That sandy beach is much closer than you think -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

That sandy beach is much closer than you think

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Put your toes in the sand. Put your toes in the sand.

Wiggling your toes in the sand on a beach sounds expensive and distant, and many of us may not be able to make that trip this summer. There is an alternative. There is a lake in East Texas actually has a sandy beach.

So we went to the beach all the while wondering where the sand came from.

Most East Texas lakes have shore lines that just don’t seem conducive to swimming. That doesn’t stop many of us from taking a dip anyway. But it sure would be nice to take a stroll on the beach this summer without draining the old bank account.

According to Eric Maloy who is Vice President of the Hawkins Chamber of Commerce, there is such a place nearby.

“It’s a very clean beach ... we’re known for our beach,” Maloy said.

IJust a few miles east of Hawkins is Lake Hawkins, where life really is a beach.

The Salonen family, who moved nearby recently, was surprised by the swimming area. They have come back to the lake several times.

“It’s like being back in Florida,” Riku Salonen said.

“We lived in Bradenton, Florida, and really we prefer this better because the beach is cleaner, nice sand and we always had the smelly ocean water,” Kris Salonen explained.

Actually there’s a rumor that the sand was shipped in via rail from Florida which is pretty much accepted as fact around the area. Tanner Simmons runs the beach and RV park and heard the rumor when he was a kid.

“I believe the sand from the beach was originally brought in from Florida, but now it’s maintained by local quarries,” Simmons said.

Comparing a recent shot of a Florida beach and Lake Hawkins beach you can see the sand is different colors. We contacted Wood County Commissioner Roger Pace who was in office when the beach area opened in 1991. He said the county put 6000 man hours into the 250 foot long beach and the sand came from the Big Sandy Sand Company, and it still does.

The sand actually extends under the entire swimming area so it really feels like the ocean. The clarity of the spring fed lake doesn’t hurt either.

The only drawback I found was the fact that I really should have gone barefoot. I had half the beach in my shoes.

Lake Hawkins is fed by two large natural springs and was constructed in the early 1960’s. Every spring as much as 25 tons of sand is brought in to replace lost sand.

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