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12 Best Lakes In Texas That Are Too Good To Ignore 😍

There are over 7000 lakes in Texas.

So how do you decide which to visit?!

Well, today we’re revealing the 12 best lakes in Texas that are just too good to ignore.

And we’ve got you covered no matter WHAT kind of person you are.

Watersports enthusiasts, nature lovers, families who need amenities, or those who like to fish…

Everyone is catered to on this list.

best lakes in texas google map graphic

Make sure you stick around to the end where we outline the top picks for different categories!

1. Lake Travis

Dive into the crystal-clear waters of Lake Travis, the crown jewel of Texas’ outdoor fun.

lake travis google map graphic (1)

Lake Travis, in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, is a prime destination for thrill-seekers and people looking to chill out.

With over 271 miles of shoreline and a unique limestone bottom, the lake offers crystal-clear blue waters ideal for a variety of water sports. 

At Lake Travis, you can rent boats, jet skis, or even party barges to make the most of your day on the water. 

For an adrenaline rush, try ziplining with Lake Travis Zipline Adventures to catch breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. 

lake travis texas

Apart from the watersports, there are also other things to keep you busy.

The area is dotted with parks perfect for picnicking, hiking, and just enjoying the outdoors. 

If you’re into golf then you’ll appreciate the picturesque courses nearby, offering a peaceful day out with stunning lake views.

After a day full of activities, explore the lakeside restaurants that serve everything from casual bites to upscale dining, making Lake Travis a versatile destination for all visitors.

2. Inks Lake

Dive into the clear waters and enjoy the picturesque landscapes of Inks Lake.

lake travis google map graphic (1)

Located in Texas Hill Country, Inks Lake is a constant-level lake perfect for water activities, camping, and hiking. 

Known for its strikingly clear waters, this lake is a favorite for kayakers, canoeists, and swimmers. 

View of Walking Trail Through TExas Inks Lake Park With Lake in the background (1)

Inks Lake State Park, surrounding the lake, also provides opportunities for outdoor adventures.

You can explore the scenic trails in the area or enjoy a family picnic with stunning views that you’ll never forget.

And if you’re into camping then you’ve got 200 campsites and 22 cabins on offer at the state park.

Texas Bluebonnets along Trail at Inks Lake State Park (1)

The Devil’s Waterhole is a particular highlight, offering a unique spot for swimming and cliff jumping. 

3. Lake Buchanan

A vast playground for outdoor enthusiasts and families.

lake buchanan google map graphic

Lake Buchanan, stretching about 31 miles in length and nearly 5 miles at its widest point, stands as the second-largest of the Highland Lakes in Central Texas. 

Not only known for its expansive waters and recreational opportunities, it also has historical significance.

The lake was created alongside the over two miles long Buchanan Dam, the longest multiple-arch dam in the U.S. 

This engineering marvel, completed in the late 1930s, was initially aimed at providing hydroelectric power and flood control. 

lake buchanan texas

Today, Lake Buchanan is a hub for boaters, fishermen, campers, and swimmers, offering spaciousness that ensures it never feels crowded. 

With regular stockings of fish, the lake is most definitely a fishing paradise. 

You can also enjoy cruises to explore the scenic wilderness of the historic Colorado River Canyon, or just relax on the granite gravel shores which are perfect for sunbathing and wading​​​​​​.

And don’t forget that if you’re lucky you could spot Bald Eagles between September and March!

4. Lake Granbury

A vibrant waterside gem in the heart of Texas.

Lake Granbury google map graphic

Lake Granbury, a focal point of Granbury, Texas, is a must-visit if you’re in the area. (I mean, you can’t really avoid it if you’re in Granbury)

Created by damming the Brazos River, this reservoir is not only a hub for recreational activities but also a central piece of the community’s heart and soul. 

With 103 miles of shoreline, Lake Granbury accommodates visitors with a variety of interests, from boating and fishing to swimming and picnicking at the city’s popular beach park​​​​.

Lake Granbury

Anglers love it here, targeting species such as striped and largemouth bass, catfish, sunfish, and more.

The lake is well stocked so there are abundant fish populations and accessibility for fishing from docks or boats makes it pretty accessible.

Those looking for adventure on the water have access to a handful of public boat ramps, so activities like kayaking, jet skiing, and paddleboarding are readily available. 

Beyond the water, Lake Granbury is surrounded by attractions that include theaters like the Granbury Opera House and the historic buildings in Historic Granbury Square.

5. Possum Kingdom Lake

Discover clear waters and striking cliffs at Possum Kingdom Lake.

possum kingdom lake

Possum Kingdom Lake, located in the rugged hills of North Texas about 18 miles southeast of Graham, is renowned for its crystal-clear blue waters and dramatic cliffs. 

This reservoir lake offers a host of activities, from fishing for a variety of bass, to wakeboarding, skiing, and scuba diving. 

A must-see geological formation is the famous “Hell’s Gate”, a popular spot for cliff diving and the annual Red Bull Cliff Diving event.  

The lake’s surrounding state park provides plenty of hiking opportunities, 100+ camping sites, and cozy cabins for overnight stays. 

Possum Kingdom Lake serves as a year-round destination for anyone looking for adventure or tranquility, with its serene sunsets and a wide variety of water sports drawing visitors from all over.

6. Lake Ray Roberts

A go-to destination for fishing, boating, and nature exploration in Texas.

lake ray roberts google map graphic (1)

Lake Ray Roberts is a massive reservoir spanning 29,350 acres, within Denton, Cooke, and Grayson counties in Texas. 

Just an hour north of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, it serves as both a crucial water supply and a recreational paradise. 

The lake supports a vibrant ecosystem, making it ideal for fishing, with largemouth bass, crappie, white bass, and catfish being the most common catches. 

Its record largemouth bass weighed in at 15.18 pounds, so anglers from all around visit to try and accomplish a similar feat.

Boaters enjoy the lake’s vast open waters, with facilities at several state park units providing easy access.

These parks also offer extensive trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, showing off the natural beauty of the landscape in the area.

If you want to stay overnight, there are campsites and lodges available, depending on what kind of experience you’re looking for.

That’s not all that Lake Ray Roberts has to offer though.

You can do things like geocaching, backpacking, and wildlife photography (just don’t drop your camera in the lake!). 

There’s really something for everyone.

7. Lake Texoma

Explore the vast waters and scenic beauty of one of the largest reservoirs in the U.S.

lake texoma google map graphic

Lake Texoma, straddling the border between Texas and Oklahoma, is an exceptional destination that offers a wealth of activities for outdoor enthusiasts and families.

This expansive lake, formed by the Denison Dam on the Red River, spans around 89,000 acres and boasts a protected shoreline managed by the Corps of Engineers. 

With its reputation as the “Striper Capital of the World,” anglers flock here year-round for thrilling fishing experiences. 

Lake Texoma Shoreline

Beyond fishing, you can enjoy camping under a canopy of trees, hiking through beautiful trails, golfing on several excellent courses, and exploring the outdoors. 

The lake’s surroundings are perfect for birders, hikers, and nature photographers, attracting about 6 million visitors each year to its natural beauty and abundant wildlife. 

Whether you’re looking for an adventurous fishing trip, serene camping spots, or just a peaceful getaway in nature, Lake Texoma has something for everyone​​​​​​.

8. Lake Fork

A bass angler’s paradise with trophy-sized catches.

lake fork google map graphic

Lake Fork is renowned for its trophy bass fishing, making it a premier destination for if you’re looking for a good catch.

You can find the Lake between the towns of Quitman, Alba, Emory, and Yantis.

Covering 27,264 acres with a maximum depth of 70 feet, Lake Fork was impounded in 1980 on the Sabine River. 

Its waters are moderately clear, hosting largemouth bass as the most sought-after species. 

The lake’s structure, filled with submerged timber, provides excellent cover for fish, contributing to its reputation. 

Lake Fork has produced 34 out of the Top 50 largest bass in Texas records, including the state record of 18.18 pounds. 

Fishing here requires navigation skills due to the submerged timber, but marked boat lanes aid in safer passage. 

For those new to the lake or aiming for the best catches, hiring a guide is recommended for both safety and success​​​​​​.

9. Lake O’ the Pines

A tranquil retreat amidst towering pines and pristine waters.

lake o the pines google map graphic

About 8 miles west of Jefferson, Lake O’ the Pines can be found enveloped by East Texas’ towering pine forests, offering a serene escape of around 18,700 acres of sparkling waters. 

Anglers will be happy to hear that the lake teems with a variety of fish species such as largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie, promising rewarding catches for fishing enthusiasts​​​​.

Lake O' the Pines

But that’s not all you can do here.

Boaters of all types find a welcoming place at Lake O’ the Pines, from the tranquility of kayaking to the thrill of speed boating. 

The lake supports a vibrant boating community with its multiple marinas that provide essential services including boat rentals, making water access easy for everyone​​.

Camping near Lake O’ the Pines is a popular experience too, where the beauty of the Texas Piney Woods can be enjoyed up close. 

The area offers diverse camping options, from RV sites with all the amenities to secluded tent sites under the stars, ensuring every visitor finds their perfect outdoor stay​​​​.

10. Caddo Lake

Step into the mysterious beauty of Texas’ only natural lake.

caddo lake texas google map graphic

Caddo Lake, straddling the Texas-Louisiana border, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and legend, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring Texas’ great outdoors. 

This lake, with its sprawling 25,000+ acres of Cypress swamp, is actually home to the largest cypress forest in the world.

Caddo Lake in Autumn

Caddo Lake with an average depth of 8 to 10 feet, creates a unique destination for fishermen and nature lovers.

The lake’s maze of bayous, channels, and sloughs, marked by 42 miles of “boat roads,” invites adventurers to explore its mysterious waters.

And this place is teeming with life.

caddo lake bird

The area is home to over 200 species of birds and a variety of wildlife including alligators.

If you want to stay overnight the Caddo Lake State Park offers accommodations ranging from RV sites with full hookups to rustic cabins and screened shelters.

11. Toledo Bend Reservoir

Experience the unparalleled fishing and natural splendor of Toledo Bend Reservoir.

toledo bend reservoir google map graphic

Toledo Bend Reservoir is renowned for its excellent fishing, particularly for bass, crappie, and catfish, making it a top destination for anglers. 

Spanning the border between Texas and Louisiana, this vast body of water is the largest man-made reservoir in the southern United States by surface area. 

The reservoir’s extensive shoreline is dotted with parks, recreation areas, and facilities that cater to every type of visitor.

From boating and water sports to serene camping spots and hiking trails, there’s something for everyone here.

Wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the diverse habitats that are home to a wide array of species.

The numerous marinas and lodges also provide convenient access to the lake’s resources. 

12. Lake Conroe

Lake Conroe: A reservoir of fun and relaxation north of Houston.

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Lake Conroe, a versatile destination located about an hour north of Houston, spans 21,000 acres and offers a playground for both water enthusiasts and nature lovers. 

Known for its leisure and recreational activities, the lake boasts clean waters for boating, fishing, and swimming. 

Anglers can expect to catch bass, catfish, and crappie, while land lovers can explore hiking trails and picnic spots in the surrounding areas. 

The lake’s proximity to the Sam Houston National Forest means you have plenty of outdoor adventures nearby.

And if you love your amenities then don’t worry, there’s plenty of places to stay on the shore.

For example, there are places like the ‘Margaritaville Lake Resort’ and ‘Holiday Inn Club Vacations’ Piney Shores Resort.

Although, if you prefer an RV then there are options like the highly-rated ‘Triple-B RV Park’.

With numerous dining options along the shore, you can enjoy a meal with a view after a day of activities. 

Lake Conroe is particularly lively during summer weekends with events and live music, making it a perfect getaway for families and friends looking to enjoy Texas’ natural beauty.

Top Picks

Best for Fishing

  • Lake Fork: Known for its trophy bass fishing, making it a top destination for anglers looking for a big catch.
  • Toledo Bend Reservoir: Offers unparalleled fishing experiences, especially known for bass, crappie, and catfish.
  • Lake Texoma: Known as the “Striper Capital of the World,” it’s a hotspot for anglers year-round.

Best for Wildlife and Nature

  • Caddo Lake: Offers a unique blend of natural beauty and mystery with its sprawling Cypress swamp and diverse wildlife.
  • Lake O’ the Pines: Enveloped by towering pine forests, it provides a serene escape and a rich habitat for various fish species.
  • Lake Ray Roberts: Supports a vibrant ecosystem ideal for nature exploration, with extensive trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

Best for Amenities

  • Lake Conroe: Boasts numerous dining and accommodation options along the shore, lively events, and a variety of water sports activities.
  • Lake Travis: Known for its watersports, ziplining adventures, and a wide selection of lakeside restaurants catering to all tastes.
  • Possum Kingdom Lake: Offers a host of activities from wakeboarding to scuba diving, with plenty of accommodations for overnight stays.

Best for a Quiet Serene Escape

  • Inks Lake: Known for its clear waters and picturesque landscapes, perfect for those seeking tranquility.
  • Lake Buchanan: Provides a spacious environment that never feels crowded, ideal for a quiet, serene escape with opportunities for bird watching and relaxing by the water.

Tom Jackson

Tom was born in San Antonio but spent most of his childhood in Dallas, he has lived in several cities across Texas and joined the team in 2024 to create travel guides on Texas.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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