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15 Fun Things to Do in Canyon Lake, TX

Let’s face it: summers in Texas can be brutal!

That is why locals always look for a great lake or swimming hole to escape this time of year.

If that is you, consider visiting Canyon Lake, TX.

Located in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Canyon Lake is the perfect place to cool off from the Texas heat!

There are also so many things to do in Canyon Lake, TX, that you can come here anytime and enjoy this fabulous area!

Located about an hour from the popular tourist towns of Austin and San Antonio, this makes for the perfect weekend getaway in Texas!

The area’s location on the famous Guadalupe River makes it a fabulous place to explore if you love water recreation. You can kayak, ski, fish, boat, and more.

Of course, if you need a day or two to relax, Canyon Lake also has you covered there!

I mean, it is one of our romantic getaways in Texas!

This Guadalupe River reservoir is famous for its crystal clear water, fabulous fishing, scenic hill country views, and abundance of wildlife.

There are fabulous outdoor areas, fun local restaurants with live music, gorgeous drives, museums, Texas wineries, and more! Canyon Lake, TX, has you covered no matter what you are looking for.

We were born and raised in Texas and still call it home today, so this area is well known to us. We have been visiting it our entire lives!

So, thank you for trusting our website for your Texas travel needs!

Let’s dive into all that Canyon Lake, TX, offers!

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    Where Is Canyon Lake

    overview of Canyon Lake TX

    Canyon Lake is a city in the Texas Hill Country located next to Canyon Lake Reservoir, a reservoir on the Guadalupe River, and is known for being one of the best lakes in Texas!

    This Comal County town comprises about 25,000 citizens (as of the 2010 Census).

    Just south of San Marcos and close to Austin and San Antonio, Canyon Lake is one of the lakes near Austin that we love.

    Of course, it also has some of the best beaches near San Antonio, so it is a popular getaway.

    Best Time to Visit Canyon Lake

    The Central Texas location of Canyon Lake means that it has a nice climate year-round.

    The winter brings cool temperatures, perfect for enjoying the hiking trails and some time out on the water.

    In addition, the crystal clear waters here make it the perfect place to cool off from the Texas heat.

    There isn’t a bad time to come to this area. It’s a fabulous destination any time of year!

    Where To Stay Near Canyon Lake

    view of lake through trees

    There are so many great places to stay near Canyon Lake.

    Whether looking for a lakeside vacation rental or the perfect hotel to be pampered at, this area has you covered.

    Here are a few of our suggestions!

    Canyon Lakeview Resort is a great place to make your home base while exploring Canyon Lake.

    Offering cabins and lodge suites, Canyon Lakeview Resort is perfect for a couples trip or a family vacation.

    Another option to consider is the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Hill Country Resort.

    This resort offers many amenities that will keep you entertained on your trip!

    A great place to stay for couples is the Hideout on Horseshoe.

    They offer villas and bungalows that are quaint and charming and perfect for a relaxing getaway.

    These are just a few of the Hill Country options.

    Find your perfect getaway here!

    Read Next: Lakes In Houston That Are Worth a Visit

    Things To Do In Canyon Lake, Texas

    Site See On the Gorgeous River Road

    lake in Texas

    One of Texas’s most beautiful scenic drives is near Canyon Lake, Texas, on River Road.

    River Road follows the gorgeous blue-green waters of the Guadalupe River as it twists and turns through the Texas Hill Country past gorgeous views and cypress trees.

    To do the entire drive of River Road (which is 15 miles), start at Interstate 35.

    Take the exit for Highway 337 in New Braunfels and drive until you see the Shell gas station just north of the Guadalupe River.

    Turn right by the Shell station, and you are ready to roll!

    Following River Road, you will see incredible rolling hills and beautiful farmland views.

    As you cross the river (yes, you drive across the river, so watch for water levels), you can see the campgrounds and incredible cypress trees.

    Your drive will end in Overlook Park, which we cover below. It truly is Texas scenery at its best, and it’s free!

    Read Next: Weekend Getaways From Dallas: 20 Great Choices

    Take In the Views at Overlook Park

    If you complete the River Road drive mentioned above, you are already at Overlook Park.

    This recreation park is accessible from a short trail off of River Road.

    Offering a breathtaking view and a great place to spend the day, Overlook Park is well worth visiting while in this area.

    Granted, the park is a little rocky, but since Canyon Lake is known as one of the best swimming areas in Texas, you have to take the time to enjoy a day here, especially since the park is completely free to visit!

    Tour Canyon Lake on a Boat

    boat on lake

    You cannot see a lake in Texas without getting out on the water. This is especially true for Canyon Lake, which covers over 8,000 acres of surface area!

    A day out boating on a lake is truly a fabulous experience.

    If you have a boat, you will be pleased to know that Canyon Lake, Texas, offers 23 boat ramps located throughout the lake.

    Even if you don’t have a boat, you can still enjoy a day on the waters of Canyon Lake thanks to the boat rentals offered at two of the marinas.

    Of course, the marinas also offer personal watercraft rentals for the more adventurous! Visit their website for more information.

    While on the lake, head to the Canyon Dam also!

    Like most Texas lakes, obstacles are lurking below the surface, so be careful while boating on Canyon Lake.

    If you would rather leave the boat driving to someone else, you can always book one of the scenic lake tours and leave the driving to someone else.

    These tours allow you to have fun on the lake without worrying about anything!

    Read Next: 14 Fun Lakes in Dallas (& Nearby)

    Swim in the Crystal Clear Blue Water

    lake in Texas

    The water in Canyon Lake is breathtaking and beckons you to jump in, especially on a hot Texas day.

    Several places on Canyon Lake, TX allow you to enjoy swimming from the shore.

    We love visiting Comal Park, North Park, and Cranes Mills Park for swimming and fun in the sun.

    Some important things to note, though: There are no lifeguards on duty, so be sure that you bring the proper safety gear, including life jackets.

    Several of the beaches and swimming areas on the lake charge a fee for day use, so please keep that in mind as well. As we mentioned above, Overlook Park is free to visit.

    Go Fishing in Lake Canyon

    One of the best things to do while visiting Canyon Lake is to try your hand at fishing!

    Bass is the angler’s choice at this lake. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, Canyon Lake is home to several species of bass, including Guadalupe bass, white and striped bass, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass.

    So, I think this outdoor haven might be the perfect place for you to catch a fish!

    My dad is a fishing dude who loves visiting Canyon Lake, TX. If you are interested in hooking a bass, he advises coming in the spring and summer months.

    This is when the fish are most active, and you have a better chance of catching them, especially the largemouth bass.

    Be sure to check the Texas Parks and Wildlife website to view current lake and fishing conditions, as they can affect your trip.

    Also, note that you do not need a fishing license to fish on this scenic Texas lake, even from the bank.

    Read Next: Austin to Fredericksburg: The Perfect Weekend Road Trip

    Enjoy the Canyon Lake Parks

    There are so many great outdoor areas and parks on Canyon Lake that you could check out a different one every day of the week.

    Many parks are free to enter and are operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

    The Corps of Engineers helps maintain the parks, which means that you always have a nice outdoor escape waiting for you.

    Many of the parks on Canyon Lake offer you a place to enjoy the hiking trails, swim, fish from the bank, hunt for fossils, and more!

    While you hike at the local parks, take plenty of water and sunscreen.

    Always protect yourself from the elements during your hike, especially in Texas!

    Set Out On the Hiking Trails

    green area around Canyon Lake

    Canyon Lake is the perfect place to enjoy some outdoor activities.

    Boasting miles of scenic hiking trails, Canyon Lake, Texas, will have you out exploring one of the top attractions in this area in no time.

    While hiking this area, you will be surrounded by beautiful scenery and, of course, some native Texas plants and wildlife.

    While on your hike, this is the perfect place to see if you can find any fossils from the Native American people who used to call Canyon Lake home.

    Read Next: The 20 Best Places To Visit In Texas

    Visit Canyon Lake Gorge

    Canyon Lake Gorge was created in 2002 when this area of Texas flooded.

    The waters spilled over Canyon Lake’s dam for over six weeks.

    The flooding of Canyon Lake’s dam created the 1-mile-long gorge you see before you today.

    When you visit Canyon Lake Gorge, it’s hard to realize that you are looking at an exposed rock millions of years old.

    Canyon Lake Gorge is the perfect place to search for fossils and wildlife.

    You can often find guided tours of the gorge if you want to learn more about the flood and its environmental impact on the area.

    Visiting this area is one of the best things to do in Canyon Lake!

    Go Tubing On Canyon Lake

    A popular activity on Canyon Lake is to spend the day tubing there.

    Tubing in Texas is popular on lakes and rivers!

    Many people flock to New Braunfels and San Marcos during the summer months to float the Comal and Guadalupe rivers.

    New Braunfels and San Marcos can get extremely crowded on the weekends as people come up from Austin and San Antonio.

    Canyon Lake is a fabulous place to enjoy a day of tubing while avoiding the crowds.

    For a fun and free activity, enjoy small creeks around Canyon Lake, which are the perfect place to enjoy a float.

    Some tour companies even arrange a float for you if you prefer to leave the work to someone else.

    Read Next: 20 Fabulous Beaches In Texas

    Check Out Some Local Wineries

    wine glass

    You must check out some of the local Texas wineries in the Canyon Lake area.

    These wineries pride themselves on producing a quality product for customers to enjoy in a relaxing environment.

    Here are some of our favorite wineries in the Texas Hill Country area.

    Head to New Braunfels to find La Cruz de Comal Wines.

    La Cruz de Comal produces wine with no added sugar, acid, tannins, or sulfites, making it a delicious natural wine.

    You can find more information on their website.

    Another winery that must be visited in this area is Dry Comal Creek Vineyards.

    The wines from Dry Comal Creek Vineyards are produced from 100% Texas grapes and are sure to make you fall in love with Texas wines.

    In addition to offering wine tastings, wine by the glass, and wine bottle service, Dry Comal Creek also hosts several events.

    Check out their website for more information.

    Checking out the scenic wineries in this area is one of the best things to do!

    Read Next: 20 Best Waterfalls In Texas

    Play Some Golf

    golf ball on a gold tee with a club by it

    If you love to play golf, you will feel at home in the Canyon Lake area.

    Check out Lakeside Golf Club to play their 18-hole golf course.

    The course has gorgeous Texas countryside views and a small creek.

    Take a break in their 19th Hole Bar and Grill at the end of your round.

    Visit their website for current rates and operating hours.

    Enjoy a Day at Comal Park

    Comal Park is located on the south shore of Canyon Lake near the city of Startzville.

    Spending the day at Comal Park means access to a large swim beach, restrooms, picnic areas, boat ramps, a playground, nature trail, fishing areas, and more.

    The park is open from April 1- September 30.

    It is important to note that they have changed the entry fee.

    Read Next: 30 Charming Small Towns In Texas

    Discover History at the Heritage Museum of Texas

    The Heritage Museum of Texas is located on FM 2673 between Startzville and Sattler.

    The Heritage Museum of Texas is the perfect place to search for pre-historic history.

    The hiking trail at the Heritage Museum allows you to search for Texas history actively.

    Take time to explore the miles of nature at this attraction.

    During your time on the trail, you can explore the area around the trail.

    Be sure to take in the trees, birds, and natural scenery you are surrounded by.

    There are several cool attractions, as the museum is dedicated to protecting and preserving over 200 dinosaur tracks!

    Yes, you read that correctly: over 200 dinosaur tracks. It’s crazy that these tracks were created over 110 million years ago!

    During your trip to the museum, you can join in on a tour to learn all about the natural history of the Texas Hill Country geography and the dinosaurs that once called this area home.

    Go Scuba Diving

    People love to go scuba diving in Canyon Lake.

    I mean, people journey from San Antonio, Austin, and farter to dive in this Texas lake.

    This can be attributed to the crystal clear blue waters you will find here.

    In addition to the plant and animal species you will find here, you can also dive down to explore the wrecked cars and boats on site.

    While all those are cool things to see while diving, they are not the main attraction here.

    People like to dive at Canyon Lake mainly because the ghost town is submerged.

    The town existed before Canyon Lake was filled as a water reservoir.

    The town was evacuated, and the water just filled up right on top of it.

    This makes for a very unique and interesting attraction to search for in Texas.

    If you’re interested in diving at these attractions, you can find shoreline access points from several parks.

    Go Camping or Glamping

    If you want to make a full Texas road trip out of a trip to Canyon Lake and the Texas Hill Country, then consider camping near Canyon Lake (or glamping).

    If you want a true camping experience (like just you and a tent), you can have it at parks like Canyon Park and North Park.

    Camping in these areas is a fun experience for sure!

    If you’re like me and prefer to get your nature fix while still enjoying modern luxuries like a bed and air conditioning, then glamping might be more your style than camping.

    Cranes Mill Park, Potter’s Creek Park, and the Rio Guadalupe RV Resort offer glamping on Canyon Lake.

    Of course, camping allows for a load of time to enjoy outdoor recreation.

    Make time for a fun swim, roam miles of trails (or find the perfect hiking trail), go tubing, and maybe even discover some local history.

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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.

    Rodney

    Tuesday 5th of September 2023

    We are currently spending the week here in Canyon Lake. We are staying at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations. I had a great time in the pool yesterday while the wife spent her time working out at the Club Gym. The water was surprisingly cool. The lakes are nice and blue. My wife and I just finished an 8 mile hike this morning on the Madrone Trail. We also visited nearby neighborhoods yesterday overlooking the mountain sides. The homes are absolutely gorgeous!

    texasonly

    Wednesday 6th of September 2023

    Hi Rodney! This sounds so perfect. I hate that the weather is so stinking hot for y'all, but that's Texas. LOL! Thanks for taking time to tell us about your Canyon Lake adventure!!

    Tanya T

    Sunday 5th of March 2023

    Canyon Lake looks like a cool place to be on a hot summer day (pun intended). I could feel the lake breezes while reading your post :)

    SamH Travels

    Sunday 5th of March 2023

    I haven’t had the opportunity to visit Texas yet, however when i do Canyon Lake will be on my to do list! The lake looks amazing, so much to see and do during a visit to the area. Thanks for sharing.

    texasonly

    Tuesday 7th of March 2023

    I hope you get to visit soon. Texas is full of great places like Canyon Lake!

    Sue

    Sunday 5th of March 2023

    Canyon Lake sounds like a true hidden gem! The color of the water is stunning! That's really cool that there is a ghost town that is submerged in the lake, must be really cool to dive down to see that.

    texasonly

    Tuesday 7th of March 2023

    Canyon Lake is a Texas gem for sure!