If you’re craving the great outdoors full of natural wonder and fun activities while away the day, head to Canyon Lake in Texas. Referred to as the Water Recreation Capital of Texas and located in Hill Country, the only trouble you’ll experience is deciding what to do first.
Sprawling over 8,000 acres, Canyon Lake sits amidst limestone bluffs and rolling hills, providing the best of both worlds for water lovers and landlubbers alike.
Spend the day fishing, touring the lake by boat, or enjoying one of the many water sports available. If your group prefers to stay dry, take a drive along a scenic roadway or explore trails, parks, and even a canyon.
Canyon Lake’s mesmerizing waters and beautiful landscape offer numerous awaiting adventures, while the restaurants in the area invite you in also. Located approximately an hour north of San Antonio, Canyon Lake is a great location to spend a day, a weekend or longer for you and your family or as a get-together with friends.
Is Canyon Lake Safe to Swim In?
Nothing cools you off during a hot day better than a refreshing swim. The Canyon Lake area offers swim beaches for you to set up your chairs and umbrella and enjoy the day in and out of the water.
Three popular swim beaches are Canyon Beach, Comal Park, and Canyon Overlook Park. Other spots to immerse yourself in the cool water are Overlook Park, Jacob’s Creek Park, Cranes Mills Park, and the Randolph Recreation Park. You’ll find a swim beach near wherever you are on the lake in Texas. However, some of these beaches do require a fee, so be sure to check before you go.
If you’re off on a boat touring the lake, you can also enjoy a swim by occasionally stopping and jumping in along the way. Another option is to head to the Guadalupe River, which feeds into Canyon Lake. Here you can leisurely float on an inner tube as you admire the cypress trees and birdlife overhead.
As a safety precaution, bring your life jackets and any other gear you need. There are no lifeguards anywhere on the lake or beaches, so you’ll need to take your safety into your own hands. For an additional measure, you may want to choose a roped-off swim area, which can be found at Sunset Beach, Holiday Harbor Park, and Indian Beach Park.
Canyon Lake Restaurants
When not picnicking on the swim beaches or among the hills, the Canyon Lake area offers plenty of good restaurants to satisfy your taste buds. Whether you’re looking for something fast or seeking a sit-down meal where you can enjoy conversation along with your food, you have several choices available.
Below is a sampling of Canyon Lake Restaurants you might want to try on your next trip here.
Baja BBQ Shack
Before or after renting a boat to tour the lake, or as a side trip, wander over to the Baja BBQ Shack at the Canyon Lake Marina. Enjoy a view of the lake as you try different items on the menu. Choose between barbecue offerings, sandwiches, and even seafood, including delicious peel and eat shrimp. Since Canyon Lake teems with catfish, it’s no wonder Fridays are reserved for All-U-Can-Eat Catfish night.
Feel like you’ve landed in the south of Italy by making your way to the family-owned Gennaro’s Trattoria. Authentic Southern Italian cuisine awaits you here. Think Naples and beyond. You’ll quickly feel embraced by the warmth of the handmade dishes and incredibly friendly service.
Wildflour Artisan Bakery & Grill
Nestle into one of the tables at Wildflour Artisan Bakery & Grill and stay awhile. This family-owned and ran restaurant offers delicious dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, featuring freshly baked goods and an American diner-type menu. For those needing to fill up for a full day of fishing or touring the lake, start with the big Wildflour Breakfast or the Hill County Tenderloin Hash breakfast. You may even want to stop in for dessert and coffee or a beer or glass of wine to end your day.
Italian Garden Cafe
Enjoy old-school Italian meals or go for something lighter at the Italian Garden Cafe. You’re bound to find something to fits everyone’s taste buds, from chicken Portofino with its delicate bandy cream sauce to a Caprese salad complete with balsamic vinegar and mozzarella.
The menu also provides options for vegans and vegetarians. Popular with both visitors and residents alike, customers often brag about the friendly service as well as the impressive wine list.
Granny D’s is one of the best places to enjoy a casual breakfast before a full day on the lake. Enjoy hot cups of coffee with their thick pancakes, biscuits covered in sausage white gravy, large omelets, or the bountiful breakfast buffet. You can also enjoy homestyle lunches and dinners, such as chicken fried steak or fried catfish with hushpuppies. Add peach cobbler for dessert. The servings are rather large here, so be sure to bring your appetite to this cozy, down-home restaurant.
Bare Bull BBQ
Go with tried-and-true barbecue favorites or branch out and try something new, like the Jalapeño cheese sausage at the rustic Bare Full BBQ. You have many delicious choices here, including a tender and moist brisket and the popular chopped beef sandwich. Customers claim they also have the best potato salad on the lake. The restaurant is located near Startzville, on the southern portion of Canyon Lake.
Craving Mexican? Then head to Mima’s Tacos for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The restaurant in Hancock, on the northern portion of the lake, is a favorite of the locals. Crispy breakfast tacos here are highly recommended. Order something with their fresh homemade tortillas for lunch or dinner, and enjoy spectacular views of the lake as you enjoy eating it.
Lucky’s Sports Bar & Grill
Relax and enjoy your afternoon or evening at Lucky’s Sports Bar & Grill, with fried catfish, burgers, and fish and chips on the menu. Enjoy one of their beers as you listen to the music at night, or sit at the bar and watch your favorite sports. For a quieter moment or two, head outside to the dining area.
Canyon Lake offers many choices when it comes to restaurants, and this list is only a sampling of those available to you in the area.
Tour Canyon Lake with a Boat Rental
If swimming from the beach or skirting around its edges isn’t enough for you, then consider renting a boat and taking your own tour of Canyon Lake. Plan for at least a half-day Canyon Lake boat rental as there is so much to see and explore.
You have access to two marinas in the area, including Canyon Lake Marina and Cranes Mill Marina. A variety of boat types are available for rent in the area, so choose the one that fits your plans and the number of people you are bringing with you.
Discover secluded coves to linger in for a while, or make your way to the best fishing spots on the lake. Stop off on one of the small isles or make plenty of stops to jump in and cool off during the day.
Make sure to study a map of the lake, so you can plan your day accordingly. Also, keep on the lookout for trees above and just below the surface of the water as a safety precaution.
Fishing on Canyon Lake
If you’re in search of some of the best freshwater fishing in Texas, Canyon Lake is the place to go. Whether you rent a boat from one of the local marinas or bring your own, you’ll be able to access many of the best fishing spots in the state.
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, fishing here is good year-round, and the predominant fish species found in the lake is bass — largemouth, smallmouth, Guadalupe, white and striped.
The lake also teems with catfish all year long. Take your boat to the upper third of the lake, where they often gather. You’ll likely catch Flathead, Channel, and Blue catfish and can keep up to a combination of 25 of these each day.
You may also want to head to Guadalupe River and get in some superb fly-fishing while in the area, hooking enough trout for dinner or for taking home with you.
However, be sure you are familiar with the local fishing regulations, including obtaining a Texas fishing license before getting started. Lake conditions can affect the fishing daily, so be sure to check with Texas Parks and Wildlife for updates.
Choose a Water Sport
As you might guess, a lake the size of Canyon Lake offers an abundance of water sporting activities. From jet skis to kayaks to stand-up paddleboards, you can enjoy traversing the lake’s surface in your own unique way. Rent equipment at various locations around the lake, or bring your own.
Another way you can enjoy the lake is by immersing yourself in its depths by scuba diving. Seek out a submerged ghost town or have fun discovering the various animals and plants residing in the surrounding water. Be sure to bring along your dive card, though, or join a class to get certified right here in the lake.
Explore the Land Surrounding Canyon Lake
For a break from water activities, schedule time to explore the area around the lake and further out in the surrounding Hill Country. Hike one of the popular trails, visit a boutique winery, or enjoy one of the many parks in the area. You can also enjoy a friendly golf game at the Lakeside Golf Club.
One of the most popular scenic drives is River Road, which runs along the Guadalupe River and provides spectacular views. Canyon Lake Gorge is another spot you won’t want to miss. This one-mile-long gorge displays natural history at its most revealing. Let the kids spot wildlife, hunt for dinosaur tracks, or search for fossils along the way.
Visit Canyon Lake Today
With so much to experience in the Canyon Lake area of Texas, you’ll want to return again and again. Here you’ll always find something to do, somewhere to eat, and something beautiful to see. It doesn’t get much better than that. Set sail for Canyon lake on a Boatsetter boat rental today!