So, you want to salvage a bit of the summer while continuing to practice social distancing–you’ve come to the right place. While your big summer vacation plans may be spoiled, you can still have some fun in the sun so long as you do it carefully. There are a handful of lakes around Dallas that will provide a suitable refuge from triple digit temperatures, but you’ll need to exercise some new precautions and plan ahead in order to enjoy them this year.
That means scoping out lesser known areas, avoiding crowded places like Lake Lewisville’s Party Cove, sticking with a small group of people, and wearing a mask when possible. We’re making the planning part a bit easier by providing you with this cheat sheet to lakes, the parks that surround them, and water recreation businesses that are currently open. A reminder: stay six feet from others and try to keep your lake party to those already in your bubble.
Sam’s Dock offers rentals at Silver Lake Marina and Twin Coves Marina on Lake Grapevine, but the business has put in place a list of new rules in an effort to prevent spreading coronavirus. Bookings must be made in advance, everyone must wear a face mask, only one person from each party is allowed in the marina store, and certain larger boats are currently unavailable. Here’s a link to the booking website.
Lake Grapevine’s website actually has a very useful guide to all the surrounding parks, but we’ll home in on a couple notable ones here. Meadowmere Park is a good option because of its beachy swimming area, one of only two on the lake. Lake View Park has the other swimming area, and it’s known to be one of the lesser trafficked parks on Lake Grapevine. If you’re looking to go fishing, head to Murrell Park to cast a line from the banks.
White Rock Lake
White Rock is the most centrally located lake on this list, and it tends to draw crowds pretty steadily, so it’s not our top recommendation for distancing. It’s also not swimmable, so you won’t really get any relief from the summer heat. A lake is a lake, though, and there are some activities available.
White Rock Paddle Company is still open (weather permitting) and renting kayaks and paddle boards to take out on the water. Renters (including participating children) must be able to clear a COVID-19 symptoms survey in order to rent from the business. You’ll be turned away if you’ve been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with the virus in the past 14 days, if you or someone in your household has visited any of the restricted travel locations on the CDC website within 14 days, or if you’ve experienced any symptoms.
If you’re able to answer no to all five questions listed, you’re good to go. Rentals are $20-27 per hour and you can make reservations here.
The White Rock Lake Boat Club, a membership-based club with shared boats, officially reopened on June 5 after several months closed. They’re following social distancing guidelines and recommending that members wear masks and gloves. You can apply for a membership here.
Lake Ray Hubbard
While some of the popular parks surrounding the lake, like Windsurf Bay Park, are temporarily closed, others, including John Paul Jones Park on the west shore of the lake, and Terry Park on the east shore, have remained open. Both offer walking trails and boat ramps.
Suntex Watersports rents speed boats, pontoons, and jet skis from two locations along Lake Ray Hubbard, Chandler’s Landing and Captain’s Cove. Reservations are required and you must wear a mask while you’re on the property. This could make for a fun afternoon with the family on the water, but, once again, this isn’t the time to get all your friends together on a pontoon. Keep it safe and be smart. Here’s a link to the booking page.
Eagle Mountain Lake
Just west of Fort Worth, Eagle Mountain Lake is a destination for fishing, but it’s also great for hiking and boating. If it’s hiking you’re here for, try Eagle Mountain Park, which offers 400 acres of green space. Twin Points Park and Shady Grove Park are better for those looking for a swimming area. Here’s a guide to public access points on the lake.
Suntex Watersports has an outpost on Eagle Mountain Lake with boat and watersports rentals. Find details here.
Joe Pool Lake
Cedar Hill State Park is a great gem for hiking and nature activities just half an hour from downtown Dallas. The park is currently open with limited capacity, limited hours, and increased safety measures, including mandatory face masks, a six-foot rule, and a ban on groups more than 10 (families and households are an exception).
However, the park also recently experienced major flood damage, which left popular areas like the beach swim area closed until 2022 at least. Due to that closure, there is not a designated swimming area currently open in the park. There are, however, boat ramps, fishing piers, and, of course, loads of hiking trails.
If you’d rather get out onto the water, Lynn Creek Marina on the other side of the lake has kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, fishing boats, and speed boats for rent. Again, you’ll have to wear a mask while on the property. Make reservations here.
If you’re looking for a sandy shore for relaxing and family-friendly fun, Lewisville Lake is surrounded by parks with swimmable beaches. Little Elm Park is the largest, but Stewart Creek Park and Hidden Cove Park are also nice, and all three have roped-off swimming areas.
Sam’s Dock, the same company that rents boats on Lake Grapevine, has two locations on Lewisville Lake at Hidden Cove Marina and Pier 121 Marina; the same safety rules apply at all Sam’s Dock locations. See booking info here.