Texas is a state that has plenty of beautiful landscapes and stunning vistas. Some of the best places to enjoy those views on the side of a lake, looking out over the water.
There are some fantastic lakes in Texas which are great for watersports, boating, fishing, and have amazing biking and hiking trails which make the most of the natural beauty. We have put together a list of the best lakes in Texas which you should definitely visit.
Lake Texoma is one of the largest reservoirs in the United States, covering a surface area of 360.2 kilometers squared. Part of the lake is in Bryan County, Oklahoma and the rest is in Grayson County, Texas.
The reservoir is there as a result of the Denison Dam on the Red River which was constructed between 1939 and 1944 to help with flood control and to generate hydroelectric power.
The lake is very popular for fishing and there are a number of fishing guides that operate on the lake to provide fantastic days of fishing for those with less experience.
There is also a golf course on the Texas side of the lake and several on the Oklahoma side if you want to tackle a fun course with some excellent views. You can also hunt on some of the land around the lake in line with the state laws
If you like horse riding, there are some equestrian trails around the lake that you will enjoy. The lake is also very popular with hikers as the trails are very beautiful. Some hikers like to make use of the abundance of camping sites around the lake.
If you would prefer to relax in style after your day of exploring nature you can rent a cabin on the lake instead. There is also a great selection of resorts and hotels on the lake.
Lake Texoma is perfect for watersports and boating. There are various marinas and sandy beaches which are perfect for lots of different activities. After your day on the water you will be ready to indulge in a nice meal, and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from on the lake. There are also wineries, a distillery, and even a museum.
All of these activities and facilities make this lake a great place to visit, but if that’s not enough to convince you then you should take a look at the views. The stunning scenery and beautiful water will blow you away.
Ladybird lake is another reservoir, but this one is in Austin. It was created in 1960 as a cooling pond for a new power plant but is now used for flood control and recreation. It has a surface area of 416 acres.
Ladybird Lake is home to one of the oldest urban hike and bike paths in Texas- The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail and Boardwalk- which takes you on a loop of the lake which is just over 10 miles. This trail is very popular with cyclists, runners and walkers for training and recreational sports.
Most motorized watercrafts are prohibited on the lake which means that the lake is very popular for water sports like paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, and rowing. There are several businesses offering rented equipment for taking part in water sports on the lake.
You can also swim in the Deep Eddy Pool and the Barton Springs Pool. Not all areas of the lake are legal to swim in so make sure you check the signage.
There are some motorized watercrafts allowed on the lake, and these are the licensed river cruises which are perfect for sightseeing and relaxing with a nice dinner and some drinks while you take in the views of the city.
The reservoir is also stocked with several species of fish for the purpose of recreational fishing. You can expect to catch largemouth bass, catfish, carp, and sunfish.
But fish aren’t the only wildlife you will see around the lake- it is a great spot for bat watching. Between March and November the Mexican free tailed bats congregate under the Congress Avenue Bridge.
Given that Austin is one of the most dog-friendly cities in Texas, arguably in the whole of the United States, it is no surprise that on the shores of Ladybird Lake is the Auditorium Shores Dog Park, a great place for dogs to play and make friends.
The park is fenced off from the water so you don’t need to worry about your dog getting too close to the edge.
Lake Travis in Central Texas is a flood control reservoir with a surface area of 76.61 kilometers squared. It is the most visited freshwater lake in Texas, drawing in crowds with the promise of recreational activities, food, hotels and much more. It is a great lake for swimming, with lots of spaces reserved for just that.
It is advised to wear water shoes as there are a lot of zebra mussels which can be sharp- you should also be careful if you take your dog to the lake as the mussels can easily cut their paws.
Boating is also very popular on Lake Travis, which is why it is a good idea to swim in the designated swimming areas. There are lots of places to dock your boat as well as towing, storage and cleaning services for boats. You can also rent kayaks and other equipment to take part in water sports on the lake.
There are plenty of marinas and some yacht clubs around the shores of the lake with places to dock your boat or good entry points into the water. If you are looking for even more water based fun at Lake Travis then check out one of the water parks.
If you like fishing then Lake Travis is a great place to go. You can expect to find Guadalupe Bass, White Bass, Largemouth Bass, Striped Bass and Catfish.
There are some great camping sites and RV parks along the shores of Lake Travis, and you can even rent a houseboat to stay in. If you want something more up market then there is also a good selection of hotels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals.
When it comes to the nightlife you can hire a party boat for a memorable evening of drinks and entertainment, or eat at one of the many restaurants for something more low key. Choose from Mediterranean, coal fired pizza, steak, Tex Mex, BBQ, grill house, sushi, Mexican and much more.
There are casual restaurants, food trucks, dessert places, fine dining restaurants, wine bars and sports bars.
Possum Kingdom Lake
Possum Kingdom Lake is a reservoir on the Brazos River. It has 310 miles of shoreline and a surface area of 80.13 kilometers squared. Most of the lake is in Palo Pinto County.
There are lots of great spots for swimming, and plenty of them are safe enough for children to swim in too. It’s also a popular place for kayaking and canoeing, with opportunities to rent equipment if you don’t have your own. People also come to the lake for boating as there are plenty of places to launch your boat from.
If you like to fish then you will be pleased to know that as well as several kinds of bass, the lake is stocked with crappie, bream and catfish.
If you would rather stay on land then you could check out some of the stunning trails surrounding the lake which are perfect for hiking and biking. The trees and large boulders will keep you shaded and you can enjoy views of the lake from different angles and perspectives.
There is plenty of wildlife to spot including over 280 different species of birds. The trails vary in length and difficulty so you will be able to have a great time no matter what your experience level is.
There is a great choice of restaurants on the shores of the lake which offer a range of foods from American (including classic Southern dishes) and Mexican food to Italian dishes like pizza and pasta, and classic favorites such as steak and fried chicken.
If you want to stay on the lake there are campsites and RV sites as well as guest houses, hotels and vacation rentals.
Lake O’The Pines
This lake is considered to be the best in East Texas. It is a reservoir on Big Cypress Bayou which falls mainly in Marion County. The surface area of the lake is 75.6 kilometers squared. It is surrounded by parkland filled with beautiful pine trees and the views from the shoreline are stunning.
There are plenty of sandy beaches which are great for swimming in the lake along with marinas and boat ramps where you can launch your boat into the water. The fishing is excellent on this lake with plenty of sunfish, catfish and different types of bass to catch.
You rent a cabin on the lake or find a spot to park your RV with a great view of the water. There are also 4 different campsites where you can pitch your tent for a more outdoors experience.
This lake is far from the hustle and bustle of the city and is all about getting back to nature. It doesn’t have the water parks and the fancy restaurants and bars that you find along the shores of some of the other lakes. The facilities are much more basic but if you love an adventure then you will love Lake O’The Pines.