5 Best Boating Lakes in Texas: Top Lone Star Destinations

best boating lakes in texas

The “Lone Star State” may be more infamous for its unique weather patterns, lively community, and delicious steaks and BBQs. But don't let this distract you from the fact that the best boating lakes in Texas can rival other aquatic destinations in the US.

If you would like to take a hot and breezy trip to Texas and visit the wonderful water-based destinations and locations this state has to offer, then check out our list of the most recommended boating lakes and destinations below!

We will give you a rundown of marinas, activities, fish species, and more! Read on to find out!

Our Most Recommended Boating Lakes and Destinations in Texas

There are several boating lakes and reservoirs located in the Texas region, but we have decided to share with you our top 5 lakes that vary in size, amenities, offerings, and daily tourist count.

This is to give you a better perspective of what to expect in each lake and to have a better idea about which lake is more ideal for the preferences of you and your friends or family.

1. Lake Travis

lake travis

Lake Travis is a reservoir that was originally proposed and constructed in 1942, along with the Mansfield Dam. It is situated to the West of Austin Texas to prevent flash floods (which was a common occurrence in that region back in the day).

Fast forward to today, Lake Travis is advertised not just as a simple lake, but as a way of life.

Lake Travis is reportedly the most visited freshwater lake in Texas. It spans roughly 19,000 acres and has a surface elevation of roughly 680 feet.

Regardless of the date you visit Lake Travis, you will surely be in for a treat as almost every day comes with featured events, music shows, theme park activities, and many more.

If you are looking for a boating lake that is tried and tested by virtue of popularity and notoriety, then Lake Travis is definitely the top-billed boating lake in the state of Texas.

Notable fish species in Lake Travis include the following:

  • Sunfish
  • Catfish
  • Striped bass
  • Guadalupe bass
  • Largemouth bass
  • White bass

2. Canyon Lake

canyon lake

Canyon Lake is a serene and beautiful boating lake to visit if you want to take a more mellow approach to boat activities and would rather enjoy the sunset with friends and family than go all-out with action-packed games and activities.

Known as “The Jewel” of Texas Hill, Canyon Lake has, through the decades, grown to be one of the most accommodating water-based destinations for tourists from all around the world.

This destination offers golf activities, nature tours and treks, scenic parks, swimming activities, and water-based rides.

According to recent measurements, the surface area of this lake is roughly 8,200 acres and has a surface elevation of approximately 900 feet.

Just like the previous entry, Canyon Lake is host to several species of fish and aquatic wildlife, including but not limited to the following:

  • Catfish
  • White bass
  • Striped bass
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Largemouth bass
  • Guadalupe bass

3. Caddo Lake

caddo lake

If you would like to visit a destination that is imbued with cultural heritage and history, then look no further than Caddo Lake, a 25,000-hectare lake that got its name from Southeastern Natives known as “Caddo” or “Caddoans.”

This lake is one of the few internationally protected areas under the Ramsar Convention (an international treaty focused on the preservation and rehabilitation of certain wetlands).

Although there were man-made alterations to Caddo Lake, it is still considered to be one of the largest natural lakes found in Southern United States.

The Caddo Lake Park boasts the following amenities and facilities:

  • Over 40 campsites (water-only to full sites)
  • Screened shelters
  • Rental of historical cabins
  • Hiking treks
  • Fishing facilities (pier and boat ramp)

Most importantly, Caddo Lake is home to more than 70 different species of aquatic wildlife, most notable of which are the following:

  • Channel catfish
  • Blue catfish
  • Flathead catfish
  • Chain pickerel
  • Yellow bass
  • White bass
  • Largemouth bass

4. Lady Bird Lake

lady bird lake

Lady Bird Lake, known to locals informally as Town Lake, is a reservoir found along Colorado River in Austin, Texas.

Established in the year 1960 as a cooling pond for a nearby energy plant, this simple, 460-acre lake is known not just for flood control, but also as a beautiful place for fishing and other recreational activities.

The name “Lady Bird” is attributed to the former First Lady of the United States: Lady Bird Johnson (wife of former President Lyndon B. Johnson).

Aside from fishing and water-based activities, this destination is known for its hiking and biking trail, as well as a wonderful boardwalk that is good for picture-taking or general outdoor activities.

Although this lake does not accommodate as many fish species as the other lakes mentioned, the notable fish that can be caught here are the following:

  • Smallmouth bass
  • Largemouth bass
  • Channel catfish
  • Northern pike
  • Common carp

5. Lake Texoma

lake texoma

Lake Texoma is considered to be one of the largest reservoirs in the entire United States.

Built by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), this lake is formed as a result of Denison Dam, which was completed in the year 1944.

Lake Texoma is a whopping 89,000-acre lake with a reported surface elevation of approximately 620 feet.

With the large size of the lake and the shoreline, Lake Texoma has the following amenities and facilities:

  • Resorts
  • Hotels
  • Fishing areas
  • Fishing guides
  • Cabin rentals
  • Horse trails
  • Marinas
  • Cruises
  • Charters
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Dining
  • Hunting
  • Events
  • Casinos
  • Theme parks

This lake is home to over a hundred aquatic species, including but not limited to the following:

  • Striped bass
  • Common carp
  • Largemouth bass
  • Spotted bass
  • White bass
  • Blue catfish
  • Channel catfish
  • Black crappie
  • White crappie


The best boating lakes in Texas are as good as any lake found in other states in the United States. Combine that with the lovely weather (most of the time), the delicious meals, and the interesting townsfolk, and you will surely have a great trip!

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