Whether you’re in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, or San Antonio, you can build a sand castle and picnic on stunning beaches without having to drive for miles on end. All of these cities have pristine lake beaches within an hour’s drive. Here are our favorite ones that we have either visited or were suggested to us by friends and family.
All major Texan cities are in or near the Prairies and Lake Region
As the name suggests, this big region is filled to the brim with stunning water bodies. While most of these lakes are fantastic, family-friendly destinations for a day trip, not all of them feature pristine beaches. Some lake beaches are covered in bird poop, others are littered, and some are simply too muddy to lie down. In the following text, we will show you the best sandy beaches near Texan cities, most of which are located in the Prairies & Lakes region. Here is a map of all the destinations we will tell you about:
Best lake beaches near Austin and San Antonio
There are only a handful of pretty lake beaches near these two cities, but those are worth visiting. Beware that the space is limited, and they can quickly reach their capacity on the weekend.
Lake Lyndon B. Johnson
Lake LBJ is actually a large riverbed that features a plethora of beautiful sandy swim beaches. Unfortunately, a significant part of the shoreline has been lost to construction projects. Nevertheless, it is a fantastic highland lake that offers plenty of fun water sports activties but also tranquil, idyllic beaches to spend a relaxed Sunday afternoon. The lake can be reached in 1 h from Austin and 1h 35 min from San Antonio.
We recommend you check out the following spots at Lake LBJ:
- The swimming holes at Kingsland Community Park
- Horseshoe Bay
- Clear Cove Park
- Robinhood Park
- Cottonwood Shores
Comal Park Beach
Comal Park, located on the southern end of Canyon Lake, features a stunning white-sand, lakefront beach facing pristine turquoise waters. Kayak and jet skis can also be rented. The water is pleasantly cool. In the summer months, it is typically around 70°. Boats typically keep their distance from the beach so that beach goers can enjoy the calm sounds of nature. The park typically isn’t crowded and very clean. There is no dedicated dog beach. Unfortunately, there isn’t much shade on the beach, so pack your sunscreen and sunbrella. Beware that pets are not allowed on the swim beach but are allowed in the other areas of the park. Comal park and its beach are open from March to October, and the entrance fee is $10 per car. The beach at Comal Park can be reached in 1 h 10 min from Austin and 0 h 50 min from San Antonio.
Canyon Park is located right opposite Comal Park on the northern shore of Canyon Lake. To get there from the beach at Comal Park, you can ride a jet ski for 5 minutes or drive 25 minutes around the lake. The beach at canyon park is shallow, making it very family-friendly. Watersport opportunities include jet skiing, kayaking, tubing, para motoring and wakeboarding. In contrast to Comal park, the beach here is not comprised of white sand. You will have to fork over $5 per vehicle to enter canyon park. The beach at canyon park can be reached within 1 hour from both Austin and San Antonio.
Best lake beaches near Dallas and Forth Worth
Forth Worth and Dallas are smack in the middle of the Prairies and Lake Region. Thus, beach goers will have no issues finding a decent beach to spend a relaxing afternoon. Most of the beaches on the following list also feature well-maintained facilities and are rarely too crowded.
Island View Park
This park is close to the Oklahoma border by Lake Texoma. The beach there is one of the most stunning in the Dallas area and actually allows pets as well. The beach is cleverly divided into two areas. The first one is completely unspoiled, with minimal human interference. The second one features convenient amenities, such as water sports rentals, sunbeds, and picnic tables. There is 1 portapotty and 2 restrooms available. This park is open all year-round and while there is quite a hefty entrance fee of $7 per person, we think it’s worth it, as the area is incredibly well-kept with minimal litter. Kayaks cost $26 per hour. Driving to Island View Park in Pottsboro takes around 1h 10 min from downtown Dallas.
Little Elm Park
The sandy beachfront area offers fantastic views of Lewisville Lake.
The entrance fee is expensive at $10 per vehicle, once inside you will have access to the following amenities and activities:
- Paddleboarding and canoe rentals
- Bike and scooter rentals
- Portable restrooms
- Hiking trails
- Barbecue areas
- A large, modern playground
- A clean sandy beach area
- A family-friendly Mexican restaurant with an elegant patio
- Free life jackets for kids. 8 spacious grass-free volleyball courts.
Tents are forbidden on the beach, and there are almost no shady places, so definitely bring your sunscreen or an umbrella. Little Elm Park is less than an hour’s drive from Dallas.
Granbury City Beach Park
Lake Granbury is technically an artificially created reservoir that formed after the construction of a dam in the Brazos River. The lake is a popular fishing and watersports area, but also has an idyllic white sand beach called Granbury City Beach that features sanitary amenities. You can also rent bikes, kayaks, tubes, volleyballs, paddle boards, and other fun equipment. Younger kids will have a blast at the splash pads, but remind them to dodge the goose poop on the way there! Approximate time spent on the road: 0 h 42 min from Fort Worth, 1 h 10 min from Dallas.
Twin Points Beach
Twin Points Beach in Fort Worth is part of Twin Points Park and faces Eagle Mountain Lake. It is typically frequented by local swimmers looking to cool off after a hot day at work. Parking costs $20 per vehicle. The artificial sand on the beach has the perfect texture for large sandcastles. There are platforms to swim to. The beach area is also dotted with trees providing ample share (a rare occurrence on Texan lake beaches!). Pavilions can also be rented from the staff. You can also park your boat there, but beware that it often runs at full capacity. Many captains only realize there’s no space after having spent $20 on a ticket! Twin Points Beach is in North-West Fort Worth and can be reached within 50 minutes from Dallas.
Beach at Ray Roberts Lake
Ray Roberts Lake has a stunning small beach that is the final destination of a fun mountain biking trail. You can even amp on this beach, but you should definitely book in advance through their website to avoid arriving only to find out there are no more spaces available. That’s what happened to us! The beach has basic amenities, such as picnic tables, soccer goals, and a small playground. The beach is frequented by deer and roadrunners. Dogs are also allowed if they are leashed. The mountain bike trail is divided into 5 loops, which vary greatly in difficulty. On good days, you will drive around an hour from downtown Dallas.
Eisenhower State Park Beach
Eisenhower State Park is located at Lake Texoma and features various white sand beaches with plenty of shady areas and even a small cave. There are also plenty of camping opportunities and shelters available. The unique draw of this beach is the various fossils you will stumble upon as you stroll along the shore. We suggest going on evening walks, as the sunsets were reflected perfectly on the calm water of the lake. Bring your dog along with you! Unfortunately, some tourists here played noisy hip-hop music when we were there. The beach is It is slightly over an hour’s drive from Dallas.
Best lake beaches near Houston
With Galveston at its doorstep, Houston is pretty spoiled with sandy beaches. But lake beaches offer different vibes and can hardly be compared to seaside beaches. The ones at the lake are more calm, intimate, and oftentimes more ideal for families. If you are exclusively looking for beaches on lakes near Houston, you narrowed your options down quite a bit!
Toledo Bend Reservoir
This Reservoir on the Sabine River is massive and has over a thousand miles of stunning shoreline that is dotted with pine trees of all shapes and sizes! The water is murky but clean and safe to swim in. There are a ton of activities to do, and you can rent a boat off some of the sandy beaches. It’s a 3 hours drive from Houston, though!
Scotts Ridge Swim Area
This beach is one of the few areas near Houston, where kids can build a sandcastle in nature. The vibes are this beach by Lake Conroe are fantastic. Dogs are allowed, and there are built-in canopies that can be rented, in case you forget your sunbrella and sunscreen once again! Also, bring a trash bag, as, for some reason, there is not a single trash can on the entire property! Beware that this area is not always family-friendly. On the weekend, loud music is often played, and you will see frat boys chugging bud lights, despite alcohol being illegal. Seriously, don’t bring any alcohol yourself unless you fancy a $300 ticket! Scotts Ridge can be reached within an hour of downtown Houston.