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11 Fantastic Recreational Lakes near Texarkana

Texarkana stands as a gateway to a plethora of diverse and fascinating lakes, each weaving its own unique experiences and scenic beauty.
Caddo Lake State Park during sunset - Texas Louisiana border

Texarkana stands as a gateway to a plethora of diverse and fascinating lakes, each weaving its own unique experiences and scenic beauty.

At the intersection of excitement and relaxation lie Lake Wright Patman and Lake O’ the Pines—two stellar options that stand out as quintessential recreational reservoirs.

Here, the possibilities are limitless. From the bliss of swimming in designated areas to the thrill of water sports, these lakes offer a varied palette of recreational activities, with Lake Wright Patman proudly hosting the nearest beach to Texarkana.

Venturing just 30 minutes from Texarkana, one can embrace the allure of Millwood Lake—a fisherman’s paradise and a sanctuary for those with a penchant for angling. Renowned for its prolific fishing experiences, this lake is a treasure trove teeming with diverse aquatic life.

For those yearning for an immersive experience into a different facet of nature, Caddo Lake awaits with its enchanting swampy ambiance and an extraordinary array of wildlife. The labyrinthine waterways and moss-draped cypresses create a magical setting.

Each lake near Texarkana has its own distinct character and charm. You can compare these lakes using the chart below!

Lakes near Texarkana Arkansas Texas Comparison Table
Comparison Table

1. Bringle Lake

Bringle Lake
Source: depositphotos
  • Official Page: Bringle Lake
  • Distance from Texarkana: 8 miles (15 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Hiking, MTBs, Picnics, Sports Fields

Bringle Lake is a 233-acre reservoir just 15 minutes from Texarkana. It’s a day-use destination with highly-rated and well-maintained parks. 

Unlike most lakes around the city, the reservoir has restrictions on water activities. For example, swimming isn’t allowed in Bringle Lake. Also, it’s a no-wake reservoir, so the boats are limited to idle speeds.

Yet, paddling is fantastic here. The lake’s modest size is unintimidating, and the shoreline is teeming with wildlife. It’s a gorgeous and tranquil kayaking spot.

Still, the most popular water activity here is fishing. There are a couple of piers, but the shore access isn’t easy, so the best fishing is from the boat or a kayak. 

The most common catch is largemouth bass. The lake’s record stands at 10 pounds, which is pretty good for its size.

Also, the superb feature of Bringle Lake is the continuous trail that surrounds it. It’s a 6-mile loop suitable for hiking and mountain biking. It runs in the shade and has stunning lake views all along.

It’s a buzzing place on summer weekends, but the best destinations always are. 

2. Wright Patman Lake

Wright Patman Lake
Source: flickr/CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: Wright Patman Lake
  • Distance from Texarkana: 14 miles (20 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Swimming, Hiking, Camping, RVs, Sailing, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Tubing

Wright Patman Lake is a vast 18,994-acre reservoir just 20 minutes from Texarkana. It’s a superb destination with tons of activities and manicured parks.

The lake has over a dozen access areas; most are highly rated and provide excellent facilities. 

For example, Rocky Point Park is the nearest spot for camping and swimming. And Atlanta State Park on the southern shore is the perfect all-round destination with hiking and kayak rentals.

Wright Patman Lake is a boaters’ haven. With so much space, it never feels crowded, so you can wakeboard, ski, and tube safely.

And when it comes to fishing, it’s pretty good, too. The variety is impressive, and the bite is usually strong. However, some areas have boulders along the shore, making access difficult.

All things considered, Wright Patman Lake is the best recreational lake near Texarkana. It’s hugely versatile and just 20 minutes away.

3. Millwood Lake

Millwood Lake in Arkansas
Source: dreamstime
  • Official Page: Millwood Lake
  • Distance from Texarkana: 27 miles (30 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Hiking, Camping, RVs

Millwood Lake is a massive 29,260-acre reservoir north of Texarkana. It’s a legendary fishing lake and an incredible wildlife destination.

The reservoir is relatively shallow and has plenty of underwater vegetation and debris, creating ideal fish habitat. 

The variety of species is exceptional here. In addition to typical cats, bass, and crappie, you can catch paddlefish, gar, and various types of buffalo. It’s a nation-famous fishing lake.

However, timber and debris make boating difficult. You won’t see people ski or tube here. Plus, there are plenty of alligators in Lake Millwood, so swimming isn’t recommended either.

In addition to water species, the lake is a renowned bird habitat, with over 300 species recorded. It’s the best destination for birding and wildlife photography, hands down.

If it’s your first time visiting, Millwood State Park is a perfect choice. It offers camping, hiking trails, and kayak rentals. Also, it’s only 30 minutes away from Texarkana.

Overall, this is a unique lake best suited for nature fans and anglers. But if you’re looking for a traditional recreational lake, Wright Patman is a better option.

4. Lake Columbia

Lake Columbia
Source: pixabay
  • Official Page: Lake Columbia
  • Distance from Texarkana: 51 miles (1h)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Swimming, Camping, RVs, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Tubing

Lake Columbia is a 2,950-acre reservoir near Waldo in Arkansas. It’s a charming and tranquil spot best suited for fishing and camping.

The lake has an RV park on the southern shore that offers picnic spots with grills, a fishing pier, and a boat ramp. And despite its remote location, the park has RV hookups and showers, too.

Also, there is a designated swimming area; it’s the best spot on the lake for swimming. However, be mindful of alligators who are known to populate the lake.

When it comes to boating activities, there are no limits here. Kayaking and canoeing are great fun, and wakeboarding and skiing are possible too, although not very popular.

Fishing is OK at Lake Columbia. The shore access is good, but you’ll get better results from the boat. The typical catch is largemouth bass which loves the lake’s plentiful vegetation. 

Overall, it’s an excellent lake if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind. It’s charming and tranquil.

5. Lake Erling

Lake Erling
Source: flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Official Page: Lake Erling
  • Distance from Texarkana: 51 miles (1h)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Swimming, Camping, RVs

Lake Erling is a 7,100-acre reservoir near Taylor. It’s a privately owned lake known for crappie fishing and affordable lakeside property.

Several businesses offer access to the lake. The best place to start is Cummings Camp on the northern side. They offer boat slips, a fishing pier, and a selection of cabins.

The lake’s standing timber provides excellent habitat for various types of fish, but the most common one is crappie. There are reports of large catches with dozens of them. 

Also, it’s an excellent lake for kayaking and canoeing. There is plenty of birds and other wildlife, making it an ideal spot for birding and photography. 

Despite the reservoir’s size, there is a lack of developed parks and information. It’s not a typical recreational lake, but you should certainly give it a go, especially if fishing is your priority.

6. Caddo Lake

Sunrise with cypress trees in the swamp of the Caddo Lake State Park, Texas
Source: dreamstime
  • Official Page: Caddo Lake
  • Distance from Texarkana: 60 miles (1h 10min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Hiking, Biking, Camping, RVs, Birding

Caddo Lake is a vast 26,800-acre natural lake bordering Texas and Louisiana. It’s an incredible destination with diverse wildlife and a swampy atmosphere.

The best way to experience this lake is to visit either Caddo Lake State Park or the Wildlife Refuge. Both are great options for first-time visitors and offer a wide selection of activities. 

The cypress trees and water lilies create an aquatic maze, making paddling here both dangerous and exciting. 

You can hire kayaks and canoes from the state park and embark on the Turtle Shell Paddling Trail to experience the swamp. It’s the best paddling lake around.

Although swimming in Caddo Lake isn’t prohibited, it’s not recommended, primarily because of the alligators.

Another way to experience the lake is to take one of the numerous hiking trails in the wildlife refuge. It’s a vast place with 300 bird species and dozens of types of amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.

Although the lake is home to 86 fish species, the most common catch here is largemouth bass, probably because over a million of them were stocked here in the last decade. The largest one recorded was over 16 pounds.

Lake Caddo is extraordinary and breathtaking. It’s the top destination for nature fans and one of the best kayaking spots around.

7. Lake O’ the Pines

The Cedar Springs Boat Ramp and Park on Lake O' the Pines on Upshur County Landing Road near Ore City, Texas.
Source: wikimedia/CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: Lake O’ the Pines
  • Distance from Texarkana: 62 miles (1h 10min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Swimming, Camping, RVs, Sailing, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Tubing

Lake O’ the Pines is a massive 19,780-acre reservoir near Jefferson. It’s a classic recreational lake with a stunning backdrop and gorgeous sunsets.

The Corps of Engineers manages over 20 parks, campgrounds, and boat ramps on the lake. Also, a few private marinas offer boat slips, cabins, and bait shops. 

Swimming is allowed at Lake O’ the Pines, and several parks offer designated swimming beaches. And if you’re wondering about alligators, they are extremely rare here; you can spend your whole life on this lake and never see one.

The reservoir is an excellent boating destination. If you’re looking for a place to wakeboard, ski, or tube, this is a superb option. Aim for the lake’s southern part; it’s the deepest area with few underwater obstacles.

Fishing is impressive here, too. A reservoir of this size produces big fish, and O’ the Pines even holds a state record for a 5.5-pound spotted bass. 

Overall, it’s a popular and highly-rated lake. If you’re looking for something similar to Wright Patman, this is the next best thing.

8. Lone Star Lake

Lone Star Lake
Source: pixabay
  • Official Page: Lone Star Lake
  • Distance from Texarkana: 62 miles (1h 10min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Swimming, Camping, RVs, Sailing, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Tubing

Lone Star Lake, aka Ellison Creek Reservoir, is 1,516 acres in size and is located near Lone Star, some 60 miles from Texarkana. It’s a well-developed lake with lots going on.

The unique feature here is an amazing floating water park. It’s a superb place in summer where you can chill on the beach or climb inflatable obstacles only to splashdown.

Other access areas include free public boat ramps and a fantastic Scenic View Marina with its RV park, motel, and lodges.

Although this lake is much smaller than O’ the Pines or Wright Patman, it’s just as versatile. There are no limits on water recreation here, and its modest size can be more accommodating for kayakers and paddleboarders. Plus, it’s a popular wakeboarding and skiing spot.

Fishing is pretty good at Lone Star Lake. It doesn’t have any lunkers, but there is plenty of largemouth bass and crappie.

Overall, it’s another fantastic option, especially for summer getaways with friends and family.

9. Daingerfield State Park

Daingerfield State Park
Source: flickr/CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: Daingerfield State Park
  • Distance from Texarkana: 58 miles (1h 5min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Swimming, Camping, RVs, Hiking

Daingerfield State Park is a cozy natural destination with an 80-acre lake at its heart. It’s a gorgeous place with a serene atmosphere, perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of the city.

The park is an excellent swimming destination. It has a designated beach and a diving platform that get really busy during summer weekends.

Also, it’s a superb paddling spot. You can hire kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats here. Thanks to its petite size, the lake is amazing for beginners as there are no waves or wake from other boats. Motorboating is limited to 5 mph.

Surprisingly, fishing is highly-rated here, too. Naturally, a lake of this size can’t produce big fish, but it’s great fun for kids. Plus, you can borrow a rod from the park. There is plenty of largemouth bass, crappie, cats, and bluegill here.

Another feature that you don’t get at many lakes is hiking. The park offers two trails through serene shaded woods, with geocaches to discover.

Overall, this is a family-friendly spot with modern facilities and excellent rangers who love to share their knowledge. 

10. Lake Bob Sandlin

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park in Texas
Source: wikimedia/CC BY 4.0
  • Official Page: Lake Bob Sandlin
  • Distance from Texarkana: 78 miles (1h 20min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Swimming, Camping, RVs, Hiking, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing

Lake Bob Sandlin is another full-on recreational reservoir near Texarkana. It’s 9,004 acres in size and has plenty of things to do.

The lake has a mix of public and private access areas. You can choose from free but primitive boat ramps to superb marinas with cabins, RV parks, and docks.

However, if it’s your first time visiting, the best place to stay is Lake Bob Sandlin State Park. It’s a highly-rated, all-in-one destination with kayak rentals, campsites, and miles of hiking trails. 

Still, the cool thing about the park is that they stock rainbow trout during winter. Trout fishing is scarce in Texas, but you can test your trout luck here and even take a few of them home.

Talking about fishing, the reservoir scores average reviews. The variety is great, but the bite isn’t strong. But if you do get lucky, the sizes tend to be good. You can expect bass, crappie, and bluegill.

Fun fact, the largest fish caught in Bob Sandlin was an 82-pound smallmouth buffalo, which is just 0.22 pounds short of the state record.

And if you’re wondering about activities, rest assured, the reservoir has no limits. Take a jet ski for a ride, paddle around, or swim to all your heart’s desire; it’s all cool here.

11. Black Bayou Lake (Caddo Parish)

Cypress Tree reflection
Source: dreamstime
  • Official Page: Black Bayou Lake
  • Distance from Texarkana: 42 miles (50 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Hiking

Black Bayou Lake is a 3,960-acre reservoir in Louisiana’s Caddo Parish. With an average depth of just 4 feet, it’s an ideal fishing and paddling spot.

There are two main access points, but Noah Tyson Park on the north shore is your best bet if travelling from Texarkana. Alternatively, a slightly larger Robert L Nance Park is located in Hosston.

Both parks provide boat ramps, fishing docks, and picnic spots surrounded by moss-draped cypress trees.

Black Bayou Lake is a popular fishing spot where most anglers target largemouth bass but there are reports of solid panfish hauls, too.

Another popular activity at this lake is kayaking and canoeing. Black Bayou Lake resembles Caddo Lake just a few miles to the south but it’s much more serene, so you can explore this swampy lake in relative peace.

This lake may not be the most versatile destination, but its gorgeous landscape and proximity to Texarkana make it worthy of this list.

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