Lakes Near Houston - 21 Biggest & Best Swimming, Fishing, and Boating Lake Locations Near You!

Lakes Near Houston – 21 Biggest & Best Swimming, Fishing, and Boating Lake Locations Near You!

When the summer heat becomes unbearable and you’re longing for a refreshing retreat, having an escape plan is essential. Fortunately, we’ve got the perfect solution for you with these awesome lakes in Houston TX!

Whether you’re yearning for a cool swim, an adventurous boating experience, or an early morning fishing trip, the best Houston lakes have got you covered. 

These lakes near Houston promise an unforgettable escape, leaving you refreshed, rejuvenated, and craving more. So, pack your swimsuits, grab your fishing gear, and get ready to immerse yourself in a world of aquatic bliss as we present our carefully curated list of the most splendid lakes Houston has to offer.

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, 20 Swimming Holes in Texas20 Best Road Trips from Houston, and Cheap & Free Things to Do in Houston Texas!

Best Lakes Near Houston – Lakes in Houston with Less than 1 Hour Driving Time

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. Houston 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. Also, there are 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 in 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.

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: 12 mins.

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. On the hunt for “lakes near me?” check out Lake Anahuac!
Where:  Texas 77597
Operating Hours: Not Stated
Driving time from Houston: 45 mins.

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

Best Lakes in Houston - Sheldon Lake

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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 Sheldon Lake stand out is its displays of alternative energy technologies such as wind turbines and solar power.
Where: 14140 Garrett Rd., Houston, TX 77044
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 29 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 a “lake near me!”
Where: 4501 Woodway Dr, Houston, TX 77024
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday 7:00 am – 7:30 pm
Driving time from Houston: 33 mins.

Lake Friendswood

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 stocked 4 times a year by Texas Parks & Wildlife. 
Where: 2533 Davis Prairie Ln. Friendswood, TX 77546
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday 7:15 am – 7:30 pm 
Driving time from Houston: 41 mins.

Kinder Lake

Best Lakes in Houston - Kinder Lake

Image Credit: Discovery Green FB Page

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, 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: Monday – Sunday 6:00 am – 11:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 9 mins.

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: Monday – Sunday 6:00 am – 7:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 57 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: Open Daily 7:00 am – 10:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 46 mins.

Lake Nassau

Best Lakes in Houston - Lake Nassau

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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: 1800 Space Park Drive Suite 200 Nassau Bay, TX 77058
Operating Hours: Monday – Thursday 7:30 am – 5:30 pm | Friday 7;30 am – 11:30 am
Driving time from Houston: 37 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 one of the lakes near The Woodlands 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: 47 mins.

Best Lakes Near Houston – Lakes in Houston with 1-3 Hours Estimated Driving Time

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 2 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 in 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: Monday – Sunday 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 1 hr & 17 mins.

Lake Conroe Park

The park covers 13 acres of grounds and offers barbeque pits, picnic tables, and restrooms. It is a great swimming lake Houston area and has fishing piers too for anyone looking for lake Houston swimming. Additional amenities include two covered pavilions available for rent, a softball field, and volleyball areas.
Where: 14968 Hwy 105 West, Montgomery, TX 77356
Operating Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 1 hr & 10 mins.

Lake Livingston

Best Lakes in 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: Open Daily 6:00 am – 10:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 1 hr & 10 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: 1 hrs. & 4mins.

Lake Somerville

Best Lakes in Houston - Lake Somerville

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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: Monday – Sunday 6:00 sm – 10:00 pm
Driving time from Houston: 2 hrs & 6 mins.

Best Lakes Near Houston – Lakes in Houston with more than 3 Hours of Driving Time

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: 4 hrs & 11 mins.

Lake Arlington

Best Lakes in Houston - Lake Arlington

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Although located in Arlington, Texas, this lake is 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: 4 hrs & 21 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 in Houston Texas!
Where:  Texas, USA
Operating Hours: Not Stated
Driving time from Houston: 3 hrs. & 43 mins.

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