If you’re exploring the inland portion of Texas and are looking for ways to beat the heat, nothing is better than renting a boat and cruising around on one of Texas’s many lakes. Lakes are spread across the big state, many are reservoirs formed by damming of rivers like Lake Travis and Lake Austin, to name a few.
Types of Boats to Rent on Texas Lakes
Hands down the most popular type of boat to rent on Texas Lakes are powerboats and pontoons. They are excellent for cruising around the lakes and waterways, trying out water sports, and enjoying time with friends and family. There are dozens of different types of powerboats to rent in Texas, and you can find rentals available across the state. Renting jet skis is also a great way to have lots of fun while in Texas.
Preparing to Boat on Lakes in Texas
The best way to describe this region is hot and dry, which is what you will be unless you dress appropriately and bring plenty of water. Make a boating safety checklist before you go to ensure you have everything you need. Consider a sun hat and sunscreen to protect you from the strong rays. Weather changes quickly here, so always get a good idea of the forecast before you go. Thunderstorms and flash floods can both be an extreme danger to boaters if you are caught unprepared. Make certain you have the correct number, type and weight class of life jacket when boating. Finally, it’s always a good idea to carry a first-aid kit. You may want it to contain a snakebite kit, as rattlesnakes are common.
The dry region of North Texas can get pretty cold at night, especially in the mountains. This is good to know if you are camping. Be certain that you bring layers, as the temperatures can go from freezing at night to over 100 during the day during certain times of the year.
Fishing in Texas
Texas is known as an excellent state for lake fishing, and the panhandle region is no exception. Rent a fishing boat to enjoy all this activity during your travels in Texas. They maintain an extensive stocking program to try and encourage lots of on-lake recreation, and as a result, there are a number of world-class bass and other fishing tournaments located throughout the state. Fishing here is most commonly done with small aluminum or fiberglass boats with outboards, or even by kayak or canoe. The mountains in this region are excellent for fly-fishing, though most tend to wade and fish. However, it is possible to combine river kayaking, fly fishing and camping on an extensive trip through the Guadalupes.
Fish species here include stocked bass, including white and striped. Sunfish, bluegills, and crappies make excellent beginner fish and can be caught with a can of worms, a line, and a bobber. Larger fish like carp, walleye, and catfish can be found in some of the backwaters and the larger rivers, and there are a few massive species of gar, like alligator gar, found in the region. There is brown trout in the mountain streams in the area, which is most often caught with fly fishing, as they are often spooked by anything outside of natural insect prey.
If you are inexperienced with fishing or want to try it without committing to a large purchase of gear, consider looking for a fishing guide or charter service. It offers you expert tips and techniques, a lowdown on the best local areas to fish, and a chance to try different gear, as well as the sport itself, without making a purchase that you may or may not use again. It is the perfect way to try before you buy.
As always, be certain that you have the correct permits needed for fishing. A Texas freshwater fishing permit is usually required, and if your waterway goes into New Mexico or Mexico you will also need to make certain that you have the right permits for the fishing trip.
Texas is, above all, bass country. Rent a bass boat while in Texas for an unforgettable time. The region has a number of local bass tournaments, and the lakes and reservoirs here come well-stocked. If you prefer bluegill, sunfish, and crappie, there are plenty of those to fish for as well. The hills offer some good trout fishing, and the larger rivers have some monster fish like alligator gar to discover. Always remember to have a valid fishing permit and to ensure that you are fishing in-season if you want to try. If you do not know how to fish, consider taking one of the many charter boats available, and try it with the help of an expert.
Top Texas Boating Destinations
Texas is a big state with a diverse landscape, with tons of lakes and waterways to explore. Here are some of the top boating destinations in the great state of Texas.
Boat Rentals in West Texas
West Texas is known to be the driest of all the regions of the state. Though this may not be the place that you would first consider to go boating, there are some excellent opportunities if you know where to look. This includes a major river that serves as an international border, the Rio Grande, which comprises almost the entire Western border of Texas. San Angelo is another western Texas destination to rent a boat. Along the Rio Grande is a long wilderness stretch that serves as a beautiful and remote national park, Big Bend.
A Few Tips on Border Boating
As the Rio Grande is an international border, you want to be aware of the issues that you may encounter when boating here. Always bring ID with you, at least a driver's license, though a passport (which verifies citizenship) will make your life a lot easier if a border patrol boat decides to search your vessel. Yes, they can do that without cause, and so can the US Coast Guard, based on maritime law. Keep your VHF radio on and be prompt in responding to any call on the radio to avoid complications. Finally, remember that if you do decide to cross the border, you must do so in a location with a customs site, and you must follow the customs procedure.
Boating Near San Antonio
In San Antonio, the river of the same name is a popular place to boat. You can use motorized boats, jet skis or fishing boats on the river, as well as smaller paddling vessels. Camping/boating is available at nearby Canyon Lake, or it is also a great place for a fishing/boating trip with access to picnic areas and hiking trails.
Boating Near Dallas/Ft Worth
Boating in Dallas/Ft Worth is so popular that Dallas has two different boat shows, the winter boat show in February and the Boat Expo in July. If you're visiting Dallas, rent a boat for an unforgettable time. They offer a wide variety of fishing lakes for bass and other lake species and some excellent downtown paddling trails for kayaking. There are plenty of lakes where you can bring a fast boat to go tubing or waterskiing.
Boating in Austin, Texas
Austin is a fantastic city to visit and rent a boat in. Explore the city as you have never seen it, with a boat tour or cruise, or by renting your own pontoon or a kayak. See Austin’s iconic bridges from below, and sneak a peek at the famous bat population that lives beneath. If you prefer something less urban, you do not need to drive far out of town to find a quieter, wilder lake or river to explore. Rent a boat on Lake Travis or Lake Austin for an unforgettable experience while in Austin, Texas. Watersports are very popular on Austin lakes, so try wakeboarding or waterskiing if you're looking for some real fun.
Boating the Red River and Lake Texoma
This large reservoir along the Red River shares a border with Oklahoma. Lake Texoma is an excellent place to rent a boat. There are miles of coastline on both states here, with resorts, cabins, marinas and campgrounds to explore. Excellent fishing can be found here, or it is a beautiful place to explore the large and wild expanses of North Central Texas by water and look across into Oklahoma. This is probably the most popular boating lake in the area and attracts over six million visitors per year.
Boating Near Lake Ray Roberts
Lake Ray Roberts is bordered by two State Parks and the town of Pilot Point. It’s a great place to rent a boat. It is a stocked fishing lake and an excellent place for any form of recreational boating.
Boating Near Lewisville
There is excellent boating to be found in Lewisville Lake and the Trinity River Basin. From rapids to pools, swimming and skiing to fishing and cruising, there are some excellent options to try here. Powerboats are a popular rental choice, as well as pontoons and jet skis.
Boating near Abilene
Abilene boasts a number of parks nearby with excellent waterways, including Abilene State Park, which has Lake Abilene and Buffalo Wallow Pond. Fish, swim, or just enjoy a day on the water.
Planning a Celebration on a Boat in Texas
Texas is a wonderful place to rent a boat, and the lakes and rivers are sure to be the perfect place for a family vacation, a couples getaway, or trips with friends for special occasions. Bachelorette parties on Lake Travis, family gatherings in Austin, or a getaway with your best friend to go fishing on a river in Texas are all fantastic reasons to rent a boat on your next trip to Texas.