Lakes Near Houston

Lakes Near Houston

Escape the urban jungle and delve into the refreshing embrace of Houston’s lakes!

McGovern Lake, a peaceful urban oasis, boasts stunning walking trails and a vibrant bird population. Craving a splash of adventure? Head to Lake Nassau for exciting jet skiing and water sports. For a dose of tranquility, unwind by the picturesque Arboretum Lake, surrounded by lush greenery and blooming flowers — considered to be one of the most beautiful and accessible Houston lakes.

So, pack your swimsuit, grab your fishing rod, or simply bring a good book – Houston’s lakes await your exploration! Check out our list of lakes near Houston, Texas, and plan that trip.

Best Lakes Near Houston, TX – Categorized by Activity

Lakes Near Houston for Fishing

Best Houston Lakes for Boating and Sailing

Beautiful Lakes Near Houston TX for General Recreation

Quick Hit Summary of the Most Beautiful Lakes Near Houston, Texas

The lakes near Houston boast plenty of fun and memorable things to do. Whether you’re seeking serenity amongst nature’s beauty, a thrilling day on the water, or a scenic backdrop for a picnic, there are plenty of lakes near Houston that offer something for everyone. You simply have to find the best one that suits the adventure you’re looking for. 

For the adventurer seeking a unique escape, Sheldon Lake beckons. Nestled amidst wetlands, this lesser-known spot offers a true sanctuary experience. Hike or bike along the scenic trails, keeping an eye out for alligators and a variety of birdlife.

History buffs, rejoice at Lake Raven. This is one of the Houston lakes brimming with not just fish but also rich heritage. Nestled near Huntsville, it boasts a storied past, having served as a crucial water source for early Texans. 

If you’re looking for a lake day filled with fun for the whole family, look no further than Lake Arlington. This pristine lake offers a variety of activities to keep everyone entertained.

While Sheldon Lake is my go-to spot when I want to get away, Lake Arlington tops my list for fun with family and friends.  However, don’t ignore the other great lakes around Houston, each one is on my list of places to visit. 

So pack a basket, grab some sunscreen, and head to these lakes near Houston for a day of splash-tastic fun!

Editor’s Note: Our staff works hard to bring you the latest information. However, all information mentioned in this article is subject to change. As always, please confirm before heading out.

Also, check out our posts on Waterfalls in Texas,  and 20 Swimming Holes in Texas!

Lakes Near Houston for Fishing

Lake Houston

Lake Houston TX is a reservoir for the San Jacinto River. It’s also about 11,000 acres of fishing just waiting to happen. This lake is chock full of crappie, bass, catfish, and bluegill. It’s surrounded by heavily forested parkland, so you’ll have some protection from the sun.

There are also hiking trails in the park around the lake and camping grounds if you feel like making a weekend of it. So if you were looking for the best lakes near Houston, here’s one of them!

Where: 110 West Main Street, Humble, TX 77338
Operating Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 24 mins. – 30 min.

Lake Anahuac

Lake Anahuac is a freshwater reservoir located in Chambers County, Texas, USA. It is known for its scenic beauty and serves as a popular destination for fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing. 

Where:  Texas 77597
Operating Hours: Not Stated
Driving time from Houston: 45 mins.

Lake Friendswood

This is the newest addition to the Friendswood community.  The facility currently includes 2 fishing docks, 1 kayak/canoe launch, 1 pavilion with 4 picnic tables, 1 restroom building, multiple fitness workout stations along a 1-mile hiking/jogging/biking trail, picnic tables, benches, and small barbeque pits.

The 33-acre lake is also stocked 4 times a year by Texas Parks & Wildlife. 

Where: 2533 Davis Prairie Ln. Friendswood, TX 77546
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:15 am – 5:30 pm 
Driving time from Houston: 41 mins.

Lake Nassau

Situated in the town of Nassau Bay, this picturesque lake is surrounded by lush greenery and offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and enjoying scenic views from the waterfront parks.

Where: Nassau Bay, TX 77058
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7 am – 11 pm
Driving time from Houston: 35 mins.

Lake Raven

Best Lakes in Houston - Lake Raven

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Lake Raven, found at the heart of Huntsville State Park, is a lovely 210-acre lake. Anything you might like to do on a lake, you can do here: fish, swim, and paddle. Fish stock includes crappie, perch, catfish, and bass. You can rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboat. There are no lifeguards on duty, so swim at your own risk.

Because it’s located in a State Park, you can also hike the trails, visit the nature center, and camp overnight.

Where: 565 Park Road 40 West, Huntsville, Texas 77340
Operating Hours: Open Daily: 6:00 am – 10:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 1 Hr 11 mins

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge is located 45 miles east of Houston. It’s home to a wide variety of animal species–naturally, as it was founded to help preserve wildlife–and is one of the few great fishing lakes near Houston as it has a wider selection of fish. Your options will include speckled trout, southern flounder, redfish, white crappie, and black drum, as well as others. If you’re a fan of birds, this is a great place to spot them.

The refuge got its start as a preserve for local fowl, and you can see a lot of colorful and unusual birds in the area. Be aware, though as in most swampy Texas parks, there will be alligators around. If you want to bring your kids for a day of educational fun, just make sure they understand basic wild animal safety.

Where: 4318 FM1985, Anahuac, TX 77514
Operating Hours: Daily: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 59 mins.

Best Houston Lakes for Boating or Sailing

Lake Houston Marina

Serving as a gateway to Lake Houston, this marina provides boat rentals, boat slips, and a launching ramp for boating enthusiasts to enjoy the lake’s waters.

Where: 10611 FM 1960, Huffman, TX 77336
Operating Hours: Daily: 6:00 am – 7:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 41 mins.

McGovern Lake

Best Lakes in Houston - McGovern Lake

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McGovern Lake is located in the middle of Hermann Park. It’s not the kind of lake you visit if you’re interested in roughing it. It’s a leisurely lake in Houston for people who want to stretch out on a patch of grass in the park with a book for an hour or two.

You can rent a boat to pedal around this Houston lake and take in the scenery. In addition, Kids under 12 and seniors over 65 can enjoy catch-and-release fishing on Bob’s Fishing Pier.

Where: 1700 Hermann Dr, Houston, TX 77004
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Driving time from Houston: 16 mins.

Kinder Lake

Kinder Lake is a smaller man-made lake in the middle of the urban park, Discovery Green. While you won’t be able to fish or swim here, there are kayaks available for rent. When you can’t take the time to drive a good hour and a half or more outside of Houston, it’s nice to know you can have your very own kayaking getaway in the city center.

Or, for a different approach, you can keep your feet firmly on land and send a model boat into the water. R/C sailboats cost $5 to rent for 15 minutes (or you can bring your own), and there’s a designated section of the lake just for them. When you ask locals what are the “biggest lakes near me,” they’ll probably tell you to visit this one!

Where: Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77010
Operating Hours: Daily: 6:00 am – 11:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 5 mins.

Lake Somerville

Situated northwest of Houston, Lake Somerville is a picturesque reservoir surrounded by wooded areas, offering opportunities for boating, fishing, hiking, and camping.

Where: 14222 Park Rd 57, Somerville, TX 77879
Operating Hours: Daily: 6:00 am – 10:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 1 hr & 42 mins.

Beautiful Lakes Near Houston TX for General Recreation

Lake Charlotte

Lake Charlotte in Houston, Texas, is a man-made reservoir that offers a tranquil retreat for fishing, kayaking, and enjoying nature. With its serene surroundings and diverse birdlife, it provides a peaceful escape from the bustling city.

Where:  Texas 77597
Operating Hours: Not Stated
Driving time from Houston: 47 mins.

Sheldon Lake

Sheldon Lake is best known for its bird-watching and fishing and has a variety of terrains for guests to experience, including marsh and coastal prairie. Hiking and boating are also on the table, so this is another well-rounded park for you to enjoy. One feature that makes this lake stand out is its display of alternative energy technologies such as wind turbines and solar power.

Where: 14140 Garrett Rd., Houston, TX 77044
Operating Hours: Daily: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 31 mins.

Arboretum Lake

If what you’re looking for in a lake in Houston is wildlife and nature, Arboretum Lake will be right up your alley. The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is an educational nature preserve based around marshland, coastal prairie, and forest land.

The nature trails are the main draw for this lake–you won’t be able to swim, fish, or boat here. You can, however, see the plants and animals up close and personal and enjoy the activities and events the nature center has to offer. We recommend this to anyone looking for “lakes near Houston”

Where: 6501 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77007
Operating Hours: Daily: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 13 mins.

Mary Jo Peckham Park

Mary Jo Peckham Park is a 32-acre green space featuring a putting green, a miniature golf course, a playground, a large pavilion, a gazebo, a fishing lake, and a six-hole disc golf course.

Where: 5597 Gardenia Lane, Katy, Texas 77493
Operating Hours: Daily: 7:00 am – 10:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 43 mins.

Lake Woodlands

The Woodlands is known as an oasis on the water surrounded by the woods, and Lake Woodlands is a premier spot to experience it firsthand. This 200-acre freshwater lake offers outdoor recreation, entertainment, and dining opportunities.

It’s also one of the lakes near Houston where you can kayak or stand-up paddleboard in the morning and then share a lakeside meal as you watch the sunset from a patio in the evening. 

Where: The Woodlands, TX
Operating Hours: Not Stated
Driving time from Houston: 39 mins.

Lake Livingston

Lakes near Houston - Lake Livingston State Park

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At Lake Livingston State Park, you can swim, fish, boat, hike, bird, camp, picnic, mountain bike, geocache, and study nature. We have activities for the whole family! 

Where: 300 Park Road 65, Livingston, TX 77351
Operating Hours: Daily: 6:00 am – 10:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 1 hr & 13 mins.

Lake San Jacinto (San Jacinto River)

The San Jacinto River rises at the San Jacinto Dam on the southern rim of Lake Houston in northeastern Harris County and flows southeast for twenty-eight miles to its mouth on Galveston Bay east of Houston. Both Lake Houston, a 12,000 acre-feet municipal reservoir, and the river below it are formed by the confluence of the sixty-nine-mile-long East Fork and the ninety-mile-long West Fork of the San Jacinto rivers making it one of the nicest lakes around Houston to visit.

Where:  San Jacinto River, Texas, USA
Operating Hours: Not Stated
Driving time from Houston: 48 mins.

Lake Lyndon B. Johnson

Also known as Lake LBJ, this reservoir is located northwest of Houston and offers a wide range of recreational activities, including boating, fishing, jet skiing, and lakeside camping.

Where:  Texas, USA
Operating Hours:  Always Open
Driving time from Houston: 3 hrs & 45 mins.

Lake Arlington

Lakes near Houston - Lake Arlington

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Although located in Arlington, Texas, this is one of the lakes near Houston, TX, worth mentioning for its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities such as fishing, boating, and picnicking.

Where: 6300 W. Arkansas Lane, Arlington, TX 76016
Operating Hours: Not Stated
Driving time from Houston: 3 hrs & 55 mins.

Lake Calaveras

Situated in the Shadow Creek Ranch community in Pearland, this scenic lake offers fishing, kayaking, and a peaceful atmosphere for residents and visitors to enjoy. Check out Lake Calaveras, one of our most serene lakes near Houston Texas!

Where:  Texas, USA
Operating Hours: Not Stated
Driving time from Houston: 3 hrs. & 25 mins.

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