Holiday Inn Club Vacations Holly Lake Resort is in Holly Lake Ranch, TX. This is another new area in Texas for me so I was excited to go see it and spend some time near and on the lake.
Video by Taneil Evans
Day One Travel & Arrival at Holiday Inn Club Vacations Holly Lake Resort
For many, like myself the trip begins with a flight to the area. The airport most will come into is Tyler Pounds Regional Airport, in Tyler, Texas. I have a good friend from my 20s near Tyler, so I will have to see if I can get together with my old friend for a beer or two on the trip.
It is a 45-minute drive from the airport to the resort and I rented a car so I could see more of the area while I am there. Also, as a matter of economic sense, it is often less costly for the first day to have a rental car than to pay someone to drive you almost an hour to a resort. There are exceptions to this as a rule. Some resorts offer transfers from the airport but the idea of having a rental car for the freedom of it and ease is too much to pass up.
The fastest route if on State Park Highway and it is an easy way to find the resort. You just stay on the road until you see Holly Trail East and the signs for the lake.
For my stay, I booked the one-bedroom log cabin option. These rooms are an original and old school which I like. Other may prefer to book a lodge room or villa as these have more models that have been updated. Overall this resort is wonderful, but they are in the process of updating many of the rooms and doing a refresh of the resort.
Again, I like the old-school feeling of my log cabin and it does have creature comforts like a giant jacuzzi-style tub. The resort also has WIFI, which given the remote location feeling is a nice option to have. Although these days if it was not illegal to jam the WiFi signal, I would be tempted to do that if I was a family man. I see kids now in a great location like this on their phones. I think we all need time to unplug and really disconnect from all things digital. This would be a great site for that.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- Ice Maker
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Free WiFi
- Outdoor Pools
- On-Site Restaurant
After getting checked in and unpacking, I decided to take a drive and see a little of the area and get some groceries. I found a local chain called Brookshires not too far from the resort. Maybe 15 minutes or so. I did not watch the time. It was a nice grocery store. In fact; the reviews are 4.4 out of, 5 which for any grocery store is very good. When I am on the inside, I get it. They offer premade items in the deli and a bakery in addition to all the normal grocery fares. I grabbed breakfast things, a few ready-made meals to microwave (or as I often say nuke), and some beer.
I love eating out on vacations and trips, but sometimes it is nice to stay in for a meal or two. Especially when you enjoy your resort amenities.
We had a car accident on our first day at the resort. Everyone at the resort from the front desk to the cafe to Whiskeys restaurant we so amazing. They checked on us and asked how we were every time we saw any of them. An amazing experience.
We loved the resort. The staff was great and there was a lot to do. Our two BR unit was wonderful and the beds (even the pull-out couch) were comfortable. We had a great time and will definitely be back.
The staff was extremely helpful and nice. We made friends with other travelers because everyone is so friendly. The place could be modernized, but it would not stop me from staying there again in the future.
The lakes are lovely. The people at the Resort are very cordial and helpful. The condos are just fine for a getaway- nothing special. The golf course is fun and the grounds, pool, and trails at the resort are fun. We enjoyed visiting the Kiepersol Winery- the restaurant was wonderful.
The best way I’d describe Holly Lake Resort is that it is a peaceful country getaway. Everybody is very friendly. It’s quiet and pretty. Accommodations are nice, but not fancy. There’s nothing to do that is a high dollar or elaborate. People who want high-energy tourist spots might not like it, but it was a perfect getaway for us.
This is a lovely resort with 2 beautiful lakes and many hiking trails. There are quaint towns around for shopping and the people of East Texas are so friendly. I really enjoyed my stay here, and the units were really comfortable.
My wife and I, along with my sister-in-law, spent a week at Holly Lake Ranch. It is a very clean and beautiful resort. Nice and comfortable condos/cabins. Nicely furnished amenities, comfortable bed, and furniture. In some cabins you can drive up to the door, unfortunately, ours was not. A bit of a walk to take everything we brought. The closest grocery store is Hawkins, about 20 minutes away. Bring your food. The wi-fi was good but the cell service was very limited (remember your way out in the country). I fished some, there are some nice fishing piers on one of the lakes. You can see deer in the morning and at dusk wandering the grounds. We took some day trips to sever towns. The best is Jefferson. It’s about an hour’s drive. A quaint historical town with many antique shops, restaurants, and beautiful old homes. I highly recommend a visit there. We had a nice and relaxing time at Holly Lake Ranch and would be on your list to visit.
Day Two at the Lake
One of the things you can access at the lake here is very affordable rentals for small boats. Either pedal boats, kayaks, and canoes. I think most are $15hr or less. I grabbed a kayak because while I am heavy these days, I spent a decade or more of my life in them and feel very comfortable. So, when I find one that can hold me above water, I am all in.
The lake is huge here, so if you are in shape and want to rent a boat for a few hours, you have plenty of areas to cover. I just rented one-for-one hour since I am not in any kind of shape these days. That would be enough exercise for me. If you have a family in tow, they have 4 personal paddle boats for rent as well, and I think that would be fun. If your kids are big enough, let them take a turn on the pedals and run the boat for a bit.
I can certainly see why this lake is a draw for people from the area. The resort is close enough to both Tyler, Texas, and Dallas Texas to be a water escape for both areas for sure. It is 45 minutes from Tyler here, and less than 2 hours from Dallas.
I have never lived far from the water. If I did, I would have to have a location like this to visit often. Something about water soothes me, even if I am just looking at the water on a lake, it seems to bring me peace.
For lunch I went to the nearby Moe’s Pizza it is an affordable location option and the closest restaurant to the resort other than the onsite grill.
After lunch, I wanted to walk around the resort and check things out more. The outdoor pool here is seasonal but very nice and large. This location is very stretched out. I do not know how many acres the resort has altogether because it is mixed in the area with a private HOA-managed community. The community also has a nice golf, so I have worked on getting a tee time. I called my old buddy in Tyler, and arranged for him to drive out and play some golf with me and talk about the old days.
In my 20s he was a friend who actually came and lived in my apartment for a while because he hurt his back while trying out commercial fishing and had nowhere to go (at least at first after his accident). It turns out his father was a bit like the character from the movie the Blind Side in that he owned a number of fast-food restaurants and owned his own plane. He ended up coming for his son and helping him literally get back on his feet. For a while, we were close friends, and I had not even spoken to my friend in years. So, it would be nice to catch up.
Day Three Golf and Relaxation
I started my day with breakfast right in the log cabin. Then a long bath in the garden tub, which was a treat. When you let yourself go some and are large regular tubs work, but they are not comfortable. This giant garden tub felt a bit like being in a convertible with the top down when you were tall. It felt freeing, and very nice to have all that space.
The large tub made me think about the last time I enjoyed a float tub experience. So, I looked and there are some nearby Tyler, Texas so that I may do that tomorrow before my later flight.
We had a 11 AM tee time, and I was meeting my friend at the golf course. The fees here are very reasonable $45 per person including a gold cart. I also rented some clubs that were very affordable. My friend has his own clubs, and he was bringing them today since he lives just 35 minutes from the resort. He said he even comes here every summer for the lake with his wife and kids.
It was great seeing my old friend. Over the years, we talked on the phone a few times, but it had been more than 30 years since I saw him in person. He credits me with saving his life to some degree because I helped him out when he was down on his luck, but I do not think it was that serious. I was just helping someone out like I hope they would help me. We got to be fairly close friends during that time, and who knows why we lost touch. Life is funny that way.
A round of golf later and we were caught up on the highlights of each other’s lives. He had gone the married route, and it was not perfect all the time, but he clearly loved his wife and kids. I was happy for him. I was glad that I guy that at once felt lost in life had found his way and was having a full life.
The golf course itself was not amazing in design or location, but it was a nice local course that was fun to play and very affordable. I could see taking your kids out for a round here and teaching them some of the games.
After golf, my friend and I went to lunch and I picked up the tab for him being kind enough to drive out.
Day Four Leaving
On my way out of town and to the resort I left the resort by 9 AM to make sure I was out before the 10 AM checkout time. Then I drove to Tyler and went to enjoy a float tub experience. I enjoyed a 90-minute session for less than $100 and it was so relaxing. Most float rooms or spas limit the time to 1 hour and I always wanted a longer visit, so this was ideal.
If you want to spend a few days or a week or more and unplug, this is a great location. Just be sure to book with Tzort to save.