10 Stunning Lakes Near Texas To Visit

Hey there, you all! Texas is like a big swimming hole with over 150 lakes! That’s a lot of lakes, and it can be a head-scratcher to decide which one to splash around. But no need to worry. 

Not all lakes are created equal when it comes to swimming. Some of them got funky currents or poor water quality that could mess up your good time. That’s why knowing which lakes are safe and suitable for swimming is important. And that’s where this guide comes in.

In the following guide, we’ll break down the top 10 best lakes in Texas for swimming and some other lakes worth considering.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in!

1) Lake Travis

Lake Travis is a reservoir on the Colorado River in the Texas Hill Country. Initially built in 1942 for flood control, it has become a popular destination for water activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming.

Lake Travis

Distance From Texas

Lake Travis is only 20 miles northwest of Austin, making it a convenient destination for locals and tourists. For those traveling from Houston, it is approximately a three-hour drive away.

Fun Stuff To Do 

Swimming is one of the most popular activities at Lake Travis due to the crystal-clear, refreshing water. Visitors can enjoy several beaches and parks, including Mansfield Dam Park, Windy Point Park, and Bob Wentz Park.

Apart from swimming, Lake Travis also offers various other activities, such as:

Boating: The lake is a favorite spot for boating enthusiasts. Several marinas and boat rental companies rent boats, kayaks, and paddleboards.

Fishing: The lake is home to various fish species, including largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish, making it an excellent spot for fishing.

Hiking: Several hiking trails around the lake offer stunning views of the water and surrounding hills.

Camping: Visitors can choose from several campgrounds around the lake, offering both primitive and RV camping sites.

2) Lake Lewisville

Lake Lewisville is a man-made reservoir on the Elm Fork of the Trinity River in the north-central part of Texas. Created in 1954 to provide water for Dallas and Denton, it has done well! Lake Lewisville is a prime destination for all water sports, fishing, and swimming.

Lake Lewisville

Distance From Texas

If you’re lookin’ to get your feet wet at Lake Lewisville, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from downtown Dallas – a mere 20 miles! Even if you’re comin’ from Fort Worth, it won’t take you more than an hour’s drive to get to the lake.

Fun Stuff To Do 

Now, let’s discuss what you can do when you get there! Of course, one of the most popular activities is swimming. The lake’s got several beaches and parks where you can take a dip, like Little Elm Park, Tower Bay Park, and Lake Park. The water’s clean and cool, making it the perfect spot to beat the heat!

But that isn’t all! Lake Lewisville’s got plenty more to offer, like:

Boating: If you’re lookin’ to sail the high seas (or at least the high lake), Lake Lewisville’s got you covered! There are several marinas and boat rental companies around the lake where you can rent boats, kayaks, and paddleboards. Just don’t forget to bring your sea legs!

Fishing: For all you fishin’ enthusiasts, Lake Lewisville’s a real catch! The lake’s home to all sorts of fish, like largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie, so bring your rod and reel and get ready to reel in some big ones!

Hiking: If you’re lookin’ to stretch your legs and take in some breathtaking views, Lake Lewisville’s got several hiking trails that’ll knock your socks off! Just bring plenty of water and sunscreen – it gets hot out there!

3) Caddo Lake

It’s in the northeast corner of Texas, right by the Louisiana border. It’s a huge maze of bayous, sloughs, and ponds, covering over 25,000 acres. Do you know what makes it so darn special? It’s the cypress trees. They grow in the water, making the whole dang place mystical and surreal.

Caddo Lake

Distance From Texas

If you’re comin’ from Dallas, it’ll take about 3 hours to get there. And if you’re coming from Houston, you better settle in for a 4-hour drive. But once you get there, you can access the lake from a few different points, like Karnack and Uncertain, both on the Texas side.

Fun Stuff To Do 

Now, let’s talk about what you can do at Caddo Lake. First of all, you can go swimming. The water is crystal clear and refreshin’, perfect for coolin’ off on a hot day.

But that isn’t all! Caddo Lake is also a great spot for fishing. You can catch much fish, like largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish. And if you aren’t into fishin’, you can always rent a kayak and explore the bayous and channels, taking in all the beauty around you.

They got all kinds of fun stuff, like hiking trails, camping sites, and picnic areas. And if you want to learn about the history and ecology of the lake, take a guided boat tour; it’s the best way to do it!

4) Inks Lake

Let’s take a tour of Inks Lake, located in the Texas Hill Country, which is just an hour’s drive northwest of the magnificent city of Austin. Covering an area of over 800 acres, Inks Lake is a beautiful man-made lake that is part of the Colorado River chain of lakes. This lake is special because of its beautiful blue-green water, rugged shoreline, and granite cliffs.

Inks Lake

Distance From Texas

Getting to Inks Lake is a breeze from anywhere in Texas, with the closest major city being Austin. It only takes an hour to reach this beautiful lake from Austin, three and a half hours from Dallas, and approximately four hours from Houston.

Fun Stuff To Do 

Now let’s talk about all the fun things you can do at Inks Lake. The clear water of this lake offers several recreational activities, such as swimming, fishing, boating, and hiking. For all those water enthusiasts, the designated swim areas around the lake will provide you with a refreshing swim. If you’re looking for an adventure, renting a boat or kayak to explore the lake and its scenic surroundings is the way to go.

But if you’re not a fan of water, Inks Lake State Park has got you covered with its several hiking trails that provide stunning views of the lake and the surrounding hills. You can also enjoy camping facilities, picnic areas, and a playground for children.

The lake is also a great spot for fishing, with abundant catfish, bass, and sunfish. You can fish from the shore or rent a boat to explore the lake’s fishing hotspots.

5) Lake Texoma

Lake Texoma is one mighty big reservoir located right on the Texas-Oklahoma border. This thing is so big it covers over 89,000 acres! Do you know how it got there? Well, it’s all thanks to the Denison Dam on the Red River and other tributaries like the Washita River. Pretty cool, huh?

Lake Texoma

Distance From Texas

If you’re in Texas and wanna check out Lake Texoma, you’ll have to head up north for about 75 miles from Dallas. But don’t worry. It’s pretty easy to get there from most parts of Texas. The closest major city is Sherman, and from there, it’s just a hop, skip, and jump to the lake.

Fun Stuff To Do 

There’s a whole lot of fun to be had at Lake Texoma! For starters, you can swim in the lake’s crystal-clear waters or hit up one of the sandy beaches, like Eisenhower State Park, Juniper Point, or Cedar Mills Marina. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even rent a boat or jet ski from one of the marinas to explore the vast expanse of the lake. And let me tell you, there are some prime fishing spots here, folks! You can catch fish from the shore or a boat, like catfish, bass, and crappie.

But wait a minute, if you’re not a water person, don’t worry! Lake Texoma has got you covered too. Plenty of hiking trails wind through the surrounding hills, giving you some breathtaking lake views. And if you’re into golf, you’re in luck! Several golf courses are around here, including the Chickasaw Pointe Golf Club.

6) Possum Kingdom lake

Possum Kingdom Lake is a giant lake in the middle of Texas that is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and water lovers. You can do pretty much anything here, from swimming to fishing to boating and everything in between.

Possum Kingdom lake

Distance From Texas

If you’re coming from Fort Worth, Possum Kingdom Lake is a hop, skip, and a jump away, or about 80 miles, to be exact. But don’t worry, getting here is a breeze, with plenty of highways leading right to the lake.

Fun Stuff To Do 

There’s no shortage of things to do at Possum Kingdom Lake, but one thing you absolutely can’t miss is Hell’s Gate. Trust me. It’s not as scary as it sounds. It’s one of the most popular swimming spots on the lake, with water so clear you can see straight to the bottom. Plus, the scenery is pretty, so don’t forget your camera.

But that’s not all. You’re in luck if you’re more of a water sports person. There are many activities, like boating, jet skiing, and fishing. And let me tell you, the fish are biting. You’ll find everything from bass to catfish to crappie, so bring your A-game and a fishing pole.

If you’re not into water activities, no problem. Possum Kingdom Lake has many hiking trails that wind through the surrounding hills, offering some of the best lake views. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try camping or picnicking? Just ensure you bring bug spray and sunscreen because the sun and critters are full of force.

7) Lake Tawakoni

Lake Tawakoni is a grand lake that sprawls over 37,000 acres of Northeast Texas. Located on the Sabine River, it has a varied fish population that attracts fish-loving folks from near and far. You can even swim here, with plenty of designated swimming areas.

Lake Tawakoni

Distance From Texas

You don’t have to go far if you’re a city slicker looking for some nature. Lake Tawakoni is located just 50 miles east of Dallas, Texas, so you can get your nature fix without going too far from the city.

Fun Stuff To Do

Fishing is the game’s name at Lake Tawakoni, with various fish species to catch, like catfish, bass, and crappie. You can rent boats and fishing gear at the lake or bring your own.

But wait, there’s more! You can also explore nature’s natural beauty and hiking trails that weave through the woods. Lake Tawakoni covers you for those who like to camp or picnic. Bird lovers will also have a field day here.

Lake Tawakoni has water and jet skiing areas if you’re looking for adrenaline-pumping action. It’s time to hit the water and make some waves!

8) Lake Buchanan

Welcome to Lake Buchanan, you all! This lake is a big man-made lake created in 1939 in the Hill Country of Texas, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Austin (that’s about 60 miles northwest for you all who don’t know). 

Lake Buchanan

Distance From Texas

This crystal clear lake is one of the biggest in Texas, spanning over 30 miles long with over 22,000 acres of water. There are lots to do here to keep you entertained, from swimming to boating to fishing.

Fun Stuff To Do 

You want to dip in this refreshing lake if you’re a water baby. The Lake Buchanan Dam is a great spot for the whole family to cool off. And if you’re looking for more spots to splash around, there are plenty of public parks and campgrounds around the lake with swimming, fishing, and boating.

Now, if fishing’s your thing, you all are in luck. This lake has plenty of fish, like catfish and crappie. With boat ramps and fishing piers around the lake, you can cast your line and hopefully catch something big.

But if you prefer to stretch your legs and stroll, there are several hiking trails and nature walks around Lake Buchanan. You can even take a scenic boat tour with the Vanishing Texas River Cruise to soak in the area’s natural beauty.

And don’t you all worry about getting here, either. Several highways and roads lead to Lake Buchanan, so pack your bags, grab the sunscreen, and prepare for a fun-filled adventure!

9) Lake Whitney

Lake Whitney is a human-made lake born in 1951 when they built the Whitney Dam on the Brazos River. And it’s surrounded by some mighty fine limestone cliffs, which are scenic and awe-inspiring.

Lake Whitney

Distance From Texas

Driving from Fort Worth, you can get to Lake Whitney in about an hour and a half. From Austin, it’s about a two-hour drive. And if you’re coming from Dallas, you better pack a lunch because it’ll take about two hours and some change. But believe us. It’s worth the trouble.

Fun Stuff To Do 

Now, let’s get down to brass tacks and discuss what you can do at Lake Whitney. First and foremost, if you’re into fishin’, you’ll be over the moon at this place. The lake is home to all kinds of fish, like bass, catfish, crappie, and white bass. And there are plenty of spots to drop a line and reel in a big one. But if you aren’t into fishin’, don’t sweat it. There are plenty of other things to do.

If you’re into boatin’, Lake Whitney is the place to be. With over 225 miles of shoreline, plenty of room to show off your water sporting skills. And if you don’t have your boat, don’t worry. There are plenty of places to rent one for the day.

10) Canyon Lake

This vast water body is one of the deepest lakes in Texas, with a crazy deep spot that goes down 125 feet! And get this; it’s HUGE! It spans over 8,200 acres and has over 80 miles of shoreline. Dang, that’s a lot of shorelines, right?

Canyon Lake

Distance From Texas

So, if you’re craving to check out this beauty, it’s about 50 miles northeast of San Antonio and 40 miles southwest of Austin. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy to get there by car via I-35 or State Highway 281.

Fun Stuff To Do 

Now, here’s the good stuff! Canyon Lake isn’t just for looking at; it’s for playing in too! You can swim your little heart out in those clear blue waters, or if fishing’s your thing, catch yourself some big ol’ fish. Want to explore the lake? Hop in a boat, kayak, or paddleboard and have some fun. There are parks and campgrounds galore, like the popular Canyon Lake Marina and Cranes Mill Park. 

Oh, and don’t forget about all the hiking and biking trails. You might even spot some wild critters or birds if you’re lucky. But wait, there’s more! Canyon Lake is home to many fun events and festivals throughout the year, like the Canyon Lake Boat Parade and the Canyon Lake Gorge Tour. Plus, there are plenty of shops, restaurants, wineries, and breweries to check out if you want to chillax.


Texas has some of the prettiest lakes for swimming in the United States! I’m talking about Lake Travis, Lake Whitney, and more – there’s something for everyone. But hold your horses because safety comes first. You must watch out for their accidents, so take all the precautions before diving in. But trust me; it’s worth it. These lakes are great for having a good time and chilling out.