The most populous city in Texas’ Dallas–Fort Worth metropolis, Dallas is one of the fastest growing cities in the USA as well as being a city that is famed for its culture. It’s home to art galleries, museums, theatres and some stunning architecture. Let’s not also forget about its fabulous food, particularly barbeque and Tex-Mex cuisine.
The global city is not only filled with tall skyscrapers, historic buildings and trendy neighbourhoods, but also some lovely parks. Dallas is a flat city that is dissected by the Trinity River, with 11.75 per cent of the city being water. This means that there are plenty of lakes right in the city to enjoy splashing around in. This is our list of the 15 best lakes in Dallas.
1. Lake Ray Hubbard; Northeast Dallas
Formerly known as Forney Lake, Lake Ray Hubbard spans for 9,205 hectares, making it one of the largest lakes in the north part of the entire state of Texas! The man-made lake sits on the East Fork of the Trinity River and was created by the damming of it.
One of the lake’s most popular attractions is the Harbor at Rockwall that sits along the lake’s east shoreline where Interstate 30 passes over it. Here, visitors will find a plethora of restaurants, boutique shops and the Hilton Dallas/Rockwall Lakefront.
Lake Ray Hubbard is also home to six parks, three marinas and four boat ramps. Boat, kayak, canoe and stand-up-paddle board rentals are available, and there are fishing guides to take visitors to all of the lake’s best fishing spots.
2. White Rock Lake; East Dallas
This 507 hectare reservoir can be found sandwiched between the residential Lakewood and Casa Linda neighbourhoods in East Dallas. The site of White Rock Lake used to be farmland, but in 1910 the reservoir was built as a result of a water shortage in Dallas.
Today, the lake is a popular place not only for Dallas residents, but from people all over Texas and beyond. Kayaking, canoeing and stand-up-paddle boarding are all popular and can be hired out right at the lake.
Rowing is particularly popular here, with historical boathouse and dock launching rowers of all ages every day of the week. White Lake Park is also a must for those that want to go hiking, cycling or jogging, and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden that sits on the shoreline is also well worth a visit.
3. Grapevine Lake; Grapevine
Although not actually in the city of Dallas, Grapevine Lake is one of the most popular lakes in the Dallas–Fort Worth area thanks to its numerous outdoor activities. Luckily, it’s only 32 kilometres northwest of the city centre.
The 2,950 hectare lake is named after the city it sits in, although it provides water and flood control for Grapevine, Dallas and the Dallas County Park Cities. The lake was also built to offer recreational activities for locals of the area and, of course, visitors.
There are numerous parks around the lake’s 100 kilometre shoreline that combined offer 50 kilometres of trails, camping grounds and cabin rentals. Grapevine Lake itself offers boating, fishing, kayaking, jet skiing and water skiing, amongst other things.
4. Bachman Lake; Northwest Dallas
This small artificial lake is located in Northwest Dallas right next to the Dallas Love Field Airport. Bachman Lake was originally built to supply water to the city, but today it’s used solely for recreational purposes.
The 83 hectare lake is surrounded by the lovely Bachman Lake Park that features a five kilometre hiking and cycling trail, picnic areas and an indoor aquatic centre. There are also plenty of benches to sit on to watch the planes landing and taking off from the airport.
In addition to land activities, the lake also offers sailing, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. In fact, it’s regularly stocked with catfish and bass.
5. Joe Pool Lake; Cedar Hill
Joe Pool Lake sits just southwest of Dallas in the city of Cedar Hill, though it’s still part of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metropolis. The 3,130 hectare lake was named after Congressman Joe Poll, who helped promote the funding of the building of the lake.
The lake provides recreation for not only people living in the area, but also for visitors of Dallas, Fort Worth and the rest of North Texas. In fact, there are six parks sitting along the lake’s shoreline.
The parks feature boat ramps, swimming beaches, camping facilities and concession stands, as well as hiking trails, picnic areas and volleyball courts. The Lynn Creek Marina can be found on the north end of the lake and offers boat rentals, fishing docks and sail boats for hire.
6. Mountain Creek Lake; Grand Prairie
Located just 13 kilometres southwest of downtown Dallas is this 1,097 hectare reservoir. Mountain Creek Lake was originally built as a cooling reservoir for an electric power plant, but today it’s used for recreation.
Mountain Creek Lake Park sits along the west side of the lake and features a baseball field, picnic tables, a playground and a soccer/football field. Just south of the park is the Prairie Lakes Golf Course.
Fishing is popular here, although the fish aren’t safe to eat due to high contamination levels of PCBs. Still, there is a boat ramp on the east side of the lake just off of Mountain Creek Parkway.
7. Lake Tawakoni; West Tawakoni
This 15,329 hectare lake is located 72 kilometres east of Dallas in the city of West Tawakoni. The lake was named for the Tawakoni Native American people, as they inhibited where the reservoir now sits.
Lake Tawakoni is used for both water supply and recreation, especially boating and fishing. Its 320 kilometres of shoreline also offers places to go swimming, picnicking and camping.
There are several towns surrounding the lake that have some great restaurants, shops and accommodation options. There are also a few marinas that offer water skiing, jet skiing and more.
8. Cedar Creek Reservoir; Henderson & Kaufman Counties
There are numerous cities and towns surrounding Cedar Creek Reservoir, as the 2,990 hectare lake stretches across two counties. Even though Cedar Creek Reservoir is not actually in Dallas, it’s worth making the 80 kilometre journey northeast to get here.
Cedar Creek Reservoir is a popular weekend getaway destination for Dallasites, though it’s also highly recommended to visitors. It’s the fourth largest lake in all of Texas and offers plenty of places to stay, dine and shop.
Blue catfish, flathead catfish, channel catfish, largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, white bass and crappie are prominent, especially at the south end of the lake. Still, the best tome to go fishing here is on the spring and summer.
9. Lake Arlington; Arlington
The 785 hectare Lake Arlington can be found west of Dallas and just east of the city of Fort Worth. The lake is a great place to spend time, as it’s not only beautiful but also offers loads of activities.
Paddling is particularly popular here, what with its paddling trail that runs from Bowman Springs Park clockwise to Richard Simpson Park. Lake Arlington is also known for its bass fishing and even hosts the Arlington Bass Classic each April.
Both Bowman Springs Park and Richard Simpson Park can be found along the lake’s east shoreline and are the best options for lake access. They both feature a fishing pier, a boat ramp, a picnic area, a playground and walking trails.
10. Lewisville Lake; Lewisville
Located north of Dallas, Lewisville Lake sits on the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. Originally called Lake Dallas, Lewisville Lake is used for flood control and water supply for the city of Dallas, as well as for recreational activities.
The 11,975 hectare lake is popular in the summer months and can be quite busy, though this should in no way stop anyone from visiting the lake. It is large enough for everyone to enjoy its six marinas, three restaurants and 12 parks.
Lewisville Lake boasts a 359 kilometres shoreline with nice beaches, golf courses, hiking trails, campgrounds and boat ramps. While here, don’t forget to go to Party Cove for a day to party with other lake visitors.
11. Richland-Chambers Reservoir; Corsicana
This Y-shaped lake is around one-hour southeast of Dallas near the city of Corsicana and is Texas’ eighth largest reservoir. Richland-Chambers Reservoir’s primary use is water supply, although it’s also a great place for recreational activities.
There are 11 public access areas around the 16,736 hectare lake, all of which can be accessed from Dallas via US 287. Plus, the Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area can be found at the east end of the reservoir.
There are plenty of places to stay around the lake, including the Harbor Inn Restaurant & Club, Fisherman’s Cove Lodge and Wooded Acres Campground. Richland-Chambers Reservoir is also home to a few marinas and boat ramps.
12. Lavon Lake; Collin County
Located on the East Fork of the Trinity River, Lavon Lake is easily accessible from Dallas via State Highway 78. At 8,700 hectare, this freshwater reservoir is one of the largest lakes in north Texas.
The man-made lake is a popular spot for recreational activities, including water skiing, boating and fishing. Visitors that would rather stay on land can enjoy hiking, cycling or relaxing on one of the lake’s five beaches.
Lavon Lake boasts 16 parks, 244 picnic sites, 238 camping sites and nine boat ramps. There is even a 14 kilometre equestrian trail along the lake’s shoreline.
13. Lake Bridgeport; Lake Bridgeport
The city is actually named after the lake, as it sits along its eastern shoreline. Lake Bridgeport is northwest of Dallas and was created by damming the West Fork of the Trinity River.
The lake is a popular destination for anglers thanks to its largemouth bass, sand bass, hybrid bass and crappie. It’s also a great spot for boating, and has marinas and boat ramps all around its 208 kilometre shoreline.
Wise County Park sits at the very north end of the 4,838 hectare reservoir and features a swimming beach, boat ramps, a pier and a bait shop. The park also has picnic areas, a playground and campsites.
14. Lake Texoma; Oklahoma–Texas border
Shared with the neighbouring state of Oklahoma, Lake Texoma is one of the largest reservoirs in the country! The 36,000 hectare lake is located at the confluence of the Red and Washita Rivers around 140 kilometres north of Dallas’ city centre.
Lake Texoma is one of the most popular lakes in the region, attracting around 6 million visitors each year! There are two state parks on the lake’s shoreline, one of which is in Texas (Eisenhower State Park).
In addition to the state park, there are also plenty of other parks on the Texas side of Lake Texoma as well as 12 marinas. Those wish to stay the night will have the option of staying at one of the eight campgrounds or resorts.
15. Lake Palestine; Henderson County
This artificial lake was formed in the 1960s by the damming of the Neches River. The 10,344 hectare lake is also a popular place to enjoy recreational activities.
Lake Palestine is around a 1 hour and 45 minute drive from downtown Dallas, but well worth the trip. Once here, there are plenty of options for staying the night, including resorts, cabins, bed and breakfasts, motorhome parks and camping grounds.
There is plenty to do here for everyone, including water skiing, canoeing, boating and fishing. In fact, the lake happens to be a well-known for its largemouth bass tournaments.