Take a break from the triple-digit dog days of August and get out on one of the area’s lakes for a cooldown and all kinds of summer fun. Check out our list of eight of the best bodies of water around Dallas-Fort Worth and learn where you can launch your boat, rent a kayak or paddleboard, book a sunset cruise, fish, and picnic and play on the beach. For maps, hours, admission fees, access and camping information and other details, visit the website for each lake. It’s also smart to check water levels before heading out. If you’re planning a visit to a state or county park facility, reservations are highly recommended.
WHITE ROCK LAKE
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8300 Garland Road
Dallas, TX 75218
Once a creek where buffalo roamed, the area today includes a 1,015-acre lake, 9-mile hike-and-bike trail, bird-watching area and wetlands site. No swimming is allowed in the lake, but visitors can fish, take their four-legged friends to the dog park or rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Dallas Paddle Co. (dallaspaddle.com). Sailboat cruises are offered by the Spirit of Dallas (thespiritofdallas.com). Picnic areas, piers and boat ramps allow visitors to hang out, get out on the water and enjoy this urban oasis. White Rock Lake even has its own ghostly legend: the Lady of the Lake.
Nearby, the Dallas Arboretum (dallasarboretum.org) offers spectacular views of the lake and photo ops galore. Arboretum guests must reserve tickets for a specific date and time before their visit.
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5 Lake Park Road
Lewisville, TX 75057
One of the largest in North Texas, this 29,592-acre lake includes 233 miles of shoreline and borders multiple cities — Hickory Creek, Highland Village, Lake Dallas and The Colony, to name a few. Around the expansive lake are beaches, campgrounds, golf courses, hike-and-bike trails and parks. The area is bustling with activities such as Little Elm Park’s sand beach and volleyball court, plus there are weekly paddleboard classes and rentals offered by DFW Surf (dfwsurf.com).
Visitors can also enjoy the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, a lush 2,000-acre wildlife management area featuring bottomland forests, prairies and wetlands. There are hiking trails as well as opportunities for bird-watching, camping, canoeing, fishing and kayaking.
LAKE RAY HUBBARD
North of Forney, this 22,745-acre lake straddles Dallas, Kaufman, Collin and Rockwall counties. There is no camping at the lake, but visitors can spend the day boating and fishing, as well as enjoying the beaches, hike-and-bike trails and parks.
One fun option is taking a cruise on the lake. Sail With Scott (sailwithscott.com) offers sunset and moonlight catamaran cruises, and DFW Boat Ride (dfwboatride.com) offers sunset, starlight and family cruises.
RAY ROBERTS LAKE
For those looking for a day trip, this 29,350-acre reservoir north of Denton is about an hour’s drive from Dallas. Running from the Ray Roberts dam to Lewisville Lake, the 20-mile Greenbelt Corridor features 10 miles of hike-and-bike trails as well as 12 miles of horseback riding trails.
Within Ray Roberts Lake State Park, there are two main camping and recreation areas, Isle Du Bois and Johnson Branch, with hundreds of campsites to choose from. Online reservations are highly recommended for day passes and campsite use. Visitors to the lake can also rent kayaks and pontoon boats from the Lake Ray Roberts Marina (rayrobertsmarina.com) and Lone Star Lodge and Marina (lonestar-lodge.com).
The 8,000-acre lake with 60 miles of shoreline is a go-to spot for swimming, skiing, windsurfing, fishing and more. With more than 40 miles of trails and opportunities to hike, bike, boat, camp and fish, visitors can plan day or weekend getaways.
The WhoaZone (whoa.zone) in Meadowmere Park is a floating playground with slides, trampolines and inflatable obstacle courses open for family fun daily through Labor Day. Additionally, DFW Surf (dfwsurf.com) offers rentals and weekly paddleboard classes, including stand-up paddleboard yoga classes. Camping reservations should be made in advance.
Charter boats offer another opportunity to get out on the water with Island Bound Adventures (islandboundadventures.com) at Scott’s Landing Marina as well as Black Watch Sailing (blackwatchsailing.com), which sails the largest wooden-mast boat on the lake, and Sam’s Dock (samsdock.com) at Silver Lake Marina.
JOE POOL LAKE
This 7,500-acre lake borders Cedar Hill State Park, Lynn Creek Park and Loyd Park, among others. Visitors can boat, camp, fish, kayak and swim.
A popular attraction at Cedar Hill State Park, in addition to picnic areas, campsites and boat ramps, is the Penn Farm Agricultural History Center.
Loyd Park is big on camping with 221 campsites, but it also has eight cabins, two yurts for a glamping experience and an 18-room lodge. Canoes and kayaks for the paddling trail are available for rent.
And Lynn Creek Park has 100-plus picnic shelters, a swimming beach and the Lynn Creek Marina (lynncreekmarina.com), which offers boat rentals and sunset cruises. Online reservations are highly recommended for day passes and campsite use. Outdoor pavilions can be rented in advance.
On the west side of Fort Worth, Burger’s Lake is a 30-acre park featuring a 1-acre spring-fed swimming lake with two sandy beaches, over 300 picnic tables, charcoal grills, six diving boards, a 20-foot slide and a 25-foot trapeze. No alcohol is permitted. Admission is $15 per person.
This 21,400-acre lake in southeastern Collin County with 121 miles of shoreline is noted for its blue catfish, sunfish and crappie fishing. Boating, camping, hike-and-bike trails and swimming are among other fun things to do.
Lavon Lake features 19 boat ramps, five beaches, over 200 camping sites, six areas for large group picnics and a park that’s accessible for those with disabilities plus other lakeside parks. Marinas are in Collin Park, which also features a campground, and East Fork Park, which offers equestrian sites and horseback riding trails. Trinity Trail, a 9-mile equestrian and hiking trail, is also nearby.
Compiled by Norma Cavazos, from staff reports