9 Amazing Lakes for Recreation near Wichita Falls, TX

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Wichita Falls has an amazing selection of lakes. There is something for everyone here. 

For example, Lake Arrowhead is the nearest full-on recreational lake best suited for families. At the same time, Lake Kemp is remote and vast, best left for seasoned anglers.

Most of the options on the list are within an hour’s drive. But also, there are a few gems that are certainly worth a longer drive. 

Read on to find out the best for your needs.

Lakes near Wichita Falls:

  1. Lake Wichita
  2. Lake Arrowhead
  3. Lake Kickapoo
  4. Lake Kemp
  5. Lake Iowa Park
  6. Waurika Lake
  7. Lake Amon G. Carter
  8. Lake Copper Breaks
  9. Lake Bridgeport
Lakes near Wichita Falls Texas Comparison Table

1. Lake Wichita

Lake Wichita
Source: flickr/CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: Lake Wichita
  • Distance from Wichita Falls: 8 miles (12 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Swimming, Hiking, Picnics, Sports Fields

Lake Wichita is a 1,224-acre reservoir south of Wichita Falls, just 12 minutes from downtown. It’s an excellent destination for picnics and fishing.

There are two ways to access the lake. One is the boat ramp by the spillway. It has just a fishing pier and parking. It’s a remote spot that can get packed with anglers on weekends.

However, a more popular location is Lake Wichita Park on the northern shore. It’s an urban space with sports grounds, disk golf, and miles of paved trails. It’s the best option for families and summer picnics.

Although swimming is allowed at Lake Wichita, it’s not popular here. The water is somewhat murky, and the quality isn’t great. There are better swimming lakes on this list.

However, fishing is pretty good. Fish stocks have recovered from the 2013 drought, and anglers report decent catches. Largemouth bass, channel cats, and white crappie are the most common species here.

The cool fact about this lake is that it’s connected to the downtown via a paved trail. It runs through Weeks Park all the way to Lucy Park; the total length is 15 miles.

Lake Wichita won’t win prizes for the best recreational lake around, but it’s certainly the nearest. And it’s an essential part of the city.

Related: 9 Epic Lakes for Recreation near Lubbock, TX

2. Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead
Source: flickr/CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: Lake Arrowhead
  • Distance from Wichita Falls: 16 miles (20 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Hiking, Camping, RVs, Sailing, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Tubing

Lake Arrowhead is a large 14,969-acre reservoir just 20 minutes from Wichita Falls. It’s the nearest full-on recreation reservoir with no restrictions and excellent facilities.

Although there are half a dozen access areas to this lake, Lake Arrowhead State Park is the best option. It’s a well-kept place with everything you might need for a weekend on the lake.

The park offers an excellent boat ramp, fishing piers, and over 5 miles of hiking trails teeming with wildlife. And when it comes to accommodation, you have a choice of primitive campsites or RV spots with hookups.

Swimming is allowed at Lake Arrowhead, and the park provides a designated beach area that is protected from boats.

Also, a reservoir of this size offers excellent boating. There is plenty of space for wakeboarding, skiing, and tubing. Plus, the lake’s rich birdlife and coves make it a nice place for kayaking and canoeing.

But the fun doesn’t stop here. You can also try sailing at Lake Arrowhead. The Wichita Falls Sailing Club runs races and can accommodate beginners, too.

And when it comes to fishing, Lake Arrowhead is excellent. Despite a considerable largemouth bass stocking in 2016 (785,000 were stocked), catfish still dominate the reservoir. The record is a 74-pound blue cat caught in 2010. 

Overall, this destination is fun, versatile, and open year-round. Considering the proximity to the city, it’s probably the best destination on the list.

Related: 11 Best Lakes near Abilene, TX

3. Lake Kickapoo

Lake Kickapoo
Source: unsplash
  • Official Page: Lake Kickapoo
  • Distance from Wichita Falls: 33 miles (40 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Camping, RVs, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Tubing

Lake Kickapoo is 6,028 acres in size. It’s mainly used for fishing and boating, although there are no restrictions on activities here.

You have two options to access the lake. One is a paved public boat ramp on the northern tip of the reservoir. And the second is the Lake Kickapoo Fishing Camp

The camp is a fisherman’s haven. It has a heated fishing barge, a pier, and a bait shop. And for accommodation, you can stay in one of the cabins or bring an RV. It’s an excellent destination for weekend fishing trips.

The most common catch here is white crappie. However, there are largemouth bass, gar, and various types of cats, too. 

Swimming is allowed in Lake Kickapoo, but the water is rather murky, and it’s not really known for that. For example, Lake Arrowhead is much better if swimming is your priority.

Overall, it’s a versatile reservoir, and because it’s not as developed as many others, it remains peaceful and free from crowds. Perfect for fishing!

4. Lake Kemp

Lake Kemp
Source: depositphotos
  • Official Page: Lake Kemp
  • Distance from Wichita Falls: 49 miles (50 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Tubing

Lake Kemp is a 15,590-acre reservoir southwest of Wichita Falls. It’s a private lake with fee access that offers excellent fishing and boating.

This reservoir has numerous access gates, but the most visited one is Moonshine Gate off Route 183. It has a boat ramp that can accommodate all boat types even when the water is low.

Apart from launching ramps, there are hardly any facilities around the lake. It’s a very primitive and remote place, although there are communities that live around it.

When it comes to water activities, there are no limits here. It’s an excellent place for wakeboarding, skiing, and tubing. And swimming is allowed, too.

Yet, the most popular activity is fishing. There aren’t many fishing reports about it, but the typical catch is bass, carp, and catfish. Also, between 2015 and 2018, the reservoir was heavily stocked with striped bass. 

All things considered, very few people visit this reservoir, making it an ideal place for peaceful getaways.

Related: 9 Epic Lakes for Recreation near Lubbock, TX

5. Lake Iowa Park

Lake Iowa Park
Source: wikimedia /CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Official Page: Lake Iowa Park
  • Distance from Wichita Falls: 14 miles (20 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Tubing, Picnics

Lake Iowa Park is a small reservoir just 20 minutes from Wichita Falls. It’s an excellent family destination and a popular swimming spot.

The reservoir is accessed through Hammond Park off Route 287. It has shaded picnic shelters, a boat ramp, and a fishing pier. 

Also, there is plenty of shore access for fishing and swimming. This place is buzzing with activity during the summer weekends as this is a smaller alternative to Lake Arrowhead.

When it comes to fishing, it’s a bass lake. Largemouth dominates the water, but getting one above 4 pounds is rare. Also, you can catch channel cats, crappie, and bluegill.

Overall, it’s an excellent family spot, best used for picnics, swimming, and fishing.

Related: 11 Best Lakes near Abilene, TX

6. Waurika Lake

Waurika Lake
Source: flickr/CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: Waurika Lake
  • Distance from Wichita Falls: 38 miles (45 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Tubing, Picnics, Camping, Hiking

Waurika Lake is a 10,000-acre reservoir in Oklahoma, some 45 minutes from Wichita Falls. It’s one of the best recreational lakes in the area and an excellent alternative to Lake Arrowhead.

The reservoir has half a dozen access areas managed by the Corps of Engineers. Most of which provide boat ramps, camping, and picnic shelters. 

However, if it’s your first time visiting, try Waurika Lake Marina near Hastings. It’s a family-friendly place with a designated swimming area, camping, and kayak rentals. 

Thanks to the multiple launching ramps and a large surface area, Waurika Lake is excellent for boating activities. Pontoon cruising, wakeboarding, and tubing are all allowed here.

Also, the shore access is easy and unrestricted, so you can put in a kayak or canoe almost anywhere you like. 

Unlike many other reservoirs, Waurika Lake isn’t stocked with largemouth. Instead, it’s a striped bass lake. Striped bass grows to larger sizes, and together with blue catfish, they are the two most common species in this lake.

Overall, this is a fun destination with lots going on. It’s the next best alternative if you’re tired of Lake Arrowhead.

7. Lake Amon G. Carter

Lake Amon G. Carter
Source: depositphotos
  • Official Page: Lake Amon G. Carter
  • Distance from Wichita Falls: 51 miles (50 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Tubing, Picnics, Camping

Lake Amon G. Carter is a 1,848-acre reservoir near Bowie. It’s a highly-rated destination with a beautiful and clean park.

Although the shoreline is primarily private, the lake offers two access areas. One is the public boat ramp with just parking and a small pier. And the second one is an amazing Selma Park

The park offers a designated swimming area with a pier, camping, and plenty of trees for shade. It’s the best spot on the lake, ideal for summer getaways with family.

When it comes to activities, the reservoir is just as versatile as most lakes in Texas. From kayaking to jet skis and tubing, it’s all good here. There are no boating limits.

Yet, fishing has average reviews. Although there are reports of 8-pound largemouth bass and pretty large flathead cats, the lake isn’t really known for fishing. 

Still, it’s a stunning reservoir that’s worth the drive!

Related: 9 Epic Lakes for Recreation near Lubbock, TX

8. Lake Copper Breaks

Lake Copper Breaks
Source: flickr/CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: Lake Copper Breaks
  • Distance from Wichita Falls: 92 miles (1h 25min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Picnics, Camping, Hiking, Stargazing

Lake Copper Breaks is a small 60-acre reservoir west of Wichita Falls. It’s a cozy lake with just fishing, swimming, and paddling to offer.

The best thing about this reservoir is that it’s part of the Copper Breaks State Park. This highly-rated outdoor destination offers stunning scenery with copper-colored bluffs, manicured lawns, and diverse wildlife.

The park has a designated swimming area and a ramp for small crafts. And because it’s a no-wake lake, only paddling and trolling motors are allowed. 

Also, the park has a fishing pier, can loan a rod, and doesn’t require a fishing license. It’s an excellent way to try this popular activity without investing in gear.

Another fantastic feature that most lakes don’t have is the hiking trails. There are over 10 miles of paths for walking, horse riding, and cycling, so it’s a lot more than just a lake destination.

Also, the park is part of the Dark-Sky Association. There are hardly any lights here, so the night sky is just jaw-dropping.

Although not a typical lake, it’s a fantastic destination overall. Granted, you can’t ride jet skis here, but the scenery is breathtaking.

Related: 11 Best Lakes near Abilene, TX

9. Lake Bridgeport

Lake Bridgeport
Source: pixabay
  • Official Page: Lake Bridgeport
  • Distance from Wichita Falls: 76 miles (1h 20min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Picnics, Camping, RVs, Hiking, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Tubing

Lake Bridgeport is a sizeable 11,954-acre reservoir southeast of Wichita Falls. It’s an amazing destination with a huge selection of facilities for every type of visitor.

It’s hard to choose the best spot to access the lake, but the most versatile is probably North Side Marina and Resort

Here, you can rent boats, kayaks, or canoes and stay in one of their lake houses. If it’s your first time visiting, this marina is a great place to start.

However, for the best beach experience and picnicking by the lake, Wise County Park is a better option.

Lake Bridgeport is a boater’s paradise. It has plenty of boating facilities like slips, gas, and ramps. And it’s large enough, so you can wakeboard and ski safely.

However, fishing is average here. It’s neither fantastic nor bad. The fish variety is excellent, and the sizes are good. Yet, to fish effectively in a lake of this size, you need local knowledge and experience.

The biggest drawback is the distance from Wichita Falls. But if you’re coming for a weekend, it’s well worth the drive, especially considering a huge selection of accommodation here.

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