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18 Best Lakes in Texas For a Fun Getaway

With over 7,000 lakes in Texas, it is easy to get overwhelmed when trying to plan a fun lake getaway.

Lucky for you, we love visiting Texas lakes and have put together this list of some of the best lakes in Texas!

Of course, Texas lakes are a popular way to escape the summer heat, but did you know that they are also a great way to enjoy the diverse landscape Texas has to offer.

As Native Texans, we grew up on these local lakes, so you’re in good hands.

Whether you are looking for a place to go fishing, paddle boarding, jet skiing, boating, or just a relaxing swimming hole, we have you covered in this post!

So dive in and start making plans to add some of these lakes to your list of weekend getaways or Texas road trips.

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    Best Texas Lakes

    Canyon Lake

    Canyon Lake-one of the lakes near Austin

    Hands down, one of the most beautiful lakes in Texas is Canyon Lake.

    Located between Austin and San Antonio in the gorgeous Texas Hill Country, Canyon Lake is a nature lovers paradise.

    This 8,000 acre lake, which is part of the Guadalupe River system, has gorgeous turquoise-colored water which is almost clear under the Texas sun, making it one of the most popular swimming lakes in Texas.

    During your time here, be sure to visit Canyon Park for a relaxing place to enjoy a day at the lake.

    People love to visit Canyon Lake Gorge and search for fossils from the prehistoric creatures that once roamed this area.

    Of course, you can also enjoy loads of water activities when you visit Canyon Lake, thanks to its location on the Guadalupe River.

    The lake is popular with boaters and anglers alike, especially those looking to fish for largemouth bass and striped bass.

    During your time in the area, be sure to check out all of the fun things to do in Canyon Lake!

    Lake Travis

    Lake Travis, one of the lakes in Austin

    One of the many lakes in Austin is the fun and adventurous Lake Travis.

    Stretching over 65 miles through the Texas Hill Country, Lake Travis is the perfect lake to participate in some adrenaline pumping water recreation.

    Visitors love jet skiing, boating, fishing, and more on this popular lake.

    Lake Travis is also home to more than 270 miles of shoreline, making it the perfect lake to enjoy a day of relaxation on as well.

    Campers love visiting Windy Point Park while staying on Lake Travis. The park’s campgrounds make for a great jumping off point for those looking to scuba dive the clear waters of the lake.

    Lake Travis’ fabulous location makes it a great place to explore while enjoying a weekend in Austin as well!

    Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake)

    Lady Bird Lake in Austin, TX

    Another favorite Austin Lake is Lady Bird Lake.

    Located right in the middle of the city, Lady Bird Lake is a recreational oasis for the citizens of Austin, and is one of the best lakes in Texas to try your hand at paddle boarding or kayaking thanks to its (normally) calm waters.

    Heck, there are even places all along the shoreline to rent equipment if you don’t have any of your own.

    In addition to fun recreational water sports, Lady Bird Lake also boasts mile of hiking and biking trails for visitors to enjoy.

    Lake Texoma

    lake and bridge

    Head about an hour north of Dallas to the Texas and Oklahoma border, and you will find one of the most popular lakes in Texas, Lake Texoma.

    Lake Texoma is fed by the Red and Washita River, and is considered one of the largest lakes in the United States.

    This North Texas lake comes alive in the summer thanks to the lake campgrounds, and numerous cabins that are found in the area.

    When you combine all of the great accommodation options with the fact that Lake Texoma offers numerous water recreation activities, it’s now wonder that people flock to Lake Texoma to escape the summer heat.

    Angles love to try and catch some of the striped bass that call Lake Texoma home, while water lovers enjoy boating and riding jet skis on the lake.

    One of Lake Texoma’s most popular events in the annual Lakefest Regatta, which has drawn over 600 boats and raised over $2 million dollars for various charities.

    Lake LBJ

    jet skis on one of the lakes near Austin

    Lake LBJ, located in central Texas, is one of the five Highland Lakes.

    The great location where the Colorado River and Llano River meet, helps to ensure that Lake LBJ is a constant level lake, making it perfect for a day of cruising and site seeing.

    Of course, that isn’t all there is to do on this Texas lake. Lake LBJ is also one of the popular fishing lakes in Texas as it is known to have crappie, largemouth bass, white bass, and catfish.

    You can even get out on the water even if you don’t own your own boat thanks to the boat rentals found throughout the area.

    While you’re in the area, be sure to explore some of the Texas small towns surround the lake, and check out all of the things to do near Lake LBJ.

    Caddo Lake

    lake with cypress trees

    If you are a nature lover, then you are going to love Caddo Lake State Park, one of the best state parks near Dallas!

    Once you arrive at Caddo Lake, you will feel as if you have been transported to another land.

    The lake, which is covered with bald cypress trees dripping with Spanish moss is truly an incredible sight.

    Located about 2.5 hours east of Dallas, Caddo Lake offers numerous recreational opportunities for visitors.

    Enjoy fishing, kayaking, or hiking around Caddo Lake before taking a guided boat tour of the lake to see all of its natural beauty.

    We recommend spending a few nights at Caddo Lake to get the most our of this scenic lake.

    The state park offers historic cabins, screened shelters, and campsites for visitors to enjoy.

    At time of publication, admission was $4 for adults, and children 12 and under were free. Please check the state park website for the most up-to-date information.

    Lake Conroe

    Lake Conroe-one of the lakes in Houston

    Lake Conroe is one of the popular lakes in Houston thanks to its vast offering of recreational activities.

    The 22,000 acres of surface water on Lake Conroe makes it easy to enjoy a day on the water.

    Visitors to Lake Conroe love spending the day riding jet skis, boating, fishing, or swimming.

    Head to the west bank of Lake Conroe to enjoy a 13 acre park that is the perfect place for an afternoon picnic.

    This well kept park on Lake Conroe offers barbecue pits, picnic tables, a swim area, and restroom facilities.

    Of course, this doesn’t come free, there is an entry fee if you want to use the facilities of this Lake Conroe park.

    Possum Kingdom Lake

    sunset over lake

    Adding Possum Kingdom Lake to the list of best Texas lakes truly delights me. I grew up visiting Possum Kingdom Lake, so it brings back wonderful memories for me.

    Located about 2 hours west of Fort Worth, Possum Kingdom Lake is one of the most scenic lakes in the Lone Star State.

    Known as a popular scuba diving lake thanks to the clear waters, Possum Kingdom Lake will not disappoint.

    You can enjoy camping on the miles of shoreline, or enjoy the many hiking trails around the lake.

    Of course, this Texas lake also offers many opportunities to enjoy some water recreation.

    The summer months find the lake loaded with skiers, wakeboarders, and jet skiers.

    I love watching for all of the white tailed deer that call the banks of the lake home, they are truly everywhere!

    Fishermen will enjoy fishing for largemouth bass, striped bass, and white bass, which are abundant in the lake.

    If you want to make a weekend out of your visit to Possum Kingdom, you can check out the many cabins for rent on the lake, or visit Possum Kingdom State Park!

    Lake Livingston

    dam of Lake Livingston

    Lake Livingston is truly an East Texas gem of a lake, located about an hour north of Houston.

    Offering up over 450 miles of shoreline, Lake Livingston is the perfect family lake getaway.

    As one of the largest lakes in Texas, Lake Livingston is popular for loads of water sports.

    Families love to visit Lake Livingston to enjoy a day of tubing, wakeboarding, skiing, and more.

    Don’t be surprised to see a lot of fishing boats on this lake. Anglers love to come and try catching some of the white bass that call Lake Livingston home.

    During your time here, don’t miss the 635 acre Lake Livingston State Park and the beautiful Sam Houston National Forest.

    Lake Lewisville

    Lake Lewisville is one of the many lakes in Dallas, making it an easy weekend getaway from Dallas!

    This scenic reservoir was originally named Lake Dallas, but was later renamed after being expanded.

    Visitors to Lake Lewisville love escaping the summer heat by boating, skiing, riding jet skis, and swimming.

    It is no secret that Lake Lewisville is one of the most popular boating lakes in the area. And boaters love one of the top attractions on Lake Lewisville, Party Cove, which is located near the center of the lake.

    Party Cove is the place to be if you love to party. During the summer months, Party Cove is lined with boats tied up while people listen to music, play games, and just enjoy the refreshing waters of the lake.

    Lake Buchanan

    waterfall at Lake Buchanan

    One of the best bass fishing lakes in Texas has to be Lake Buchanan.

    Situated along the Colorado River, and another of the Highland Lakes, Lake Buchanan is full of fun, unexpected surprised (like waterfalls)!

    Spend the day boating and exploring Lake Buchanan to uncover all of its hidden treasures, like the lovely Falls Creek Falls, which are located about 20 miles north of the Buchanan dam.

    Beautiful parks and cabins line the lake, making it the perfect Texas vacation spot for a fun and secluded getaway.

    Of course, like other Texas lakes, you can enjoy all of the water recreations sports you want. And, thanks to the expansive size of the lake, there is plenty of room for everyone!

    Inks Lake

    Inks lake is one of the lakes in Austin

    For those of you that love connecting with the outdoors, then Inks Lake is for you.

    Home to one of the coolest (and most secluded) swimming holes in Texas, Inks Lake is a hidden gem in the Lone Star State.

    Visitors to Inks Lake can enjoy miles of hiking trails and stunning scenery.

    The crystal clear blue waters are home to largemouth bass, redbreast fish, and channel catfish, making it a popular fishing lake.

    While you’re here, don’t miss one of the coolest swimming holes in Texas, Devil’s Waterhole.

    The Devil’s Waterhole is can only be accessed by paddleboarding up the lake or hiking the quarter-mile Devil’s Waterhole Trail.

    Adrenaline junkies love to jump off of the 40 foot cliffs that tower above the Devil’s Waterhole, making it a fun place to enjoy the day.

    Toledo Bend Reservoir

    toledo Bend reservoir sunset

    Located near the Texas-Louisiana border, Toledo Bend Reservoir is one of the best fishing lakes in the state.

    Not only do fishermen love Toledo Bend Reservoir, but so do scuba divers.

    Divers flock to Toledo Bend Reservoir to check out the sunken artifacts and boats in the lake.

    Bird watchers also love visiting Toledo Bend as the area is known for having some rare and endangered species of birds.

    Keep your eyes open for bald eagles, the Peregrine Falcon, and the American White Pelican while you are visiting.

    While at Toledo Bend, you can enjoy a lakeside park, check out a bike trail, or just spend the day relaxing and taking in the beautiful scenery.

    Lake Marble Falls

    lake at sunset

    Lake Marble Falls is located in the Texas Hill Country in the town of Marble Falls, Texas.

    Check out the town’s Lakeside Park to enjoy tennis courts, covered picnic tables, barbecue pits, and more, all located on the banks of the lake.

    After enjoying a day on the water boating, swimming, and wakeboarding, be sure to explore the town of Marble Falls and the local community.

    Here you will find so many fun restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and state parks, making Marble Falls an excellent Texas getaway.

    Sam Rayburn Reservoir

    Sam Rayburn Reservoir is one of the best Texas lakes if you want a thrilling day on the water with your family.

    Kids will love visiting Powell Park Marina and experiencing the fun, inflatable water park. (We once made me little niece fly super high in the air at this park!)

    Of course, that isn’t all that Sam Rayburn has to offer. Like most Texas lakes, Sam Rayburn is also a great place to go fishing.

    The lake is home to largemouth bass, crappie, white bass, and catfish, making it a fisherman’s paradise.

    Not only that, but Sam Rayburn Reservoir is the largest lake in the state of Texas!

    Lake O’ the Pines

    Lake O’ the Pines is a beautiful Texas lake located in East Texas near Longview.

    This gorgeous lake has over 18,000 acres and is surrounded by towering East Texas pine trees, making it a wonderful weekend getaway.

    Lake O’ the Pines has numerous parks, complete with amenities, and boat ramps, ensuring you can get out on the water from numerous places on the lake.

    This lake is famous for the large catfish and largemouth bass that call the lake home, so be sure to do some fishing while you’re here!

    Lake Whitney

    Lake Whitney is one of the beautiful lakes in Texas, located about two hours south of Dallas-Fort Worth.

    The gorgeous, towering cliffs that seem to jut out of the blue water of the lake make this one of the best boating lakes in the area.

    Of course, those tall cliffs also draw adrenaline seekers. People are known to jump from the 50-foot cliffs during the summer months, making this a great place to people watch.

    Known as being a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, Lake Whitney has many accommodation offerings and several lakeside parks.

    While here, be on the lookout for the wildlife of the area. People are known to spot bald eagles, armadillo, and deer while visiting Lake Whitney.

    Lake Granbury

    Head about 45 minutes south of Fort Worth, and you will find the charming lakeside community of Granbury, Texas, one of our favorite small towns in Texas.

    We love visiting Lake Granbury any time of year, but the lake comes alive in the summer months.

    Visitors can enjoy 103 miles of shoreline dotted with gorgeous houses and fun public spaces.

    This tribute of the Brazos River is overflowing with things to do, and home to any water sport you can think of!

    Visit De Cordova Bend Park on the southeast side of the lake for a relaxing swimming area, or head to Granbury City Beach Park, also called Granbury City Park, located in the heart of Granbury for a day at the beach!

    Yes, you read that correctly, there is a beach on Lake Granbury. This is actually one of the many beaches in Dallas, Texas!

    Here, you can rent paddleboards, kayaks, and jet skis, or just enjoy a day playing in the protected swimming area.

    No matter what, you have to take time to explore all of the things to do in Granbury, Texas before you leave this area!

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    Michelle Snell founder of That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel

    About The Author

    Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel.  Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.