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7 Best Lakes in Texas (and Awesome Nearby Campsites)

7 Best Lakes in Texas (and Awesome Nearby Campsites)

Texas is known for many things – like awesome BBQ, college football, and rodeos.  But there are also a lot refreshing lakes in Texas. These lakes are fishing havens, where residents find peace, relaxation and beautiful landscapes. 

And many of the lakes in Texas provide ample space to enjoy the surroundings, as they have miles and miles of shoreline.  I guess it’s true:  everything IS big in Texas! 

If you’re like me, you think lakes go hand-in-hand with camping. That’s why we’ve included great nearby campsites for each of the Texas lakes we feature.

Here’s the seven best lakes in the Lonestar State:

#1 Lake Texoma

Lake Texoma was created when the Army Corps of Engineers built Denison Dam in 1944, walling off the waters of the Red River on the border of Texas and Oklahoma.  The lake is considered one of the largest reservoirs in the United States and is essential in flood management for the area. 

Today visitors enjoy its recreational opportunities like fishing, sailing, water skiing, and windsurfing.  Because of the large amount of shoreline, camping has become a popular pastime on both sides of the lake.

In fact, Blake Shelton loves this lake too! He bought a home on it a few years ago.

Location:  Flowing along the border between Texas and Oklahoma, Lake Texoma is actually a portion of the Red River.  

GPS coordinates:  33°55’04.3″N 96°39’52.8″W

Great Nearby Campsite: Eisenhower State Park is located on the southern shores of the lake, just north of the city of Denison, Texas.  With 179 sites, many of which have full hookups, the campground offers hot showers, flush toilets, a dump station, and a camp store.  A marina is available for boat launching to enjoy the many water sports on the lake.

Texas Lake Vibes Score:  8.5/10

#2 Lake Travis

Lake Travis was created in 1942 when the Lower Colorado River Authority built Mansfield Dam in Travis County.  The lake is nearly 65 miles long from the dam to the town of Marble Falls, and its principal use is to control floodwaters. 

However, it does produce electricity and has become a prevalent location for all forms of recreation, including boating, scuba diving, and zip-lining.  Subdivisions, resorts, and restaurants line the shore near Austin. Moving upstream, the area is much more rural. 

State parks and recreation areas have been set aside to assure camping and fishing is available to all.

Location:  Sitting in the hill country northwest of Austin, Lake Travis is fed by Colorado River. 

GPS coordinates:  30°24’27.5″N 97°54’07.0″W

Great Nearby Campsite: La Hacienda RV Resort and Cottages sits in the middle of Hudson Bend, just 22 miles from downtown Austin, but overlooking Lake Travis.  With large campsites and amenities like running trails, a pool, and an exercise facility, any camper is likely to enjoy their stay.  Full hookups are at each site, the shower house is clean and a dog park is available, as well.

Texas Lake Vibes Score:  9.2/10

#3 Medina Lake

One of the older man-made lakes in Texas, Medina was created in 1913 with a dam on the Medina River.  The lake provides water for nearby agricultural irrigation, and a nice by-product of building the lake is the recreational opportunities the waters present. 

Fishing is the most popular here! Bass, crappie, and catfish fill the waters.  There are numerous campgrounds and RV parks scattered along the lakeshore.

Location:  Medina Lake lies 40 miles northwest of San Antonio in Bandera and Medina Counties in the hill country of Texas.

GPS coordinates:  29°33’42.0″N 98°56’13.1″W

Great Nearby Campsite:  Part of the Thousand Trails camp system, Medina Lake RV Campground lies literally on the edge of Medina Lake.  RVers must be members of Thousand Trails to take advantage of full hookups, clean shower houses, a clubhouse and a wide variety of planned activities.  Laundry facilities, a miniature golf course and a pool round out the amenities. 

Texas Lake Vibes Score:  7.8/10

#4 Caddo Lake

Set in the cypress swamps of East Texas, Caddo Lake was created naturally by a log jam. It was called the “Great Raft” on the Red River in Louisiana back in 1780. 

When the logs jams were eventually removed, the lake level dropped over 10 feet. This decimated the riverboat industry that had become established there. 

Today with massive preservation efforts, Caddo supports alligators, bobcats, river otters, and beavers that had all but disappeared in the early 1900s when oil drilling invaded the region.  Visitors now enjoy canoeing and kayaking. Camping in Caddo Lake State Park is family-friendly, too.

Location:  Caddo Lake is located along the Texas/Louisiana border just east of Karnack, Texas.

GPS coordinates:  32°41’16.7″N 94°04’31.5″W

Great Nearby Campsite:  46 large, level campsites await you in Caddo Lake State Park. Full hookups are available at seven sites, and water and electricity flow to the other sites.  The park has hot showers, clean restrooms, and a fishing pier available for their most popular activity.  Rent a canoe and put in at the adjoining boat ramp, then explore at your leisure!

Texas Lake Vibes Score:  9/10

#5 Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake made its appearance as the Army Corps of Engineers built Canyon Dam on the Guadalupe River in 1964 for flood control and water conservation.  Its located 20 miles north of New Braunfels. This makes Canyon Lake the go-to place for outdoor recreation, with many visitors opting for camping, fishing, swimming, and boating. 

There are equestrian and biking trails along the lakeshore, and eight park areas maintained by the Corps grace the shoreline.

Location:  40 miles due north of San Antonio.

GPS coordinates:  29°52’34.8″N 98°14’09.5″W

Great Nearby Campsite: Potters Creek COE Campground is a great place from which to stage day trips into San Antonio and Austin.  With 130 sites, most with a lake view, it is a popular location and enforces 3 pm check-in time with gusto.  Clean bathhouses and access to the lake put this campground high on the list of places to visit.

Texas Lake Vibes Score:  8.5/10

#6 Lake Conroe

Formed by damming the west fork of the San Jacinto River, Lake Conroe was established in 1973 as a way to conserve water.  Its waters run through the East Texas Piney Woods, and today visitors utilize the lake’s proximity to Houston as a getaway for outdoor recreation. 

Many enjoy boating, fishing, and swimming in Lake Conroe, as well as steering personal watercraft along its shores.  High-end resorts, golf courses, and condominiums line the beaches.

Location:  The lake is 17 miles west of Huntsville, or 50 miles north of Houston.

GPS coordinates:  30°26’20.1″N 95°35’55.3″W

Great Nearby Campsite:  A gem in the Thousand Trails selection, Lake Conroe RV & Camping Resort provides 360 campsites with full hookups and a prime location on one of the lake’s inlets.  A pool, laundry, and clubhouse complete the picture of amenities that are available to Thousand Trails members only.

Texas Lake Vibes Score:  9/10

#7 Possum Kingdom Lake

The building of the Morris Sheppard Dam began the creation of Possum Kingdom Lake in 1941 as a water supply reservoir.  Although unusual, its name supposedly hales from a local Russian immigrant who dealt in possum pelts and furs. 

His suppliers came from the region where the lake would one day be built, and he would announce their arrival as “the boys from the Possum Kingdom.”  These days visitors to the lake participate in swimming, boating, and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters while camping along its shores.

Location:  Just 75 miles west of Fort Worth, Possum Kingdom Lake has become a great staycation destination for locals.

GPS coordinates:  32°56’07.7″N 98°26’45.2″W

Great Nearby CampsitePossum Kingdom State Park provides 116 campsites with electric and water hookups, clean showers and restrooms, and a swim beach.  Sites are more suited to shorter RVs (27 feet maximum), and fishing reigns on the lake touting the clearest, bluest water in the Southwest!

Texas Lake Vibes Score:  7.5/10

Plan Your Trip to One of the Best Lakes in Texas

The best lakes in Texas all provide tranquil destinations for a camping trip like no other.  Add the plethora of outdoor activities that each has available and you’ve got yourself a getaway location that will be remembered for a lifetime!

We use RV Trip Wizard to route our cross country trips.

It allows us to avoid steep passes, tolls, and tunnels – making travel day way less stressful! Try RV Trip Wizard Free for 7 Days.

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

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  1. Bob says:

    Missed the 80 mile long Toledo Bend Reservoir on the TX LA border. This has lots of National Forest campgrounds so old folks get 50% off. Plus no entrance fees like at the state parks you mention.
    Which brings up a point. If you hate paying for camping, as is stated at the end of every post, why are your post filled with advertising for expensive camping like state parks an rv resorts?

  2. ernest eckel says:

    Not every thing is free and at some point most every body find some thing or some place they want to see or be there in person. free is nice,but sometimes you just found something you can’t pass up. Than way (Drivin’ & Vibin’) go to the trouble to give the people the info on choices they can make. They work very hard to give every one the GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY of every thing that is available to choice. Thanks to Drivin’ & Vibin’ Ernie & Ann Eckel

  3. DMac says:

    Missed Cedar Creek Lake – Texoma and Caddo arent true Texas lakes – both shared with other states –