Best Lakes in Texas For the Adventurers

By Aaditee Kulkarni on Oct 24, 2017
* Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and book something (there is never any extra cost to you for using these links).

best lakes to visit in Texas

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Nothing can beat a hot, sunny day that dipping your feet in the cool waters of the nearby lake. Carry your lounge chairs and food baskets along and you have a nice little picnic set for you! Texas has many man-made reservoirs and lakes, most of which were built to stop the flooding of the rivers. These lakes are home to some of the best know species of marine life as well as many birds, animals and plants. 

Whether you are planning to go bird-watching, or embark on a hike, or planning to canoe your way through the challenging waters, or just sit by the lake all day; these Texan lakes will not disappoint! Today, we bring you some of the best lakes in Texas that are perfect for a little trip over the weekend.

1. Lake Texoma - Best Place for Fishing in Texas

Lake Texoma

Image Source:

One of the largest lakes in USA, Lake Texoma attracts close to 6 million visitors annually and is considered to be one of the best lakes to visit in Texas. Formed by damming the Red River in Bryan County, Oklahoma, and Grayson County, Texas, Lake Texoma is aptly named for sharing its space between Texas and Oklahoma.  The Denison Dam and Lake Texoma were created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1944 in order to prevent flooding of the Red River. With a shoreline extending more than a thousand miles, Lake Texoma is the 12th largest lake in the United States of America. A popular place to fish, activities at this lake include swimming, camping, and hiking. 

Things to do at Lake Texoma: Fish for the Striper Fish, Hike through the Eisenhower State Park, Dine at Pelican’s Landing, Sail on the Sunset Cruise, Hike on Cross Timbers Trail, Camp at the Lake Texoma State Park.

2. Lake Travis - Best Lakes for Swimming in Texas

Lake Travis

Image Source: Anthony Quintano/Flickr

The crowning jewel of the Central Texas Highland Lakes, Lake Travis is a reservoir built by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to prevent the flooding of the Colorado River. Considered by many as one of the best lakes for swimming in Texas, this pristine lake is a great vacation spot near Austin and is frequented by the locals as well as the tourists. The lake covers more than 18000 acres of land and is divided into four designated regions: North Shore, South Shore, Spicewood, and Volente. Activities at Lake Travis include hiking through its parks, boating through the lake, watching a movie at a drive in, and many more.  Check out tours and activities in Austin to let you enjoy your lake vacation.

Things to do at Lake Travis: Relax along the Hamilton Pool Preserve, Take a dip in the Krause Springs, Stroll through the Lone Star Farmers Market, Grab a beer at the Oasis Texas Brewing Company, Read a book at the Lake Travis Community Library, Explore the Austin Salt Cave.

3. Lake Granbury - For the Adventure Lovers

Lake Granbury is one of the three lakes that dam the Brazos River. Made in 1969, this lake has a shoreline that runs over 100 miles long. Owned by the Brazos River Authority, this lake is a favourite among the water sports enthusiasts. From boating to wake-boarding, to water-skiing, this lake also has five public boat ramps, two fishing piers, and four campgrounds for the visitors. 

Things to do at Lake Granbury: Visit the Granbury Town Square, Walk through the Hood County Jail and Historical Museum, Sun-bathe on the Granbury City Beach, Take a guided tour of the Revolver Brewery.

Get your vacation plan ready with the best Itinerary Maker on the Internet!

4. Lake Buchanan - Bird Watchers Paradise

Lake Buchanan

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Created in the year 1939 over the River Colorado, Lake Buchanan is the second largest lake and the first of the Texas’ Highland Lakes. The lake boasts a shoreline of 125 miles and is home to bald eagles, scissor-tailed flycatcher, great blue herons, great egrets, pelicans, cormorants, and roadrunners and is most ideal for people with a pair of binoculars. Other activities at this lake include renting cabins, fishing, hiking and camping. One of the cleanest lakes to visit in Texas, Lake Buchanan deserves a spot on best lakes to visit in Texas list. 

Things to do at Lake Buchanan: Watch the birds at the Inks Lake State Park, Boat over the Inks Lake, Go wine-tasting at the Fall Creek Vineyards, walk through the Perissos Vineyard and Winery, and Hike in the Llano County Park.

5. Lake Lewisville - Best Lake Vacation Near Dallas

Lake Lewisville

Image Source: Jason Hunter/Flickr 

Sitting in the northern Texas and being one of the largest in Texas, Lake Lewisville runs long with a 230-mile shoreline. With plenty of parks, camping grounds, hiking and biking trails, golf courses, and cabins located around the park, this is a favourite picnic spot for people from in and around Dallas. Built on the Elm Fork of the Trinity River in Denton County, this lake today is a major recreational site. Looking for best lakes to visit near Dallas, head out to Lake Lewisville this weekend! 

Things to do at Lake Lewisville: Relax under the greens at the LLELA Nature Preserve, Go wildlife watching at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, Take a little walk through the Little Elm Park, and Catch up on some history at the Clear Creek Natural Heritage Centre.

Check out: Best Things to Do in Dallas

6. Lake Conroe - Weekend Trip From Houston

Lake Conroe

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons 

Sitting in the Montgomery County in the Eastern Texas, Lake Conroe is a large man-made lake that has been used as an alternate water source for Houston since 1972. This 85 square kilometres long lake has some of the finest neighbourhoods of Houston and lies on the West Fork of the San Jacinto River. Popular tourist activities at and around Lake Conroe include boating in the lake, strolling through the Downtown Conroe, hiking through the forests, bird and wildlife watching, biking, and camping. 

Things to do at Lake Conroe: Click a selfie at the Sam Houston National Forest, Fish at the Lake Conroe Park, Hike through the West Montgomery County Park, Go swimming at the John Burge Park of Shadow Lake.

Check Out: Best Things to Do in Houston

7. Lake Caddo - Go Paddling

Lake Caddo

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Sharing the space between Texas and Louisiana, Lake Caddo is 25000 acres of natural lake. Believed to be formed due to the New Madrid earthquakes in the early 19th century, today this lake offers more than 50 miles of paddling trails. The lake is surrounded by the dense forests of pine, oak, and hickory; while some of the wildlife that is regularly spotted here is minks, armadillos, deer, squirrels, turtles, and frogs.

Things to do at Lake Caddo: Paddle through the Caddo Lake State Park, Chase the wildlife at the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Bike through the Earl G Williamson Park.

Must Read: Top Cities to Live in USA

8. Lake O’ the Pines - Best Camping Option in Texas

Lake O’ the Pines

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons 

Built on the Big Cypress Creek, Lake O’ the Pines is located in the Marion County, Texas. Formerly known as Ferrell's Bridge Reservoir, this 16000 plus acres of the lake is surrounded by soaring pine trees. Tents and RV camping are the most sought-after activities at Lake O’ the Pine while other recreational activities include fishing for largemouth bass, spotted bass, catfish, white bass, crappie; hiking through the Alley Creek Park and Brushy Creek Park; and boating in the lake waters. Considered by the locals as one of the best lakes in Texas, this lake tops our list of popular weekend gateways in Texas.

Things to do at Lake O’ the Pines: Hike/Bike through the jungles of the Cedar Springs Park, Relax at the Lakeside Park, Eat an ice cream at the Johnson Creek Marina, Set up a barbecue at the Brushy Creek Campground, Watch the stars at the Johnson Creek Campground.

Check Out: Best Small Towns in Texas

9. Lake Canyon - Enjoy Great Seafood

Lake Canyon

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons 

Covering a scenic shoreline of 80 miles, Lake Canyon is located halfway between the cities of San Antonio and Austin. Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to avoid flash-floods caused by the River Guadalupe, this lake has 8 parks surrounding it that offers a plethora of activities to its visitors. Go swimming, boating, camping, or set up a beautiful picnic along its beautiful shores and enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains. Great place to fish for Largemouth, Striped, White Bass, and Catfish, this lake is also home to dinosaur footprints from over 100 million years. 

Things to do at Lake Canyon: Explore the limestone caves at the Natural Bridge Caverns, Canoe through the Guadalupe River State Park, Play with your dog at the Overlook Park, Set up a picnic at the Jacobs Creek Park, Hike through the Madrone Trail.

10. Toledo Bend Reservoir - Largest Man Made Water Body

Toledo Bend Reservoir

Image Source: Madame.furie/Flickr 

Toledo Bend Reservoir is the largest man-made water body in the state of Texas and is located in the Newton County in northeastern Texas. This 65-mile-long lake is located on the Sabine River and is surrounded by rugged wilderness. The lake is bountifully blessed and offers its visitors a range of activities to choose from like fishing for Black and White Bass, Crappie, Bream and Catfish; water sports activities like canoeing, kayaking, speed boats; hiking through the Indian Mounds Wilderness Area; hunting at the Sabine Wildlife Management Area, and camping in the lush Sabine National Forest. 

Things to do at Toledo Bend Reservoir: Camp under the stars at the South Toledo Bend State Park, Explore local tree species at the Sabine National Forest, Watch the soothing waters at the Cypress Bend Park.

11. Lake Whitney - Go for a Picnic on Weekend

Lake Whitney

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Ready for your Texas Getaway Vacation? Head to Lake Whitney this Spring. Lake Whitney is located on the Brazos River and is a part of Lake Whitney State Park. Perfect for day visitors, this area has many picnic tables and boat slips. Recreational activities at Lake Whitney include bird and wildlife watching, fishing, boating, sailing, jet skiing, wake-boarding, water skiing, hunting, and golf. 

Things to do at Lake Whitney: See the best of the wildlife species at the Waco Zoo, Take a self-guided tour at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Park, Hike through the Arrowhead.

12. Lady Bird Lake - Enjoy Boating Near the Picture Perfect Landscape

Lady Bird Lake

Image Source: Justin Jensen/Flickr 

Located in the city of Austin, Lady Bird Park is surrounded by the towering skyline of the Texan Capital of Austin. The shimmering lights reflect off the lake waters giving rise to a picture-perfect landscape. The shoreline covers a 10-mile circumference where you can run or jog, while the lake itself has many things to do, like fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and rowing. Due to the high levels of chlordane in the lake waters, the fish caught here are inedible. 

Things to do at Lady Bird Lake: Walk through the Auditorium Shores, Explore the Zilker Park.

So which lake do you plan to visit? Do let us know in the comments section below.

Also Check Out:

Best Beaches Near Texas

Best Family Reunion Locations

Best Spots For Snorkeling in Honolulu

Best Camping Sites Near Chicago

Related Articles