The Best 15 Lakes in Texas
Texas abounds with lakes, which are paradise to every vacationer and dream for every fisher.
There are more than 7000 lakes in Texas, including several hundred best bass fishing lakes.
What makes Texas lakes special?
Well, the popular trophy-sized bass is reason enough to start packing your bags right now but let’s dive into more details about the best lakes in Texas.
Lake Fork Reservoir, which is located in Wood, Rains, and Hopkins Counties, covers an area of 112 km2/43 mile2.
It was built as a municipal water supply in 1980. Today, it’s one of the most popular resorts in Texas.
If your goal is to catch the largest bass of your life, Lake Fork is the perfect place for you to come and make your dream a reality. It was specially designed as a premier bass fishery. Out of the 50 largest bass caught in Texas lakes, 34 of them belong to Lake Fork. Read our Lake Fork bass fishing guide here.
The best seasons for visiting would be spring and fall. That’s when it’s pleasantly cool and it’s the easiest to catch massive bass.
Lake Fork Marina and motel is a great place to stay if you plan on fishing the lake by boat.
Remember to use a quality GPS navigation system for navigating the lake safely, it has all the boat lanes and waypoints to make your life on a boat so much easier. We recommend Boatlanes, you can read all about that here.
There are a plethora of more activities you can enjoy here, other than fishing:
- You can go hunting for whitetail deer, waterfowl, and feral hogs.
- Tent camping is also very popular at Lake Fork, since there are all the amenities you might need (electricity, 24hour showers and restrooms).
- Experience water sports: water skiing, jet skiing and wakeboarding.
- Play golf on the 18-hole course which is located on the west banks of the lake.
So, whether you’re planning a peaceful getaway or an active vacation, Lake Fork is for you.
Sam Rayburn Reservoir is located in North of Jasper, Texas, in the centre of East Texas Piney woods.
It is the largest lake in Texas, which covers over 463 km2/179 mile2 with numerous islands and islets in it.
Sam Rayburn lake ranks in the top 10 bass fishing lakes in Texas. Other than largemouth bass, there are many other fish species to catch. Most popular among fishermen are Crappie, Catfish, and White bass.
Here are some of the activities that you can enjoy on Sam Rayburn Lake:
- Boating and Fishing: As we have already mentioned, this lake gives us a great opportunity to catch the best fish you can possibly imagine.
- Go Hiking: there are many trails in the forest that are adventurous and also quite dangerous. You should be cautious, as the waters are full of alligators. It is advised to tell someone where you are going or take a GPS with you. Most trails are narrow, slow-paced and shaded with trees.
- Enjoy Camping: Sam Rayburn Reservoir is surrounded by forest, so there are plenty of beautiful areas to explore. You can find the campground spaces around the lake. There are 22 maintained access areas, 13 of which are managed by the US Army Corp of Engineers, others are private estates.
There are four marinas on Sam Rayburn Reservoir ready to fulfil your boating needs.
Boatlanes GPS Navigation and waypoints is a must if you don't want to cause damage to your boat and get stranded. Which could be a huge costly bill or even worse you could get hurt.
Toledo Bend Reservoir is situated on the Sabine River, between Texas and Louisiana.
It’s the largest man-made lake in the south of the nation and fifth largest body of water by surface area in the United States.
The lake is situated between beautiful rolling hills and among pine trees, making it the most peaceful and pleasant place. Toledo Bend sand beaches are ideal for going to picnics with your loved ones, building sandcastles and swimming.
What about fishing? There are too many fish species to count: Largemouth bass, White bass, Striped bass, crappie, Channel catfish, Flathead catfish, Blue catfish, Bluegill, Redear sunfish, bream, and others. check out our list of the best toledo bend fishing spots to help you get the most out of your fishing trip.
Mostly people are after the largemouth black bass. Toledo Bend Reservoir has been nominated twice in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 as the number one bass lake.
This lake has a lot to offer:
- Freshwater fishing experience.
- Go hunting. You can go after deer, waterfowl, squirrels, rabbits, doves, and woodcock.
- You can also go hiking and camping. The Toledo Bend area is very adventurous and pleasant to roam and have fun with your friends or family.
- Enjoy water sports: water rafting, water skiing, boating, jet skiing, and boogie roading are the most popular.
- Play Golf: Toledo Bend has beautiful courses for golf just near the lake. The Cypress Bend Courses have an astonishing look and a pleasant play is guaranteed.
- Go to Museums: there are interesting historical museums nearby that you can visit. Some of them are Fort Jesup, Rebel State Historic Site and Patricia Huffman Smith NASA “Remembering Columbia” Museum.
Toledo Bend offers unforgettable memories and unique experience. With 35 resorts and accommodations, it will be easy for you to plan your vacation comfortably. We recommend using a good Boat lanes navigation software, like this one by lance vick.
Lake O’ the Pines
Lake O’ the Pines is a reservoir, located on Big Cypress Bayou (a.k.a. Big Cypress Creek), in Marion County, Texas.
The reservoir covers up to 76 km2/29 mile2 of water and 36 km2/14 mile2 of land.
Lake O’ the Pines is famous for its massive catfish (blue, flathead and channel catfish). Legends say that long time ago monstrous catfish were caught here, but evidence hasn’t been provided yet.
Other than catfish, there are many other species: largemouth bass, crappie, spotted bass, white bass, sunfish, and chain pickerel.
No alligators are found in this lake, so it’s safe to dive in the swimming areas. There are designated swimming beaches at Brushy Creek, Alley Creek, and Johnson Creek Campgrounds. The maximum depth of the lake is 15 m/49 ft.
There are a lot of different activities for you to try at Lake O’ the Pines. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- You can go camping: the lake area abounds with camping and RV (recreational vehicle) campgrounds with peaceful and fascinating views. The campgrounds are protected from the wildlife and they offer every comfort you might need during your trip.
- Boating and fishing is the primary reason people visit Lake O’ the Pines.
- Hunting is also very popular in this area. There is a property of 18 km2/7 mile2 suitable for hunting. There are plenty of creatures you can hunt: Feral Hogs, Whitetail Deer, squirrel, waterfowl, and Eastern Wild Turkey.
- Wildlife watching and Birdwatching, including wintering bald eagle.
- Walk in the fascinating parks of the area. The parks are full of pine trees, shading most of the area, making it more comfortable for long walks.
Lake O’ the Pine is the perfect weekend getaway. Enjoy your peaceful and at the same time active and adventurous trip.
Medina Lake is a reservoir on the Medina River, which is situated on the Texas Hill country.
The reservoir was created for agricultural irrigation water supply purposes in 1911-1912. Today it’s one of the most popular recreational lakes in Texas.
Medina Lake covers up to 22 km2/8.5 mile2. The maximum depth of the lake is 46 m/152 ft which is quite deep. There are swimming areas where you can swim safely.
Here, you can find some of the best fish species: White Bass, Largemouth Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass, White Bass, Channel Catfish, Flathead Catfish, and Blue Catfish.
The fish were stocked purposefully in 2016 since fish had disappeared in the Medina Lake due to the severe droughts.
There are plenty of houses for sale around Medina Lake. The lake has a shoreline of 177 km/110 miles. It’s the perfect place for a vacation house near a beach with the best view.
Wondering what activities are available on Medina Lake? Let’s take a look at some of the attractions and activities:
- Boating and fishing is the main reason people visit Medina Lake.
- Swimming is safe and comfortable since the swimming areas are strictly regulated. Children are protected from entering deep swimming areas. But when the lake level is too low swimming is not permitted in any of the areas.
- The sandy beaches are perfect for castle building.
- Diving is also very popular here. There is a perfect cove for diving. It includes dive markers and a large diving platform which is situated in 7.6 m/25 ft of water. Underwater sites are mapped and tagged for your convenience and safety. Also, you can rent or purchase diving equipment on the spot. There are diving trainers who can assist you with your diving experience.
Medina Lake is the perfect place for your relaxation. Fishing and diving in this lake will create unforgettable memories for you and your family or friends.
Lake Buchanan was established by the construction of Buchanan Dam in 1939. Its purpose was to provide a water supply and hydroelectric power to the region.
The lake is located on the Colorado river, in the town of Texas, Burnet.
Lake Buchanan covers an area of 90 km2/35 mile2 and reaches the maximum depth of 40 m/132 ft. It’s the second largest of the Highland Lakes.
Lake Buchanan shoreline is stretched on 200 km/124 miles, where you can find lots of campgrounds, lakeside homes, and rental cabins.
The lake offers a variety of fish species. Some of them are Largemouth bass, White bass, Striped bass, Channel catfish, and Blue catfish.
Lake Buchanan has a “hidden” waterfall called Fall Creek Waterfall. It’s not that easy to find if you don’t know where to look. But if you take time and find it, you will be awarded by the astonishing beauty that awaits you there.
Lake Buchanan has a lot to offer. Other than fishing there are a good deal of activities to experience. Let’s explore some of the best ones:
- Go birdwatching and wildlife watching: birdwatching is very popular at this lake. Bring your pair of binoculars and watch nesting bald eagles, scissor-headed flycatchers, pelicans, egrets, blue herons, roadrunners, and cormorants. The area abounds with opossums, bobcats, chameleons, armadillos, deer, and foxes.
- Swimming: Lake Buchanan shores have ideal granite gravel beaches for swimming and sunbathing.
- Camping: there is plenty of space for camping and recreational vehicles, so you won’t have to worry about looking for a free spot. The camping areas are clean, pleasant, and comfortable for short or longer visits.
- Kayaking: There are several Kayak and Canoe rental services, so it’s super easy to enjoy the unforgettable experience of kayaking.
- Motorsports: you can find lots of motorsport rentals, repairs, and motorsport vehicle dealers in the area near the lake.
Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird lake, which is a river-like human-made reservoir, is located on the Colorado River in Austin, Texas.
The lake was created for the purpose of cooling pond for a newly built power plant.
The lake covers up to 189 ha/467 acres and has a maximum depth of 5.5 m/18 feet.
There are many different fish species in Lady Bird Lake, which were stocked due to lack of fish in the water. Some of the species are Catfish, Largemouth Bass, sunfish, and Carp.
You won’t get bored easily on Lady Bird Lake, as there are numerous activities you can try out. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Kayaking and Canoeing: There are several rentals for kayaks, canoes, dragon boats, and rowing shells.
- Paddle boarding: you can easily find paddle board rentals and instructors to help you out.
- Enjoy the River Cruise: if you want to relax and feel the peace of this beautiful place, I suggest you go on a cruise trip. The cruise ships have all the amenities you might need during your adventure.
- Experience Bat-watching: between March and November you have the opportunity to take a look at free-tailed bats from a close distance while passing through the Congress Avenue Bridge. You have a chance to witness the fascinating bat swarm every night.
- Hiking and Biking: there is a 16 km/10 mile trail, The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-And-Bike Trail. It’s the perfect place for running, as the trails are mostly crushed granite.
- Check out the Broadway: the Broadway is the ideal place to watch the sunrise or sunset.
Canyon Lake is a reservoir situated on the Guadalupe River in the Texas Hill country.
It covers an area of 33 km2/8154 acres. The maximum depth point is 38 meters/125 feet.
Some of the best fish species that you can catch on Canyon Lake are Guadalupe Bass, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Striped Bass, and Channel Catfish.
The lake is extremely dark deep down, so diving is very dangerous. The light problem has caused many fatalities and lost divers, as the visibility is almost zero. Nonetheless, don’t be scared, it’s safe to swim, but there are no lifeguards, so you’ll have to swim at your own risk (you’ll find the signs around the shore).
Canyon Lake location provides the best conditions for outdoor activities. Let’s quickly dive into more details about entertainment in Canyon Lake:
- Go fishing: the most popular fish here is the largemouth bass.
- Cruise the river road: the cruise trip offers an unforgettable experience and shockingly beautiful scenery. The trip road is 16 km/10 miles with Cypress trees along the way.
- Hike: there are more than 31 trails covering 275 km/171 miles. No matter your level, you’ll find the trails interesting and enjoyable.
- Check out the Heritage Museum: this museum is extraordinarily interesting, as it will take you back to the prehistoric times of dinosaurs. There are over 200 dinosaur tracks and 28 trackways.
- Visit the Canyon Park, Fort Sam Houston Recreational area, Guadalupe Park, Comal Park.
Lake Palestine is a reservoir located in Frankston, north-east Texas. It was created for industrial, municipal, and recreational uses.
The lake covers 103.4 km2/40 mile2 and reaches a depth of 18 meters/58 feet.
Lake Palestine is a premier fishing, Boating, and camping reservoir in East Texas.
Just like most lakes in Texas, Lake Palestine abounds with a variety of fish species. Some of the most popular ones include: Largemouth Bass, White Bass, Spotted Bass, Blue Catfish, and Channel Catfish.
Swimming in the freshwater reservoir, Lake Palestine comes with some hazards. It’s strongly advised to be especially cautious with children and avoid the water in case of cuts and sores.
Other than fishing, there are many more activities you can do with your family and friends. Let’s explore some of the most popular ones:
- Pedal boats, Kayaks, and Canoes: there are several rentals, so you won’t have a problem finding equipment for these activities.
- Camping: there is a peaceful, clean, and family-friendly environment. The space for camping and RV parking is always free and comfortable.
- Zip-line tour: If you’re looking for some activities involving adrenaline, zip-lining is for you. Enjoy the fascinating views of nature from a bird’s eye view.
- Visit the East Texas Gators and Wildlife Park: the park is full of unforgettable memories. You can try holding a baby gator or python. There are also lots of exotic animals, birds, and swan and duck ponds.
Lake Palestine is a particularly peaceful area with an astonishing forest and clean air.
Caddo Lake is situated in northern Harrison County and southern Marion County, on the border of Texas and Louisiana.
Caddo Lake covers an area of 103 km2/40 mile2.
The lake is home to a lot of alligators, so you need to be cautious and read alligator safety tips before visiting Caddo Lake. For that reason, swimming in this lake is not recommended.
Starting in 1965, Caddo Lake area has been reported hundreds of times for claims of Bigfoot sightings, which makes the lake more interesting and intriguing.
The creatures in the lake are currently under “attack”. A fast-spreading fern (Giant Salvinia) is killing life in the water. The Texas Water Resource Institute is actively trying to eradicate them.
Let’s see what are the best activities you can try on Caddo Lake:
- Fishing: in total, there are 71 fish species in Caddo Lake. If you are a beginner, I advise you to hire a guide for a more enjoyable fishing experience.
- Boating: boating is one of the favourite activities for visitors on Caddo Lake. There are many rental places, so it won’t be a problem to find a vacant boat.
- Hiking: the Caddo Lake Park is the perfect place for hiking with your family and friends. There are different levels of difficulty and length, so you are free to choose according to your abilities and desire.
- Camping: There are comfortably set spaces in the area for tent camping.
- Horseback riding: riding trails make it comfortable and safe for you to enjoy horse riding in the beautiful nature.
- Birdwatching: Caddo Lake areas are home to more than 240 bird species. You have a chance to see a rare nesting bald eagle. Have the binoculars ready, there is a lot to see.
Lake Travis is a reservoir on the Colorado River, located in central Texas. Its main purpose is flood control.
The lake is spread on 77 km2/30 mile2 and the maximum depth goes down to 64 m/ 210 ft.
The water is full of hazards and obstacles, you can encounter everything from construction materials and sunken boats to tree limbs and stumps. You need to be careful and extra cautious while fishing.
Alligators are not a threat to Lake Travis, as they are very few and far away.
Some of the most popular fish at the Lake include White Bass, Largemouth Bass, Guadalupe Bass, Striped Bass, and blue catfish. There are plenty of fish but very few trophy-sized largemouth bass have been caught.
Let’s explore some of the popular outdoors activities at Lake Travis:
- Cliff jumping: the limestone cliffs form an ideal place for safe and enjoyable cliff jumping.
- Zip-line: don’t miss out on the zip-line adventure. It will help you see the astonishing nature of Lake Travis from the perfect angle, with a rush of adrenaline and serotonin.
- Explore Lake Travis Waterloo Adventures: it’s a waterpark on the water full of challenges and funny obstacles. It’s the perfect activity to try out with your friends and family.
- Jet-skiing: one of the most energetic and empowering entertainment on the lake is jet-skiing, just give it a try.
- Scuba diving: you have the opportunity to see the underwater life in the freshwater of Lake Travis.
There are more than enough fun and relaxing activities on this lake. Try as many as possible, you won’t regret it!
Inks Lake is located in Burnet and Llano Counties, Texas Hill Country, on the Colorado River.
The lake covers up to 3.4 km2/1.3 mile2. With a maximum depth of 18 m/60 ft.
The pinkish rocks that cover a large portion of the shore make the lake look magical and unique.
Inks Lake is a true paradise for every fisher, the reservoir abounds with a variety of fish species. Some of the most popular are Largemouth Bass, White Bass, White Crappie, Channel Catfish, Redbreast Sunfish.
Just as many other popular lakes in Texas, Ink Lake has a lot to offer. You certainly won’t be bored here. Let’s see what you can do on Inks Lake and the nearby area:
- Go boating and fishing: the lake has been stocked with some of the best fish species, don’t miss out on the unforgettable experience.
- Experience water skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, paddle boarding. There is plenty of space for you to enjoy water sports freely.
- Hike: the Inks Lake Park has trails that are more than 14 km/9 miles. Enjoy the fresh forest and rocky hills.
- Camp: there are 200 campsites and 22 cabins to choose from. You’ll have all the comfort and amenities you need for a pleasant and relaxing vacation. Water and electricity are always available.
Lake Meredith is situated on the Canadian River at Sanford, Texas. The reservoir was formed by Sanford dam.
It covers 66 km2/25 mile2 of area and the maximum depth reaches 38 m/125 ft.
You need to be careful around the lake area, as there are two venomous snake species. But don’t worry too much, they make a rattling warning noise and you’ll know when to back up.
There are lots of outdoor activities on Lake Meredith. Let’s dive into more details about the most popular ones:
- Go fishing: Some of the fish you can catch on Lake Meredith are largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, perch, sand bass, walleye, carp.
- Hunting: people usually go after white-tailed deer, mule deer, turkey, dove, quail, teal, and pheasant.
- Horseback riding: Lake Meredith has great trails for that purpose. Plum Creek and McBride are ideal places for you to enjoy horseback riding.
- Go on a hike: there are also various hiking trails with different levels of difficulty.
- Swim and explore different water sports. Harbor Bay and Spring Canyon are ideal for kayaking.
If you’re looking for a relaxing get-away from the mundane life Lake Meredith is for you. The beautiful shores and rocky hills create a cosy and calming atmosphere.
Possum Kingdom Lake
Possum Kingdom Lake is located on the Brazos River in Palo Pinto County, Texas.
The lake covers up to 80 km2/31 mile2 with a maximum depth of 300 m/100 ft.
The crystal blue water and astonishing cliffs by the shore will amaze you. The natural beauty of this place is therapeutic and relaxing.
You can find lots of fish species on Possum Kingdom Lake. The most popular species are White Bass, Striped Bass, Largemouth Bass, Blue Catfish, and white crappie.
Check out some of the best activities you can experience on Possum Kingdom Lake and the nearby area:
- Go swimming, scuba diving and enjoy water sports. The Possum Kingdom Lake is safe to swim. The water is clean and crystal clear.
- Play golf: the levels of golf courses vary. The Cliffs are said to be one of the hardest courses for golfing. Take your time and choose wisely.
- Hiking and Biking: whether you are a beginner or an experienced hiker or biker, Possum Kingdom is for you. There are several trails you can choose from. All of them are full of adventures but pick the one that suits you best to enjoy the experience fully and safely.
Lake Texoma is one of the largest lakes in the United States with an area of 360 km2/139 mile2. It’s located on the Oklahoma-Texas border.
The maximum depth of Lake Texoma is 30 m/98 ft.
The lake abounds with varieties of bass species. Here, you can catch Largemouth Bass, White Bass, Striped Bass, Spotted Bass and also, Common Carp.
Lake Texoma has a lot to offer. You and your family or friends will find it hard to get bored. Let’s explore some of the outdoor activities you should try out:
- Go boating and fishing: you can have a relaxing and tranquil day or an energetic and productive one. Boat rentals and fishing guides are available, so you won’t have any problem even if you’re new to it.
- Go Hiking: there is a 23 km/14 miles hiking trail around the shoreline you can explore. Lake Texoma State Parks offer a variety of trails you can choose from depending on your hiking level.
- Rock climbing: you’ll find different rock climbing levels, choose wisely. You will be awarded by the fascinating views.
- Swim and go kayaking: the water at Lake Texoma is perfect for swimming. Kayaking and other water sports are very popular here, so don’t miss out.
The sandy beaches and rocky cliffs create the perfect place for relaxation and entertainment. Whether you want an active vacation or a tranquil one, Lake Texoma is for you.
Enjoy Your Trip!
It’s hard to choose between the paradise lakes, but you need to start somewhere.
All the lakes we’ve talked about are suitable for family and friends vacation, or you can even go alone. You will find lots of interesting activities to do either way.
Wish you a happy and adventurous trip 🙂