in full health, and you will surely meet some of these wonderful creatures. During our visit, we had a unique encounter with an uncommon migrating bird, the Brown Booby. (Yes, that’s its real name.) Click here to watch some extended footage we got of this awesome and bold bird.

Coming to the park soon? Ask us about borrowing a corcl for the kids. These are available to borrow during 8am-4pm this week. Kids must be between ages 7-15.

Posted by Martin Creek Lake State Park - Texas Parks and Wildlife on Tuesday, March 12, 2024


“You can walk through the day use area and see people recreating. It just kind of brings a smile to your face.”

The atmosphere alone will make you want to stop at Martin Creek for a visit. Yet, there is plenty to do here! The biggest draw to the park is the fishing. Since the power plant is near the lake, the body of water here is actually warmer than normal throughout each season. That means you can enjoy some incredible bass fishing, even in the wintertime! In the lake you can land a variety of catfish, bass, crappie, and even tilapia!

With such an expansive lake, there is room for everyone to play. Rent a kayak or canoe at the park store or bring your own. Have a child that want to get on the water but is new to rafting? Ask about Martin Creek’s unique tiny circular kayak, the corcl. This kid-friendly floating device is the perfect way to help children 7yrs-15yrs learn how to paddle and be stable on the water.


There are plenty of adventures to be had on the water here at Martin Creek. But there is fun to be had throughout the entirety of the park! Back on land, you will find a variety of hiking trails. The most distinct is by far the island trail. Walk or bike the path, taking in its natural beauty. Off the island, the park hosts the Old Henderson and Harmony Hill trails. Both are some great hikes, including some great spots for plant and bird identification.

But maybe you came to Martin Creek for some much-needed relaxation? If so, the park includes almost 100 campsites, ranging from all levels of comfort. Stay in the cabins if your more into “glamping.” Pull in and hook up your seasoned travel camper. Or if you like to “rough it”, try out some of the primitive campsites on the island!

The park also hosts a variety of classes and programs that you and your family will absolutely love. From fishing with the rangers at the park to moonlight paddle boarding. Click here to check out what events are happening next.

Are you convinced yet? We sure hope so. We were so thankful for our time at Martin Creek Lake State Park. We know that you’ll enjoy your time here just as much as we did. Make your weekend plans for a stay here today!


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