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The town is named after Karnak, Egypt (near modern-day Luxor). It was thought that the community's alignment with the city of Port Caddo was relative to that of Karnack and Thebes. Former First Lady of the United States Lady Bird Johnson was born in, and grew up in Karnack. It is also the home of the Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant. It was also the hometown to Selena Gomez
Karnack is served by the Karnack Independent School District. Karnack Elementary School and Karnack Junior/Senior High School serve the community.
Karnack has many small family-owned businesses such as the 4J Ranch, Circle S Grocery, Mystique Tours and The Run In. Big Pines Lodge burned down in a construction fire in 2009; reconstruction of the lodge and its restaurant began late in 2010, and it has since reopened.
Karnack is situated on the shores of Caddo Lake, the only natural lake in the state of Texas. The lake is a bayou, known for its beautiful scenery and great fishing. The community of Karnack is deep in the pine woods of Northeast Texas and is mostly farm and timber land.
According to the Handbook of Texas, Caddo Lake was one of the largest natural lakes in Texas before the construction of Caddo Dam. It is known as Texas' only natural lake, though small natural lakes abound throughout much of Texas.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Karnack has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.