When summer gets hot one way to keep cool is to spend lots of time in and around the lakes of D-FW. There are more lake options than you might expect, so check out a few on our list. For maps, access and camping details, visit the website listed for each lake.
Note: Always check water levels before planning a lake visit. Occasionally attractions close due to heavy rainfall or other natural events.
This 1,015-acre lake, originally developed as a water source for Dallas, was once a creek where buffalo roamed. Today, you can try the 9-mile hike-and-bike trail or visit the Audubon Society bird-watching area and wetlands site. You can fish for catfish, sunfish and bass (license required). Canine friends might appreciate a romp at the dog park with separate areas for big and little canines.
Kayakpower.com and White Rock Paddle Co. rent canoes, kayaks and paddleboards; Dallas Bike Works and Richardson Bike Mart rent bikes, with Dallas Bike Works coordinating rides, too. The Dallas Arboretum offers excellent views of the lake and photo ops galore in a splendid natural setting. The aptly named volunteer group For the Love of the Lake leads programs and coordinates opportunities to preserve and enhance the lake as an urban oasis.
One special attraction is the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, a lush 2,000-acre wildlife-management area featuring bottomland forests, prairies and wetlands, as well as more than 280 species of birds. There are 6 miles of hiking trails and fishing, kayaking, canoeing, bird-watching and camping opportunities.
The 29,592-acre Lewisville Lake is bustling with activities, and it borders multiple cities — The Colony, Hickory Creek, Lake Dallas, Highland Village and others -- and is bustling with activites. Examples? Little Elm Park Beach offers an open sand beach, sand volleyball court and bring-your-own-wood fire pits. DFW Surf offers paddleboard classes and rentals, including SUP paddleboard yoga (yep, that’s yoga on a paddleboard on the water).
This 22,745-acre lake is in Dallas, Kaufman, Collin, and Rockwall counties, just north of Forney. One option for fun is the Sail With Scott group, offering shared and private cruises on a catamaran. There are great fishing opportunities, and ramps and other services at city parks and private marinas around the lake; some are free, others charge fees.
One highlight offered by the city of Rockwall is the free Concerts by the Lake Series, featuring lakeside tribute and party bands.
Among the jewels around this 29,350-acre reservoir, 10 miles north of Denton between Pilot Point and Sanger, are its hiking, biking and horseback-riding trails. Canoeists, bird-watchers and anglers also can access the trails; calling ahead to check conditions is recommended.
You’ll also find swimming beaches, fishing, boating, camping opportunities and a nature lodge, Lone Star Lodge, for an array of fees. And lots of organized activities are included in the general admission fee to Ray Roberts Lake State Park. There are two camping and recreation areas, at Isle du Bois and Johnson Branch.
Water sports, fishing, biking, hiking, walking and camping are all part of the fun at this 7,200-acre lake with 60 miles of shoreline. At Scott’s Landing Marina, you’ll find sailboaters, powerboaters, boat clubs and more. Another option is Silver Lake Marina, home of Black Watch Sailing Charters, which sails the largest wooden-mast boat on the lake.
There are more than 40 miles of paved and natural trails. One spot for rental bicycles is Grapevine Bike Center. You can also splash around in a floating water park with slides, trampolines and obstacle courses.
The 7,500-acre lake borders Cedar Hill State Park, Loyd Park, Lynn Creek Park and Britton Park, and offers fishing, boating and camping. Loyd Park’s big on camping with an 18-room lodge, 221 campsites and eight cabins (you can also rent a canoe or kayak for the 4.9-mile paddling trail); Lynn Creek has upward of 100 picnic shelters along with a swimming beach and playground, and Britton Park has a boat ramp and fishing-hole access.
At Cedar Hill State Park, you’ll find picnic areas, camping opportunities, boat ramps and Penn Farm Agricultural History Center (an old Texas farm).
On the west side of Fort Worth, Burger's Lake offers nice sandy banks to relax on, and the water is clean and more pristine than you might expect. This freshwater lake is fed by a natural spring but decked out with a few fountains, slides and diving boards. Admission is $15 for ages 7 and older, $5 for ages 1-6 (free for ages younger than 1). Open daily through Aug. 18 and weekends through Labor Day (Sept. 2).
This lake is noted for its sunfish, crappie and blue catfish fishing opportunities. Camping and boating are among the other fun things to do at the 21,400-acre lake in Collin County, near Wylie. There are more than a dozen lakeside parks, with marinas in Collin Park (featuring a campground with RV and tent sites, and boat rentals from Lavon Water Sports) and East Fork Park.
Compiled by Norma Cavazos with content from former staff writers Nancy Churnin, Aurelia Han, Ann Pinson and special contributor Jackie Hoermann-Elliott