Best Vacation Lakes In Texas
Summer is the perfect time for a lakeside getaway – days are long, warm and lazy, inviting you to kick back and relax surrounded by natural scenery and water views. There are many lakes in Texas, a combination of man-made lakes and natural reservoirs offering its millions of residents and out of state boaters ample recreation opportunities.
Boating is a popular pastime in Texas and is growing ever more popular every year. Whether you are looking for a secluded hideaway or a full-service Texas resort with activities for kids and grownups, here are some of the best lakes in Texas to vacation at, along with a list of outdoor lake activities and hotels and lodging.
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Best Texas Party Lakes: Lake Travis In Travis County
Lake Travis is a reservoir on the Colorado River in central Texas in the United States. The reservoir was formed in 1942 by the construction of Mansfield Dam on the western edge of Austin, Texas by the Lower Colorado River Authority, and was built specifically to contain floodwaters in a flash-flood prone region.
During its construction, after a severe flood in July 1938, the height of the dam was raised to add storage capacity for floodwaters. Serving principally as a flood-control reservoir, Lake Travis’ historical minimum to maximum water height change is nearly 100 feet. In 2018 alone, it has seen a 20-foot depth increase within a single 24-hour period of time.
With 30 square miles of surface area, Lake Travis has the largest storage capacity of the seven reservoirs known as the Highland Lakes, and stretches 65 miles upriver from western Travis County in a highly serpentine course into southern Burnet County to Max Stracke Dam, southwest of the town of Marble Falls.
The Pedernales River, a major tributary of the Colorado River, flows into the lake from the southwest in western Travis County. The lake is used for flood control, water supply, electrical power generation, and recreation.
Things To Do On Lake Travis
Lake Travis Lodging
Lake Travis Fishing
Lake Travis is noted for producing good numbers of largemouth bass, although they tend to run small. Very few trophy largemouth bass have been caught. White bass runs occur in the spring (February-May) in the major creek arms, the Pedernales River and the upper end of the Colorado River arm.
A low-density striped bass fishery is available in the extreme lower end of the reservoir. Blue, channel, and flathead catfish occur throughout the reservoir.
View The Full Fishing Report On Texas Parks & Wildlife Website.
Best Striper Fishing Lakes: Lake Texoma Recreation & Fishing
Lake Texoma is a mecca for anyone who loves the great outdoors. Straddling the state borders of Texas and Oklahoma, Lake Texoma is managed by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Corp managed properties, State Parks, national Wildlife Refuges and privately maintained recreation areas offer a multitude of activities for nature enthusiast.
Head to a Texoma Recreation area for birding, nature photography, hiking, biking and horseback riding. pitch a tent, hook up the rv or just come for the day. Explore the caves, search for fossils, observe the abundant wildlife or just relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Things To Do On Lake Texoma
Lake Texoma Marinas
Lake Texoma Fishing & Recommended Guides
Flows in the Red and Washita Rivers make Texoma one of the few freshwater lakes in the United States with a self-sustaining, landlocked population of striped bass. A dozen other Texas lakes support striped bass fisheries; however, routine stocking is required to maintain those populations.
Striped bass were first introduced in Lake Texoma by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in 1965. Natural reproduction was first documented in 1974.
View The Full Lake Texoma Fishing Report On Texas Parks & Wildlife Website.
Toledo Bend Reservoir
Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Texas: Toledo Bend Reservoir
Toledo Bend Reservoir located on the eastern edge of Sabine National Forest. Toledo Bend Reservoir is the largest lake in Texas and the fifth largest in the nation. The surface area is over 182,000 acres, making it the largest lake in the south. The lake is located in Sabine, Shelby, and Panola counties in Texas, and parts extend into Sabine and DeSoto parishes in Louisiana.
Toledo Bend Reservoir has 1,200 miles of shoreline with both private and public areas for swimming, boating, picnicking, camping, and wildlife sightseeing. This one is cheating a little as most of the best places to access the lakes are in Louisiana along the Toledo Bend Forest Scenic Byway. However, visiting the Sabine National Forest in Texas, you have plenty of marinas and places to stop along the riverway.
Things To Do On Toledo Bend
Toledo Bend Reservoir Marinas (Texas Side)
Toledo Bend Reservoir Fishing
The most popular game fish at Toledo Bend Reservoir is the largemouth bass; an excellent year-round fishery exists, making it one of the best lakes in Texas for bass fishing year round. Good year-round crappie and catfish fisheries are also present. Striped bass are maintained by annual stockings because conditions at Toledo Bend usually do not allow a successful natural spawn.
Stripers are popular due to their large growth potential and reputation as strong fighters. Bluegill and redear sunfish are present in high numbers and provide excellent fishing, especially for youth or inexperienced anglers.
View The Full Toledo Bend Bass Fishing Report On Texas Parks & Wildlife Website.
Sam Rayburn Reservoir
Lakes Near Me: Lake Sam Rayburn Recreation & Fishing
Lake Sam Rayburn is located north of Jasper, Texas in the heart of the East Texas Piney Woods. The lake is designed to provide flood control to the Angelina & Neches River basins, supply water to the Beaumont and Lufkin as well as offer some of the best fishing, camping and boating in Texas. At 114,400 acres Sam Rayburn Lake is the largest man-made lake in the state of Texas. The lake has a maximum depth of 80 feet and an annual fluctuation of about 10 feet.
With nearly 750 miles of shoreline, you will find many areas around Sam Rayburn Lake to have a picnic, launch your boat, do some fishing and enjoy the lake. Other things to do in the area other than boating, waterskiing, wakeboarding, swimming, fishing, and camping, are birdwatching, nature hiking, historic tours of the local towns, and scenic drives around the lake.
You can find all types of lodging in the area including cabin rentals, lake house rentals, condo rentals, bed and breakfast inns, motels and RV parks.
Hotels & Lodging On Lake Sam Rayburn
Sam Rayburn Reservoir Marinas
Lake Sam Rayburn Camping
Powell Park Marina and Campground
Jackson Hill Park and Marina
Rayburn RV Hideout
Lake Sam Rayburn Bass Fishing
The most popular game fish at Sam Rayburn Reservoir is the largemouth bass; an excellent year-round fishery exists. Excellent year-round crappie and catfish fisheries are also present. White bass numbers are limited, but provide good fishing opportunities during the spring. Bluegill and redear sunfish are present in high numbers and provide good fishing, especially for youth or inexperienced anglers.
Anglers are successful at catching largemouth bass year round at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. During the fall, winter and spring months, fish are active for longer periods of the day and are typically found in shallow water, making it one of the best fishing lakes in Texas.
A variety of baits and techniques will work during these times, but crankbaits and spinnerbaits are usually the preferred choices. During the hot summer, the bite usually slows and fish activity is usually concentrated during the early morning, late evening, and at night.
View The Full Lake Sam Rayburn Fishing Report On Texas Parks & Wildlife Website.
Best Boating Lakes In Texas: Lake Conroe
Lake Conroe is located approximately one hour north of downtown Houston. Extending 21 miles in length and covering 21,000 surface acres, Lake Conroe is the reserve drinking water supply for the City of Houston and offers clean, clear water for a large variety of recreation (boating, fishing, hunting, golfing, swimming, water skiing, jet skiing, pleasure boating, etc.).
Lake Conroe runs through classic East Texas Piney Woods forests. Water quality is generally good, with an average depth of 20.5 feet, and a maximum depth of 75 feet. Luxurious hotels and condominiums, quality RV Parks, waterfront boat storage with valet launching, luxurious waterfront real estate developments are only a few of the attractions to this exceptional man-made Lake only 60 minutes north from Houston.
Being so close to a metropolitan area as large as Houston, the Lake Conroe area has experienced incredible growth and transformation over the last quarter century. Some of the finest residential developments in the country have sprung up around the Lake Conroe shores and terrain surrounding the lake. Lake Conroe is one of the best lakes in Texas for recreation and fishing, which is one of the reason it makes our list!
Hotels & Lodging On Lake Conroe
Lake Conroe Marinas
Lake Conroe Camping
Lake Conroe Bass Fishing
Largemouth bass are the most sought after species in Lake Conroe. Catch rates are very good and the opportunity to catch a trophy bass is very high at Lake Conroe. In 1998, the biggest largemouth bass ever collected by TPWD in an electrofishing survey was taken from beneath a boat dock and weighed in at 14.1 pounds. The standing lake record caught in 2009 by angler Ricky Bearden weighed 15.93 pounds.
Lake Conroe is dominated by open water in the lower two-thirds of the reservoir, with some standing timber still present along the river channel in the upper reaches. Most of the standing timber is slightly submerged when the lake is at conservation pool, making navigation hazardous in these areas. Bulkheads with boat docks dominate the shore in the lower reservoir; the upper reservoir (the portion lying within the Sam Houston National Forest) is primarily featureless shoreline.
View The Full Lake Conroe Fishing Report On Texas Parks & Wildlife Website.
Possum Kingdom Lake
Lakes Near Dallas: Possum Kingdom State Park
Possum Kingdom is nestled in the foothills of the Palo Pinto mountains less than 90 miles west of Fort Worth, with more than 18,000 acres of crystal clear water. Possum Kingdom is a Texas oasis surrounded by beautiful cliffs and rolling hillsides. Whether you are visiting for a weekend or staying for a lifetime, Possum Kingdom Lake has the amenities and services to meet your every need, from first-class dining and resorts to some of the finest marinas and golf courses in Texas.
The lake is located where the Brazos River cuts through the Palo Pinto Hills. The canyon thus formed provided a favorable site for impoundment of the reservoir and accounts for the unusual depth of the lake and the resulting clarity of the water. Possum Kingdom State Park offers fun on water and land. On water, you can swim, boat, fish, ski, scuba dive and snorkel. On land, you can camp, picnic, hike, bike, study nature and geocache.
Possum Kingdom Lake offers visitors a wide variety of outdoor activities including boating, diving, swimming, fishing, hiking, cycling and golf.
Possum Kingdom Hotels & Lodging
Possum Kingdom Marinas
Possum Kingdom Camping
Possum Kingdom State Park
Spanish Oaks Campground – Possum Kingdom S.P.
Fishing Possum Kingdom State Park
The reservoir has been affected by golden alga blooms, especially in 2001, 2003, and 2010. Striped bass are stocked in most years and provide a fair fishery with good growth potential and strong fighting characteristics. The lake record is 34.19 pounds. White bass are abundant and of good size.
Largemouth bass are found in this reservoir. Florida-strain largemouths have been stocked and help provide trophy potential, as evidenced by the lake record of 16.02 pounds. Crappie are fair, and sunfish are present with some large individuals available for harvest. Channel, blue, and flathead catfish are all present, with some especially large blue cats.
View The Full Possum Kingdom Lake Fishing Report On Texas Parks & Wildlife Website.
Dallas Area Lakes: Lake Lewisville
Lake Lewisville is one of the largest lakes in north Texas spanning 29,000 acres with 233 miles of shoreline. Lake Lewisville is known for being a huge recreational lake that is great for fishing, skiing, swimming, relaxing, and recreational boating. Numerous parks and camp grounds are located around the lake all of which you can find detailed information on this site. There are plenty of nice beaches, campgrounds, hiking and biking trails, golf courses, and other outdoor activities.
Lake Lewisville Hotels & Lodging
Hidden Cove Park Cabin Rentals
Lake Lewisville Marinas
Cottonwood Creek Marina
Eagle Point Marina
Hidden Cove Park and Marina
Lake Lewisville Camping
Bass Fishing Lake Lewisville
White crappie and white bass provide the most angling activity on Lake Lewisville. Largemouth bass, the most popular fish in Texas, is also popular at Lewisville. Hybrid striped bass have been stocked and provide anglers with another open water sport fish. The blue and channel catfish fisheries are excellent.
Largemouth bass can be found around available structure (timber) in coves or along the shoreline. White bass school in the main lake during summer; follow the gulls. Crappie fishing is excellent under bridges that cross arms of the lake. Hybrids are found around humps and ridges on Hickory Creek and the main lake. Catfishing is good near the old Lake Dallas area.
View The Full Lake Lewisville Bass Fishing Report On Texas Parks & Wildlife Website.
Hill Country Lakes: Canyon Lake
Canyon Lake, Texas, is recognized as “The Jewel” of the Texas Hill Country. Its location, on the Guadalupe River, makes it a great place to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. White-tailed deer, foxes, roadrunners, and other wildlife can be spotted along the Guadalupe River. Canyon Lake is known for water recreation. There is outdoor recreation, including hiking trails and parks. It has eight park areas for people to camp, swim, boat, and picnic. Bank fishing is also available in all of these parks.
Canyon Lake Hotels & Lodging
Canyon Lake Marinas
Canyon Lake Marina
Cranes Mill Marina
Hill Country Yacht Club
Canyon Lake Camping
Bass Fishing Report Canyon Lake
Largemouth bass is the most popular and most abundant sportfish in the reservoir. White bass and striped bass also provide an excellent fishery. Stripers provide excellent angling because of their growth potential and strong fighting characteristics. An annual TPWD stocking program maintains the fishery because striped bass do not successfully reproduce in this reservoir.
Crappie fishing is generally poor, although occasionally good catches can be made, especially along standing timber in the river. Angling for redbreast sunfish can provide an excellent fishing experience for the family. Channel, blue, and flathead catfish are present in good numbers.
A low density smallmouth bass fishery exists. These fish were stocked in the 1970s and 1980s and persist through natural reproduction. Fishing for smallmouth is better in the lower 1/3 of the reservoir.
View The Full Canyon Lake Bass Fishing Report On Texas Parks & Wildlife Website.