Best Lakes in Texas

Texas features a broad range of lakes in different sizes and locations. While most of them are reservoir-lakes, they still offer the magical feeling of scenic, clear, and attractive water bodies.

These lakes provide great spaces for water activities such as boating, water skiing, fishing, wakeboarding, and more. Texas warm weather means that you can have access to these lakes almost year-round.

While there are plenty of amazing lakes in this state, we have picked nine that we believe stand out above the rest.

Lake Travis

Lake Travis

Lake Travis is ideal for boating and other water activities, thanks to its clear water. The water clarity is considered to be one of the clearest in Texas. Fishing for largemouth bass can be challenging in clear water but a lot of fun when you get to see them strike.

Due to its proximity to Austin, Lake Travis has become one of the most popular lakes that’s ideal for recreational boaters.

Its water volume is around a 1.1million acre-ft with a maximum depth of 210 feet. With over 270 miles (432 km) of shoreline, you'll need multiple weekends to see it all.

Whether you are a local or a visitor, you can enjoy a thrilling boating session anytime. This is because of the over 20 marinas on this lake. So, you can conveniently rent any boat that suits your needs. You can choose from a wide selection that features:

  • Party barges
  • Houseboats
  • Pontoon boats

Lake Travis just can’t be fully enjoyed in a day, and that’s why it’s also a vacation spot. There are plenty of water sports activities to engage in in addition to the B&BS and hotels that are found along its shores.

Lake Travis is a beautiful lake and one of the great Texas Lakes. I recommend planning your next boating getaway to Lake Travis for some fun boating and bass fishing.

Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Located in Deep East Texas, the Sam Rayburn Reservoir is a bass anglers paradise. Sam Rayburn holds a large abundance of bass and is home to some of the largest bass in the country.

The lake has actually been named the Best Bass Lake in the Nation by Bassmaster and holds upwards of 300 fishing tournaments a year.

While the lake is quite large at 36 miles, it is a fairly shallow lake. Max depth is only 10 feet, so you won't find overly large boats on the lake. The calm waters and easily accessible shorelines make it ideal for kayaking.

Sam Rayburn is the largest reservoir and human-made lake in the State of Texas. If you are a die-hard bass angler, you owe yourself a visit to this water body.

Inks Lake

Inks Lake

Moving towards Central Texas into the Texas Hill Country, we find Inks Lake. Inks has some of the most beautiful shorelines you will ever see. Rocky sholes and cliffs with glassy water make this place a photographer's dream.

Inks Lake State Park is right on the lake where you can rent kayaks and canoes. There are dozens of recreation areas for picnicking or camping, cliffs for diving off, and some of the best swimming within the Lone Star State.

The lake is continually stocked with largemouth bass, white bass, and crappies. With its rich blue water and max depth of 60 feet, fish species really have a chance to thrive in the environment.

Inks Lake is the jewel of lakes for recreational activities. Kayaking, Swimming, Hiking, Fishing, Scuba Diving, Wind Surfing, and more.

Lake Amistad

Lake Amistad

Lake Amistad is another reservoir that’s found on the Rio Grande, right on its confluence with Devils River. While an outstanding rocky structure mainly dominates it, this doesn’t inhibit serious boaters from engaging in water sports and relaxation activities.

Built-in November 1969, Amistad Lake boasts beautiful edges that are covered with steep and rocky drop-offs. This is one of the largest reservoirs in the State of Texas.

Its isolated and remote location has made it popular with thrill-seekers who love water activities. Unlike most lakes in Texas, Amistad isn’t congested, and this makes it the perfect place to have the time of your life.

It features clear waters, which make boaters and swimmers openly enjoy it. Besides that, its rocky canyons provide a scenic surrounding while the sprawling waters offer an attractive background for meditation in addition to other physical wellness activities.

Lake Amistad is very quiet for its size as there are no boat rentals or even fueling stations on the lake. Plus, it only has 10 boat ramps.

Due to its remote location and calmer waters, it is a great destination for anyone looking to do some paddle boarding, kayaking, or canoeing. Or take a jet ski for the tour down the length of the reservoir.

Lake Austin

Lake Austin

It’s one of the most popular and best lakes in Texas for boating and other water activities. Formerly known as Lake McDonald, the highland lake, which was formed in 1939, confidently sits on the Colorado River in Austin, Texas.

Lake Austin has a surface elevation of 492 ft. and a maximum depth of 75 ft. at a glance, it depicts a picture of still and refined simplicity. However, there is a lot that goes in its waters as well as the shorelines that cover an area of 1150 acres.

This waterbody is popular with both locals and visitors due to its proximity to the downtown area. This means that you can also enjoy motorized boating activities.

The availability of a big population of bass has made it a popular spot for boaters who love fishing as well. Lake Austin is one of the best places to engage in canoeing, water skiing, and wakeboarding.

If you are a visitor, most of the boaters you will find here have pontoon boats. You also have access to a wide range of boat rentals found within this area. From reviews by serious boaters, Lake Austin is ideal for bowriders because there is plenty of space.

Lake Granbury

Lake Granbury

It’s another beautiful Texan lake that sits in the heart of Granbury and northern Texas. This is one of the three lakes that was after damming the Brazos River in 1969. The water body has a shore length of 103 miles with a surface elevation of 693 ft. additionally, it has 150,500 acre-ft water volume and a maximum depth of 75 ft.

While it’s somehow narrow, it’s still one of the best gateways for boating and fishing expeditions. It has more than 100 miles of shorelines, and that makes it ideal for nearly every kind of water activity. For a delightful boat riding session, a refreshing swimming activity, picnic area, and fishing, this is one of the best places to be in Texas.

Note that your boating activity is made even more fan thanks to the large stock of fish found in this water body. They include various options such as catfish, bass, and sunfish. The flexibility and engaging nature of Lake Granbury make it the perfect location for outdoor fun with family and friends.

Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake is a charmer in its location as well as diversity. It’s a reservoir that’s found on the Guadalupe River, Texas Hill County. Its beauty and popularity have earned it a reputation as “the Jewel” of the honorary Texas Hill County.

Covering a maximum depth of 134 ft. and surface elevation of 909 ft., there is no doubt that Canyon Lake is one of the best lakes in Texas where you can engage in boating activities. In addition to that, it has a water volume of around 382,000 acre-ft.

Since 1964, this Lake has always been known as the Water Activity Recreational Capital in Texas. Boating is facilitated with the availability of almost 23 boat ramps plus two marinas. Besides those, there are also several rental facilities that litter the 80-mile shoreline.

While you are bound to find many locals here, Canyon Lake is also known to attract city dwellers who are keen on engaging in boating activities during the weekend. Well, this is due to its strategic location that’s 64 km from southwest Austin and 56 km from northeast San Antonio.

Whether you are looking for a simple gateway or a perfect vacation spot, Canyon Lake has a lot to offer. There are lots of camping grounds and resorts that make accommodation easy to find. Besides that, the water activities are not only limited to boating. There are 8 parks that are found within this lake’s shoreline!

Lake Texoma

Lake Texoma

It was formed in the 1940s by the Army Corps of Engineers as a source of hydroelectric power and to control flooding. But over the years, Lake Texoma has grown to be a versatile water body, and it’s now popular with the residents of the Oklahoma –Texas border.

Its primary sources of inflows include the Washita and Red Rivers. Note that this the largest lake in the US and also one of the most developed lakes in Texas. Lake Texoma has a surface area of 89,000 acres with a water volume of more than 2.5 million acre-ft.

Its location means that it’s surrounded by cities as well as national parks. All these have made it popular with the residents within the surroundings as well as locals.

The presence of small islands in this lake has earned it a major reputation among the nearby populace. Reports indicate that almost 6 million people usually troop here annually to enjoy activities such as sailing, windsurfing, fishing, and water skiing.

For those who enjoy water activities, Lake Texoma has almost 12 marinas sitting around it with hundreds of camping grounds. In addition to that, there are two wildlife refugees.

Lake Lewisville

Lake Lewisville

It’s rated as one of the top spots by residents of Dallas for water activities. Lake Lewisville is attractive and engaging, and that’s why it’s trendy with water-sports lovers in this region. It’s constantly filled with visitors and locals who want to engage in swimming, sailboarding, boating, fishing, sailing, and jet skiing, among others.

Formerly known as the Garza-Little Elm Reservoir, this is one of the largest lakes that’s found in North Texas. It covers an area spanning 29,000 acres in addition to a shoreline covering 233 miles. While it was first engineered in 1927, it underwent expansion over the subsequent years before it was renamed Lake Lewisville.

Its maximum water depth is around 67 ft. and it has a water volume of 555,000 acre-ft. Its large nature has made it popular with anglers and boaters who are frequently found here. Besides that, you are likely to find speedboats, canoes, houseboats, and kayaks on the water.

While fishing and boating are the two most popular activities in Lake Lewisville, you are also likely to find a cove. With its shoreline dotted with several public parks, this is the perfect place to bond with nature. Overall, Lake Lewisville offers the public the best outlet to engaging in fishing, boating, hiking, camping, golfing, and biking.

Lake Conroe

Lake Conroe

It’s rated as one of the top spots for water activities in Texas. Lake Conroe is a stunner that’s perfect for rest, relaxation, and thrilling adventure.

The 21,000-acre lake is found in Montgomery County with a water volume of 0.53 cubic km. Besides that, it has a maximum depth of 79 ft. and an average depth of 20.5 ft. Its location is a short drive from Houston, and this means that it’s one of the busiest lakes in this state when it comes to boating.

Its suitability for water sports is facilitated by its 26-mile wide and long orientation. Besides that, there are several marinas as well as watercraft and boat rentals found nearby.

Lake Conroe allows you to holiday or vacation like a pro. It’s luxurious and scenic, with the Sam Houston National Forest located on its northern side. Additionally, there are also many waterfront communities dotting the lake’s shoreline, and so it’s a perfect place for a gateway. The magnificent trees, hills, and houses all make it lovely and lively.

Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake

Closing our list of the 11 best lakes in Texas is Lady Bird Lake. The river-like reservoir sits on the Colorado River in Austin. It was initially created in 1960 to serve as a cooling pond for Austin city’s power plant.

Lad Bird Lake has a surface elevation of 428 ft. and a maximum depth of 18 ft. It forms part of the easternmost chain of reservoirs found in the Colorado River. Its primary function is flood control and recreation, and that’s why it’s popular for water activities.

This water body’s location right through downtown Austin gives it an urban feel. That’s why you will find paddlers here every day throughout the year. Its depth makes it ideal for canoes or kayaks.

Whether it's morning, midday, or evening, this lake is a showstopper. Its beautiful backdrop also makes it more attractive, and boaters definitely love the great view they experience while navigating through it.

It’s worth noting that one of the best hiking trails in Austin also lines most parts of this lake. They include the Ann & Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike trail that receives more than 2.6 million visitors annually. This is a great place in Austin where you can enjoy other lakeside amenities such as canoe rentals, picnic tables, and a therapeutic disc golf course.

Takeaway

The Lone Star State is packed with pretty lakes. If you are eager to engage in water activities such as sailing, boating, or fishing, then there is a broad range of options to choose from.

Most of these water bodies are filled with a friendly community of locals which makes the whole experience friendly and engaging. You can visit and explore the lakes at any time of the year since these are open waters.

Chris Blackwell Avatar
About Chris Blackwell

Chris is an avid angler and boating enthusiast. Raised on a small lake he spent most of his youth fishing in Jon Boats and water skiing behind Fiberglass boats. Chris enjoys taking his family out on the water so they can relive the fun he has always had.

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