Forest Trail Region


The easternmost town in Texas combines a colorful history with world-class natural, cultural and historical attractions. Located near the Louisiana border, Orange was a stopping place for outlaws and renegades crossing the Sabine River into Texas. Established in 1846, the town changed its name several times before selecting one that one that stuck, honoring the wild orange groves along the riverbanks. Orange enjoyed a Golden Age, beginning in the late 19th Century, with a lumber-fueled economy. Magnates of that industry and their descendants built or funded major local heritage sites. For example, the W. H. Stark House is the restored 1894 residence of the philanthropists William Henry Stark and Miriam M. Lutcher Stark, who lived there until 1936. The residence affords visitors a glimpse of the lifestyle of this wealthy Southeast Texas family—their original furnishings, antique rugs, textiles, silver, cut glass and porcelain. The Stark Museum of Art houses an acclaimed collection of 19th and 20th Century Western American art and artifacts and Native American art. Among the artists represented are John James Audubon, Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Remington and Charles Russell.

To experience the natural beauty of Southeast Texas, visit Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center. Located on 252 acres in the heart of Orange, the gardens include displays of more than 300 plant species in a series of theme-based “rooms.” The adjacent bird blind provides views of nesting species in the heronry. In the Nature Center, children enjoy hands-on exhibits. There’s also a laboratory, and outdoor classrooms located deep in the cypress swamp. The mission of this wondrous heritage site is simple: “Be kind to your world.”