Lakes in Texas (12 of The Best)

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Texas has more lakes than you’d expect from a state known for being a desert. If you’re wondering about the lakes in Texas, then you’re in the right place.

You’d be surprised to know that there are over 7,000 lakes in Texas. Of course, not all of them are large enough to take some tours to, but the number is still astonishingly large.

This article will discuss 12 of the most popular lakes in Texas. For each lake, we’ll show you some geographical information, an idea of its general esthetic, and the activities you can expect to do there.

A beautiful lake park in Lake Texoma Texas - Texas View

The Lakes of Texas

Our list of 12 lakes can all be visited for picnic purposes. You won’t be able to do all the activities you want in them, but they’re worth visiting nevertheless.

1. Lake Texoma

Being one of the largest water reservoirs in the United States, Lake Texoma has around 580 miles of shoreline. It’s located approximately 80 miles north of Dallas, along the Oklahoma and Texas border.

Millions of people visit Lake Texoma every year. Some of them aim for its natural beauty, but the majority come for fishing bass.

Anglers have caught multiple varieties of bass in this lake, like the striped, smallmouth, and spotted types. Not only that, but various record-breaking bass have been fished from this lake.

All of that makes Lake Texoma one of the best spots in Texas to fish for bass.

Aerial view Lady Bird Lake and Colorado River near downtown Austin Texas USA. Flyover Austin Boardwalk Ann and Roy Butler hike and bike trail Interregional Highway 35 bridge. - Texas View
Aerial view Lady Bird Lake and Colorado River near downtown Austin, Texas, USA. Flyover Austin Boardwalk, Ann and Roy Butler hike and bike trail, Interregional Highway 35 bridge

2. Lady Bird Lake

Did you know Lady Bird Lake was previously known as the Town Lake? The new name is derived from the former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson.

Lady Bird is the last of the Highland Lakes in the Colorado River, and it runs right through downtown Austin.

This beautiful lake allows you to ride a boat while being surrounded by picturesque scenery. The extended lines of trees alongside the lake, paired with the surrounding hotels, parks, restaurants, and trails can make the experience one of a kind.

You can go dragon boating, canoeing, and rowing in Lady Bird Lake, but you’re not allowed to use any motorized water vehicles.

This makes for a calm, tranquil and screen experience.

3. Lake Conroe

With around 22,000 acres of water, Lake Conroe has everything you need to escape the city. It’s only a one-hour drive away from Houston.

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Unlike Lady Bird Lake, you can find motorized water vessels like boats and jet skis. Not only that, but you also get various amenities, like lakeside restaurants, golf courses, and full-service marinas.

If you reach the north of the lake, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the beautiful Sam Houston National Forest. There are various hiking trails there, including the 129-mile Lone Star National Recreation Trail.

It’s a trip worth taking. The scenery of the City of Conroe alone from the water will have you taking photos left and right.

Sam Houston National Forest Lake Conroe - Texas View
Sam Houston National Forest by Lake Conroe – Image by Alexander Hatley

4. Lake Sam Rayburn

Also known as Sam Rayburn Reservoir, this massive man-made 110,000-acre lake is located in eastern Texas, around 110 km to the north of Beaumont.

There are various park facilities operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These parks are full of picnic areas, boat ramps, and hiking trails.

There are also some campsites and marinas alongside the lake for those who’d like to spend the day.

Lake Sam Rayburn can be as deep as 80 feet and contains a healthy amount of self-sustaining large-mouth bass fish. Visitors often do various activities like canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and even swimming.

Sam Rayburn Reservoir - Texas View
Sam Rayburn Reservoir – Image by Ricraider

5. Lake Austin

Lake Austin is a 1600-acre lake that was created after the Tom Miller Dam was constructed back in 1939.

This lake is fed by the overflow of Lake Travis (which we’ll talk about in a second) and is a part of the Colorado River.

The lake itself is full of bass, many of which are over 10 pounds. You can also do various activities, like water skiing, canoeing, and waterboarding.

Those who don’t feel like getting wet can enjoy their stay in the nearby Emma Long Park. In the park, you can relax under the sun, play some volleyball, enjoy some tasty meals, and even rent a boat.

Lake Austin - Texas View
Lake Austin – Image by LoneStarMike

6. Lake Travis

Lake Travis is a 63-mile reservoir with around 270 miles of shoreline. Some people consider this beautiful lake to be the crown jewel of central Texas.

The clear water of the lake mixed with the green of its shorelines will give you a sight to remember. Lake Travis is for you if you like to relax in your boat or go fishing. If you’re also into some adrenaline-packed activities like jet or water skiing, you can still do that here.

Multiple shops, marinas, and public access points to the lake also exist. In other words, you don’t need to drive to a specific entrance.

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People who live in Austin are only 30 minutes away from this beautiful lake.

Lake Travis - Texas View

7. Possum Kingdom Lake

The Possum Kingdom is a beautiful 20,000-acre lake located approximately 70 miles west of Fort Worth. The lake is on the Brazos River and is well-known for its breathtaking nature around the coastlines.

Possum Kingdom is for you if you want to feel like you’re riding a boat in the middle of a vast oasis. Not only that, but anglers also target this lake for its abundance of white bass.

If you’re a swimming and scuba diving fan, you’ll also enjoy your stay there, as there are some gorgeous underwater spots for diving lovers to explore.

If you prefer a more relaxed experience, there are various camping grounds and even air-conditioned cabins to enjoy.

Possum Kingdom Lake Texas - Texas View
Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas – Image by Mark Quadling, Henley Quadling

8. Lake Lewisville

Lake Lewisville went by the name Dallas Lake when it was first created. However, after it got expanded in the 1950s, it was renamed Lake Lewisville. It’s also the second-largest lake in the River Trinity area, thanks to that expansion.

This 29,000-acre lake is around 60 minutes from the north of Dallas and is especially popular on the weekends. That’s because of the various entertainment you can get there.

If you’re an angler, Lake Lewisville is full of crappie, white bass, and catfish. This lake will feel like home if you’re into kayaking, canoeing, or simply relaxing on the shore.

Many public parks on the shore provide various activities like trail hiking, biking, and camping.

Lake Lewisville Park Area - Texas View
Lake Lewisville Park Area – Image by Aaron Jacobs (Jopxton)

9. Lake Granbury

This 33-mile lake is located in northern Texas at Granbury’s center. It was created back in 1969 during the damming of the Brazos River.

The narrowness of this lake keeps the shorelines visible most of the time, preventing people from getting lost easily and providing them with beautiful green scenes to look at.

Anglers would appreciate that Lake Granbury is rich in sunfish, catfish, and long-nose gar. There are also boat ramps, boat rentals, and swimming areas.

You can also find cozy cottages, parks, restaurants, and historic resorts along the shoreline. Lake Granbury will have something for everyone.

View of Brazos north of Interstate 20 Parker County Texas. This section of the Brazos between Possum Kingdom and Lake Granbury was the focus of John Graves classic book Goodbye to a River. - Texas View
View of Brazos north of Interstate 20, Parker County, Texas. This section of the Brazos, between Possum Kingdom and Lake Granbury, was the focus of John Graves’ classic book Goodbye to a River. – Image by Leaflet

10. Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake consists of around 20,000 acres of water. Unlike most lakes on our list, this lake isn’t usually clear blue. Instead, large areas of it are swamps with floating algae.

Caddo Lake lies along the Texas and Louisiana border, full of channels, waterways, Spanish moss, and herons.

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Because of the variety of creatures and the unclean water, enjoying the beauty of nature is a lot more advisable than swimming here. Also, despite the rarity, there were a few alligator sightings.

There’s also a fishing pier in the State Park. You can also rent a canoe to fish a bit further into the lake.

Caddo Lake - Texas View
Caddo Lake – Image by Jay Carriker (User:JCarriker)

11. Lake O’ the Pines

Lake O’ the Pines lies approximately 30 miles west of Cado Lake. The “pines” in its name comes from the piney woods that surround this large 18,700-acre lake.

These pine trees offer great shade for those who’d prefer hiking on the shoreline trails. There are also various parks around the lake, like Buckhorn Creek, Johnson Creek, Brushy Creek, and Lakeside Parks.

These parks offer great sightseeing spots and various swimming spots. If you’re into fishing, you’ll find an affluent population of largemouth bass in the lake as well.

Lake O the Pines Texas - Texas View
Lake O the Pines Texas – Image by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library

12. Inks Lake

Inks lake is a reservoir on the Colorado River, and it lies 50 miles northwest of Austin. It’s a gorgeous lake with various campsites and hiking trails around its coastline.

Inks lake is stunning because of the pinkish hue of its rocks, providing a picturesque appearance on the water when the sunlight is reflected.

Much like Caddo Lake, the State Park allows you to rent Canoes if you enjoy the view in the middle of the lake. Fishing, swimming, and skiing are also activities that you can enjoy.

Inks Lake in the Texas Hill Country near Burnet - Texas View
Inks Lake in the Texas Hill Country, near Burnet. – Image by Library of Congress


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Christian Linden Texas View Headshot 3 - Texas View
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Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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