Sipping wine in Downtown Denison, courtesy of City of Denison

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6 Reasons to Spend Your Summer in Denison

Lake life, wine tasting, patio dining, and parks: your next adventure awaits.

Get away for the day—or the weekend—in Denison. In a little more than an hour, you’ll be soaking up the long days of summer in scenic spots throughout Denison, Texas, and enjoying your hard-earned escape. Grab some friends or load up the family to enjoy boating on the sparkling waters of Lake Texoma, miles of hiking trails, taking in vineyard views, and catching up over a great meal on one of Denison’s many outdoor patios.

Don’t worry about making an agenda. We have it right here.

Kayaking on Waterloo Lake, courtesy of City of Dension

Rent a kayak and explore Waterloo Lake.

Water recreation is where Denison really delivers, especially with Waterloo Lake. The 52-surface-acre lake is the perfect place to try kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding for the first time—or for seasoned pros to take off on their own. With kayak rentals priced at just $10 per hour, it’s an affordable way to dive straight into summer. Secure your kayak and time spot (and be sure to check out age requirements, safety regulations, and hours of operation before you go).

Soak up the sun on Lake Texoma.

Rent a pontoon boat for the whole crew or take a romantic sunset cruise on Lake Texoma. Plenty of options, such as the Lighthouse Dinner Cruise are available. If you’re traveling with a large group, spend the day on a rented pontoon boat—whether to relax as you coast along or for a day of fishing. For speed junkies, there are jet ski rentals available from a variety of rental retailers, including these rental options.

Get out and get active!

Hiking, biking, a picnic in the park, or even disc golf—Denison’s parks and trails offer a way to try it all.  Waterloo Lake Regional Park is the perfect spot for outdoor enthusiasts. The 212-acre park includes seven miles of hike-and-bike trails, a paved walking track, horseshoe pits, multiple playgrounds, shaded benches, a kayak and paddleboard renting station, picnic areas, a winding nature trail around the lake, fishing pond, the Waterloo Pool swimming pool, and the Waterloo Dog Park. Keep an eye out for the cave at Waterloo park—a must for the kids. Denison’s Munson Park Disc Golf Course is an 18-hole, par 62 course totaling over 7,000 feet in length. It challenges even the most skilled disc golfer with its rolling hills and numerous trees. The disc golf course is open to the public every day during park hours. Bring your own equipment or visit their site for rentals and to make a reservation to play. Or grab your friends for a game of sand volleyball or softball at Denison’s THF Park, where there is plenty of room to roam.

Camp at Eisenhower State Park.

No trip to Denison, Texas is complete with a visit to Eisenhower State Park, located just northwest of Denison on the shores of Lake Texoma. Gather your camping gear and visit their site to learn about the iconic state park, entrance fees, reserve your spot, and make it home base while you enjoy the lake, hike-and-bike trails, and other outdoor adventures.

Hidden Hangar Vineyard and Winery, courtesy of City of Dension

Sample and Sip.

You won’t feel like you’re in Texas anymore when visiting Denison’s Hidden Hangar Vineyard and Winery. It’s a peaceful setting where you can tour lush vineyards, sample its signature wines, take in some spectacular views of the vineyards, and pick up a bottle (or two) of award-winning wine to enjoy upon your return to Dallas. The vineyard was once the home of Barnstorming planes that used the grassy knoll as their runway to the sky. Today it’s a third-generation family-operated winery that grows the Vitis Vinifera grape—perfect for Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petite Verdot, Riesling, and Syrah. Keep sipping at Ironroot Republic Distillery which has earned rave reviews for its signature bourbon. It’s a great place to cool off for a sample of bourbon and grab a tasty souvenir bottle of bourbon, gin, vodka, or moonshine—all distilled in Denison, of course.

Stay for Dinner–or the Night!

Denison has become a Dallas-Fort Worth dining destination, with a variety of restaurants and cafes now open and ready to serve, including the new Café Blackbird, a family-owned café relocating from Quannah, Texas that has enjoyed a loyal following for the past 30 years. It’s sure to be a summer hang-out favorite. For dinner, don’t miss Denison’s famed restaurant, The Point on Lake Texoma, with unbeatable sunset views as you dine on the lake. For casual patio fare, don’t miss one of Denison’s newest restaurants, The Blonde Bombshell, featuring a variety of burgers, sandwiches, and other mouthwatering dishes. Grab a drink and sit under the shade at the 1880 Ice House, an indoor/outdoor, Austin-style beer garden and spirits parlor surrounded by beautiful Texas Live Oak trees featuring a massive 6,600-square-foot patio. Enjoy small plate food tastings by Denison’s own chef Jason Shepard along with premium classic cocktails, ice-cold beer, and Texas heat creations. Those in the know understand it’s hard to leave Denison after making a day of it—so make a weekend instead by booking your getaway at one of Denison’s quaint Airbnb’s or bed-and-breakfasts. This way, you can head back to Dallas only when you really must.

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