15 Best Lakes in Texas

Written by Veronique Raes
Updated on
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The USA’s second largest state, Texas is home to mountains, rivers and lowlands. It also has many different climates, though in general, Texas is quite hot and humid, particularly in the summer months. Many residents head to a lake to escape the heat and enjoy boating, fishing or swimming, and there are plenty to choose from all over the state.

Here is a list of the 15 Best Lakes in Texas:

1. Lake Texoma

Lake TexomaSource: Cheri Alguire / Shutterstock
Lake Texoma

Located at the confluence of the Washita and Red Rivers, this is one of the largest lakes in the country and one of the most developed lakes in all of Texas. Lake Texoma was formed by the by Denison Dam on the Red River between Texas and Oklahoma in Texas’ Grayson and Cooke counties. It boasts a total surface area of 36,000 hectare and is surrounding by national parks and cities, as well as being home to several small islands.

It is an extremely popular place, with around 6 million people heading there each year to enjoy sailing, water skiing, wind surfing and fishing. There are around 70 species of fish living in the lake, including bass, catfish and white crappie.

There are over 12 marinas sitting around Lake Texoma, as well as two wildlife refuges and hundreds of camp grounds. It hosts the annual charity Lakefest Regatta each spring, and during spring break is extremely popular amongst college students

2.Lake Travis

Lake Travis Source: Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock
Lake Travis

Sitting on the Colorado River in central Texas, Lake Travis was formed in 1942 during the construction of the Mansfield Dam near Austin. The lake stretches for 105kms and is the largest lake in the Highlands Lakes region, having a surface area of 7,660 hectares.

Lake Travis is one of the most popular lakes in Texas for recreational activities, with numerous people flocking to the lake each year. Boating, scuba diving and swimming are popular activities enjoyed at the lake. It is also home to numerous fish species, like bass, catfish and sunfish.

There is over 400kms of shoreline surrounding Lake Travis where camping and picnicking can be enjoyed. It is also home to Hippie Hollow Park, which is a popular spot for nudists. As well, each year the gay and lesbian community hosts Splash Day at the park.

3. Eagle Mountain Lake

Eagle Mountain LakeSource: BrianRodriguez / Shutterstock
Eagle Mountain Lake

Eagle Mountain Lake is a reservoir in that was formed by the damming of the Trinity River in North Texas. The lake sits at 198 metres above sea level just north of Fort Worth and has a surface area of over 3,500 hectares.

Many people visit the lake to enjoy recreational activities, like wake boarding, water skiing and kayaking, though it is probably most known as a boating destination. In fact, the lake is home to the world-renowned Fort Worth Boat Club, which was founded in 1929. The boat club regularly holds both international and national regattas.

Fishing is extremely popular at Eagle Mountain Lake, as it is home to largemouth bass, channel catfish, white bass and white crappie. Fishermen can use ramps at the marina, though they also rent out boats. Other facilities found around the lake include picnic areas, walking trails, restaurants and campgrounds.

4. Lake Granbury

Lake GranburySource: Lake Granbury / Shutterstock
Lake Granbury

Sitting around 30 minutes’ drive from Fort Worth, Lake Granbury is a reservoir that was created in 1969 during the damming of the Brazos River. The lake has a total surface area of around 3,360 hectares and 221kms of shoreline.

The long, narrow lake is a popular spot for wakeboarding, boating and water skiing, as well as fishing. The water is around 23 metres deep and home to various species of bass and catfish, as well as sunfish and long nose gar.

There are five recreation areas that sit around the lakes shoreline that offer plenty of amenities for visitors, including picnic areas, playgrounds, restrooms, walking paths and camping grounds. Lake Granbury town itself is also quite a picturesque place.

5. Lake O’ the Pines

Lake O’ the PinesSource: Tallmaple / Shutterstock
Lake O’ the Pines

Sitting in the Big Cypress Bayou, Lake O’ the Pines is a picturesque lake that is surrounded by pine trees. It is a popular fishing spot, with spotted bass, largemouth bass, white bass, catfish and chain pickerel being just a few of the species that are regularly caught when fishing in the 76 square kilometre lake.

There are several marinas around the lake that offer boat hire for visitors, as well as storage and mooring for those with their own boat. Boat ramps, camping grounds and parks also surround the lake.

Seven parks can be found on the lake’s shorelines, offering facilities like picnic tables, restrooms, boat ramps and playgrounds. The Lakeside Park even boasts a beach area.

6. Lake Conroe

Lake ConroeSource: PianoMark / Shutterstock
Lake Conroe

Lake Conroe is located around 60 minutes north of Houston, running through the East Texas Piney Woods forests. It is a beautiful lake that is surrounded by trees, hills and magnificent houses.

Some of the best golf courses in Texas are in the area, as are some fabulous restaurants and bars. This is probably because of its famous residents, which includes retired basketball players Rudolph Tomjanovich and Aaron Grey, and retired baseball pitcher Clemens.

Sitting around the 85 square kilometre lake is the Sam Houston National Forest, Waterpoint Center and over 10 marinas. It is a top spot for fishing, wakeboarding, water skiing and jet skiing, with equipment being available for rent.

7. Lake Austin

Lake AustinSource: xiaolin zhang / Shutterstock
Lake Austin

Another one of the Highland Lakes, Lake Austin is a 647 hectare reservoir that was created after the construction of the Tom Miller Dam in 1939. It is part of the Colorado River and is fed by overflow from Lake Travis.

Lake Austin is a popular spot for boating and fishing, as it has a massive population of bass, many of which weigh over 10 lbs. It is also a great place for wakeboarding, water skiing and canoeing.

Many visitors go camping in Emma Long Park in order to fully enjoy the benefits of Lake Austin. Here, it is possible to rent a boat or stay on the land and play volleyball, or even soak up the sun on the beach.

8. Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Sam Rayburn ReservoirSource: Jordan Pitre / Shutterstock
Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Sam Rayburn Reservoir is located around 110kms north of Beaumont in Deep East Texas. It is a 463 kilometre lake and happens to be the largest lake that is wholly located within the state of Texas.

The lake’s surroundings are not very developed, made up predominately of trees and rolling hills, creating a stunning backdrop. Swimming, water skiing and fishing are popular things to do, with largemouth bass, catfish and crappies being the most caught fish living in the lake.

There are a number of campsites and marinas on the shorelines of the lake, as well as the Rayburn Country Resort, which is home to a top notch golf course. Visitors that would prefer to stay dry can go hiking through the Sabine National Forest.

9. Toledo Bend Reservoir

Toledo Bend ReservoirSource: Bonnie Taylor Barry / Shutterstock
Toledo Bend Reservoir

This 749 square kilometre lake sits at the border of Texas and Louisiana on the Sabine River. It is the largest man-made lake in the state and the fifth largest man-made body of water in the country.

Toledo Bend Reservoir boasts 1,900kms of shoreline, offering recreational activities such as camping, picnicking and hunting. Activities that visitors enjoy doing within the lake itself include swimming, boating, water skiing and wake boarding.

Toledo Bend Reservoir is an excellent fishing spot, with the largemouth bass being the most popular game fish living in the lake. Game fish are usually found around the edges of the lake within the lush vegetation, which also creates some stunning scenery.

10. Possum Kingdom Lake

Possum Kingdom LakeSource: Brandon-Smith / Shutterstock
Possum Kingdom Lake

Popularly known as PK, Possum Kingdom Lake is best known for being home to the spectacular Hell’s Gate cliffs. It is also home to the 620 hectare Possum Kingdom State Park, which is a popular spot for boating and fishing.

Possum Kingdom Lake is one of the most picturesque lakes in Texas thanks to the cliffs, its clear water and its surrounding rolling hills. There are also some beautiful homes here, as well as the magnificent Cliffs Resort & Spa.

The lake can be found around 40 minutes north of Fort Worth on the Brazos River. It has a total surface area of 8,000 hectare and sits at an elevation of 304 metres above sea level.

11. Lake Whitney

Lake WhitneySource: Hundley Photography / Shutterstock
Lake Whitney

Texas residents frequently visit Lake Whitney throughout the entire year due to its excellent recreational activities. Sailing, water skiing, jet skiing and fishing are all popular water based activities that visitors often enjoy when visiting the lake. There are also a number of land based activities, like golf, hunting and camping.

There are numerous lodges, resorts and camping grounds surrounding Lake Whitney that have things like tennis courts, golf courses, swimming pools and playgrounds. The 362kms of shoreline also features boat ramps, marinas and beaches, as well as some stunning scenery.

Lake Whitney is a 96 square kilometre lake that is located in Mile River. It was created in 1951 as a flood river to collect the overflow from the Brazos River.

12. Lewisville Lake

Lewisville LakeSource: Raja_lens / Shutterstock
Lewisville Lake

Lewisville Lake is a favourite spot in the summer months, as it boasts plenty of good shoreline that is home to numerous camping facilities, restaurants, golf courses and lodges. It is a great place for wake boarding, water skiing and fishing, with catfish and crappie being the dominant game fish found in the lake.

Lewisville Lake is located in North Texas near Lewisville. When it was first created it was known as Dallas Lake, though in the 1950s it was renamed due to expansion, making it the second largest lake in the Trinity River area.

The lake has a total surface area of 11,975 hectares and it surrounding by trees and rolling hills. Nine bridges cross the lake, and it is also accessible via the A-train (Denton County Transportation Authority).

13. Lake Amistad

Lake AmistadSource: Alexander Imperial / Shutterstock
Lake Amistad

Lake Amistad is a beautiful reservoir that sits where the Devils River meets the Rio Grande, around 19kms northwest of Del Rio. It was formed in 1969 after the construction of the Amistad Dam, right along the Mexican border. In the past, the area was home to Indigenous Americans and cave paintings can be seen in the area to this day.

Today, Lake Amistad is famous for its beauty and its recreational activities, particularly fishing. It even holds an annual fishing tournament with both national and international competitors.

Boating, water skiing, scuba diving and swimming are just a few of the water based activities that are enjoyed at Lake Amistad. There are plenty of boat ramps found around the 340 metre lake, while its natural surroundings provide visitors with the chance to go hiking, camping and nature walks.

14. Canyon Lake

Canyon LakeSource: Dana Rasmussen / Shutterstock
Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake is a recreational centre, with eight parks being managed and maintained around the lake’s 130kms of shoreline. Camping, picnicking, swimming and boating can all be enjoyed. There are also numerous trails around the lake’s beautiful surroundings for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

Canon Lake sits along the Guadalupe River, around 25kms northwest of New Braunfel, 56kms northeast of San Antonio and 64kms southwest of Austin. Many city dwellers spend time here on the weekends, resulting in a number of resorts and camping grounds nearby.

It is a stunning lake that was built in 1958 for water conservations and flood control. The lake has a surface area of around 33 square kilometres and a depth of 38 metres.

15. Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird LakeSource: Skylar Dawn / Shutterstock
Lady Bird Lake

Sitting right in Downtown Austin, Lady Bird Lake is a picturesque reservoir that is surrounded by hotels, restaurants, parks and trails. The city’s largest park sits right next to it.

Lady Bird Lake is a popular for kayaking, dragon boating, canoeing and rowing, while being surrounded by some truly magnificent scenery. No motorised watercrafts are allowed in the lake, keeping it tranquil and calm.

Lady Bird Lake was named after former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson, who was a long-time resident of Austin and spent time working on the Town Lake Beautification Project. In the past, the 189 hectare lake was called Town Lake.

15 Best Lakes in Texas:

  • Lake Texoma
  • 2.Lake Travis
  • Eagle Mountain Lake
  • Lake Granbury
  • Lake O’ the Pines
  • Lake Conroe
  • Lake Austin
  • Sam Rayburn Reservoir
  • Toledo Bend Reservoir
  • Possum Kingdom Lake
  • Lake Whitney
  • Lewisville Lake
  • Lake Amistad
  • Canyon Lake
  • Lady Bird Lake