For fishing in the early hours of the morning and skimming over waves on a jet ski, Texas is brimming with more than 150 lakes. Country houses nestled on wooded lakeshores are growing more popular as families escape the noise of the city in exchange for weekends by the water. Better than swimming in chlorine in the neighborhood pool, Texas lakes are at high levels from spring showers and offer a world of fun such as campfires on the shore, boating and tubing and water skiing. Here’s a short list of some of the most beautiful and most fun lakes found in our home state.

Caddo Lake
Spanish moss hangs in curtains on cypress trees rooted deep under the water. In places, it’s untouched and green, uniquely wild. Though there are many places in Texas to jet ski and sunbathe, Caddo Lake is not one of those places. It’s the only natural lake in Texas, famous for the swampy cypress trees, which take root only in the water, layered with history. It’s ideal for a short summer trip to take advantage of the excellent fishing available.

Possum Kingdom Lake
Possum Kingdom Lake is one of the most unique lakes in Texas. Possum Kingdom sprawls on a loop of the Brazos River about 80 miles west of Fort Worth with over 300 miles of shoreline. It’s perhaps the best place in Texas for snorkeling and scuba diving. The bold, huge cliffs on the south end of the lake culminate into the iconic Hell’s Gate, a narrow waterway between cliff walls that shelter a vast cove where boaters come for a massive July Fourth party and fireworks show. As a naturally created cliff-diving venue, Hell’s Gate also has been a part of Red Bull’s Cliff Diving World Series. This is the only time cliff-diving in Possum Kingdom Lake is legal.

Lake Bob Sandlin and Lake Cypress Springs
These two lakes are separated only by a short strip of land, found in the Piney Woods region of Northeast Texas, surrounded by rolling hillsides. Lake Bob Sandlin has a heavily forested shoreline with excellent fishing and a wide variety of wildlife year-round. Birders can even see eagles during the winter months.

Lake Cypress Springs, just next door, is extraordinarily beautiful. It is spring-fed, leading to amazing clarity. Lake Cypress Springs is a haven for those craving relief from the hot July sun.

Lake Lewisville
Local lakers flock to Lake Lewisville, just north of Plano and one of the biggest recreational lakes around. Once called Lake Dallas, Lake Lewisville is full of activity, usually the first choice for a day on the water to escape the hottest days in July. Lake Lewisville’s generous size allows plenty of room for lots of boats and jet skis to cruise under the summer sky.

Lake Grapevine
In the heart of Grapevine, Lake Grapevine offers boating, water-skiing, wind surfing, fishing, camping and picnic facilities, surrounded by miles of lovely shoreline and wilderness trails. It’s close enough to the city for a day trip, and Grapevine Segway even allows visitors to Segway along the paths. One huge draw for Lake Grapevine is the cruises that sail there during the day, at sunset and under the moonlight, a creative way to enjoy the sunshine and the water on any occasion from a casual family day out to a lush evening wedding reception.

Image courtesy of the grapevine convention & visitors bureau

Eagle Mountain Lake
With hidden little swimming coves, plentiful fishing and fun restaurants close by, Eagle Mountain is small but has a little of everything. The water is fairly clear and boaters often cruise slowly by the shore to admire the beautiful lake-houses along the banks. Since the Fort Worth boat club makes its home here, Eagle Mountain is particularly well known for some of the best sailing in the area. Plus, for a much-needed break, the lake has a specifically designated party cove where, between Memorial and Labor days, boaters flock to anchor and relax for the whole day.

White Rock Lake
White Rock Lake is in the heart of Dallas, just five miles from downtown. This city lake is one of the most popular destinations for a day trip, iconic for locals. It has a nine-mile hiking and biking trail, boat ramps, a dog park, a museum, and is conveniently adjacent to the breathtaking Dallas Arboretum. There’s kayaking and standup paddleboarding available for those who want to be out on the water, and birders flock to the birdwatching area, certified by the Audubon Society.

Image courtesy of alison victoria

For more amazing lakes, check out our full article, Life on the Lake, in the July issue.