Dallas is known around the country for its iconic glittering cityscape and famous TV show. However, locals will be quick to tell you how important lake life is to Dallasites–and with so the combination of Texas heat and so many beautiful lakes in Dallas and the surrounding area, it’s no surprise!
Whether you’re looking for a taste of beach life without driving to the Gulf Coast, a chance to watch the sunset behind the stunning Dallas skyline, or to boat, swim, or fish, you’ll find these Dallas lakes offer a variety of fun for all ages.
If you’re looking for a new Dallas lake to visit this weekend, here are some of the best lakes in and near Dallas to consider!
Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more detail.
White Rock Lake
Take a 20-minute drive northeast from downtown Dallas and you’ll find yourself standing in the midst of a man-made reservoir called White Rock Lake.
Like most lakes on this list in the Great Plains of Texas, White Rock Lake was originally created as a water source for the area’s inhabitants and is tied to the Trinity River system.
While its origins are from the early 1900s, this lake is now a full-fledged park with plenty for the entire family to enjoy.
As one of the most heavily trafficked parks in the Dallas area, it offers boating, swimming, kayaking, and sailing.
While visiting White Rock Lake, you can also enjoy your time at this popular lake in Dallas by having a picnic or by taking your dog for a stroll through the dog park.
The Dallas Arboretum and other museums are also located along the lake and offer many of their own events for customers to enjoy!
Joe Pool Lake
Roughly 30 minutes Southwest of the inner city you’ll find another serene lake known as Joe Pool Lake.
Created with nearby residents in mind, this lake became the base for what would later become 3 separate parks.
One of the parks is operated by the state, while the other 2 are managed by the neighboring city of Grand Prairie.
On the Northeast side of the lake is where Cedar Hill State Park and the lake’s marina sit, along with a fishing barge and a designated swimming area.
Love adventure? Want to sleep in the thick of nature or next to the water?
Well, at Cedar Hill State Park, you can do that. There they have over 300 campsites and 100s of picnic tables and grills to choose from. Trails for hiking and mountain biking are also available.
There are small entrance, camping, marina, and pavilion fees to use the Cedar Hill State Park, but all are well worth the price!
Located on the northwestern shore of Jake Pool Lake, the neighboring Loyd Park charges a small per car entry fee (or annual park pass if you go there often) but offers a lot to visitors who do.
Here the park offers an area to swim, picnic, grill, boat, and fish.
Along with two massive pavilions situated in the main area, the park offers a concession stand, playground, volleyball court, and playground for the kids.
There are 6 miles of trails, some of which are equestrian-friendly for horse-owners to ride through!
Lynn Creek State Park lines the Northwest corner of the lake.
Like Lloyd Park, it too has a per car entrance fee, but that is just about all it charges for aside from food from their concession stand.
The park has a boat dock, offers several baseball fields, volleyball courts, picnic areas, and a large playground not far from the swimming area.
Lake Ray Hubbard
Lake Ray Hubbard (formerly known as Forney Lake), 30 minutes northeast of the Dallas Metroplex, is a massive 22,000-acre lake with room enough for 2,200 boats to boat across at any one time safely and recreationally.
Its sheer size makes it one of the largest lakes in North Texas.
With 5 parks, 3 marinas, 2 boat ramps, boat, kayak, and bike rentals available, there will be plenty to keep anyone who visits busy on the water for the entire duration of your stay—be it in a tent or at a nearby hotel.
On top of all the room to one could ask to float across, you can also catch several different fish—from bass to catfish and crappie, there’s plenty to reel in!
Make beautiful memories the family will never forget on Lake Ray Hubbard’s glittering waters.
Like the sparkling look of a lake or river, but don’t want to swim or fish?
Then drive over to the side of the lake where you can enjoy the beauty of being on a Riverwalk without having to worry about falling in.
This body of water also offers the aesthetically stunning Harbor at Rockwall. Not only will the natural beauty of the lake surround you, but so will the attractions.
Between a cinema, hotel, shops, restaurants, live shows, and lakefront activities, you’ll find Lake Ray Hubbard offers a little something for everyone.
This 205-acre lake located 20 minutes northwest of the city is perfect for those who want to visit a lake close to Dallas and don’t need or want all the extras offered by the previous lakes.
Bachman Lake also offers the bonus of being free to visit.
If you’re an avid hiker and biker, this beautiful lake offers over 5 kilometers of paved and cemented trails, along with charming picnic areas.
Boaters can bring their boats to the marina to boat and fish to their heart’s content throughout the hours the lake is open.
For those who prefer the feeling of being out near the lake without getting in it, enjoy your day trip to Bachman Lake at the indoor aquatic or recreational center.
There you’ll have access to a clean swimming pool and other amenities provided by the park.
Or if you prefer watching the skies above to walking the trails, this is also the lake for you.
Whether you watch from a bench or on a blanket in the shade of the tall trees, you won’t be disappointed.
From ducks and geese that waddle and fly around the surrounding nature to the planes overhead from the nearby Dallas Love Field airport, there’s never a dull moment in the skies above Bachman Lake.
Just 40 minutes northwest of Dallas sits the beautiful Grapevine Lake.
This 8,000-acre lake offers just as many things to do, if not more, as Lake Ray Hubbard.
Along the shores of Grapevine Lake, you’ll find 8 parks, 3 marinas, 9 boat ramps, 3 camping grounds, and 1 RV Park for those who want to visit or stay at the lake.
Ever dreamed of what a video game about a waterpark on a lake would look like? Then look no further.
Your real-life gaming dream comes true is on this lake in the form of a floating waterpark.
Here you can test your parkour skills to see who can stay on the massive floating raft as they run around the course!
But that’s not the only fun thing you can do on this popular lake near Dallas.
Take a tube, water skis, or a small surfboard and tube, ski, or wake surf the day away as you see who can hold on the longest!
Now, if you’re looking to have a wedding or celebration for your upcoming work Christmas party with a sparkling lake as part of the backdrop, look no further than Lake Grapevine’s Paradise Cove.
They offer all the necessary facilities to host any wedding or party: beautiful landscape and gazebo, DJ booth & dancefloor, and dining room. Along with this, they offer full-service catering.
And that’s only a taste of what Lake Grapevine offers to those who visit its glistening shores!
Mountain Creek Lake
Located 30 minutes east of Dallas, Mountain Creek Lake was first constructed to cool a power plant but is now a lake and park open for visitors.
However, due to the contamination it received from chemicals used in farming in the surrounding areas, they do not allow people to eat the fish caught from the lake.
Tested fish pulled from the lake have been tested and found to be contaminated with PCBs, but it shouldn’t stop you from visiting!
As long as you don’t eat the fish or drink the water, the lake is safe to boat across and fish in.
While taking in the gorgeous scenery of the lake and its nature, you can enjoy a lovely picnic at one of the tables, practice your curveball on the baseball field, and score as many goals as you can at the soccer field.
For those who can’t resist the urge to swim when they see water but can’t due to the chemicals that currently contaminate the pond, the park has provided a pool for you to enjoy!
Or, if you’re looking to exercise, you can take the trail around the park and enjoy the warmth of the sun.